<p>Josh Duhamel of &quot;Battle Creek&quot;</p>

Josh Duhamel of "Battle Creek"

Credit: CBS

Interview: 'Battle Creek' star Josh Duhamel on his character's secrets and lies

The 'Las Vegas' star wanted to work with people who would make him better

In a visual flourish courtesy of pilot director Bryan Singer, Special Agent Milton Chamberlain is introduced in the world of "Battle Creek" from a low angle. Above his head, a circle of lights forms a halo. 

Milt Chamberlain is an angel. Milt Chamberlain is a boy scout. Milt Chamberlain is a golden boy.

But Milt Chamberlain isn't exactly what he seems to be. Or at least Battle Creek PD Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) is convinced that Chamberlain isn't what he seems to be. But every time Russ thinks he's uncover the dark secret that his new partner is hiding, we discover that the secret isn't really the truth. 

It's a reluctant partnership that forms the spine of "Battle Creek," a quirky, surprisingly funny procedural that was created by "Breaking Bad" maestro Vince Gilligan and then developed as a series by "House" maestro David Shore. 

Our first impression of Chamberlain, all flash and polish, is a good match for most viewers' preconceptions of star Josh Duhamel, who moved from modeling to soap opera to the glitz and gloss of NBC's "Las Vegas," before moving on to a number of films including the "Transformers" franchise. But part of the fun of "Battle Creek" is watching Duhamel take a character who begins as a Ken doll and start to play around with his rough edges, culminating in a number of interesting reveals, each of which could be true or else another fiction.

I sat down with Duhamel last week to talk about his first regular TV role since 2008, the attraction of playing a character built on a foundation of lies and perhaps redemption and whether or not he feels like he truly gets Milt Chamberlain after 13 episodes.

"Battle Creek" premieres this Sunday (March 1) at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Check out my full chat with Josh Duhamel below...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

"The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Premiere - 'Great Way To Start a Relationship'

Six couples and five pairs of blind daters head off to Tokyo

"The Amazing Race" giveth and "The Amazing Race" taketh away. 

Following a season that saw ratings drop on Fridays, "The Amazing Race" got a special Wednesday showcase after the "Survivor: Worlds Apart" premiere and with both long-running favorites instituting format twists this season, CBS was able to spare 90 minutes apiece for the two launches. 

Longtime readers know that I'm pretty insistent that you need to have at least a 90-minute premiere for "The Amazing Race," because the effort to establish 11 teams of 22 players while also giving the necessary exposure to navigating around international locations and 
for various challenges is almost impossible in only 60 minutes. I don't think "The Amazing Race" has ever had an entirely satisfying hour-long premiere.

And the 90 minutes given to Wednesday's (February 25) "Amazing Race" premiere were enough to help me see some of the merit to the Blind Dating twist that gave us six teams of established couples, plus five teams of semi-compatible strangers on an extended bid for both romance and a big chunk of money. Over 90 minutes, I was able to see how it might be interesting to watch the interactions between the fake couples, how they could offer at least variations on the typical "Amazing Race" relationships and how that couple be worthwhile. At the same time, it was hard to deny that the show loses something when each and every relationship is couple-y, as opposed to the usual "Amazing Race" mixture of friends, lovers, siblings, spouses, co-workers, parents-and-children, etc. The show is about how different types of pairings interact in a stressful environment, rather than how different types of the same pairings interact in a stressful environment. The sameness of the couplings kept the results from being as shocking or revelatory as the show wanted us to think they were. 

But I'm interested.

The problem, though, was that in the process of making sure that we spent a lot of time watching how the 10 various strangers were flirting or relating or just trying to co-exist took type from the standard things that an "Amazing Race" episode needs in order to truly sing. 

So when we eliminated a team that we barely saw at all for reasons that verged on baffling, I couldn't get excited about what was still edited to look like a somewhat back-and-forth race to the final mat. 

Some basic details after the break, followed by my usual season-opening handicapping of the teams...

