Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! After a couple weeks of trying to train you to salivate for podcasts on Thursdays rather than Mondays, we're back on normal schedule this week. Suck it, Pavlov.
Apologies for the inference.
My point? Monday Firewall & Iceberg has returned, at least for one week.
In this installment, we've got reviews of "Dracula" and "Strike Back: Origins," plus a glance at ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.EL.D." four weeks into its run. We looked through some recent TV news, answered a bit of mail and then... sigh... we talked about "Homeland" for the second straight week. I hope it won't happen again next week.
Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 20, 2013.
The drama of Peyton Manning facing off against his old team, plus a high-scoring and action-packed game, gave NBC the best Sunday numbers for any network since the Oscars in February and the best NFL primetime October numbers since 1998.
As you would guess, NBC won Sunday in all measures.
CBS was second thanks to its own scheduled 30 minutes of NFL overrun, plus an additional 14 minutes of overrun in a number of major markets.
Meanwhile, while "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" were both low, ABC's "Betrayal" went up week-to-week for some reason.
On to the numbers, which are very subject-to-change.
First and foremost: Whichever mad genius in the "Amazing Race" production staff made the call to use Barnes and Barnes' "Fish Heads" over the closing credits of Sunday (October 20) night's episode deserves a share of all future Emmys the show happens to win. "Amazing Race" is not prone to using joke credits songs, so hearing "Fish Heads" come out of nowhere at the end of the episode was masterful.
It's really, really unlikely, but I'm still holding out hope that this Sunday night's "Amazing Race" will begin with Phil Keoghan faking out former NFL teammates Ephraim Salaam and Chester Pitts II and telling them that last week's elimination was actually a joke and it was really a Non-Elimination Leg.
Chester and Ephraim were my favorite team when I met the squads before the season started and they continued to be my favorites during their three "Amazing Race" Legs. They were funny. They were enthusiastic. And when a Chilean travel agent accidentally booked them on a key flight one day after they were supposed to leave, they were just about the only team I can imagine handling that awful situation with grace and determination, rather than with anger and hurled verbal abuse. If you're on the fence about whether or not you're going to miss Ephraim and Chester, check out their exit interview answers about that booking fiasco, which set off a day of travel disasters that left them unable to even begin tasks in Lisbon. Instead, Phil met them at the Lisbon airport and sent them away on-the-spot.
In their exit interview, Chester and Ephraim discuss that horrible day of travel and also the even worse day-plus bus ride up the coast of Chile. They talk about their general approach to the Race and whether they have plans to return to Lisbon any time soon.
Fast National ratings for Friday, October 18, 2013.
CBS' "Undercover Boss" had a big week -- perhaps America loves Buffet Inc -- and helped the network dominated Friday overall and score a slim win among young viewers.
In other words, "Same as last week," only with "Undercover Boss" doing the heavy lifting, which was necessary since "Blue Bloods" was down a little in the demo and "Hawaii Five-0" was down a little in viewers.
Risers for Friday included "Last Man Standing" and "Shark Tank," while "MasterChef Junior" came in below last week.
On to the numbers, which aren't hugely interesting. Maybe with "Grimm" and "Dracula" premiering next Friday, things will get fun...
Candice Cody had a strange third time playing "Survivor."
The "Cook Islands" and "Heroes vs. Villains" veteran arrived on the beach with the assembled castaways and was immediately sent off to Redemption Island, with her fellow returning players using the excuse that they didn't know her well enough.
For four weeks, Candice was a Redemption Island force, winning two Duels and then finishing second behind behind her husband John, who joined her after being blindsided by Brad Culpepper who, in turn, joined the couple on Redemption after he was blindsided.
Candice's Duel streak came to an end on Wednesday's (October 16) "Survivor: Blood vs. Water," as she lost to John and Brad and had to burn her buff.
In her exit interview, Candice discusses her peculiar 11 days of "Survivor" in which she didn't spend a second on a tribe, spilling on the best and worst Redemption Island guests. She also discusses how this season made "Survivor" more about the heart than the head and why that's a good thing.
Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 17, 2013.
"Big Bang Theory" led CBS to its usual Thursday wins and helped both "The Millers" and "Crazy Ones" post tiny gains among young viewers. However, both "Two and a Half Men" and "Elementary" posted ugly numbers to close CBS' night.
Speaking of ugly numbers, "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" took a big drop for ABC and looks like yet another fast Thursday 8 p.m. disappointment for the network, even while "Scandal" ticked back up after last week's small declines.
NBC continued its Thursday struggles as well, with none of its shows going above 4 million viewers for the second straight week, though "Parks and Recreation" and "Parenthood" both were up a hair with 1.3 key demo ratings.
Finally, The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" was up from its early season airings, leading into a very mixed launch for the new drama "Reign," which will make me do some deeper analysis either today or tomorrow.
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.