Arrivals. Welcome to the start of "Survivor: Seriously Anybody Other Than John Rocker" or, as CBS seems to want to call it, "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur," or "Survivor: Blood vs Water - Newbies Edition." As usual, Jeff Probst arrives via helicopter, scaring the nine pairs of loved ones down on the beaches. Once again, each pair is in isolation, where they've been given flint and told to prepare and enjoy a night together. Jaclyn is Ms Michigan, while Jon played football at Michigan State, but they don't want to be viewed as threatening. And speaking of "threatening," Veteran media-blamer (and current member of the media) John Rocker blames the media for labeling him a bigot, while Julie doesn't want to be judged for her boobs. [Oh yeah! We've got monkeys!] Missy and Baylor are the first to experience my new favorite simian characters. Missy is frequently divorced and Baylor stands behind her, especially when it comes to avoiding monkeys. Brothers Drew and Alec have a rivalry, with Alec wanting to beat his big bro. Farmer Dale and daughter Kelly have had an up-and-down relationship, but they're hoping to get close again. Josh and Reed are already making fire and catching crabs, which may stem from Reed's first Valentine's Day gift of flint. Married Val and Jeremy are competitive about their emergency professions and the game. And as for Nadiya and Natalie? They're praying. It appears Natalie had bleached the end of her hair so that I can recognizer her. And then there are amusingly bickering Louisiana firefighters Keith and Wes, who are having trouble with getting fire going.
On the verge of completing a season that combined high ratings with relatively little controversy, "Big Brother" has been renewed for two additional seasons by CBS.
CBS announced on Wednesday (September 24), just hours before the Season 16 finale, that "Big Brother" Seasons 17 and 18 are set for the summers of 2015 and 2016 respectively.
I dunno about you, but I'm already getting disturbed by the fact that we're two days into the 2014-2015 season and we're largely disaster-free.
OK. That's not exactly true.
FOX's Tuesday is a disaster. Yes, "Utopia" gets a bigger DVR bump that most reality shows. That's a dud. And yes, "The Mindy Project" will get a nice DVR bump and it's a really good show at this point, but those numbers aren't acceptable. I'll let "New Girl" skate by for a while, just because it isn't FOX's biggest problem.
But leaving FOX's Tuesday aside... No disasters.
Tuesday's big new premiere was "NCIS: New Orleans" and it drew a massive audience, one that it's hard to imagine any new show topping over the next couple weeks.
And Tuesday's other premiere was ABC's "Forever," which didn't do fantastically, but when the bar was set by "Lucky 7," "Mind Games" and "Killer Women" last season... It's a hit!
"Chicago Fire" came back strong.
"NCIS" remains impressive.
And although nobody's jumping around for joy at the numbers for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," at least they went up from Fast Nationals.
Now let's take a deeper look at Tuesday's Live+Same Day ratings...
On Monday (September 22) morning, The CW invited a handful of reporters to break up the madness of premiere week with a screening of the sixth season premiere of "The Vampire Diaries," which will air on October 2.
I'm not going to tell you much about the premiere both because it's a [relatively] long way off and because many of the salient plot points are embargoed.
But mostly, I'm not quite ready to give more than a quick gut opinion. I felt like Season 5 was frequently over-extended and repetitive, but the finale also set in motion a number of shifts which, if utilized correctly, could clear a lot of the clutter from Mystic Falls. In turn, the premiere is mostly resetting the pieces. How's Elena handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How's Jeremy handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How're Stefan, Caroline, Matt and The Witch Twins handling the events of the finale? Poorly! And how is Alaric handling being alive again and whatnot? Poorly! That doesn't mean it's a depressing premiere, just that there's a lot of flux and, unlike last year's premiere, nobody is wandering around hubristically talking about how it was the best summer ever.
And what's up with Damon and Bonnie? Come on. You know I can't tell you anything.
But I can offer some hints about the season-to-come, thanks to "Vampire Diaries" showrunner Caroline Dries, who dropped by after the screening to answer some probing queries from the press.
I'm sure there are minor spoilers if you want to go into the new season knowing nothing, but otherwise...
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 23, 2014.
CBS got a huge audience for the premiere of "NCIS: New Orleans" and dominated Premiere Week Tuesday overall, while "The Voice" rose from Monday's so-so launch to combine with "Chicago Fire" to give NBC the night among young viewers.
The numbers weren't all great for CBS, of course, as "NCIS" was well below last year's premiere and "Person of Interest" probably squandered much more of its lead-in audience than the network would want.
