Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 187

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 187

Dan and Alan talk 'Mad Men,' 'Veronica Mars,' 'Crossing Lines,' 'Devious Maids' and more


Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We kept this one under two hours. You're welcome. Or "Sorry." Whichever one applies.
This week, we have reviews of "Crossing Lines" and "Devious Maids." We also answered a couple pieces of Listener Mail and chatted about "Mad Men" and this week's Summer Rewatch, "Veronica Mars."
Next week's podcast, with "Under the Dome," "Dexter," "Ray Donovan," the "Mad Men" pilot and more, could be another two-plus hour podcast, unless we opt for a little splitting and it becomes a two podcast week next week.
Next week's Pilot Rewatch will be Old School with pilots for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Here's today's breakdown:
"Crossing Lines" (00:00:45 - 00:14:40)
"Devious Maids" (00:14:45 - 00:25:45)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" splitting (00:26:00 - 00:32:45)
Listener Mail - NBC Stanley Cup (00:32:50 - 00:38:10)
"Mad Men" (00:38:35 - 01:13:00)
Summer Rewatch: "Veronica Mars" (01:13:00 - 01:37:05)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite &quot;Vikings&quot; episode &quot;The Sacrifice&quot;</p>

A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite "Vikings" episode "The Sacrifice"

Credit: History

Interview: 'Vikings' creator Michael Hirst talks Season 1 and beyond

'Tudors' scrib discusses spirituality, sex and strong female roles
History's "Vikings" snuck up on a lot of people this spring.
A cable network without a lot of scripted series pedigree released a show without major stars and the initial reaction was, "It's 'Game of Thrones' without dragons and I like dragons."
It took only a few minutes to realize that "Vikings" was far better than it necessarily needed to be. The Irish-filmed visuals popped. The characters were rough and compelling. And, in addition to a solid performance from established veteran Gabriel Byrne, "Vikings" delivered impressive work from the likes of Travis Fimmel, Jessalyn Gilsig and particularly Katheryn Winnick.
Much of the credit for the success of "Vikings" goes to "Elizabeth" scribe Michael Hirst. Just as he did on Showtime's "The Tudors" and Starz's "Camelot," Hirst wrote every word of the first "Vikings" season. And, as he did on those earlier shows, he filtered well-researched history through a filter of sex and power and betrayal that blends juicy soap opera with Shakespearean tragedy and just a dash of "The Godfather."
"Vikings" ended its first season in April and probably won't return for its second season until 2014, but with Emmy nomination season approaching, I got on the phone with Hirst to talk about the show. 
In our wide-ranging 25-minute conversation, we talked about Hirst's particular staff-free approach to TV writing, the surprising evolution of the show's female characters and the 
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Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews
Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews

Our summer series starts with Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Ballots for the 2013 Emmy Awards officially went up on Monday (June 10) evening and, as always, we'll be previewing the major categories between now and the ballot deadline on June 28.
As always, Sepinwall will be writing up his dream ballot with his six ideal nominees.
And, as always, I'll be gallery-izing the leading nomination contenders. In each gallery, the first six slides represent my actual predictions for nominations. The next 5-or-so slides represent the top contenders should any of my six should falter or be proven needlessly optimistic. The rest of the slides are me looking at the Emmy chances for people who are increasing longshots but check certain plausible Emmy boxes: They're from new shows, they're former nominees, they're high profile show additions or they're great actors who had great seasons but probably won't build Emmy momentum. The first half of the galleries are pseudo-scientific (or at least predictive). The second halves are just trying to be informative or contemplative.
And this first gallery -- Supporting Actor in a Drama -- may be the biggest. Promise. I started writing entries without the official ballot and so I forgot lots of people and then had to add to what was already a really full category and it suddenly became huge. I'm gonna aim for 20-to-25 as opposed to 25+ for future galleries.
Check out Supporting Actor in a Drama:
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 186

