<p>Fitz and Simmons!</p>

Fitz and Simmons!

Credit: ABC

'Sleepy Hollow,' 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' make big Monday/Tuesday Live+3 DVR gains

'Blacklist' rises for NBC, while 'Hostages' gets better news
The Live+3 Day DVR rankings are starting to trickle in and, like I promised, I'm going to start occasionally looking at those numbers, which make up a bigger and bigger picture of the TV landscape. The key problem is that while Fast National ratings come in with clockwork regularity each morning between 8 and 8:30 and are reported by each of the major networks simultaneously, the Live+3 figures may get to the networks at the same time each day, reflecting ratings for shows that premiered five days earlier, the networks have yet to get into a routine of transparency and spin when it comes to these numbers. So I'll be reporting them as I can, when I can and as things feel notable.
 
Certainly for Premiere Week, the numbers seem notable and so I'll give them some exposure.
 
Most figures are in for Live+3 DVR rankings for Monday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 24. And, if we're being honest, what we've learned isn't all that different from what we already knew.
 
To wit...
 
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<p>&quot;The Amazing Race&quot; host Phil Keoghan</p>

"The Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan

Credit: CBS

Interview: Phil Keoghan handicaps 'The Amazing Race' Season 23

Get early predictions from the Emmy-winning show's host
I met the cast of "Amazing Race" Season 23 in June before they'd faced a single Detour or Roadblock, before the teams had been allowed to say so much as a word to each other. 
 
Still, the temptation to handicap the still-unknown pairings was irresistible. It's irresistible for host Phil Keoghan as well and when we sat down, I spent a while trying to get Phil to make predictions on which teams he won't be Philiminating this season. 
 
The difficulties of predicting winners is something that Phil views as being one of the biggest strengths of "The Amazing Race." In fact, nearly everything I brought up in our conversation tied into another of the show's greatest strengths. 
 
Just as his buddy Jeff Probst is, at heart, a huge fan of "Survivor," Phil Keoghan is a huge fan of "The Amazing Race" and any concern that I raised about the show, he pivoted around into an asset.
 
Just as my interview with co-creator Elise Doganieri was like checking off boxes for the issues I like to harp on in my recaps, my chat with Phil was very much a State of "The Amazing Race" interview. We talked about equalizers, alliances and potential All-Star seasons.
 
The full Q&A is after the break...
 
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<p>J.K. Simmons of &quot;Growing Up Fisher&quot;</p>

J.K. Simmons of "Growing Up Fisher"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Growing Up Fisher'