Read Full Post
<p>Vince of &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Vince of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' Premiere - 'It's Survivor Warfare'

Jeff Probst spends a long time explaining the Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar thing

Pre-credit sequence. The teams are arriving in trucks, practically "Wages of Fear" style. Are they trying to say that this season's contestants are combustible? They're TNT, dyno-MITE? The 18 castaways have been divided semi-arbitrarily into three tribes based on occupation and outlook on life, whatever that means. Up first? The White Collar tribe. "They're used to being in charge," Jeff Probst says. So admits she might be the Devil, says that she's demanding and makes her underlings cry. Max, who everybody I follow on Twitter knows from his "Survivor" teaching days, says that he's willing to use people to succeed. Carolyn compares this to her corporate experiences. The Blue Collar tribe is next. "They're used to hard work and physical labor," Probst says condescendingly. He resists calling them "salt of the earth" and "just folks." Mike is used to being covered in oil and mud and wants to get his hands filthy. Lindsey is a single mom and hair stylist and tells us that mentally, there's no one on this Earth who is as strong as she is, which is absurd, but amusingly so. Monkey! Dan is living his dream and he hopes to being remembered. For something. As for the No Collar Tribe? It means nothing! "They use their free-spirit mentality to further themselves in life," Probst says. Jenn does what she wants to do when she wants to do it and she wants a million bucks. Hali is a law student, but she's in it for "like the poor, broken down people." How freely spirited! And Vince seeks truth as a coconut vendor. "My personality's a lot like surfing a wave," Vince promises. Whoa. Lord, this is so silly. Joaquin is in this for the bling. Joe wants people to think he's there to enjoy the beaches, but he's not. "When it comes to the competition, I'm filet mignon and they're a bunch of Steak-umm," opines alleged meathead Rodney. This reminds me that I'm hungry.

Read Full Post
<p>Adam Ezegelian</p>

Adam Ezegelian

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 12 Boys Perform

Voting begins tonight, as the Top 24 Round kicks off

The auditions are over.

Hollywood Week is over. 

Finally we get to start voting on "American Idol," or at least you get to start voting if you happen to vote on "American Idol."

And for me, that means a transition to a live-blog, even if the shows currently aren't ACTUALLY live, since there's no way the "Idol" production is prepared to do 12 performances in an hour-long live show.

But anyway... Follow along and comment below.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;</p>

"Parks and Recreation"

Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 268 - Farewell to 'Parks and Recreation'

Dan and Alan discuss the 'Parks and Recreation' finale and its series run

The

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!

Or perhaps it's a sad Wednesday, because we're gathered here today to say farewell to NBC's "Parks and Recreation," a show that we've been known to like quite a bit.

Rather than attempt to shoehorn in a full "Parks and Recreation" send-off discussion with another hour-plus of reviews and the normal stuff, we elected to do a "Parks and Recreation"-only podcast today and hopefully we'll get in another podcast this week at some point that allows us to review "House of Cards," "Last Man on Earth," "Secrets and Lies," "Battle Creek" and some other stuff. If we don't? Watch "Last Man on Earth."

In this send-off podcast for "Parks and Recreation," we discuss... "Parks and Recreation."

That's pretty simple. We talk about the finale. We answered a bunch of your excellent Listener Mail -- Thank you!!! -- and then we filled in a few gaps at the end.

Easy peasy. 

So today's breakdown:
"Parks and Recreation" (00:00:00 - 01:22:00)

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.

Read Full Post
<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Parks and Recreation' final plus 'The Voice' help NBC split Tuesday

'NCIS' still helps CBS dominate overall, while 'Fresh Off The Boat' is steady

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 24, 2015. 

The Tuesday premiere of "The Voice" helped NBC storm out to a bit Tuesday lead among young viewers and the finale of "Parks and Recreation" avoided the kind of negative (literally) numbers that it would have taken for NBC to squander that lead for the night. NBC was still no match for "NCIS"-driven CBS overall, of course.

Tuesday's biggest takeaway was that although "The Voice" came back strong, it had only a little impact on its competition, for the most park. CBS' "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" lost a couple hundred thousand viewers, but only "NCIS" dipped in the key demo and that was only by 0.1. ABC's "Marvel's Agent Carter" also lost 0.1 in the key demo for its finale, but stayed reasonably steady, though still low.

Dropping a bit more was FOX's "MasterChef Junior" finale, but the network's comedies were flat.

Also staying encouragingly flat was ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat," which shed a few viewers but didn't move in the key demo despite "The Voice."