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 186

Dan and Alan talk 'Game of Thrones' 'Mad Men,' 'Twisted,' 'True Blood' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another lengthy installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sepinwall say this week's podcast was gonna be LIGHT? He was incorrect. VERY. This week's podcast makes last week's podcast look brief.
We've got reviews of new shows -- "King & Maxwell," "Twisted" -- and talk of returning shows" -- "Magic City" -- and a lengthy "Game of Thrones" finale discussion and lots to say about this week's "Mad Men" and then a long discussion of the pilots for "Cheers" and "Taxi." Because we promised we'd get to mail this week, we answered one piece of mail. And then, because the news broke this morning, we talked about the TCA Awards nominations.
Note: You'll hear there's the start of a Dan Rants segment on "True Blood." Alan didn't watch new episodes. I watched three. They're awful. Unfortunately, a long chunk-of-rant got lost and... I just wasn't feeling up to remembering what that rant had or hadn't included and backtracking and repeating the whole thing. Perhaps I'll write a review on Friday. Otherwise, just assume that what I said that that we lost boiled down to: If you hoped the show might get better, it has not.
And as we say in the podcast... Next week's Summer Rewatch Pilot? "Veronica Mars."
Here's today's lengthy breakdown:
TCA Awards Nominations (00:01:00 - 00:16:55)
"King & Maxwell" (00:17:00 - 00:23:35)
"Twisted" (00:23:40 - 00:32:20)
"Magic City" (00:32:20 - 00:40:20)
"True Blood" (00:40:20 - 00:43:55)
Listener Mail: Branding (00:43:55 - 00:48:50)
"Game of Thrones" finale (00:49:10 - 01:23:30)
"Mad Men" (01:23:35 - 01:52:00)
Summer Rewatch: "Taxi"/"Cheers" (01:52:00 - 02:26:30)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>The Broadway cast of &quot;Kinky Boots&quot;</p>

The Broadway cast of "Kinky Boots"

Credit: AP Photo/The O+M Company, Matthew Murphy

2013 Tony Awards Live-Blog

Neil Patrick Harris celebrates theater you haven't seen
Greets, salutations and welcome to theater's big night! Or... theatre's big night. I spell it that way, because I've actually been to London more times than New York in the past year and seen more West End theatre than Broadway theater. The only Broadway show I caught this year, in fact, was "The Heiress," which was supposed to be a big Tonys contender, but... wasn't.
So I don't have a clue what deserves to win at Sunday (June 9) night's Tony Awards. 
You can think of this live-blog, then, as a chance to chatter along below, but if you aren't watching the show live, it'll let you know when you want to skip around to catch highlights like the reported duet between Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells, or when the cast of "Bombshell" is going to perform.
It's a public service or something for those of you who are watching the "Game of Thrones" finale or a new episode of "Mad Men"...

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<p>NBC's &quot;Dracula&quot; starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers</p>

