[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.]
Mandy Moore is scrubbing in as what FOX is calling a "recurring guest star" on the freshman hospital dramedy "Red Band Society."
The network announced this morning that Moore will play Dr. Erin Grace, chief of staff at Ocean Park Hospital, home to the pediatric wing caring for the show's main characters.
Fast National ratings for Thursday, September 11, 2014.
The premiere of CBS' Thursday Night Football, a sloppy game between the Ravens and Steelers, dominated primetime in all measures, though NBC's "The Biggest Loser" opener still got a decent sampling, albeit far below fall's launch.
CBS is boasting that the Thursday Night Football premiere was the network's best Thursday primetime deliver since 2006 and the broadcast on both CBS and NFL Network more than doubled last year's NFL Network Thursday opener.
Remember, as always, that due to the live nature of the football game, plus the simulcast on NFL Network, these numbers aren't accurately reflective of the actual Pittsburgh-Baltimore ratings for the night.
On to those numbers...
For a show entering its 26th season, "The Simpsons" has been generating a lot of fresh news lately.
There was last month's FXX Every Simpsons Ever Marathon, in which all 552 episodes and the movie were aired in sequence, single-handedly transforming FXX from a cable curiosity into a destination.
For lucky residents of Los Angeles, there's this weekend's The Simpsons Take The Bowl three night event. Starting on Friday, September 12, Hank Azaria will host a trio of live shows at the Hollywood Bowl featuring the likes of Conan O'Brien, Nancy Cartwright, Beverly D'Angelo, Jon Lovitz, Yeardley Smith, "Weird Al" Yankovic, series creator Matt Groening and more, with musical performances accompanied by clips. [Timed around the Bowl show is Thursday night's "Simpsons" music-themed marathon on FXX, which runs from 8 p.m. to midnight.]
And then for everybody, "The Simpsons" returns to FOX on Sunday, September 28 with a fall of new episodes that include a major character death and a "Futurama" crossover and that's not even mentioning the "Family Guy" premiere, which features a much-discussed visit to Springfield.
Earlier this week, I sat down with long-time "Simpsons" star Yeardley Smith to talk about each of these major events.
In the interview, posted above, Smith discusses her own experience of the FXX marathon, her nervousness about the Hollywood Bowl performance and whether it felt different playing Lisa Simpson on "The Family Guy."
Check it out!
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, September 10, 2014.
"America's Got Talent" delivered Wednesday's biggest audience and led NBC to an overall win, while also helping the network tie with FOX and the "Hell's Kitchen" premiere in the key demographic.
The "Hell's Kitchen" premiere was down significantly from the competition's most recent installment, though that launched in March, so it's not a particularly strong comparison.
Also down on Wednesday was CBS' "Extant," which is likely to hit a series low in all measures, while the returns were better for CBS' "Big Brother," which posted small gains.
Note that all numbers for Wednesday are approximate due to the 16 minute 9 p.m. ET preemption for President Obama's live address to the nation.
On to the numbers...
I imagine that many stars feel the same way about junkets. Sit through a full day of interviews and by the late afternoon, you could pretty much take the mic and conduct the full conversation with yourself.
So when I sat down with "Bones" stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel on Monday (September 9) afternoon and they learned they would be sharing a microphone for the interview, Boreanaz decided to do just that.
You might hear me at the very beginning announcing that I was out of a job, but I didn't ask a single question in the three-minute interview, in which Boreanaz did an admirably thorough job of touching on many of the points which, I must confess, I was probably going to inquire about.
The enthusiastic Boreanaz asks his co-star -- Deschanel deserves some sort of award for being a good sport -- most of the important questions about the upcoming 200th episode of "Bones," how the FOX drama will follow up last season's eventful finale and, most importantly, what it's like kissing David Boreanaz. He also breaks news about David Boreanaz shirtlessness in the premiere and David Boreanaz's admiration for Zooey Deschanel.
