<p>&quot;The Last Man on Earth&quot;</p>

"The Last Man on Earth"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Last Man on Earth' premiere, 'Madam Secretary' return pace Sunday

'Secrets & Lies' has a decent premiere, while 'Battle Creek' launches soft

Fast National ratings for Sunday, March 1, 2015.

FOX got a strong premiere for the new comedy "Last Man on Earth," which delivered Sunday's top numbers among young viewers and helped the network win primetime in that measure. CBS, meanwhile, easily won Sunday overall thanks to the return of "Madam Secretary," despite a weak premiere for "Battle Creek.

Falling somewhere in-between the premieres for "The Last Man on Earth" and "Battle Creek" was an OK launch for ABC's "Secrets & Lies."

Both "Last Man on Earth" and "Secrets & Lies" had double-episode premieres and both shows had encouraging splits, retaining their full key demo numbers for their second episodes.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Dean Winters of &quot;Battle Creek&quot;</p>

Dean Winters of "Battle Creek"

Credit: CBS

Interview: 'Battle Creek' star Dean Winters on nearly killing Josh Duhamel and more

What did it take for this New York boy to shoot in Los Angeles

In CBS' "Battle Creek," Dean Winters plays Detective Russ Agnew, a grouchy-but-determined Michigan law enforcement veteran who yearns for more and better resources, but isn't happy when support comes in the form of seemingly perfect FBI agent Milt Chambers (Josh Duhamel).

It's an oft-retold story, but things almost went awry immediately between the two "Battle Creek" stars.

"The first time I met Josh, I came in last March for rehearsal and I was lost and I was driving to the lot on Manhattan Beach and I was looking at my GPS and I literally came within a foot of running him over," Winters too me when we sat down together two weeks ago. "It’s like I almost killed my co-star without even meeting him. But he and I got along famously like off the bat."

Winters was glued to his GPS because he's a New York City guy, born and bred, and he's made a successful and varied career on East Coast productions and the occasional limited LA stint. And the need to move to Los Angeles nearly caused him to shy away from "Battle Creek," before he realized that opportunities to work on a David Shore-run show from a Vince Gilligan pilot script don't come along often.

In our conversation, Winters talks about acclimating to Los Angeles and the process of finding the tone of "Battle Creek," which may be funnier than what you're expecting. It's a tone he notes comes at least in part from his actual dynamic with Duhamel.

Invariably, the discussion also turned to Winters' former "Oz" co-star J.K. Simmons, who was on the verge of winning an Oscar when we talked. And, as the two are well-regarded insurance pitchmen, we also chatted about Mayhem, the Allstate campaign that surely ranks among Winters' most recognizable roles.

And check out my interviews with "Battle Creek" stars Josh Duhamel and Kal Penn.

"Battle Creek" premieres on Sunday, March 1 and the full Q&A is below.

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<p>So Kim of &quot;Survivor: Words Apart&quot;</p>

So Kim of "Survivor: Words Apart"

Credit: CBS

Interview: So Kim talks 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'

The season's first booted castaway isn't proud of that Neutral lie

The first player eliminated in any "Survivor" season usually doesn't leave a good impression or a bad impression. Since their torches were snuffed after only an hour-ish of screentime, our reaction to that first booted castaway is usually a little more... Neutral?

Apologies to So Kim.

At least the first "Survivor: Worlds Apart" contestant sent home doesn't try to defend the questionable web of, um, deception that she and Joaquin spun to their fellow White Collar tribemates to attempt to justify their choice at the season-opening Honest/Deceive choice. So and Joaquin decided to pick "Deceive" and collect an Immunity Idol clue and a small bag of beans -- instead of a bigger bean bag and no clue -- but returned to camp and claimed that they'd actually selected an imaginary third option, "Neutral."

"You mean the worst lie that's ever been told?" So laughed when I asked how that particular prevarication came to be told.

It probably wasn't that lie that got So sent home, but it made her seem untrustworthy, which was enough to put a target on her back when White Collar lost inaugural Immunity Challenge of the season.

In her exit interview, So talks about the move to pick "Deceive" and then the resulting lie, as well as her own amusement at discovering that even without a clue, Carolyn was able to find that Immunity Idol. Not surprisingly, So wasn't all that enthusiastic to find herself in the White Collar tribe, but she protests that this isn't a repeat of the fate that befell the Brains tribe in an earlier "Survivor" season.

Oh and which member of her White Collar tribe did So already recognize? Well, probably the same one that many "Survivor" fanatics recognized.

