<p>Allison Tolman of &quot;Fargo&quot;</p>

Allison Tolman of "Fargo"

Credit: FX

Interview: 'Fargo' star Allison Tolman discusses being the dark story's hero

Molly Solverson is more than a bumbling cop for the TV newcomer

CALGARY - One week ago, on the eve of the premiere of FX's "Fargo," most of the stories focused on Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, the biggest names associated with the semi-adaptation of the Coen Brothers' Oscar-winning film.

I certainly posted my own interviews with Thornton and Freeman, so I participated in that blizzard of hype.

Having already seen the pilot, I knew the secret of "Fargo," which is that while Thornton and Freeman have the showy parts -- and they're both terrific -- the actual hero of the twisted story of murder, blackmail and revenge is wet-behind-the-ears local cop Molly Solverson, played by Allison Tolman.

Of course, Thornton has an Oscar and Freeman is simultaneously Watson and Bilbo Baggins, while Tolman is a total newcomer, a Texas-born, Chicago-based actress who had been concentrating on writing and sketch comedy before "Fargo" came her way. 

But now, after "Fargo" delivered a solid premiere for FX last week, it seems like the right time to shine the spotlight on Tolman.

I sat down with Tolman on a sunny March day on the "Fargo" set in Calgary shortly before she settled in to shoot a prickly scene opposite co-star Bob Odenkirk, who plays a less capable member of the Bemidji PD. The balminess of the weather that day -- temperatures perked up above freezing for the first time in months -- steered the initial conversation before we discussed the strange circumstances of her landing the role, Tolman's approach to Molly's investigative capabilities and finding the proper balance of comedy and drama for that "Fargo"-flavored tone.

Click through for the full Q&A and check out the second episode of "Fargo" on Tuesday (April 22) night on FX...

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<p>America shunned poor Katharine McPhee in &quot;In My Dreams&quot;</p>

America shunned poor Katharine McPhee in "In My Dreams"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Amazing Race,' 'Good Wife' lead Sunday while 'Believe' and 'Cosmos' rise

ABC's 'In My Dreams' is another Hallmark Hall of Fame dud

Fast National ratings for Sunday, April 20, 2014.

On a sluggish Easter Sunday, "The Amazing Race" helped CBS claim victory among young viewers, while "Good Wife" led the network to its usual overall victory.

Even though it was down week-to-week, ABC's "Once Upon a Time" was actually Sunday's top show in the key demographic, but Hallmark continued not to be a successful brand for ABC, as "In My Dreams" was the network's latest Hall of Fame flop.

"In My Dreams" took the place of spring success "Resurrection" and the lack of 9 p.m. hour competition helped both FOX's "Cosmos" and NBC's "Believe" post week-to-week gains.

Note that this was the rare Sunday without any sports overrun for CBS, which gives the rare opportunity to look at the semi-actual numbers for the network's Sunday shows.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Brendon &amp; Rachel of &quot;The Amazing Race: All-Stars&quot;</p>

Brendon & Rachel of "The Amazing Race: All-Stars"

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Donkeylicious'

A Double U-Turn creates high drama in Italy

I don't know if you've heard me mention this lately, but I hate the Double U-Turn. I say the same thing every season.

I debated it with executive producer Elise Doganieri, who smiled and ignored me. 

If you get to the U-Turn and discover you've been U-Turned, you should be bounced directly to the other side of the Detour. When you get sent directly to jail in Monopoly, you've been sent DIRECTLY TO JAIL. You don't get to collect the $200 if you happen to pass Go, because it occurred in the process of the act that was sending you to Jail. The second the card says "Go to Jail," you've been boomeranged on your way to Jail. Period. Full stop. If you hit the U-Turn mat and you've been U-Turned... BOING. Off to the other Detour with you. The first act is to step on the mat and see if you've been U-Turned. If you have been? Done. No further action is allowed. The second act is to decide if you want to U-Turn somebody. When you say "Yes" or "No," your next act is to leave. But you don't get to penalize somebody else before you serve your own penalty. 

