<p>James Spader of &quot;The Blacklist&quot;</p>

James Spader of "The Blacklist"

Credit: NBC

NBC renews 'Blacklist,' 'Grimm,' 'Chicago' duo - What's still On NBC's Bubble?

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' earns a 17th season as well

Just hours ahead of its move to Thursday, "The Blacklist" has been assured its performance in the new time period won't actually matter. 

The James Spader thriller was one of five dramas earning renewals from NBC on Thursday (February 5) morning.

Joining "Blacklist" on the renewal heap are "Grimm" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Last year, if you'll recall, the last jewel in Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" crown went down to the wire with negotiations, but fans of the drama won't have to sweat out that Season 17 news.

And speaking of Dick Wolf, just as news is beginning to burble about a "Chicago Medical" spinoff, both "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago PD" are going to be back for their fourth and third seasons respectively.

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<p>Taraji P. Henson of &quot;Empire&quot;</p>

Taraji P. Henson of "Empire"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Empire' phenomenon builds on Wednesday, ABC's 'Boat' floats OK

'American Idol' is also up week-to-week as FOX dominates

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 4, 2015.

It was another week of growing ratings for the phenomenon that is "Empire," as the FOX smash built once again and combined with a solid "American Idol" performance to help the network dominate Wednesday in all measures.

Among other things, "Empire" spent its second straight week ahead of "American Idol" in total viewers and it was Wednesday's top show in every demo my Wednesday ratings chart shows me. FOX is calling it the season's highest-rated drama airing -- Not including post-Super Bowl -- in the key demo. [Note: "Empire" only tied for first with "Modern Family" among men 25-54, so as you age up among men there's some competition. Among men 18-34, "Empire" topped "Modern Family" by 0.7.]

Wednesday's only debuting show was ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat," which aired two new episodes after "The Middle" and "Modern Family"installments, drawing consistent and more-than-respectable numbers in both slots, building off "The Middle" in many numbers.

The night also saw a small demo bump for "Arrow" and a rather large demo drop for "Stalker," which hit a series low and lost to "Chicago PD," continuing its crossover with "Chicago Fire," in all measures.

On to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;American&nbsp;Idol&quot; judges deliberate</p>

"American Idol" judges deliberate

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - 'Hollywood Week #1'

The auditions are over as the hopefuls face the judges in Hollywood

Sorry for the three "American Idol" recaps I missed the past two weeks. The combination of film responsibilities at the Sundance Film Festival and predictably atrocious wifi at the Sundance Film Festival had me casting aside some of my TV responsibilities. 

But I'm back and I'm all caught up after rushing through three "Idol" episodes in around 90 minutes over the weekend. There were some pretty good singers in New Orleans and San Francisco. I'd point to Maddy Hudson, Greyson Turner, Tyanna Jones, Rocky Peter and Hunter Larsen as just a few performers I'd be happy to see/hear again if the opportunity presents itself. Ditto with Carlos Santana's nephew and a few of the White Guys With Guitars who were better-than-generic, but not immediately nameable in my memory.

We're starting Hollywood Week on Wednesday (February 4), so follow along!

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Tig Notaro talks 'Tig,' falling in love on-screen and the joke she can't crack

Tig Notaro talks 'Tig,' falling in love on-screen and the joke she can't crack

Stephanie Allynne, Notaro's 'In a World' co-star and fiancee, joins our Sundance chat

PARK CITY. At the moment, it's good to be Tig Notaro. 

Up at Sundance for the debut of the documentary "Tig," as well as a stint as host of last weekend's Sundance Awards, Notaro is coming off a year characterized by some of the most rapturous write-ups for any stand-up comic this side of Louis C.K. 

Long beloved within the stand-up community, Notaro's success has spread into the mainstream and you'll be able to see a lot of her in 2015, including "Tig" (assuming it finds distribution) and her Showtime documentary "Knock, Knock, It's Tig Notaro."

Oh and she's also newly engaged to her "In a World" co-star Stephanie Allynne, who co-starred in the well-received Sundance comedy "People, Places, Things."

But "Tig" starts with darker times. Directed by Krista Goolsby and Ashley York, it chronicles Notaro's battle with C.diff, the death of her mother and her cancer diagnosis, a one-two-three punch that culminated in a confessional and soul-baring Largo performance that probably stands as the decade's most talked-about comedy routine. 