Click through for the full Q&A. You'll probably find yourself wishing we got at least a few more weeks of So on "Survivor"...

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<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;Hawaii Five-0&quot;</p>

Friday's "Hawaii Five-0"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Hawaii Five-0,' 'Last Man Standing' lead Friday split

Even without new 'Blue Bloods' or 'Shark Tank' nothing changes

Fast National ratings for Friday, February 27, 2015.

With "Shark Tank" and "Blue Bloods" in repeats, it was up to "Last Man Standing" to carry ABC to its normal Friday win among young viewers, leaving "Hawaii Five-0" to lead CBS to its normal Friday win overall.

After a soft premiere on Wednesday, "Amazing Race" returned to its Friday home and did roughly the same lowish numbers it was doing in the fall, though "Hawaii Five-0" fell among young viewers with its weakened non-"Undercover Boss" lead-in.

Without "Undercover Boss," both "Last Man Standing" and "Cristela" got small upticks.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Sunday&#39;s &quot;Brooklyn Nine-Nine&quot;</p>

Sunday's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Joe Lo Truglio teases Sunday's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' wedding

Plus, an exclusive scene from Sunday's episode!

Wedding bells are going to chime on this Sunday's episode of FOX's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." 

After a whirlwind courtship, Charles Boyle's dad (Stephen Root) and Gina Linetti's mom (Sandra Bernhard) are tying the knot, but actual police work is apparently going to cause chaos. 

Last week, I got on the phone with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Joe Lo Truglio to discuss the nuptials, as well as Boyle's gradual evolution from his larger-than-life beginnings. 

We also talked about Lo Truglio's own status as a foodie and what the "State" veteran got out of sharing recent scenes with sitcom legend Garry Marshall.

So check out an exclusive scene from Sunday's episode plus the full Joe Lo Truglio Q&A below. 

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<p>Aly of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Aly of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Got The Smartest Dude'

Teams skate and slurp noodles in Japan

Ooops. Somebody forgot to include the drama in Friday (February 27) night's episode of "The Amazing Race," which was edited with less of an exclamation point and more of an unconcerned shrug.

Starting a whopping 29 minutes into the episode, teams started popping up at the Pit Stop and I expected Phil Keoghan to say something like, "Really? We're done?" 

Instead, Phil was asking people things like, "Is there any romantic connection do you think?"

Ladies and gentlemen... Season 26 of "The Amazing Race."

There were good moments in Friday's episode, titled "I Got The Smartest Dude," but they didn't add up to anything, because by the time the eliminated team reached the Pit Stop, they'd been in last for the entirely time and they were just smiling and laughing and happy and ready to go home.

And if they don't care, why should we?

Let's get down to recapping business after the break. 

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<p>Will Forte of &quot;The Last Man on Earth&quot;</p>

Will Forte of "The Last Man on Earth"

Credit: FOX

Review: Will Forte and Lord & Miller steer FOX's inspired 'Last Man on Earth'

Minimalist comedy packs a maximum amount of humor and humanity

I've expressed my enthusiasm for FOX's new Sunday comedy "Last Man on Earth" in a number of different tweets and the responses tend to fall into a common mixed emotion that I'd describe as "excited skepticism."

It can be boiled down to, "It looks funny... But does it work as a series?"

On the eve of the Sunday, March 1 premiere of "Last Man on Earth," my own answer can now take one of two forms:

The first: I've seen three episodes -- or, rather, I've seen the hour-long block that will air on Sunday, plus an additional half-hour -- and "Last Man on Earth" works rather wonderfully for that duration, which is really all I can ask from a network TV show when I review it. I've reviewed comedies based on both more episodes and fewer episodes and while I can't say that I know that the 50th episode of "Last Man on Earth" will be funny, I also couldn't say that the 50th episode of "Fresh Off the Boat" would be funny, but I reviewed that off of three episodes as well and it has continued to be funny now for three subsequent episodes as well. TV shows are only funny until they're not, no matter how high the concept, and given how hard it is to hit the ground running with a sitcom, I'm not going to criticize a series that's this immediately and successfully inspired just because I don't know what Season 20 looks like.

The second: Go ahead and try telling Phil Lord and Chris Miller that you think the project they're working on is either a silly idea or an idea that seems better designed for a five-minute short than for long-form storytelling. At this point, the "21 Jump Street" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "The Lego Movie" directors ought to have earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to successful elongation of premises that seem merely one-joke, but ultimately yield many more.

