Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 166

Dan and Alan talk TCA press tour, 'The Following,' 'Legit' and more

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Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! It's time for a new installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
You'll notice that while we're posting on Monday, this podcast was actually recorded at the end of last week, so there is NO discussion of the Golden Globes. Sorry. Sepinwall and I recorded when we had the time, contemplated recording more if we had time and then didn't have time. There's plenty here, but there's nothing about the last two days of TCA Press Tour or other things from the past few days.
 
Sorry.
 
And there's plenty here because I'm off to Sundance on Wednesday, so we won't have time to podcast again for the next 10-ish days. There may be a podcast at the *end* of next week, but there won't be anything before that. So we have lots of reviews here, including this Monday's premieres ("The Carrie Diaries") and next Monday's big premiere ("The Following).
 
Enjoy!
 
This week's breakdown:
Press tour stuff (00:01:20 - 00:34:00)
"The Carrie Diaries" (00:34:10 - 00:43:50)
"Continuum" (00:44:00 - 00:50:55)
"The Kroll Show" (00:50:55 - 00:55:30)
"Archer" (00:55:30 - 00:58:00)
"Legit" (00:58:00 - 01:07:00)
"Ripper Street" (01:07:10 - 01:14:40)
"The Following" (01:15:10 - 01:31:10)

 

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

<p>Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes</p>

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes

Credit: AP

2013 Golden Globe Awards Live-Blog

Following Tina Fey & Amy Poehler and all of Sunday's winners

Because of the football game between the Patriots and Texans -- GO PATS! -- I missed most of the red carpet coverage before Sunday (January 13) night's Golden Globe awards.

That gives me something else to muse on during this live-blog, other than the usual winners, losers, speeches and graceful hosting by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Follow the live-blog, join the conversation and make fun of the dreadful predictions from me and Greg Ellwood.

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<p>The CW President Mark Pedowitz</p>

The CW President Mark Pedowitz

Credit: The CW

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: The CW Executive Session with Mark Pedowitz

Expect 'Battle Royale,' 'Arrow' and 'Vampire Diaries' spinoff questions

The CW President Mark Pedowitz has met with the Television Critics Association press tour a few times now, but Sunday (January 13) morning marks the first time he's come before us with that most elusive of TV programming unicorns -- a bona fide hit. 

How will the fall success of "Arrow" impact The CW in the present and what will it mean for future development, including the network's "Wonder Woman" prequel and more? 

Click through for the full TCA press tour live-blog:

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<p>David Nevins</p>

David Nevins

Credit: Showtime

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: Showtime Executive Session with David Nevins

Expect plenty of 'Homeland' and 'Dexter' talk

"Dexter" is back!

"Homeland" dominated the Emmys (but declined in quality)!

"Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex" are coming!

Expect these to be topics discussed when Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins meets with the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday (January 12) afternoon.

Click through for the full live-blog...

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<p>CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler</p>

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler

Credit: CBS

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: CBS Executive Session with Nina Tassler

The head of TV's most watched network probably won't face much grilling

It's another relatively controversy-free season for CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.

Yes, "Partners" and "Made in Jersey" tanked and neither "Vegas" nor "Elementary" is necessarily doing the numbers CBS would like, but it's still TV's most watched network and hits like "NCIS" show no sign of fading.

Click through to see what gets discussed in lieu of confrontation...

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<p>ABC President Paul Lee</p>

ABC President Paul Lee

Credit: ABC

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: ABC Executive Session with Paul Lee

Expect updates on 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' from the ABC president

It's party time for ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee. 

Expect questions about the failure of of "Last Resort" and the upcoming production on Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D."

Click through...

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<p>J.J. Abrams</p>

J.J. Abrams

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

J.J. Abrams briefly discusses the end of 'Fringe'

Original co-creator talks about what he knew from the beginning
You probably know this already, but it's worth a reminder: J.J. Abrams is a busy guy.
 
In addition to working in post on his upcoming "Star Trek" sequel, Abrams' Bad Robot TV shingle has a busy roster that has made him a surprisingly regular presence at the Television Critics Association press tour this week, popping up to panel NBC's "Revolution" and dropping by FOX's TCA party to support the end of "Fringe."
 
Abrams was one of the three original creators of "Fringe," along with Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and he has remained a strongly interested creative force through the five-season run which will be wrapping up on January 18.
 
