For the second straight week, Thursday is the new Monday and we have a new episode of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
This week, we reviewed The CW's "Reign" and we played catch-up on "How I Met Your Mother," "New Girl" and "Homeland." And we answered questions about ratings for "The Walking Dead" and... Get this... NBC's struggles.
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
ABC got strong numbers from its "Toy Story of Terror" Pixar special, as the network tied for the Wednesday night lead among young viewers with "Criminal Minds"-led CBS and with FOX's playoff baseball coverage.
CBS still dominated primetime overall, with wins for all three primetime hours.
On NBC, "Revolution" will likely hit series lows, though "Ironside" appears not to be falling, which would be good news for the network were its stable ratings not so low.
And on The CW, "Arrow" was up from last week's premiere in all measures, delivering its biggest overall audience since April and its best 18-49 figures since February.
Pre-credit sequence. We're following up on Brad's shocking outster from last week. "Wow, you guys," Caleb says, obviously pleased with himself. "What the heck? Tribal was unreal," Teen Mom says, obviously unclear on the very nature of reality. "If this is Brad's time, it was Brad's time," Vytas rationalizes, obviously unclear on the very nature of time. Teen Mom knows that if they can get Caleb to go with them, they'd have the numbers. "It just festered," Caleb says, explaining that his big move wasn't premeditated. Hayden is stunned and doesn't know if he's now on the outs.
Guess Who's Coming to Redemption Island? "Caleb made a good move. Kudos to him," Brad says, crediting Caleb for learning a thing or two from Colton. As we saw last week. Brad arrives at Redemption Island apologizing and raising the white flag. He surrenders aggressively in the middle of the night, waking up John and Candice. "At least I feel a little vindication here," John says, groggily. "Quite frankly, I'm glad I'm not going to get abused and yelled at on Redemption Island," Brad says, but Candice says she still has no love for Brad. "In this game, it's kill or be killed and he's on our island now," Candice says, vowing to knock Brad out for good.
The Eyes of Laura M. Meanwhile, the Returnees keep winning and they're doing OK. Actually, Laura M and Aras are doing better than OK. They're doing some late-night rub-downs. Laura views this intimacy as a sign of trust. Aras, however, doesn't think that Laura's flirtation is earning more of his trust. In fact, he still has Laura, Laura and Kat outside of his alliance. Laura M has posted on Facebook that she thinks this episode was improperly edited to imply something naughty happened, but there she is mentioning her 20 years of marriage. Don't worry, Laura! I don't believe for a second that there's a showmance brewing. Anyway, though, Other Laura, Rupert's Wife, is still feeling like an outsider, which she is, so that's appropriate.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, October 15, 2013.
A so-so premiere for "The Biggest Loser" combined with "The Voice" and "Chicago Fire" to help NBC win a slim Tuesday victory among young viewers, while CBS dominated the night overall led by "NCIS" and a rising "Person of Interest."
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." posted its smallest drop so far, but the news was less positive "The Goldbergs," which now holds only a tiny advantage over "Trophy Wife" for ABC.
After a pretty steady fall of drops, most of FOX's comedies were steady week-to-week and even, in some cases, posted growth in viewers.
Also showing positive numbers were The CW's "The Originals" and "Supernatural." It was, in fact, The CW's highest rated Tuesday since 2009.
DirecTV's innovative "Full Circle," from playwright Neil LaBute, premiered last week and introduced a two-people-a-dinner format in which characters rotate, "La Ronde"-style, through the narrative with a slew of familiar stars appearing in two episodes in a row.
Last week, audiences met Julian McMahon's Stanley, a high-powered attorney dealing rather aggressively with his younger wife's (Minka Kelly) request for a divorce.
Kelly, who was in both of last week's episodes, doesn't appear on Wednesday's (October 16) two episodes. Instead, this week's double-performer is "Bones" star David Boreanaz, playing a particularly boorish shock-comedian who professional life is jolted when he discovers that his words, including words delivered on social media, have very real consequences. Boreanaz's Jace appears in his first episode opposite McMahon and then spars with Keke Palmer's Chan'dra in the second of Wednesday's 30-minute verbal meals.
All of the "Full Circle" segments are set in a restaurant and back in August, I sat down with Boreanaz and McMahon at the Little Door eatery in Beverly Hills to discuss this unique project. In the wide-ranging interview, the "Buffy" and "Nip/Tuck" veterans talk about the theatrical style LaBute brought to "Full Circle," the challenges of acting while seated and acting while eating and the advantages and disadvantage of public communication in the digital age.
TV ratings are not, as a rule, about delayed gratification. Overnight ratings arrive first thing in the morning. Live+Same Day Nationals come mid-afternoon the next day. Live+3 Day DVR numbers come five or six days after premiere.
