Pre-credit sequence. The teams are arriving in trucks, practically "Wages of Fear" style. Are they trying to say that this season's contestants are combustible? They're TNT, dyno-MITE? The 18 castaways have been divided semi-arbitrarily into three tribes based on occupation and outlook on life, whatever that means. Up first? The White Collar tribe. "They're used to being in charge," Jeff Probst says. So admits she might be the Devil, says that she's demanding and makes her underlings cry. Max, who everybody I follow on Twitter knows from his "Survivor" teaching days, says that he's willing to use people to succeed. Carolyn compares this to her corporate experiences. The Blue Collar tribe is next. "They're used to hard work and physical labor," Probst says condescendingly. He resists calling them "salt of the earth" and "just folks." Mike is used to being covered in oil and mud and wants to get his hands filthy. Lindsey is a single mom and hair stylist and tells us that mentally, there's no one on this Earth who is as strong as she is, which is absurd, but amusingly so. Monkey! Dan is living his dream and he hopes to being remembered. For something. As for the No Collar Tribe? It means nothing! "They use their free-spirit mentality to further themselves in life," Probst says. Jenn does what she wants to do when she wants to do it and she wants a million bucks. Hali is a law student, but she's in it for "like the poor, broken down people." How freely spirited! And Vince seeks truth as a coconut vendor. "My personality's a lot like surfing a wave," Vince promises. Whoa. Lord, this is so silly. Joaquin is in this for the bling. Joe wants people to think he's there to enjoy the beaches, but he's not. "When it comes to the competition, I'm filet mignon and they're a bunch of Steak-umm," opines alleged meathead Rodney. This reminds me that I'm hungry.
The auditions are over.
Hollywood Week is over.
Finally we get to start voting on "American Idol," or at least you get to start voting if you happen to vote on "American Idol."
And for me, that means a transition to a live-blog, even if the shows currently aren't ACTUALLY live, since there's no way the "Idol" production is prepared to do 12 performances in an hour-long live show.
But anyway... Follow along and comment below.
Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
Or perhaps it's a sad Wednesday, because we're gathered here today to say farewell to NBC's "Parks and Recreation," a show that we've been known to like quite a bit.
Rather than attempt to shoehorn in a full "Parks and Recreation" send-off discussion with another hour-plus of reviews and the normal stuff, we elected to do a "Parks and Recreation"-only podcast today and hopefully we'll get in another podcast this week at some point that allows us to review "House of Cards," "Last Man on Earth," "Secrets and Lies," "Battle Creek" and some other stuff. If we don't? Watch "Last Man on Earth."
In this send-off podcast for "Parks and Recreation," we discuss... "Parks and Recreation."
That's pretty simple. We talk about the finale. We answered a bunch of your excellent Listener Mail -- Thank you!!! -- and then we filled in a few gaps at the end.
So today's breakdown:
"Parks and Recreation" (00:00:00 - 01:22:00)
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.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
The Tuesday premiere of "The Voice" helped NBC storm out to a bit Tuesday lead among young viewers and the finale of "Parks and Recreation" avoided the kind of negative (literally) numbers that it would have taken for NBC to squander that lead for the night. NBC was still no match for "NCIS"-driven CBS overall, of course.
Tuesday's biggest takeaway was that although "The Voice" came back strong, it had only a little impact on its competition, for the most park. CBS' "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" lost a couple hundred thousand viewers, but only "NCIS" dipped in the key demo and that was only by 0.1. ABC's "Marvel's Agent Carter" also lost 0.1 in the key demo for its finale, but stayed reasonably steady, though still low.
Dropping a bit more was FOX's "MasterChef Junior" finale, but the network's comedies were flat.
Also staying encouragingly flat was ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat," which shed a few viewers but didn't move in the key demo despite "The Voice."
On to the numbers...
I didn't mean to make "The Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan self-conscious, but I also couldn't help but notice that one of his first words at the Season 26 Starting Line was to ask the assembled teams, "Did anybody get like a tingly feeling?"
And that seemed liked a very different thing for Phil Keoghan to say at the start of an "Amazing Race" season.
