<p>A scene from the finale of ABC's &quot;Pan Am&quot;</p>
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A scene from the finale of ABC's "Pan Am"

Credit: ABC

ABC's 'Pan Am' finale looks to a future that may never come

Will 1964 be a good year for these fictional stewardesses? Probably not.
Because of Kurt Cobain's suicide note, "It's better to burn out/Than to fade away" is the most remembered line of of Neil Young's "Hey, Hey, My, My (Out of the Blue)," but the variation "It's better to burn out/ Than it is to rust" is every bit as evocative.
 
My favorite network pilot of the fall of 2010 was FOX's "Lone Star." It died spectacularly after only two airings, doing the sort of inconceivably low ratings that have taken their place as the stuff of industry legend.
 
On one hand, that failure was a TV-level tragedy (not to be confused with actual tragedy) because I like to see good things succeed, especially when those good things suggest different storytelling avenues from the ones normally followed on network primetime.
 
On the other hand, I'll always have a pristine memory of the "Lone Star" pilot, which I loved, and the second episode, which I quite enjoyed. I never had to worry about the predictable, hypothetical lag from episodes four through six. I never had to twiddle my thumbs through hypothetical episodes seven though 10 as the producers responded to low ratings by tinkering and stunt-casting. I never had to sit through the desperation of episode 13 with its hypothetical absurd cliffhanger to try to force FOX into renewal.
 
"Lone Star" burnt out, but it did so with authority. Kyle Killen lit the match and America and FOX licked their collective fingers and snuffed it out.
 
Poof.
 
My favorite network pilot of last fall was ABC's "Pan Am." I didn't love it, but I marveled at its high production values, stellar direction and charismatic cast and perhaps because I was comparing it directly to NBC's "Playboy Club" and indirectly to a lackluster crop of new fall shows, I admired its aspirations and its potential scope.
 
Unlike "Lone Star," "Pan Am" didn't instantly burn out. In fact, it premiered to nearly 11 million viewers and a robust 18-49 rating. It wasn't an instant hit, but ABC got people in the door, which seemed like a minor miracle.
 
Instead, "Pan Am" rusted. The show changed. Viewers tuned out. ABC kept airing the show opposite powerhouse dramas and major events and it kept getting clobbered.
 
Five months later, "Pan Am" is probably done. Sunday (Feb. 19) night's episode was only the season finale, but barring some sort of overhaul of what constitutes "success" and "failure" on network TV, it will also be its series finale.
 
Given what "Pan Am" has been for most of its truncated season, I'm not going to mourn the show's passing for very long. The cast never ceased to be charismatic and talented and the production values remained pretty admirable, but "Pan Am" lost any sense of its identity many months ago. The jumble of half-hearted Season 2 pitches in Sunday's finale only confirmed that lack of direction moving forward. 
 
Neither "Lone Star" nor "Pan Am" will see a back-nine, much less a second season, but with "Lone Star" we saw only the fall, but with "Pan Am," there was a complete decline and fall, all in accelerated motion.
 
More on the "Pan Am" finale after the break...
 
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<p>Kerri and Stacy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Kerri and Stacy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Season 20 Premiere - 'Tears of a Clown'

The teams head to Argentina to begin the race and to start making mistakes
This recap initially began with a celebration of the fact that Sunday (Feb. 19) night's premiere of Season 20 of "The Amazing Race" began promptly at 8 p.m. ET. It was pre-written and I made the assumption that after a fall of remaining glued to the vagaries of a dreadfully played NFL game that just happens to have remained close deep enough into the fourth quarter for time outs and passing plays to elongate the action, the relief of spring would be that you could set your clock by the starting time for CBS' primetime.
 
Then the Northern Trust Open went into a sudden-death playoff and suddenly it was yet another night of delays for the right side of the country.
 
Ugh. Sorry about that.
 
Of course, if I'm being honest, I didn't tune in for the "Amazing Race" premiere live (via Slingbox), as I do most weeks, but I would have appreciated the prompt start-time on all of your behalf. No, I watched the premiere -- titled "Tears of a Clown" -- on a screener, which is always a pleasure for a premiere, since it's virtually impossible for me to learn the identities of 11 teams and 22 players, while also keeping up with the in-game action and keeping track of the twists of fate that lead to the typical Race elimination. 
 
That's why I need a screener for "Amazing Race" premiere recaps (my Slingbox lacks rewinding capabilities, I should add), but more importantly -- and regular readers know where I'm going with this -- that's why "Amazing Race" premieres should always be two-hour premieres. I know I say this every season, but if you only give us 44 minutes of TV time for a "Race" premieres, there's a strong chance you're going to eliminate a team featuring two players viewers I never bothered to learn to tell apart and therefore a team that viewers never invested in for a second. That leaves us -- or me at least -- yelling and screaming at the TV and ultimately disappointed by one team of icky caricatures that *didn't* get eliminated, but not caring about the duo that went home. 
 
As with all things that I'll complain about all season long, it's a matter of Race architecture: Elongate things on the first Leg however you have to. Make sure there's a Roadblock plus a Detour plus two or three or four team challenges if necessary. Just stretch it to two hours so that the editors can give time to all teams and I can more accurately compile my list of Teams I Like, Teams I Hate and Teams in the Middle, which I do every season in my premiere recaps and which proved rather difficult this season.
 
But hey, at least a team went home on Sunday and after the Non-Elimination-heavy start of the fall cycle, that's a huge relief.
 
Click through for my recap of Sunday's episode, which'll begin with a breakdown of the episode and then continue with my usual early impressions of the teams, however nebulous those impressions are thus far...
 
