Credit: AMC

'Walking Dead' finale, 'Killing Jesus' draw big Sunday numbers

Latest Bill O'Reilly adaptation hits NatGeo highs, while zombies hit a finale high

The latest season finale of "The Walking Dead" and the premiere of National Geographic's "Killing Jesus" both delivered notable numbers on Sunday (March 29). 

[Insert facile resurrection/Zombie Jesus joke.]

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<p>Becki Newton of &quot;Weird Loners&quot;</p>

Becki Newton of "Weird Loners"

Credit: FOX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 274 - 'Younger,' 'American Odyssey'

Dan and Alan also talk 'Weird Loners,' 'The Mindy Project' and the return of 'Coach'


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. 

It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

Because I'm traveling today, we recorded this on Friday, but we're posting it today to keep on our regular schedule. 

That means that we didn't talk at all about "The Walking Dead" and its finale, just as we haven't talked at all about the show this half-season. If you have any questions about "Walking Dead" and that second half, email us at FirewallIceberg@HitFix.com and we can get to that next podcast?

Even without "Walking Dead," we had plenty to talk about, including reviews for "Weird Loners," "Younger" and "American Odyssey," some spoiler-free pre-season "Mad Men" talk and  some chatter about the finale for "The Mindy Project." We also touched on the return of "Outlander" and NBC's bizarre resurrection of "Coach."

Next week's podcast? INSANITY! But that's off in the future...

Today's breakdown:
"Coach" Returns (00:01:15 - 00:11:35)
"Weird Loners" (00:11:45 - 00:20:55)
"Younger" (00:21:00 - 00:32:10)
"Outlander" (00:32:10 - 00:35:15)
"American Odyssey" (00:35:20 - 00:43:50)
Listener Mail: "Mad Men" return (00:43:55 - 01:00:05)
"Mindy Project" finale (01:00:10 - 01:08:55)

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>Haaz Sleiman of &quot;Killing Jesus&quot;</p>

Haaz Sleiman of "Killing Jesus"

Credit: National Geographic Channels/Kent Eanes

'Killing Jesus' star Haaz Sleiman talks crucifixion, spirituality and pressure

'The Visitor' star discusses playing Jesus on the NatGeo film's Morocco set

[Read my more exhaustive "Killing Jesus" set report here.]

OUARZAZATE, MOROCCO. It's late October in central Morocco and Haaz Sleiman is worried about crucifixion.

Because context is important, it should be noted that Sleiman is sitting in a tent on the set of National Geographic's "Killing Jesus" and he's playing Jesus. We're deep into production on the adaptation of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard book, but director Christopher Menaul has saved perhaps the hardest scene for late in the shoot.

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<p>Joaquin of &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Joaquin of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Joaquin Souberbielle talks 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'

Joaquin pitches his new reality show with buddy Rodney

Power couples rarely work out well on "Survivor" and power couplings certainly didn't work out well for Joaquin Souberbielle on "Survivor: Worlds Apart."

Joaquin started the season by volunteering for a leadership position on his White Collar tribe. He and second-in-command So told a fib about a secret Immunity clue, didn't find the Idol and So was the first player voted out this season. 

From there, Joaquin got to fly a bit under the radar until he formed another power couple in the shuffled Escameca tribe, forming an East Coast bond with Rodney. Unfortunately, Joaquin misjudged how much other people, particular swing-vote Sierra, distrusted Rodney and a majority alliance fell apart and Joaquin was sent packing.

Fortunately, Joaquin doesn't sound bitter about what went down.

He's got a pitch for a new Joaquin/Rodney reality show, he's full of mockery for Shirin and he's mighty annoyed that his tribe threw that last Immunity.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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Credit: FOX

John Rhys-Davies compares 'Hieroglyph' potential to 'Game of Thrones'

By now I hope you've read my full "Killing Jesus" report from the set in Morocco, a report that included a number of quotes from veteran John Rhys-Davies, an actor more than willing to offer retrospectives on the entirety of his entire career.

Well, it happens that that career includes an intriguing ordered-straight-to-series-and-the-cancelled-before-airing FOX drama named "Hieroglyph" and it happens that "Hieroglyph" also shot in Morocco. And Rhys-Davies actually brought up "that pilot for FOX" of his own volition.

"'13 on the air, we don't even need to see the pilot. It's gonna be that good.' Yeah, right," Rhys-Davies said, mocking the network's thought process. "So they screwed everybody's year up by postponing it and postponing it until absolutely five-minutes-to-five on the very last day they said, 'Uh, not gonna do now. No. Can't get scripts of the right quality.' By which time, everyone had cancelled everything else they were gonna be doing for the back part of the year and a lot of people were going, 'Agh.'"

As he notes, "Hieroglyph" was ordered to series, a first episode was shot, but then, after a management shift at FOX, the plug was pulled.

Since "Hieroglyph" has always amused and perplexed me, I asked him a key question: Did *he* think it was gonna be any good?

"I think so. I think we would have had maybe a couple of shaky episodes, as you do, till things settle down. You know, 'It's about this character and this character and their dynamic...' And actually that character works a bit better there and this character... It would have found its place. I think it was different," Rhys-Davies said. "Imagine 'Game of Thrones' set in ancient Egypt. I think it could have been quite remarkable. Could it have been done on budget? The thing is, when you inherit a show, when the guy who's said, 'Yes, this is what we're going to do,' leaves and goes to another network, you inherit his shows and the one thing that you do not want to do is inherit The Bay of Pigs. This is not a good thing to inherit. So every show has to be looked at with utter suspicion. 'Is this the bomb he has left behind that will ruin my reputation?' And it's part of that sort of politics that killed it as well. The cast was good. I think it could have been very sexy. Lovely production team. I like those writers. They could have delivered the goods."