NBC's "Dracula" starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers


Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Friday Nights

Increasingly busy night adds 'Bones,' 'Dracula' and 'Hawaii Five-0'
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m.
ABC: "Last Man Standing," "The Neighbors"
CBS: "Undercover Boss"
FOX: "Junior Masterchef," "Bones"
NBC: "Dateline"
9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Shark Tank"
The CW: "America's Next Top Model"
FOX: "Sleepy Hollow" encores and "Raising Hope," "Enlisted"
NBC: "Grimm"
10:00 p.m. 
ABC: "20/20"
CBS: "Blue Bloods"
NBC: "Dracula"
What's Changed: Credit the networks for trying to do new things on Friday night and for continuing to try to buck the conventional wisdom that Friday airings mean death. "Grimm" will be starting its third season on Fridays. "Last Man Standing" will be in its second Friday season. And that's saying nothing of established successes like "Blue Bloods" on CBS and ABC's "Shark Tank." Friday Night Lives! And this fall, FOX will bring still-fairly-robust success "Bones" to Friday, while CBS is doing the same with the slightly-less-robust "Hawaii Five-0." And then you have a few flashy new shows. NBC will try semi-literary, star-driven drama in the 10 p.m. hour with "Dracula" and then "Crossbones." [Did this work last time NBC tried it with a little show called "Crusoe"? Well, no. But you've forgotten "Crusoe" even existed and I apologize for the reminder.] FOX, meanwhile, is planning an isolated comedy block starting mid-fall, if you assume that "Raising Hope" and "Enlisted" will ever actually air on Fridays. And then there's The CW's "Carrie Diaries," which failed on Mondays, so surely it'll succeed on Friday, right? There's a lot of stuff happening on Friday.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: CBS is still likely to dominate Friday overall, but you've gotta credit the network with trying to narrow the gap. "Hawaii Five-0," which only remains on the air due to its international viability, won't come close to equalling the 9-ish million viewers "CSI: NY" was drawing here, though it may keep up with "CSI: NY" in the key demographic. Assuming that "Shark Tank" has another solid summer of repeat sampling, it may be strong enough to help ABC win the night among adults 18-49 all on its own. There are several plausible x-factors. FOX has teased a "Bones" move to Friday several times in the past. Is this just another bluff? If "Sleepy Hollow" fails fast and hard, for example, why wouldn't FOX just keep "Bones" on Monday and shift "Almost Human" to 9 p.m.? Similarly, if "Dads" fails fast and hard, why wouldn't FOX shift established cult favorite "Raising Hope" to a Tuesday 8 p.m. slot it has occupied in the past? And if that happens, what would becoming of that Friday comedy block? I'm not sure both of those failures/shifts are likely, but one of them? I'd almost guarantee it. If "Bones" somehow remains on Fridays, though, it could/should give FOX its best numbers on the night in several years and could make the network competitive in the key demo. Similarly, what if somehow "Dracula" capitalizes on its brand name and maybe star Jonathan Rhys Meyers? Maybe that's enough to combine with the already-respectable "Grimm" to help NBC take the key demo. It'll also be worth watching to see how low numbers for "Carrie Diaries" are and if The CW suddenly finds itself thinking a six-episode final season for "Nikita" isn't quite long enough. It's actually surprising how many strange things could be afoot on Fridays this fall.             
My Predicted DVR: During the spring with "Nikita" and "Happy Endings" and "Vegas" and something I'm forgetting -- I don't want to admit how many episodes of "Cult" I watched -- my DVR was recording steadily on Friday nights. That could continue to be the case this year. I'll stick with "Carrie Diaries" and "Bones" at 8 p.m. and "Raising Hope" (and occasionally "Shark Tank") in the 9 p.m. hour. And I'll definitely give "Dracula" an extended shot in the otherwise-vacant 10 p.m. hour. That's a lot of Friday TV viewing and doesn't include the occasional Starz drama or whatnot.
How have the new schedules impacted your Fridays?


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<p>&quot;The Crazy Ones&quot;</p>

"The Crazy Ones"