This is, of course, an "Amazing Race" season like none that has come before. This season's 11 teams include six established couples in various stages of relationships, but also five teams of 10 singles paired around semi-arbitrary criteria, turning the Emmy-winning series into half of a very ambitious dating show.
So I mentioned the "tingly feeling" line to Phil in our discussion and that made him a bit self-conscious about tingly feelings.
"The Amazing Race" premieres on Wednesday (February 25) night at 9:30 after the "Survivor" premiere (before returning to Fridays two days later) and it feels entirely recognizable as "The Amazing Race," with poor Detour choices, stupid transportation mistakes and desperate searches for English-speakers in a foreign land. But there's no doubt that the blind dating aspect of things produces some entirely new dynamics to the action and leads to some unpredictable results. It's way too early to know if that'll be good or bad for the season, but it's different.
In our latest conversation -- I like to note that Phil disagrees amiably with almost everything I ever suggest -- the veteran host talks about that difference and why the show is still the same. He discusses whether this season's challenges were tailored to the relationship twist and whether he went along on the newly added Date Night Rewards.
Click through for the full Q&A with Phil Keoghan to see if you get a tingly feeling about the new season.
TORONTO, ONTARIO. It's mid-November on the Toronto set of FXX's "Man Seeking Woman" and a strange "Cutting Edge" reenactment (kinda) is taking place.
Series star Jay Baruchel, writer of one of the finest hockey movies ever made, is flopping around the ice at the Weston Lions Arena making a fool of himself.
In this episode's piece of heightened reality, Baruchel's Josh has been invited to accompany sister Liz and her boyfriend on a dancing evening, only to discover that the dancing is ice dancing and it's competitive ice dancing. As Liz and Leo shine on the rink, executing flips and synchronized moves, Josh flops and flounders to Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True," slamming into the boards and crawling desperately across the ice.
[No, Baruchel doesn't play the hockey player in "Goon." And yes, this ice dancing isn't likely to play an ongoing part of the "Man Seeking Woman" continuity. So yes, it's only barely like the hockey-to-figure skating transformation in "Cutting Edge." But I'm sticking to the comparison.]
Fast National ratings for Monday, February 23, 2015.
The latest premiere of "The Voice" was well below last February's return, but facing less competition than in September, the singing competition was in line with its fall launch, leading NBC to Monday wins in all measures. NBC ruled despite a dismal in-season premiere for "Night Shift," which failed to turn its summer success into something bigger.
Even with added competition from "The Voice," few Monday regulars suffered big declines -- single digit drops for all of CBS' shows, for example -- and "Gotham" was, in fact, up week-to-week for FOX.
With "The Voice" and the return of "Scorpion," FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" failed to get any kind of bump for its season finale, but also didn't drop despite the added competition.
On to the numbers...
Fast Affiliate ratings are in for Sunday (February 22) night's Academy Awards telecast and the 2015 telecast was down steeply from the 2014 installment.
ABC's broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards averaged 36.6 million viewers between 8:30 and 11:48 p.m. ET, along with a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49. The 2014 Academy Awards averaged 43.7 million viewers and a 13.1 rating among adults 18-49.
Fast National ratings for Sunday, February 22, 2015.
Whether it was lack of interest in the nominated films, lack of interest in host Neil Patrick Harris or a third thing that could cause disinterest, overnight ratings for the 2015 Academy Awards were down double-digits from last year's telecast in most measures.
Of course, ABC's Oscars coverage still dominated Sunday, which featured only low-rated installments of "60 Minutes" and "Dateline" as new competition.
Remember the usual provisos: These are time period-specific numbers for ABC and *not* numbers for the Academy Awards telecast. On the East Coast, the show went over an hour over outside of primetime. On the West Coast, the first 90 minutes of the show were outside of Sunday primetime. The actual numbers for the Oscars will adjust up. They always do.
Stay tuned for those real Oscars ratings a bit later.
On to the numbers...
It's a wonderful night for Oscar... Oscar Oscar... Who will win?
Neil Patrick Harris is MCing Sunday (February 22) night's Academy Awards, which is coming down to a "Birdman"/"Boyhood" showdown for the big prize. Thanks to The Guilds, we're all expecting a "Birdman" victory, but could there be exciting upsets in store?
Click through, follow along and join (or start) the conversation below...