So there you go.

"Killing Jesus" airs Sunday (March 29) on National Geographic.

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<p>Duke vs Utah</p>

Duke vs Utah

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Sweet 16 leads CBS Friday, 'Grown Ups' tops 'Glee' finale

'Hart of Dixie' finale gets a tiny audience bump for The CW

Fast National ratings for Friday, March 27, 2015.

CBS got another decent night of NCAA Tournament coverage and dominated Friday primetime in all measures.

"Dateline"-driven NBC and "Shark Tank" repeat-led ABC finished second. ["Dateline" was apparently also a rebroadcast.]

FOX, meanwhile, aired the dreadful Adam Sandler movie "Grown Ups," which comfortably outdrew last week's "Glee" finale.

And speaking of finales, the "Hart of Dixie" finale may have given The CW a small uptick, though CW Friday numbers have a tendency to adjust down overall.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Hart of Dixie&quot;</p>

"Hart of Dixie"

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'Hart of Dixie' finale 'Bluebell' ends with a song in its heart

Season finale or series finale, the Bluebell dramedy ends warmly

For the better part of a half-hour into the "Hart of Dixie" finale, Dr. Zoe Hart kept insisting that her pregnancy contractions were just Braxton Hicks contractions and she wasn't having her baby.

Those around Zoe Hart suspected she was having her baby.

Those of us at home knew she was having her baby.

But she just kept saying that she was a doctor and she knew what real contractions were supposed to be like.

She was wrong. 

Zoe Hart had her baby.

I liken this in-show situation to the situation surrounding "Hart of Dixie" as a series.

"Hart of Dixie" was already on the bubble for renewal the past couple years and it was a minor miracle it lasted this long, since it was never a show that fit with anything in The CW's brand.

The CW has already renewed basically everything on its air and some things -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- that are being dumped in the summer, but "Hart of Dixie" was left on the outside.

Everybody associated with the show was tweeting about series wraps when production ended several months ago and some were tweeting about the series finale tonight.

But for months, nobody associated with The CW has been willing to confirm that "Hart of Dixie" was ending. Promotion leading up to this week's episode and promotion within the episode referred to it as a "season" finale.

Well, now we've seen the way Friday (March 27) night's "Hart of Dixie" ended and just as Zoe Hart finally couldn't deny she was having her baby after her water broke all over Lemon Breeland's shoes, I think we probably can all agree...

That was a series finale for "Hart of Dixie." 

And it was a charming, funny and emotional series finale for a show that was consistently pleasant, consistently undervalued, but probably never destined to be much more than the little cult curio it was.

More on what we should all admit was the series finale for "Hart of Dixie" after the break...

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<p>&quot;Diversity Day&quot;</p>

"Diversity Day"

Waxing Episodic: 'The Office' celebrates 'Diversity Day'

In its second episode, 'The Office' addressed issues that are still timely

In HitFix's new feature "Waxing Episodic," we reflect on an episode of television we'll never forget.

NBC's "The Office" debuted 10 years ago this week, arriving with the unenviable challenge of having to live up to the standard of one of the best-received comedies of recent times, but went on to outstrip the British original. I don't even know if that's a controversial statement anymore. The British "Office" is great and, in terms of comedic efficiency, NBC's version didn't come close. But Ricky Gervais' series was built for 12 episodes and a Christmas special and never had to worry about longevity, never had to wonder how sustainable its circumstances and its characters were. NBC's version took that world and made it renewable. Whether you think the American "Office" was great (or even good) for all 200-ish of its episodes, it was certainly very good or great for more than 13 episodes.

I knew I wanted to write about an "Office" episode for this week's Waxing Episodic installment and I contemplated clear peaks like "Casino Night," probably the show's best overall episode, or "The Injury," perhaps its funniest half-hour, even though they didn't exactly line up with a 10th anniversary.

Then, of course, Deadline.com ran its risible "Too much of a good thing?" article regarding Hollywood Diversity and that made me change my focus to the still-relevant "Diversity Day" episode of "The Office," which premiered on March 29, 2005.

So let's talk about "Diversity Day" and why Michael Scott has a future writing for online entertainment publications...

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<p>&quot;Fear the Walking Dead&quot;</p>

"Fear the Walking Dead"

Credit: AMC

AMC's 'Walking Dead' companion series gets an uninspired name

Well, at least we can stop referring to AMC's "Walking Dead" companion series as AMC's Untitled "Walking Dead" Companion Series.

Series co-creator Robert Kirkman took to Twitter on Friday to reveal the official title.

So... "Fear the Walking Dead."

This continues AMC's somewhat odd trend of making imperative clauses into show titles. 

"Fear the Walking Dead" joins "Halt and Catch Fire," "Turn" and "Better Call Saul" among the AMC titles that could also just serve as helpful advice in certain circumstances.

AMC announced two weeks ago that "Fear the Walking Dead" has been given a two-season order, with an initial six-episode run premiering this summer, followed by a 2016 launch for season two.

Good title?

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<p>Thursday&#39;s NCAA Tournament action</p>

Thursday's NCAA Tournament action

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: CBS' NCAA Sweet 16 coverage leads Thursday, lowers 'Blacklist'

'Scandal' also slips, while 'Bones' has an OK return for FOX

Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Round of 16 coverage from the NCAA Tournament helped CBS score Thursday victories overall, in the key demographic and in all male demographics. 

While "Scandal" was down, "Grey's Anatomy" ticked up a hair and helped ABC win most of the female demos for the night, though usually these stories don't break down the ratings numbers like that.

Basketball helped eat into last week's bump for NBC's "Blacklist" and probably prevented "Backstrom" from getting any bump from an OK return for "Bones."

Oh and expect these ratings to shift, of course, due to the nature of live events.

On to the numbers...

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