<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;Last Man Standing&quot; finale</p>

Friday's "Last Man Standing" finale

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: ABC leads Friday despite 'Last Man Standing,' 'Cristela' finale dips

'Cedric's Barber Battle' starts soft, but 'Messengers' may debut well for The CW

Fast National ratings for Friday, April 17, 2015.

The season finales for "Last Man Standing" and "Cristela" were both down from last week's episodes and "Shark Tank" remained on the low side, but ABC still ruled Friday both overall and in the key demographic.

The combination of a low-ish two-hour block of "The Amazing Race" and a "Blue Bloods" repeat allowed ABC to take CBS' normal overall crown.

Friday's big notable was the launch of a new CW programming block. "Cedric's Barber Battle" got off to a weak start and probably hampered the return of "Whose Line Is It Anyway." The new drama "The Messengers" drew a reasonably big audience by CW Friday standards and got an encouraging bump at the half-hour.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Friday's "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Back in Business' and 'Moment of Truth'

A double-episode in Africa features great photography, minimal drama

This season of "The Amazing Race" is just struggling with producing drama. 

Although yes, two teams have started Legs in first and ended them in last, the more frequent result this season has been teams starting Legs in last and stumbling along for an hour without ever really coming in contact with anybody else and then going home. It happened with Libby & CJ. It happened with Harley & Jonathan.

And it happened again in Friday (April 17) night's double-episode that could just as easily have been titled "You Know The First Hour Is a Non-Elimination, But At Least The Scenery Is Beautiful."

Indeed, Friday's Namibia episodes were probably "The Amazing Race" at its most beautiful. There were boundless deserts, bounding wildlife and some of the best photography the show has utilized. 

At no point did I ever feel like Friday's episodes were anything less than gorgeous to gaze upon and thus I only sometimes felt frustrated that we were inching toward an inevitable non-conclusion at the end of the first hour and then yet another worst-to-worst demise at the end of the second hour. 

I can't say, though, that I wasn't frustrated by one of the most anti-climactic Roadblocks in the show's history or by yet another example of egregious product plugs, as "The Amazing Race" has seemingly lost the capacity to just integrate a product without being utterly obnoxious about it.

Let's talk a bit about Friday's "Amazing Race" after the break, but perhaps only a little because I'm once again in a distant local doing my "Amazing Race" recap late at night on an episode that doesn't merit great analysis.

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<p>Thursday&#39;s &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Rising 'Mom,' 'Big Bang Theory' lead CBS Thursday

'Backstrom,' 'Vampire Diaries' slip on Thursday

Fast National ratings for Thursday, April 16, 2015.

"The Big Bang Theory" ticked up for the second week in a row and did its duty in helping CBS dominate Thursday overall and pull off a slim key demo victory over ABC, which got a bump for "American Crime."

Among other variable notables, "Backstrom" ticked down a little, as did "The Vampire Diaries." "Scandal" and "Mom" were both up.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Noah Hawley</p>

Noah Hawley

Credit: FX

'Fargo' mastermind Noah Hawley reflects on Peabody Award on the Season 2 set

Why is this award different from all other awards?

CALGARY, ALBERTA. There have been so many honors for FX's "Fargo" that it's hardly surprising to find a visit to the set coinciding with yet another award.

In this case, on Thursday (April 16) morning, I found myself with a group of reporters on the Calgary set of the second installment of "Fargo" just as the cast and crew were reveling in the announcement that the show's first miniseries/season had been chosen for the 74th annual Peabody Awards.

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<p>Mary Steenburgen of &quot;The Last Man on Earth&quot;</p>

Mary Steenburgen of "The Last Man on Earth"

Credit: FOX

'Last Man on Earth' co-star Mary Steenburgen gives herself a B for secret-keeping

Oscar winner also discusses her key 'Justified' role

Mary Steenburgen made her first appearance on FOX's "Last Man on Earth" last Sunday night and although her name was fleetingly mentioned in a couple casting story, the Oscar winner has mostly kept mum.

"I would give me a B," Steenburgen told me when I asked how well she did at keeping that secret. "I would give me an A if I hadn’t told my family that I was in it, but they kind of would have wondered where I was going every day at 5:00 a.m. So I’ll just give myself a B. I think my closest friends and my family knew what I was up to but I never said anything publicly about it. And I think I followed all the various instructions from my superiors."

On thing that isn't a secret -- Sorry for that segue -- is that Steenburgen has been having a terrific year on the small screen, covering an absurd amount of ground. She had a guest turn on a well-regarded premium cable comedy (HBO's "Togetherness"), an Emmy-worthy recurring role on a departing cable favorite (FX's "Justified"), this newly unfolding gig on a network series and an upcoming mysterious appearance on a beloved streaming series (Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black").

I got on the phone this week to talk with Steenburgen about Gail, who got to see Will Forte's Phil Miller at his absolute worst on "Last Man on Earth." She talked about secrecy, the show's open creative process and the challenges of keeping a straight face around Forte.