There aren't many more pilots to go

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Growing Up Fisher" (NBC)
Airs:Midseason
The Pitch: "It's an odd, quirky, historically non-specific 'Wonder Years' knock-off." "No thanks." "But ABC had a 'Wonder Years' knock-off and FOX has a 'Wonder Years' knock-off." "Does CBS?" "Ummm... Maybe." "Fine. We'll take it."
Quick Response: "Growing Up Fisher" isn't *exactly* a "Wonder Years" knock-off. After all, it's set in the present. However, it's being narrated from sometime in the future by a grownup version of the main character (Jason Bateman for the voiceover and Eli Baker for the story) who reflects on his childhood experiences with a mixture of wry sarcasm, cloying sentimentality and twist-teasing dramatic irony. Between this and "The Goldbergs" and "Surviving Jack," there's a lot of not-quite-getting what what worked on "The Wonder Years" 20+ years ago. So far, none of these shows have had their main character reflect on the first time they watched "The Wonder Years," but it's getting close. Complicating matters is the initial proclamation that "The following is inspired by a true story," which must mean that DJ Nash wrote it from the future and mailed scripts back to 2013? Yeah. I dunno. I am a sucker for JK Simmons. I even found him funny in "Family Tools" and nobody else can say that. But here, he's giving a performance that almost has to work against one of the most self-consciously quirky characters I've ever seen on a TV show. He's playing the main character's father and he's an attorney, but he's blind and basically nobody knows that. How is that possible? How is that sustainable? How is that workable? Well, the "Bernie's" series did two films in which nobody knew the eponymous character was DEAD, so I guess fooling people into thinking a blind guy can see isn't the most absurd thing ever, but it's definitely a thing that requires way more perpetual suspension of disbelief than I was willing to put in. The oddest part is that Simmons, often prone to going big with comedy, is underplaying a character who has been *written* absurdly big. There's a clash of tones. There's also a clash of tones with the mother, who has been written as five or six different things, basically a pipe-smoking teenager in the body of a woman-of-a-certain-age. Parker Posey had no clue what the character was and her performance in the pilot was an incongruous mess of ticks. It wasn't her fault in the slightest. She's subsequently been replaced by Jenna Elfman, but she may just have escaped. The person who probably needed replacing was director David Schwimmer, who has been a solid director in the past, but I tend to blame directors when tone gets as out-of-synch as it is here. The thing "Growing Up Fisher" has working in its favor is that at least for the pilot, I liked leading man Eli Baker, who sometimes makes things funny even if it's not always in the same way as things around him are trying to be funny. "Surviving Jack" is, as I've said, the best of the three "Wonder Years"-style comedies premiering this year, but Eli Baker may be the best of the young central stars. That's a building block and since "Growing Up Fisher" is rebuilding anyway, we'll see how things go.
Desire To Watch Again: Well, it's a guarantee I'm gonna watch again, what with the major recasting. There are so many things happening in the pilot, that I want to see a second episode just to get a feeling for what the weekly series is here. And how Simmons' character can possibly work longterm. But this isn't a very good pilot and it doesn't seem to have much upside for NBC.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Gang Related' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The 100' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Resurrection' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Surviving Jack' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Believe' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Us & Them' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Star-Crossed'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 

 

 
<p>Tom Selleck of &quot;Blue Bloods&quot;</p>

Tom Selleck of "Blue Bloods"

Credit: CBS

Friday ratings analysis - Old people love CBS and other shocking revelations

Young people kinda like 'MasterChef: Junior.' Go figure.
[As noted a couple times, I'm going to start doing some additional ratings analysis a bit after the morning Fast National numbers come in each morning/afternoon. I'll still be racing each morning to get the raw Fast National data up by 9-ish Pacific, but this should give the opportunity for a more nuanced reading of numbers which are, by their very nature, woefully incomplete. I'll also try to do some Live+3 and Live+7 analysis when those numbers become available, because I'm well aware that that kind of examination has been lacking in recent years.]
 
There's usually going to be much less to analyze on Fridays and so I'll probably pick and choose when I have anything to say beyond the raw numbers.
 
However, for Premiere Friday, September 27, there are some notables, particularly with "The Neighbors" going low enough to allow CBS win rule the night both overall -- CBS probably won't lose a single Friday overall when the network airs originals -- and in the 18-49.
 
The night also featured a solid premiere for FOX's "MasterChef: Junior" and a good sampling for "The Michael J. Fox Show" in encores.
 
On to the bulletpoints...
 
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<p>Friday's &quot;Hawaii Five-0&quot;</p>

Friday's "Hawaii Five-0"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank' rises, but 'Blue Bloods' and 'Hawaii Five-0' lead CBS Friday

'MasterChef: Junior' leads its hour for FOX
Fast National ratings for Friday, September 27, 2013.
 
ABC's "Shark Tank" was up from its early premiere and delivered Friday's top numbers among adults 18-49, but "Blue Bloods" returned above last year's premiere and combined with the transplanted "Hawaii Five-0" to give CBS the Friday win in the key measures.
 
FOX got good numbers from the premiere of "MasterChef: Junior," which won its hour in most young demos and easily outdistanced Friday performances from a different Gordon Ramsay show, "Kitchen Nightmares," in the same demo.
 
Those are the Friday positives, but it wouldn't be Friday without some low ratings as well. ABC's "Last Man Standing" dropped in its second week and combined with dismal second week numbers for "The Neighbors" to make the "Shark Tank" rise seem even more impressive.
 