Lord & Miller's direction of the opening "Last Man on Earth" hour is a textbook lesson in precision comic timing and humorous use of physical space for the small screen. The Mark Mothersbaugh score and clockwork editing and a lively soundtrack make this one of the most formally successful network comedy pilots, or comedy pilots of any sort, in recent years and I hope that many of these formal and technical aspects are remembered come Emmy time.

But don't get the impression that construction of "Last Man on Earth" supersedes its heart, which comes largely courtesy of series creator and star Will Forte, who wrote the opening installments -- Emily Spivey wrote the March 8 episode, with Jason Woliner directing -- and gives a performance which follows his "Nebraska" work in underlining just how versatile he can be, even within the same projects.

More after the break, but that's probably enough of a review without saying anything more, eh?

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Remembering the Jewishness of Leonard Nimoy and the Vulcan salute

Remembering the Jewishness of Leonard Nimoy and the Vulcan salute

"Star Trek" premiered in 1966, which means that we're heading for an obscene amount of 50th anniversary coverage next year. It also means that  there have been nearly 50 years of Jewish children who grew up nudging their siblings and parents when the rabbi ended the service with the priestly benediction, because when the rabbi raises his hands to emulate the Hebrew letter shin, what he's doing is the Vulcan salute.

I grew up knowing that fictionally Leonard Nimoy was a Vulcan, but I also grew up knowing that he was in reality, Leonard Nimoy was Jewish and he'd brought his background to "Star Trek" in the form of the famous and familiar raised hand and spread fingers. Jewish culture has been disseminated into secular culture in countless ways, but this is one of my favorites.

This interview from the Yiddish Book Center is spectacular for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are that Leonard Nimoy is a glorious storyteller and there's something wonderful in hearing even snippets of Leonard Nimoy doing Jewish prayers. With that voice, he would have made a heck of a cantor. 

But if you didn't know the origin of the Vulcan salute? Now you do.

Say Kaddish for the late Leonard Nimoy.

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<p>Leonard Nimoy of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>

Leonard Nimoy of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

And don't forget 'Fringe' in your Leonard Nimoy tributes

Leonard Nimoy will always be remembered for "Star Trek" and that's entirely appropriate, because Spock is one of the iconic characters in television history. 

But I've already done one post reminding people that Leonard Nimoy also directed the top-grossing movie of 1987. 

So don't exclude that from your tributes.

And also don't forget "Fringe," which offered Nimoy one of his last major roles, playing the brilliant William Bell, colleague to John Noble's Walter Bishop. Bell maybe only appeared in a handful of episodes, including a voice-cameo in the show's trippy animated episode, but once the oft-discussed role became associated with Nimoy, his presence infused the rest of the series. Once you had him there once, you never really needed to have him there again on "Fringe" because knowing that William Bell was Leonard Freaking Nimoy meant that you knew William Bell was a force.

Simply put, it was a flawless piece of pie-in-the-sky casting for a show with a small-but-devoted fanbase to land this key guest appearance from the king of all shows with small-but-devoted fanbases and placing Nimoy in the "Fringe" universe benefited that universe tremendously.

As news of Nimoy's passing began breaking on Friday morning, John Noble tweeted this brief tribute:


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<p>Three Men and a Little Baby</p>

Three Men and a Little Baby

Don't forget 'Three Men and a Baby' in your Leonard Nimoy tributes

Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday (February 27) morning at the age of 83.

Most obituaries are, for very logical reasons, concentrating on Nimoy's contributions to the "Star Trek" franchise and its fandom. 

And don't let me stop you/them!

But don't forget "Three Men and a Baby" in your tributes.

I mean it.

Perhaps because it's fun to make fun of Steve Guttenberg or because it's fun to make fun of baby-based farces, it's easy to overlook "Three Men and a Baby."


"Three Men and a Baby" is an enjoyable and well-paced farce and it'll never not be amazing to me that Leonard Nimoy transitioned as a director from "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" to "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" to a nimble comedy with Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and the aforementioned Guttenberg.  And he made the transition without skipping a beat.

The reviews for "Three Men and a Baby" were warm, if not rapturous, with many critics agreeing that all three leads were in very fine form. And I think that's a pretty good and accurate representation.

Never forget that "Three Men and a Baby" grossed $168 million, making it the top-grossing movie of 1987. If you adjust that for inflation, it's $346 million, putting it at No.151 on BoxOfficeMojo's list of All-Time Box Office Adjusted for Inflation.

Talk about living long and prospering. 

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.

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