We also discussed Steenburgen's "Justified" role (that's on Page 2 if you haven't completed the FX drama's final season) and her sense of why the current TV landscape has been so good to her.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Timothy Olyphant of &quot;Justified&quot;</p>

Timothy Olyphant of "Justified"

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 278 - All-'Justified' Edition

Dan and Alan discuss the 'Justified' finale and the 'Justified' series run

The

Happy Thursday, Boys & Girls. 

As promised, it's time for an all-"Justified" installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

By now, we've given you all a chance to watch the finale, either live or in the subsequent 24 hours, so you should be ready for a solid 85 minutes of talk about our favorite villains, our favorite episodes, what the future should hold for Timothy Olyphant and more. We cover a lot of ground and yet all I've been doing since we finished recording is thinking about all of the good stuff we didn't get around to discussing, which is probably the mark of a mighty fine TV show.

And if you don't watch "Justified"... Well, that's OK. We already posted a regular podcast on Monday!

This should tide you over for a few extra days, since next week's podcast will probably be on Thursday as we talk "Mad Men," the "Americans" finale and probably some other stuff as well.

Today's breakdown is an easy one:
"Justified" (00:00:00 - 01:25:00)

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.

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<p>Wednesday&#39;s &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' - 'Livin' on the Edge'

A fake Idol, an aspiring quitter and funny impressions boost a straight-forward episode

Pre-credit sequence. Hali's gone. I may not miss her, but Merica will, especially the awesome sloth who may or may not have anything to do with camp. Dan, standing by his "flippers never win" nonsense, is lecturing Shirin on how to play "Survivor," but Shirin is still hoping for a Blue Collar fracture. She wants to go to the end, which will only work if somebody on Blue Collar splits from the rest. Shirin tells everybody that she's voting for Mike at the end, which is the start of her fracturing process. Will she find help from Rodney? Boston's Finest thinks Dan is wrong in saying that flippers don't win the game, but he emphasizes that it matters when you flip and he sounds ready to flip at some point. How soon? Dunno, but let's just say Rodney isn't Blue till he dies at all. "I don't need no more friends. What I need is zeroes in my bank account," he says, promising he's got a Mike Tyson knockout punch coming, an analogy that lines up with his previous treatment of women. A storm is brewing and Jenn is miserable about her position in and participation in the game. "For selfish reasons, I don't want Jenn to go," Shirin admits, but she's also looking to make a new alliance of some sort. Shirin goes to work and she goes first to Mike and Sierra. Mike thinks that taking Shirin on would be a good way of getting rid of other threats and Shirin wants to target her former White Collar mate Carolyn. He's interested. And for Shirin, while she knows that flipping wouldn't put her in the driver's seat immediately, she's hoping to be "in the passenger seat backseat driving." Well, if she can pull this off, I'd be impressed.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 7</p>

The "American Idol" Top 7

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - American Classics performances plus Elimination

Who did America target for elimination and who did Twitter send home?

Wednesday (April 15) night's "American Idol" theme is American Classics and America played some role in choosing the eligible songs and at some point, somehow, we'll find out who America put in the Bottom 2 and then America will get to go on Twitter and choose who we/they want to save.

That's a lot of responsibility on you tonight, America.

Good thing I only have to recap!

Click through and follow along.

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<p>&quot;Weird Loners&quot; went HOW low?</p>

"Weird Loners" went HOW low?

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'NCIS' leads CBS Tuesday as 'iZombie' devours 'Weird Loners'

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and 'The Flash' post small demo gains

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

A weak week for "NCIS" still ranked as Tuesday's most watched show and finished behind only "The Voice" among adults 18-49. And with "The Voice" dropping and "Chicago Fire" airing a repeat, CBS was able to add a key demo crown to its normal overall Tuesday dominance.

Though "NCIS" may have been down from last week, there were a lot of positive notes on Tuesday as "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "The Flash" and "iZombie" were up a little, as was "NCIS: New Orleans."

With "New Girl" in a repeat, FOX's "Weird Loners" had what was presumably one of the ugliest in-season nights ever for an original comedy on the Big 4, helping the network easily finish in fifth. [The "Mulaney" finale averaged just over 1.1 million viewers and a 0.4 key demo rating, proving something can go lower than last night's "Weird Loners." But it's hard.]

Let's get to the numbers...

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Netflix locks up Season 4 of 'Orange Is the New Black'
Credit: Netflix

Netflix locks up Season 4 of 'Orange Is the New Black'

At the not-sociable-for-the-West Coast hour of 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday (April 15), Netflix made what surely wasn't a taxing announcement... "Orange Is The New Black" has been renewed for a fourth season. 

Duh. But also... Yay!

The third season of "Orange Is The New Black" is set to debut on Netflix on Friday, June 12.

The newly ordered (but previously a foregone conclusion) fourth season will premiere on Netflix in 2016.

Netflix also dropped a new Season 3 First Look on Wednesday. Check it out:

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