Along with a fellow reporter -- Credit on the non-HitFix questions to Will Harris -- I got a quick two-on-one chat with Abrams on Tuesday (January 8) night, talking for five minutes about the conclusion of "Fringe" and his reflections on the sci-fi drama's 100-episode run.
 
Click through for the full conversation.
 
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<p>John Landgraf</p>

John Landgraf

Credit: FX

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: FX Executive Session with John Landgraf

Will there be any 'Powers' updates, perhaps? Nope!

FX President and General Manager John Landgraf doesn't really have that much to answer for as he takes the stage on Wednesday (Jan.9) at the Television Critics Association press tour.

There haven't been any abrupt cancellations. "Louie" and "American Horror Story" won Emmys. "Sons of Anarchy" keeps setting ratings highs. Etc.

Yes, "Louie" is taking a year off, but that's not Landgraf's fault...

So click through to follow what transpires...

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<p>Kevin Reilly</p>

Kevin Reilly

Credit: FOX

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: FOX Executive Session with Kevin Reilly

Expect 'Idol,' 'Mob Doctor' and 'Following' violence questions

After two busy panels for "The Following" and "American Idol," it's time for the TCA press tour to meet with FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly. FOX is down steeply year-to-year, so we'll see how heated things get about failures like "The Mob Doctor" and the relative disappointment of the rebooted "The X Factor." 

Click through for the full live-blog...

11:59 a.m. Reilly begins by admitted that FOX limped at the end of last year. And he hopes for better this year.

12:00 p.m. The first question is about "Bones" and whether it will be renewed. There's a renewal notice sitting in front of each of us. So this is awkward.

12:00 p.m. "There is more choice, more quality more breadth of quality," Reilly says of the TV landscape after saying that he wants us to continue to ask questions about the ratings system. There are so many opportunities and ways to watch and marathon TV. He's particularly bitter about people who chose to marathon "Breaking Bad" during FOX premiere week. He notes that there are  a lot of shows that can attract niche viewership, but FOX is in "a hit driven business" and he notes that FOX is suffering from not developing a hit this past year.

12:03 p.m. Kevin Reilly thinks the Britney Spears experiment went "very, very well" and that "people remain fascinated with her and always will be." He notes that "maybe some people were waiting for more drastic" behavior, but he calls "The X Factor" "a better show" in its second season. "She tucked in really nicely on that bench," Reilly says, but he refuses to say whether or not Britney is going to return. He says that FOX is on board with Britney returning, but Simon Cowell has been on vacation.

12:05 p.m. "You have to absorb everything. We're in the culture business," Reilly says of how FOX has been impacted by tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado. "We both reflect society and at times we try to drive it." He says that "I think you can't be reactionary and I think you can't make a direct linkage," but admits that it's on his mind. Regarding people who say that the level of violence has grown excessive, Reilly says that he's just a part of a large media landscape. "It's a more complex conversation. I think it trivializes to link it to television or broadcast television specifically," he says, but he says, again, that these things are on his mind. "The conversation is a complex one and a broad one," he deflects.

 

12:07 p.m. The reporter who asked about "Bones" apologizes for the goof early. Reilly is very accommodating "Look at my fall," Reilly says amiably. 

12:08 p.m. "I think there have been more violent shows on television," Reilly says of "The Following," saying that we may care more about this one because of its quality. He says they haven't had to fight over anything with the Standards department. "Before there was cable, FOX was cable," Reilly says, recalling the days when FOX was "the edge of what was bold." He reminds us that they aren't just competing with network shows anymore, since "The Walking Dead" is TV's most watched show anywhere among young viewers. "We must match the intensity, otherwise we're going to be a pale comparison," Reilly says.

12:10 p.m. Reilly says, however, that competing with cable isn't just about violence and intensity, though when you're doing a thriller, you have to compete on that level. He notes that FOX has lots of different things, including upbeat comedies, popular family shows and broader shows. However, when putting on a thriller... Yeah. Reilly flashes back to 1993 when he was on the road doing focus groups. At that time, "NYPD Blue" was being marketed around its pushing of content barriers. He remembers being in Kansas City and meeting a little old lady, who says she loved "NYPD Blue." He found this notable and I'm not sure why. "Part of what we do on television is provide escapism. Escapism comes in many forms," Reilly says, claiming that escapism, fantasy and witnessing our biggest fears all count as "escapism." "When we are doing a thriller and we're doing a cop story, you have to compete on that level of intensity," he closes.