On to the numbers…
 
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<p>Rupert Boneham of &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Rupert Boneham of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Rupert Boneham talks 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'

Fan favorite discusses being this season's first castaway out
In the 27 season history of "Survivor," few players have become as synonymous with the game as barrel-chested, gravel-voiced Rupert Boneham, who had the tremendous good fortune to be the perfect man-for-his-time on the pirate-themed "Pearl Islands."
 
That popularity was then parlayed into appearances on "All-Stars" and "Heroes vs. Villains," with Rupert winning a million bucks courtesy of a vote by America, but never finishing higher than fourth.
 
Rupert's fourth "Survivor" appearance was his shortest yet, as he was the first player sent home on the new "Blood vs. Water," an odd achievement given that he was never on a losing tribe, he never went to Tribal Council and he never had a vote cast against him.
 
Instead, Rupert voluntarily took the place of wife Laura when her tribe of newbies voted to send her to Redemption Island before the game even began. After a few days on Redemption Island, Rupert lost the first Arena duel, a task involving the balancing of 10 spools and offering no outlet for Rupert's vaunted strength.
 
In the season's first exit interview, Rupert discusses the not-so-difficult decision to put himself in danger for his wife, the Redemption Island successes we didn't see and his desire to play for a fifth time.
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
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<p>&quot;Gang Related&quot;</p>

"Gang Related"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Gang Related'

A strong cast elevates this fast moving B-movie for TV

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Gang Related" (FOX)
Airs:Midseason TBD
The Pitch: "It's 'Fast & Furious' meets 'The Departed.'" [I'd have gone with "Infernal Affairs," but it's not that literate.]
Quick Response: I feel like I have a very good sense of what "Gang Related" is and how well it's achieving its aspirations. With Chris Morgan, writer of all of the "Fast/Furious" films from "Tokyo Drift" on as creator, there's a welcome bluntness to "Gang Related." It's straight-up testosterone-laden, smashmouth exploitation TV and there's nothing like it on a major network these days. There are badass cops, badass Latino gangsters and, thanks to pilot director Allen Hughes, just a tremendous, digitally shot depiction of the underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles and East LA. Nobody's going for nuance, but I like the unapologetic B-movie sense of stripped-down fun that it has. An amazingly diverse cast is fronted by Ramon Rodriguez, capably escaping the shadow of his brief run as Bosley on ABC's "Charlie's Angels." You've also got strong supporting performances from the likes of RZA, Jay Hernandez, Sung Kang, Terry O'Quinn and at least one end-of-episode cameo from an actor who I hope will become a regular, because he adds nice continuity with another locally set cop show. Cliff Curtis, The Maori George Clooney, doesn't fit with the show's casting verisimilitude, but as the Godfather of Latino Gangsters, he's chowing down on scenery like the Kogi truck just rolled into his neighborhood. There's a lot of thematically high-minded talk about family and loyalty and the American Dream, but it's really more about abrupt reversals and moles and narcs and LA's unique immigrant stratification. I heard a couple colleagues say negative things about "Gang Related," but I think they were watching it thinking that it's aspiring to be an HBO or AMC-style drama with aspirations of being taken seriously. I didn't get that at all. What I got was a show that probably would be perfectly happy just to be a popcorn-y, somewhat glib version of "The Shield." OK. Make that "a lot glib." But this is a great cast and it really doesn't look like any other cast out there and at least 65 percent of the actors are playing characters with shading, not just stereotypes. And really, I can't speak highly enough about the cinematography, which has a "Collateral"-lite look to it. Even when "Gang Related" gets silly -- a "Gangnam Style" punchline desperately needs to be excised, since it'll already be 18+ months out of date by the time this show premieres -- this is a show I'd look at every week if it can maintain these production values. "Gang Related" may not have quality, but it has attitude and swagger.
Desire To Watch Again: Kinda strong. I reserve the right to decide by the second episode that "Gang Related" has shifted from guilty-pleasure urban crime fantasia to straight-up trash. I can imagine it going in that direction. But for now, it's on the right side of things. If you want "Southland," you'll be disappointed, but if you like the blustery machismo of "Fast & Furious" on the small screen? This could work out well.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The 100' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Resurrection' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Surviving Jack' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'About a Boy' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Believe' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Us & Them' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Star-Crossed'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Intelligence' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Crisis' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Rake'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Mom' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Lucky 7'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Dads' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Super Fun Night'  
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Welcome to the Family' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Millers' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'The Goldbergs' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Ironside'
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries

 


<p>Ron Swanson enjoys himself on Thursday's &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;</p>

Ron Swanson enjoys himself on Thursday's "Parks and Recreation"

Credit: NBC

Thursday ratings analysis - Bigger 'Bang,' but smaller 'Parks' and 'Men'

Oh and 'Grey's Anatomy' is still a hit
[As promised, I'm going to start doing some additional ratings analysis a bit after the morning Fast National numbers come in each morning/afternoon. It's a way to get away from merely the regurgitation of data as quickly as possible at 8:30 a.m., though I'll still be doing that. It's possible that next week, I may push the analysis to the afternoon after Final figures become available. I'm trying to get a hang of a routine. I'll also be doing some Live+3 and Live+7 analysis this season as those numbers become available.]
 
Thursday is traditionally the most valuable night for advertisers and therefore for TV networks, making it a ratings battleground. Of course, thanks to "The Big Bang Theory," the battle is a bit of a rout, especially when CBS can air two episodes of the Emmy-winning comedy. 
 
"The Big Bang Theory" is Thursday, September 26's obvious Fast Nationals ratings winner, but it also made "The Crazy Ones" into a clear winner, at least for one week. We know "The Michael J. Fox Show" isn't a winner, but it's too early to call it a loser. It's not too early, though, to start worrying about "Parks and Recreation," or at least its long-term future. 
 
Click through for my full analysis...
 
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<p>Thursday's &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' premiere leads Thursday, while 'Crazy Ones' dominates 'Michael J. Fox'

'Parks and Rec' and 'Glee' return fairly weak
Fast National ratings for Thursday, September 26, 2013.
 
NBC's big swing with "The Michael J. Fox Show" failed to change the Thursday pecking order as "The Big Bang Theory" remained dominant and helped lift "The Crazy Ones" to a big debut and CBS to easy Thursday wins.
 
In a TV landscape in which most shows are returning below previous premiere levels, "Big Bang Theory" was up in most measures from last fall, albeit below several winter episodes from last season. 
 
That doesn't mean that "The Michael J. Fox Show" was a disaster for NBC, since it improved on a weak premiere for "Parks and Recreation" and showed no half-hour drop for the two-hour launch. And "Parenthood" came in above the numbers for most of what NBC aired its 10 p.m. Thursday death slot last year.
 
Meanwhile, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" premiere was down from last year but sturdy, and FOX's "The X Factor" continued its slightly unexpected trending of week-to-week growth despite stiffer competition.
 
On to the numbers…
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<p>The new &quot;Amazing Race&quot; cast</p>

The new "Amazing Race" cast

Credit: CBS

Interview: Co-creator Elise Doganieri discusses The State of 'The Amazing Race'

Emmy winner talks Non-Elimination Legs, Double U-Turns, Vietnam and much more
Back in June, I trekked down to Palos Verdes, wherever that is, to take part in a junket for the new "Amazing Race" season, conducted just days before the teams headed off on their race around the world.
 
I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my conversations with the different teams -- at the very least, I have lots of dramatic irony-laden quotes to toss back at the teams when they're eliminated -- but I also got to chat with both executive producer Elise Doganieri and host Phil Keoghan. 
 
Both interviews were fun for me because I had a long time with both "Amazing Race" veterans and if you're a reader of my regular weekly recaps, you'll note that I was able to ask about an awful lot of the issues that are weekly bees in my bonnet through any given season.
 
This interview with Doganieri, for example, includes discussion about the planning of Non-Elimination Legs, the rise in alliance-building in recent seasons, the controversy over the show's trip to Vietnam last year and, my personal favorite bugaboo: The structure of Double U-Turns.
 
Doganieri also teases some of this season's locations and talks about the potential for another All-Stars season in the future.
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
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