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<p>Kourtney Moon of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Kourtney Moon of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Kourtney Moon talks 'Survivor: One World'

Kourtney talks bad breaks, playful hats and her short 'Survivor' run
Castaway Kourtney Moon seemed to have a lot of "Survivor: One World" potential.
 
The 29-year-old motorcycle repairer had a personality-filled online bio, an easy engagement with the camera and an adorable knit-cap that appeared to resemble Shamu.
 
Unfortunately, a misjudged fall in the season's opening Immunity Challenge left Kourtney heading off for X-rays that revealed either a broken wrist or arm. Either way, you don't return to "Survivor" with broken bones and the "One World" women were spared a difficult Tribal Council decision in Wednesday's (Feb.15) season opener. 
 
Chatting with Kourtney after her exit only confirmed my suspicion that, attitude-wise, she'd have been a true asset to this "Survivor" season if not for that unfortunate landing posture. In the interview, we discuss the injury, her quirky hat and whether being on the outside of an instant alliance concerned her.
 
[Note: Kourtney and I didn't go into detail on her health, but based on her conversation on Rob Cesternino's podcast, I'm sending nothing but good vibes in her general direction.]
 
Click through for the full exit interview...
 
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<p>&quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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"American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Performance Challenge - Live-Blog

The contestants head to Las Vegas and do something for two hours

I have no idea what Thursday (Feb. 16) night's "American Idol" is that it needs to be two hours.

When did it become necessary to spend 10 hours on Hollywood Week, "American Idol"?

Live-blogging begins after the break. It's just my way of staying sane...

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<p>Colton of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Colton of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' Premiere - 'Two Tribes, One Camp, No Rules'

Twists involving gender and their camp shake things up for the castaways
Pre-credit sequence. A helicopter soar down upon Samoa, but it's only holding Jeff Probst. The 18 castaways are on a rickety bus, shuttling through the jungle and making broad pronouncements. Colton is quick to observe that girls love him and guys don't see him as a threat. It's possible that he may be gay. Alicia vows to play any dude who dares to crush on her. Jonas boasts about his unusual sushi chef skills. Jay wants to make a female alliance. Michael is ready for a twist. But he doesn't know the twist: The two tribes will live together on the same beach. Crazy, right?
 
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<p>I think this happens on tonight's &quot;American Idol.&quot; If not, I'll change the image a bit later.</p>
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I think this happens on tonight's "American Idol." If not, I'll change the image a bit later.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Hollywood Week, Part 3 - Live-Blog

The survivors of last week's 'Idol' plague sing for their lives

Last Thursday's "American Idol" was a bit like "Torchwood: Miracle Day."

The plot of the series was "What happens in one day, people just stop dying?" Death is, after all, the inevitable destination in all human lives, so what happens if the entire species is detoured from our logical destination? How do we live if we aren't going to die?

"Death" usually isn't the destination on "American Idol," at least not the episode-by-episode destination. Instead, the destination is towards singing. But last Thursday's "American Idol" was song-free. For perhaps the first time in "Idol" history, an entire hour passed without a single performance, without a single ruling by the judges. It was a full hour of coughing, sneaking and rehearsing.

It was very weird.

Rumor has it, though, that people are actually going to sing on Wednesday's episode. 

Let's find out...

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<p>&nbsp;</p>
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Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 115

Dan and Alan talk Grammys, 'Cougar Town,' 'Lilyhammer' and Linsanity

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
 
We're a bit late, but it's always a good time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week... Grammy talk! "Cougar Town" returns! You told us to watch "Lilyhammer," so we did! Mail! And Alan gets to talk about Jeremy Lin.
 
As always, regarding the Linsanity segment, the sports talk is at the end of a podcast that was already over an hour. Think of it as bonus content. Or filler. But it isn't impacting your weekly TV chatter.
 
Here's the breakdown:
The Grammys (00:00:45 - 00:15:35)
"Cougar Town" (00:15:40 - 00:29:50)
"Life's Too Short" (00:29:50 - 38:45)
"Lilyhammer" (00:38:55 - 00:51:10)
Listen Mail - "Person of Interest" (00:52:00 - 00:59:05)
Listener Mail - New shows we're sticking with (00:59:05 - 01:07:25)
LINSANITY (01:08:15 - 01:20:45)

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.

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<p>&quot;American Idol&quot; hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode</p>
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"American Idol" hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Hollywood Week, Part 2 - Live-Blog

Did Symone Black survive? And what drama did Group Day bring?

When we left "American Idol," 16-year-old Symone Black had just performed "Sitting On The Dock of the Bay," bantered briefly with the judges and then toppled off the stage, much to the horror of all involved.

Of course, if you only set your DVR to record "American Idol" and didn't set it to record "Mobbed," you missed the swan-dive and you also missed the cliffhanger. Instead, you spent a full hour waiting for a contestant to pass out and you got... nothing. 

But don't worry. I suspect that we're going to get a full replay as Thursday (Feb. 9) night's "American Idol" begins...

Click through...

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<p>Your &quot;American Idol&quot; judges</p>
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Your "American Idol" judges

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Hollywood Week, Part 1 - Live-Blog

The auditions are over and now Randy, Steven and J-Lo get serious

The "American Idol" auditions are over!

Everybody do a happy dance!

Wednesday (Feb. 8) night's episode begins Hollywood Week, the most intense Hollywood Week in the history of humanity. Or somesuch. Click through for the highs and lows...

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<p>The four &quot;Voice&quot; mentors</p>
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The four "Voice" mentors

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' - Blind Auditions, Part 2 - Live-Blog

The mentors perform and the judges spin their chairs for more contestants

Just under 38 million viewers tuned in for "The Voice" last night. How many will return for Night 2? Who knows!

Let's get down to the Blind Audition business... After the break...

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