But Live+7 figures? They take a solid three weeks to show up for some reason.
Don't ask me. I don't make the rules.
If networks made the rules, they'd want Live+7 audience figures to be deeply meaningful, because everybody wants to maximize the perceived audience for their shows. They'd want to include Live+7, but also OnDemand and Hulu and Netflix and iTunes and streaming and everything else. They don't get to and so it's hard to know what value Live+7 figures actually have. Last year, ABC cancelled shows with 60 percent ("666 Park Avenue") and 71 percent ("Private Practice") Live+7 growth among adults 18-49 and replaced those shows with "Betrayal" and "Lucky 7." As a rule, Live+7 ratings are less exciting than you probably want them to be. Successful shows generally get big bumps in viewers and 18-49 ratings, but maybe not high percentage bumps. Low rated shows get high percentage bumps, but that's because they start off low rated to begin with. Low rated shows that don't get high percentage bumps just get cancelled.
I probably won't look at Live+7 ratings very often, but the Live+7 figures just came in for Premiere Week, Monday, September 23 through Sunday. September 29.
Fast National ratings for Monday, October 14, 2013.
With new shows, early drops are the norm, so it's notable that NBC's "The Blacklist" was flat week-to-week and combined with "The Voice" to help the network rule Monday in all measures.
CBS saw some positives from shaking up its Monday comedies, with "2 Broke Girls" getting a small bump from "How I Met Your Mother" and both "Mom" and "Hostages" adding a few viewers thanks to a "Big Bang Theory" repeat. Despite those cosmetic changes, though, CBS still finished fourth for the night.
Meanwhile, FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" remains close-to-level, while "Hart of Dixie" maintained its premiere week advantage over "Beauty and the Beast" for The CW.
Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 13, 2013.
NBC got big Sunday Night Football results from a rivalry game between the Cowboys and Redskins, its best NFL results in a few weeks and enough to easily dominate Sunday primetime in all measures.
And it was NFL overrun that pushed FOX to a strong second place finishing, giving the network a huge 7 p.m. hour, though Red Sox-Tigers baseball coverage also helped
Meanwhile, for the first time all season, CBS got to air its Sunday lineup without preemptions, giving us a chance to see just how low the numbers for "Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" actually are without boosting. The answer? "Fairly Low."
ABC's Sunday offerings also struggled with "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" slipping and "Betrayal" continuing to stand in vicinity of cancellation.
And, of course, numbers for "The Walking Dead" premiere on AMC will be available later today.
The premiere was determined largely by seven teams taking one prohibitively early flight to Chile, while the other four teams were basically left battling to stick around. And Naina & Hoskote, one of those four lagging teams, were eliminated after one faulty cab right. In their exit interview, Naina & Hoskote lamented the inability to their their travel in their own hands.
The second Leg saw Rowan & Shane struggle with one bum cab ride and then they did what Naina & Hoskote could not and they tried to break from the pack on a long bus ride across Chile. They didn't succeed but, heck, they made the effort.
Sunday (October 13) night's "Amazing Race" was the most travel-centric episode in recent "Amazing Race" memory, as it turned out that getting from Santiago, Chile to Lisbon is surprisingly easy, or at least that there are a surprising number of possible ways of making the journey. We had smart travel moves. Stupid travel moves. And, sadly, we had a team get utterly and totally hosed by a booking agent and attempt a bold move to recover from that blunder. And for the second week in a row, we learned that sometimes it's healthier to stick with the pack, rather than attempting to game the system.
I don't remember the last "Amazing Race" episode to end with Phil Keoghan greeting a team before they had the chance to do even a single task because they were so far behind, but in this case, Phil greeted the eliminated team at the airport, told them they were eliminated and suggested that since they were in the airport still, it should be easy for them to find their way home. Ouch.
Meanwhile, at least three times per season I complain about the actual Non-Elimination Legs and at least once or twice, I lament an episode in which I'd totally have approved of seeing an NEL. This is one of those.
When I talked to "The Queen of Bingo" stars Rowan Joseph and Shane Partlow before they embarked on their "Amazing Race" experience, the long-time buddies and co-stars were in performance mode, giving nearly endless answers, playing off of each other energetically.
I spoke with a less enthusiastic Rowan and Shane this week following their "Amazing Race" elimination. They were sent packing after a tough Leg that included a bad cab ride, a mistaken gamble on a long-haul bus to Santiago, Chile and a strange Roadblock in which Rowan did a full task along with an unaffiliated amateur shoeshine worker, rather than one of the marked shiners, leading to a long delay.
Despite all of those misadventures, Rowan and Shane finished the Leg right behind Baseball Wives Nicky and Kim, very nearly surviving.
In their exit interview, Rowan and Shane discuss the circumstances behind their elimination and I pull teeth.