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Phil Keoghan of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: 'Amazing Race' host Phil Keoghan on adding blind dating to The Race

Season 26 of the Emmy-winning series mixes things up and Phil explains why that's OK

I didn't mean to make "The Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan self-conscious, but I also couldn't help but notice that one of his first words at the Season 26 Starting Line was to ask the assembled teams, "Did anybody get like a tingly feeling?"

And that seemed liked a very different thing for Phil Keoghan to say at the start of an "Amazing Race" season.

This is, of course, an "Amazing Race" season like none that has come before. This season's 11 teams include six established couples in various stages of relationships, but also five teams of 10 singles paired around semi-arbitrary criteria, turning the Emmy-winning series into half of a very ambitious dating show.

So I mentioned the "tingly feeling" line to Phil in our discussion and that made him a bit self-conscious about tingly feelings. 

Apologies!

"The Amazing Race" premieres on Wednesday (February 25) night at 9:30 after the "Survivor" premiere (before returning to Fridays two days later) and it feels entirely recognizable as "The Amazing Race," with poor Detour choices, stupid transportation mistakes and desperate searches for English-speakers in a foreign land. But there's no doubt that the blind dating aspect of things produces some entirely new dynamics to the action and leads to some unpredictable results. It's way too early to know if that'll be good or bad for the season, but it's different.

In our latest conversation -- I like to note that Phil disagrees amiably with almost everything I ever suggest -- the veteran host talks about that difference and why the show is still the same. He discusses whether this season's challenges were tailored to the relationship twist and whether he went along on the newly added Date Night Rewards.

Click through for the full Q&A with Phil Keoghan to see if you get a tingly feeling about the new season.

Read Full Post
<p>Wednesday&#39;s &quot;Man Seeking Woman&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Man Seeking Woman"

Credit: FXX

HitFix First Look: Jay Baruchel takes the ice on 'Man Seeking Woman'

Plus on-set details from Baruchel about the inspiration for his comic fearlessness

TORONTO, ONTARIO. It's mid-November on the Toronto set of FXX's "Man Seeking Woman" and a strange "Cutting Edge" reenactment (kinda) is taking place.

Series star Jay Baruchel, writer of one of the finest hockey movies ever made, is flopping around the ice at the Weston Lions Arena making a fool of himself. 

In this episode's piece of heightened reality, Baruchel's Josh has been invited to accompany sister Liz and her boyfriend on a dancing evening, only to discover that the dancing is ice dancing and it's competitive ice dancing. As Liz and Leo shine on the rink, executing flips and synchronized moves, Josh flops and flounders to Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True," slamming into the boards and crawling desperately across the ice.

[No, Baruchel doesn't play the hockey player in "Goon." And yes, this ice dancing isn't likely to play an ongoing part of the "Man Seeking Woman" continuity. So yes, it's only barely like the hockey-to-figure skating transformation in "Cutting Edge." But I'm sticking to the comparison.]

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Scorpion&quot;</p>

"Scorpion"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Solid 'Voice,' weak 'Night Shift' return lead NBC Monday

'Gotham' rises, while FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' finale is flat

Fast National ratings for Monday, February 23, 2015.

The latest premiere of "The Voice" was well below last February's return, but facing less competition than in September, the singing competition was in line with its fall launch, leading NBC to Monday wins in all measures. NBC ruled despite a dismal in-season premiere for "Night Shift," which failed to turn its summer success into something bigger.

Even with added competition from "The Voice," few Monday regulars suffered big declines -- single digit drops for all of CBS' shows, for example -- and "Gotham" was, in fact, up week-to-week for FOX.

With "The Voice" and the return of "Scorpion," FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" failed to get any kind of bump for its season finale, but also didn't drop despite the added competition.

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Neil Patrick Harris</p>

Neil Patrick Harris

Credit: AP

The 2015 Oscars shed over 7 million viewers from 2014

Big night for 'Birdman' fails to take flight

Fast Affiliate ratings are in for Sunday (February 22) night's Academy Awards telecast and the 2015 telecast was down steeply from the 2014 installment.

ABC's broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards averaged 36.6 million viewers between 8:30 and 11:48 p.m. ET, along with a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49. The 2014 Academy Awards averaged 43.7 million viewers and a 13.1 rating among adults 18-49. 

Read Full Post