Boreanaz is disturbingly proficient at this, which I suspect is a product of both two decades doing publicity as a TV regular, but also genetics. Boreanaz's father Dave worked as on-air talent for ABC affiliates in Buffalo and Philadelphia, serving as main weatherman for WPVI-TV in Philadelphia for 26 years.
Check out the interview above, which includes wackiness, manic energy and, if you listen closely, actual information about the 10th season of "Bones," which premieres on Thursday, September 25 at 8 p.m. on FOX.
Now I need to find out if we owe David Boreanaz a freelancing fee.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
"America's Got Talent" led NBC to easy Tuesday wins in all measures, with "Big Brother" performing well in its new temporary time period.
Tuesday's big story, though, was probably the dismal premiere for FOX's "Utopia," which got a reasonable sampling after football on Sunday night, but plummeted to essentially untenable levels in its first airing in what was supposed to be its home for an entire year.
Fortunately, FOX has nearly two weeks to reconceive its lineup.
Also doing dismal numbers on Tuesday was CBS' two-hour "Fashion Rocks" special, though fortunately CBS doesn't need to worry about airing this one again.
On to the numbers...
After Sunday night's premiere of FOX's "Utopia" much of the conversation was about embarrassingly alcoholic contestants, poorly concealed pregnancies and pixelated nudity.
But garnering nearly as much conversation as Huntress Hex, Drunken Buffoon Josh and Polyamorous Dedeker was the show's on-screen narrator, the immaculately dressed, carefully mustachioed Dan Piraro.
I chatted with Piraro on Sunday afternoon after seeing only a few early minutes of footage, which was enough to know that he could hardly be more different from FOX's legacy of reality hosts ranging from Ryan Seacrest to Mario Lopez to Monica Lewinsky to Cat Deeley.
It isn't just the infinitely twirlable facial hair or the fact that "Utopia" enlisted a frontman who has passed out of FOX's coveted 18-49 demographic.
Piraro arrives on "Utopia" with an established career in a field rarely mined for reality hosting gigs. Since 1985, Piraro's single-panel comic "Bizarro" has been syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, offering a wry, absurdist and often politicized glimpse at contemporary life. "Bizarro" has been reprinted in 16 collections, while Piraro has also written books of prose and traveled the country with a one-man comedy show. So even if aspects of "Utopia" feel like a marginally less raunchy "Paradise Hotel," Dan Piraro is no Amanda Byram.
In this Q&A, Piraro discusses the strange journey that brought him to "Utopia" and what he hopes to convey as the show's narrator and how he's different from Ryan Seacrest.
Click through before tonight's new "Utopia."
Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
After a couple weeks of Wednesday podcasts, it's back to Tuesday with a busy show.
In this installment, we actually remembered to discuss the season's penultimate back of "Friday Night Lights" Season 2 episodes, we discussed the finale of HBO's "The Leftovers," we previewed next week's premieres of FOX's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" and we spent as much time on FOX's "Utopia" as Alan could stand.
Here's today's breakdown:
"Utopia" (00:00:50 - 00:12:40)
"New Girl" Season 4 (00:12:45 - 00:22:40)
"Mindy Project" Season 3 (00:22:45 - 00:30:45)
Listener Mail: "Veronica Mars" viewing and TV paintball (00:30:50 - 00:41:30)
"The Leftovers" finale including Listener Mail (00:41:40 - 01:07:30)
"Friday Night Lights" Season 2 (01:07:55 - 01:44:20)
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 8, 2014.
A two-hour block of "MasterChef" led FOX to a Monday night victory among young viewers, while ABC is celebrating series highs for "Bachelor in Paradise," winning the night overall.
ABC is trumpeting those "Bachelor in Paradise" numbers, but also acknowledging that the numbers are fundamentally bunk, with the network no doubt receiving a rather huge boost from NFL preemptions in New York and Detroit.
In short, don't expect "Bachelor in Paradise" to remain anywhere near these numbers when Final Live+Same Day figures come in.
When it comes to other, less inflated, numbers, after last week's Labor Day-generated low, CBS' "Under the Dome" bounced back to its regular levels, as did NBC's season finale for "Running Wild with Bear Grylls."
On to the numbers...