The documentary follows those struggles, but focuses more on Notaro's recovery, her developing relationship with Allynne and her outlook on the future. It starts bleak, but ends up inspirational and it's no wonder that Notaro was receiving standing ovations whenever she went to see "Tig" at Sundance.

As the Festival was nearing its end, I sat down with Notaro and Allynne to talk about "Tig," which parts were easy to watch and which parts were more difficult. We discussed her ideal comedy vehicles going forward, including her upcoming Showtime documentary, and how she views The Tig Notaro Brand after watching the documentary about herself. 

We also talked about the developing of jokes, a process depicted in "Tig" and Notaro shares the joke she still can't crack. But she's trying! 

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'
Credit: NBC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'

Dan and Alan also discuss 'Fresh Off The Boat,' the 'Parenthood' finale and more

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

A number of people on Twitter asked if we were still doing the podcast, which I guess speaks to our consistency that a single week without Firewall & Iceberg content -- We had a video show the previous week! -- could produce a minor panic. 

Apologies! I was at Sundance and then we were delayed at the start of this week due to cold and flu symptoms on several of our parts. 

But we're back! And it's a good show. There's a lot of terrific stuff premiering this week. Between "Fresh Off The Boat," "Allegiance," "The Jinx" and "Better Call Saul," there are three high potential new shows that we're reviewing. 

And then we've got a little Super Bowl commercial coverage (not too much) and some chatter about the finale of "Parenthood." 

Busy, busy, busy.

Today's breakdown:
Super Bowl Commercials (00:02:00 - 00:11:45)
"Fresh Off The Boat" (00:11:45 - 00:24:20)
"Allegiance" (00:24:25 - 00:33:10)
"The Jinx" (00:33:10 - 00:49:15)
"Better Call Saul" (00:49:15 - 01:02:05)
"Parenthood" finale (01:02:05 - 01:32:45)

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;NCIS: New Orleans&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "NCIS: New Orleans"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'NCIS' leads CBS Tuesday as 'Flash,' 'Agent Carter' shed viewers

'Supernatural,' 'Chicago Fire' are up on Tuesday

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

New episodes of "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were Tuesday night's top shows in all measures and led CBS to victory both overall and in the key demographic. 

There were dipping numbers for a variety of Tuesday programs, including "NCIS," albeit with caveats. 

The CW's "The Flash," for example, was down a chunk overall, but there was no decline in any of the key young demos, so the network isn't worried. ABC's "Marvel's Agent Carter" was flat in the key demo and down in viewers despite an improved lead-in, while "Forever" dipped below The Mulaney Line. And airing as a solo episode (with a repeat) for the first time this season, "Parks and Recreation" was down, as NBC finished behind The CW for that hour (though oddly both "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" were up in the demo, as was "Chicago Fire").

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Fresh Off The Boat&quot;</p>

"Fresh Off The Boat"

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Fresh Off The Boat' is fresh off the bat

Eddie Huang's memoir has become a distinctive and funny sitcom

Based on his memoir, "Fresh Off The Boat" is Eddie Huang's story.

It's certainly not my story.

I've never been an 11-year-old son of Taiwanese immigrants moving from Chinatown in Washington, DC to the suburbs of Orlando.

"Fresh Off The Boat" can't be my story.

But I hope Eddie Huang would forgive my feeling that, at least to some degree, "Fresh Off The Boat" is absolutely my story.

In the early '90s, I was a 13-year-old son of Canadian immigrants living in Mississippi, going to a middle school in which I was one of a dozen white kids and the only Jewish kid. I didn't have to explain stinky tofu to my colleagues at lunch, but I assure you that my bagels were plenty confusing. I spent a lot of time being called Bud Bundy, because at the time, all of my classmates were watching a lot of FOX and the most prominent representation of young, white masculinity they knew was embodied by David Faustino.

So I hope Eddie Huang would forgive my feeling that "Fresh Off The Boat" is also somewhat my story, but I'd understand if he wouldn't.

"Fresh Off The Boat" is more important as a specific story. 