The night's other significant new series premiere was ABC's "Forever," which equalled Monday's premiere among young viewers and grew from its less-than-impressive (but comparable to May's finale) "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." lead-in. So anybody -- that'd be me -- who speculated that the Tuesday 10 p.m. Death Slot might doom "Forever" to a quick end appears to have been wrong.
Finally, after premiering its Tuesday lineup last week, FOX saw "Utopia," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" all dip.
More analysis later with Live+Same Day Finals. Now, on to the Fast National numbers...
We're one day into the 2014-2015 season and thus far there are no losers!
Yes, FOX might have wanted better numbers from "Sleepy Hollow," but in a competitive time period, after a nine-month absence with a huge DVR bump probably coming? Yeah, a 2.0 rating in the key demo will suffice for now.
Yes, NBC may not have wanted such a big drop from last fall for "The Voice," but when will "The Voice" ever have to face a full hour of "The Big Bang Theory" ever again?
And yes, ABC might have wanted more viewers to check out "Forever," but it was just a chance to get some eyeballs and 8.6 million viewers (17.1-ish million eyeballs) counts. Remember that expectations are very low for ABC's Tuesday 10 p.m. slot after last season.
And there are plenty of early winners.
"Gotham" did a big demo number despite going against a full hour of "Big Bang Theory."
"The Blacklist" was up from last year's finale.
"Scorpion" drew nearly 14 million viewers.
"The Big Bang Theory" remains "The Big Bang Theory."
I started my morning with Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22.
Now it's time to end my afternoon with a deep dig into the Final Live+SD numbers.
Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls.
Time for this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Last week we doubled things up so that we could both spend an hour wrapping up our "Friday Night Lights" Summer Rewatch, but also so that we could get a head-start on this week's reviewing.
That means that this podcast contains reviews of new shows including ABC's "Black-ish," ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" and Amazon's "Transparent." Although we didn't give it a full review, we reminded y'all that "Key & Peele" returns on Wednesday.
And we also answered one piece of Listener Mail about recent TV coverage of the NFL and we discussed Sunday's "Good Wife" premiere and Monday's "Sleepy Hollow" return.
So that's plenty for one podcast. We may need to double up again next week...
Here's today's breakdown:
"Black-ish" (00:01:55 - 00:11:30)
"Key & Peele" (00:11:35 - 00:14:30)
"How To Get Away With Murder" (00:14:30 - 00:29:15)
"Transparent" (00:29:15 - 00:46:05)
Listener Mail - Recent NFL Coverage (00:46:25 - 52:30)
"Good Wife" premiere (00:53:25 - 01:03:45)
"Sleepy Hollow" premiere (01:03:45 - 01:16:55)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed or subscribe on IHeartRadio.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22, 2014.
Even airing outside of its normal Thursday home, "The Big Bang Theory" had a huge launch on Monday, combining with a strong premiere for "Scorpion" to help CBS snatch the Monday ratings crown from NBC, at least overall.
"Big Bang Theory" helped push "The Voice" to a relatively low fall launch, though "Blacklist" returned with big numbers to dominate the "Under the Dome" finale and carry NBC to a win among young viewers.
Over on FOX, the exhaustively promoted premiere of "Gotham" did reasonably big numbers, especially in the key demo, but the return of "Sleepy Hollow" after a nine-month absence was somewhat soft.
Finally, the night's other major debut was ABC's sneak of "Forever," which drew well below the normal "Castle" ratings for its time period.
Stay tuned for more analysis later when Final Live+Same Day ratings become available.
Now, on to the Fast National numbers...
Given the limited amount of time he's featured in the pilot for "Gotham," Cory Michael Smith is appearing in a lot of the FOX drama's publicity.
In fact, chances are good that if Smith were just playing any old character working in the Gotham Police Department, you'd merely think the guy was a little bit quirky, a little bit weird, a little bit mysterious. Dare I say you might call the character a bit of an...
No. Don't use the word "enigma."
Fast National ratings for Sunday, September 21, 2014.
CBS' overrun from a Broncos-Seahawks overtime Super Bowl rematch and NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast dominated primetime in all measures, overshadowing CBS' premieres for "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife."
In preliminary numbers, "Madam Secretary" got a good sampling with 14.28 million viewers, but did only a lackluster 1.9 key demo rating, while "The Good Wife" then sunk to 9.95 million and a 1.3 key demo rating, but since football extended roughly 64 minutes into CBS primetime for much of the country each total includes four minutes of the previous program and everybody should know better than to take much stock in the Fast National numbers.
I'll have more analysis either this afternoon with Finals, or bundled into Monday night ratings analysis tomorrow afternoon.
On to the Fast National numbers...