I totally get when people say, "But if we do things your way, it pretty much means that the team being U-Turned is sent home and that's why we do Double U-Turns now instead of Single U-Turns."

I don't care. That means that the U-Turn is a bad device, even if it produces  drama. Either fix it, or do away with it!

And I will not complain about the structure of the U-Turn again in this recap.

Click through for my full discussion of Sunday's (April 20) "Amazing Race."

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<p>Jessica and John of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jessica and John of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: John & Jessica talk 'Amazing Race: All-Stars'

What actually happened with the Roman cab and the final footrace?

Well, at least things worked out better for Jessica Hoel and John Erck in their second run on "The Amazing Race." A little better, at least. 

In their first season, John & Jessica won the season's opening Leg and earned an Express Pass. Then, just a couple episodes later, they were eliminated with the Express Pass still in their back pocket after refusing to play the powerful Pass in a challenge where they remained convinced there were teams behind them long after they'd fallen into last place.

It was one of the more notorious pieces of self-immolation in "Amazing Race" history and that was probably what earned John & Jessica a second chance on "The Amazing Race: All-Stars."

This second run lacked the highs of that season-opening Leg victory, but they also lasted deeper into the Race and, when they went out, they were theoretically able to point the blame away from themselves. After all, they were in first place after completing the Gladiator Detour in Rome, but they got a cabbie who wasn't able to decipher the Route Marker and took them on an unplanned Roman Holiday. 

When I talked to John & Jessica after the Express Pass fiasco, they were very invested in trying to explain the logic of their mistake and to deemphasize the blunder. This time around, while they put some of the responsibility on the cabbie, they're both quick to admit the things they should have done differently both on their Italian Voyage, but also subsequently at the Spanish Steps Roadblock, a tough task that led to a footrace to the Pit Stop.

In this exit interview, John & Jessica discuss their regrets at how they handled the cab situation and they explain the logistics behind a close sprint to the mat. They're both chatty and, as with my first exit interview, I got in fewer questions than I often do in these interviews. That's OK. Their perspectives are still plenty interesting.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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TV Ratings: 'Unforgettable,' '20/20' pace Friday split, with 'Hannibal' up

TV Ratings: 'Unforgettable,' '20/20' pace Friday split, with 'Hannibal' up

'Kitchen Nightmares' and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' are down

Fast National ratings for Friday, April 18, 2014.

New episodes of "Shark Tank" and "20/20" helped ABC cruise to an easy Friday win among young viewers, while CBS rode a new "Unforgettable" and a "Blue Bloods" repeat to an overall win.

Beyond that, Friday featured only minor variations. FOX's "Kitchen Nightmares" was down in its second week, while "Hannibal" took advantage of a "Dateline" lead-in to get a small bump. The CW's "Hart of Dixie" and "Whose Line" both shed viewers as well.

[CBS notes that its scheduled was delayed a local telethon for 9 percent of the country. Take that as you will.]

On to the numbers...

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<p>L.J. McKanas of &quot;Survivor: Cagayan&quot;</p>

L.J. McKanas of "Survivor: Cagayan"

Credit: L.J. McKanas of "Survivor: Cagayan"

Interview: L.J. McKanas talks 'Survivor: Cagayan'

Why Tony impresses him, Trish disappoints him and Woo isn't playing the game

LJ McKanas has been a marked man from the start of this "Survivor: Cagayan" season.

As the Old Man of the Beauty tribe -- He's 34 -- LJ was selected as his tribe's leader within minutes and he wore that target on his chest for his entire time on a tribe he wouldn't have selected for himself (he self-identified as "Brawn" before the season, but showed his Brains in finding a hidden Idol).

After the Tribal shuffle, LJ's "Survivor" time seemed even shorter, as it appeared that the Brawn majority in his new clan would burn through the remaining Beauty outsiders. In a shocker, though, LJ aligned with Trish and took advantage of her anti-Cliff paranoia to remain in the game. 

And even after the Merge, LJ's alliance looked like it might be in jeopardy, but Kass' flip made LJ and Tony the two Alpha Males suddenly at the head of a majority destined for Top 6. 