12:13 p.m. Are the standards for television different for "intensity"? "Intensity is a vague thing to measure. That's a subjective measurement. We do take it into account," Reilly says, claiming that they're marketing this particular show to a particular audience and "at a certain point the audience selects and they know what they're getting and what they're not getting." He says that comedies self-select similarly.

12:15 p.m. FOX is not going to air the episodes of "In Living Color" that they shot. "It just didn't seem like it was going to reinvent the next chapter," he says. Boo. I did a set visit and interviewed the whole new cast. Regarding "Goodwin Games," Reilly admits to disappointment with how the Tuesday comedies do in the fall. He thinks audiences worry about "too much churn." Traditionally, FOX has programmed with 'a lot of churn." He notes that audiences are waiting to see what sticks before committing. "I'm creatively very happy with what's happening in that block," he says of Tuesday. "'Goodwin Games' is a nice show. I'm not sure if it's going to improve our lot ratings-wise," he says. So the plan is to maintain consistency and "Goodwin Games" will pop up in the summer.

12:17 p.m. A question about "Stars in Danger" and whether they want ratings or just to damage ABC's similar diving show. "You get no points for damaging someone else," Reilly says, claiming they expect ratings. "It's all fair. Ours was ready earlier. We put it on the air. It's a one-time special. If it works, it'll be back," he says. Reilly says FOX had an airdate. So that's where it went.

12:19 p.m. "I liked it. You didn't like it?" Reilly asks a reporter who didn't like "So You Think You Can Dance" as a once-a-week show. Mike Darnell, from the back of the room, says that once a week worked. "We liked the momentum of having the payoff within the body of the show itself," Reilly says. 

12:20 p.m. "The metrics are something we're spending a lot of time on, measurement," Reilly says. Lots of people are watching FOX outside of their monetizable window. He mentions streaming, VoD and over-the-top services. He expects that "The Following" will get "a resounding vote early on." Reilly calls "The Following" fantastic. But comedy is a different issue. He recalls that back in the day, comedies weren't star-driven, they were shows that made stars. He says that comedies often start low and grow. Because of DVRs, it's harder to create flow and to get viewers to settle in for comedy blocks. "Our shows weren't rejected. They weren't even really sampled," Reilly laments. "That means they're either rolling over it on the DVR, or they haven't gotten it on their radar," Reilly says. He feels that viewers have more urgency to view dramas than comedies.

12:24 p.m. Back to Reilly saying that there's a "broader discussion" about violence on television and society. Does he think this discussion will happen? Not... really. Exactly. Why not? People love violence. "Clearly there's an appetite. Let's say this for a fact," Reilly wants to note. "That's the business we're in of providing things that people like," he adds. He welcomes any study that will further "a constructive dialogue." "In complex matters, we all like a scapegoat," he says. 

12:26 p.m. Is FOX looking for a new genre-type program with "Fringe" departing? Reilly says FOX has always been in that business. "We've had some bad false starts and broken some hearts," he says, but they still want to be there. 

12:27 p.m. Reilly cites our country's Puritan roots for why we have a greater tolerance for violent content than sexual content. 

 

12:29 p.m. "I really like the consistency of the work," Reilly says of "Glee," calling the dual-setting world "high risk." FOX saw interruption on 18 of the first 38 days of the fall, which is an excuse for some of FOX's struggles.

12:30 p.m. Back to "The Following"... What is FOX's strategy with the time slot. "We have two hours of programming. We put it in the latest time slot we had," he says, also referencing a history of success for "propulsive" hits on Monday, which he dubs "Macho Monday."

12:31 p.m. What was his reaction to NBC scheduling an episode of "The Voice" against the "X Factor" premiere? "It went in the file for later reference. The score will be settled at some point. I don't know when," Reilly says, calling it "slightly on the cheesy side."

That's all, folks...

 

 

 

<p>Your new &quot;American Idol&quot; team</p>

Your new "American Idol" team

Credit: FOX

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: 'American Idol' introduces Mariah, Nicki and Keith

Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest are here, too.

One of the biggest questions of FOX's January TCA Press Day is sure to be whether Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey will pretend to be friendly at their first "American Idol" panel or if they'll pretend to fight. 

Will they sit next to each other?

Will they make out?

Oh, the excitement... Click through for the full live-blog...

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