People will talk about "Fresh Off The Boat" as the first Asian-American-centric comedy on TV since "All-American Girl," but that's selling short how unprecedented it is. The coming-of-age story is as foundational a structure as we have, narratively. I don't wanna get all "Bildungsroman" on you, but this is a primal storytelling vehicle and you've never seen it through an Asian-American lens on TV. And I'd be hard-pressed to think of more than a couple examples in American cinema.

It's in specificity that "Fresh Off The Boat" makes its bones and it's in favor of specificity that Eddie Huang railed in his now-famous Vulture column (which is funnier and more sharply written than 95 percent of all network TV pilots to air in the past decade).

But it's in its variable degree of universality that "Fresh Off The Boat" deserves to become another family hit for ABC. His protests aside, Eddie Huang's version of growing up as an outsider is specific and it's at least somewhat what's depicted in "Fresh Off The Boat" and it's an experience that only a very few people can share. And yet in his experience, I see a lot of my own outsider experience, which is pretty unique in its own right. We're all delicate snowflakes and we're never more delicate and afraid of being unique than we are in those formative years around adolescence; and even the pretty and popular people who were, in practical reality, not outsiders at all, still probably feel some connection to the outsider experience. [And screw those people, I say. Go watch your own darned shows about pretty people with perfect skin and good haircuts. And with that, I've "other"-ed the popular people, so they can relate to being outsiders, too.]

"Fresh Off The Boat" is significant for the vacuum it fills in a TV landscape that is belatedly being forced to realize that if you fill a vacuum you can make money.

But maybe you should just watch "Fresh Off The Boat" because it's funny.

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<p>&quot;The Bachelor&quot;</p>

"The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Gotham' slips, 'Bachelor' and 'Mike & Molly' surge on Monday

'Celebrity Apprentice' also gets a bump

Fast National ratings for Monday, February 2, 2015.

Big episode-to-episode bumps for "The Bachelor" and "Mike & Molly" helped ABC win Monday night among young viewers and CBS come out on top overall.

In addition to the CBS and ABC gains, NBC also saw a bump for "The Celebrity Apprentice" and "State of Affairs," while FOX's "Gotham" and The CW's "Jane the Virgin" posted minor drops.

On to the numbers...

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Credit: Sundance

Review: Political drama 'Zipper' becomes 'Reefer Madness' for sex addiction

Patrick Wilson and Lena Headey are still solid

Just as sex scandals are pretty much as old as politics themselves, as long as we've had films, we've had cinematic depictions of sex scandals, usually serious and sometimes comedic. Whether filmmakers have had to be coy about the nature of the scandals -- see "The Best Man" or "Advise and Consent" -- or whether filmmakers have been able to directly tear sex scandals from the headlines -- see "Primary Colors" -- the ground has been fertile.

Fortunately -- Unfortunately? -- sex scandals just keep coming along and we keep lapping them up, from Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards to Anthony Weiner.

Bringing the genre to Sundance this year was "Zipper," a largely straight-faced approach to a plausibly finger-on-the-pulse topic, which falls flat because of a middle act in which the drama spirals into dated addiction craziness. When it's a political thriller, "Zipper" is respectably acted and presented and has some merit. But for nearly 30 minutes, "Zipper" descends into utter ludicrousness and becomes a laughable "Reefer Madness" with high class escorts.

There's no indication that director and co-work Mora Stephens intends for her main character's sex binge to be hilarious, but I spent a long time giggling nervously before settling in for a better-than-expecting conclusion propelled by Lena Headey's very strong -- if accent-challenged -- performance.

"Zipper" just secured distribution with Alchemy today and it'll heading to theaters and OnDemand later this year.

Full review below...

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<p>Tom Brady</p>

Tom Brady

Credit: AP

Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX is the most-watched show in US TV history

'The Blacklist' is the most watched post-Super Bowl show in three years

From the moment Super Bowl XLIX secured the two top-seeded teams in the NFL, including the wildly loved and wildly hated New England Patriots, this was inevitable, but it's now office: Sunday (February 1) night's Super Bowl XLIX has become the most-watched show in US television history.

Running from 6:31 through 10:10 p.m. ET, the Patriots' come-from-behind victory over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks averaged a record 114.4 million viewers, topping last year's Super Bowl by 2.2 million and beating the 2012 Super Bowl by 3.1 million reviewers.

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