After outlasting those deficits, LJ was ready to coast, but antsy Tony feared that if he didn't boot the Boston-area horse-trainer, LJ would turn on him. Tony didn't build consensus on his decision. Instead, he lied and told Woo that LJ was targeting him and that was all it took to send LJ home in yet another "Cagayan" blindside.

[Interesting LJ fact that didn't come up on "Survivor": He's a Northeastern University Hall of Famer as a football player. In his senior year, he rushed for over 1700 yards and 14 TDs. He left the school as Northeastern's all-time leading rusher and he's now second on the school's all-time rushing list.]

In this week's exit interview, LJ discusses Tony's skillful lying, Woo's weak gameplay and why Trish disappointed him. He also talks about being placed on the Beauty tribe and how that impacted his game.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Old school &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Old school "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

'Saturday Night Live' sets 40th anniversary celebration for February 2015

Expect lots and lots of guests for the Sunday night special

You thought that maybe "Saturday Night Live" was going to ignore its 40th birthday?

NBC announced on Friday (April 18) that "Saturday Night Live" will celebrate its Ruby Anniversary next February with a three-hour orgy of clips, guests and back-patting. 

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<p>Kerry Washington of &quot;Scandal&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington of "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: Big 'Scandal' finale leads Thursday, while 'Community' rises

'Hell's Kitchen' and 'American Idol' rise for FOX

Fast National ratings for Thursday, April 17, 2014.

The season finale of "Scandal" drew big numbers on Thursday and helped ABC win Thursday among young viewers, but Thursday's most watched show was still a "Big Bang Theory" repeat, which let CBS eke out a slim win overall.

Stay tuned for Final Live+Same Day ratings to see if ABC was able to push into the lead overall.

Among other notables, FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" and "American Idol" both posted gains, but "Surviving Jack" was down week-to-week.

Season finales of "Community" and "Parenthood" were both up for NBC, but "Parks and Recreation" was down.

And The CW's spring lag continued with both "The Vampire Diaries" and "Reign" on the low side, especially among total viewers.

The "Parks and Recreation," "Vampire Diaries" and "Crazy Ones" numbers were all series lows, if you're keeping score at home.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Jeleb is safe. I&#39;m sure of it.</p>

Jeleb is safe. I'm sure of it.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - Top 7 Results

Who's heading home after Wednesday's so-so Competitor's Pick show?

Once again, it's like this: Assuming Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson and Alex "New Hampshire's Own" Preston are safe on Thursday (April 17) night's "American Idol," I don't much care who goes home or who's in the Bottom 3. 

There are the three people I care about and the cannon fodder.

The big question: How is "American Idol" planning on killing the 30 minutes tonight? For the second straight week, FOX hasn't bothered to announce a guest performer, which either means that the producers decided they were happily able to fill the half-hour without a musical number, or they're having trouble booking guests. I have no evidence to confirm the latter. So... Who knows?

On to the recap!

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<p>Jay Ryan of &quot;Beauty and the Beast&quot;</p>

Jay Ryan of "Beauty and the Beast"

Credit: The CW

CW sets Summer 2014 plans including 'Beauty and the Beast' return

'Seed,' 'Backpackers' and Penn & Teller are also coming this summer

I've said it once and I'll say it again: If you love original filler programming on TV, Summer 2014 will be your Golden Age.

The CW is getting in on the summer programming act, which will come as no surprise to anybody paying attention to the network's steady hoarding of offerings like "Seed" and "Backpackers" and "Penn & Teller: Fool Us," as well as the available backlog of episodes for "Beauty and the Beast."

On Thursday (April 17), The CW set its summer slate, including the long-awaited -- by some people I'm sure -- return of "Beauty and the Beast," which comes two-plus weeks after the network's upfront presentation to advertisers, presumably cementing the drama's chances of a third season. [Short version: The CW makes its own rules, but several bubble dramas would appear to have a better chance of renewal than "Beauty and the Beast" and that doesn't even include spring success "The 100," which would have to really stumble to not get a no-brainer pick-up at this point.]

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