Credit: CBS

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Thursday Nights

Robin Williams, Michael J. Fox and Mary Queen of Scots spice up the night
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m. 
CBS: "The Big Bang Theory," "The Millers"
The CW: "The Vampire Diaries"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
NBC: "Parks and Recreation," "Welcome to the Family"
9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Grey's Anatomy"
CBS: "The Crazy Ones," "Two and a Half Men"
The CW: "Reign"
FOX: "Glee," with "Rake" in the spring
NBC: "Sean Saves the World," "The Michael J. Fox Show"
10:00 p.m.
ABC: "Scandal"
CBS: "Elementary"
NBC: "Parenthood"
What's Changed: TV's most valuable night remains the night most likely to traumatize your hypothetical DVR. Unless you have a four-tuner DVR. In that case, if *any* night taxes your DVR, you probably watch too much TV. And yes, that's ME saying that. FOX is the only network keeping things the same on Thursdays, at least in the fall, with "X Factor" results that nobody watches leading into "Glee." "American Idol" results will return in the spring, leading into "Rake," at least for a while. ABC is 2/3rds stable with the resilient "Grey's Anatomy" leading into last season's surprise breakout "Scandal." The CW has given the post-"Vampire Diaries" slot to "Reign," which doesn't make much sense, but hey, they have to try something and you definitely can't say that they've ever failed with this kind of show before. While CBS is returning "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" and "Elementary," the network is banking heavily on Robin Williams in "The Crazy Ones" and, to a lesser degree, Will Arnett in "The Millers." And, finally, NBC doesn't have a single show returning to the same slot as it was in last year, with "Parks and Rec" taking a different Thursday home, "Parenthood" coming over from Tuesdays and then a trio of variably high-profile new comedies, including the returns of past NBC favorites Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox. So yeah. That's a lot of changes.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: CBS is taking the biggest risk. No question about that. This is a night that CBS wins and there's no reason to think that "Big Bang Theory" isn't going to continue to dominate its time period and rank as TV's most watched comedy. However, CBS has taken a night with no big weaknesses and created the potential for a gaping hole in the middle. If "The Millers" fails, will that impact "Crazy Ones"? And if CBS' big bet on Robin Williams fails, will that weaken "Two and a Half Men"? And given that "Two and a Half Men" is very likely to provide a weaker lead-in than "Person of Interest" did, what impact will that have on "Elementary"? Don't get me wrong. I know why CBS is doing this. The network needs to recharge its comedy lineup with "How I Met Your Mother" departing and "Two and a Half Men" on borrowed time. Setting up a new Thursday block gives CBS more seeding opportunities and it also let the network put an established hit in its only struggling Tuesday hour. You can try stuff like this if you're the No. 1 network. And if you're NBC... You keep throwing things against the wall, but with what hope of stickage? Unlike a lot of observers, I like the idea of putting "Michael J. Fox" at 9:30 because if it works, it gives a boost to "Parenthood," while "Parenthood" seems fairly likely to do better than most of what NBC has fiddled with in this slot for years. I don't see much upside to "Sean Saves the World," though, while as much as I love "Parks and Rec," I don't see it as being a fruitful lead-in for "Welcome to the Family." But if NBC can build the back half of the night, that's big. ABC's decision to air "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" in the long-crippled 8 p.m. hour seems faulty. In that slot, the show gets zero benefit from its "Once Upon a Time" roots and goes against some of the toughest competition in TV. Programming "Wonderland" here shows a lot of faith on ABC's part, but why? The network hasn't even seen a full pilot. Dunno. I'm also baffled by the "Reign" thing. It doesn't seem to make much sense. Of course, I haven't watched "Reign." And as for "Rake," if FOX still believes "Idol" can function as an effective launch pad, this was a necessity, because FOX has no remaining dramas capable of serving as a viable lead-in, unless you count "Bones," which FOX apparently doesn't with the shift to Fridays.
My Predicted DVR: Yeah, Thursdays are impossible and it becomes an issue of relative convenience in off-network viewership. For example, because it's a breeze to watch NBC shows on Hulu, my 8 p.m. DVR will be "Vampire Diaries" and the CBS comedies, with "Wonderland" also getting a few weeks of Hulu viewing to prove itself. So that's impossible. But the 9 p.m. hour? No clue. Maybe "The Crazy Ones," "The Michael J. Fox Show" and "Grey's Anatomy"? Unless I somehow love "Reign"? And in the 10 p.m. hour, I'll be recording "Scandal" and "Elementary" and watching "Parenthood" on Hulu, probably. I guess.
How have the new schedules impacted your Thursdays?


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<p>Blair Underwood of &quot;Ironside&quot;</p>

Blair Underwood of "Ironside"

Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Wednesday Nights

Will 'Ironside' or 'Super Fun Time' or 'Tomorrow People' shake things up?
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m.
ABC: "The Middle," "Back in the Game"
CBS: "Survivor"
The CW: "Arrow"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
NBC: "Revolution"
9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Modern Family," "Super Fun Night"
CBS: "Criminal Minds"
The CW: "Tomorrow People"
FOX: "The X Factor" (and then "Idol")
NBC: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
10 p.m. 
ABC: "Nashville"
CBS: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"
NBC: "Ironside"
What's Changed: Thanks in part to FOX's determination to keep renewing a talent competition nobody particularly cares about -- "X Factor," not "American Idol" -- Wednesdays are a good deal more stable than the couple nights that came before. FOX remains untouched. CBS remains untouched. Once again, ABC is using established successes "The Middle" and "Modern Family" to try to launch new comedies, a strategy that has had only limited success thus far, while keeping "Nashville," a DVR winner but a middling live performer, in its place. The CW keeps freshman CW-sized smash "Arrow" in place, using it to lead into the new drama "Tomorrow People." The only network changing more than half of its Wednesday lineup is NBC, with "Revolution" taking the 8 p.m. hour, Blair Underwood's "Ironside" remake at 10 p.m. and NBC's stubborn insistence on airing "SVU" in the 9 p.m. hour even though all indications have always been that it performs better at 10 p.m.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: The "Revolution" producers have always sworn that their show is a big-tent family hour. Now they'll get to prove it. NBC's needs from "Revolution" aren't that exorbitant. Nobody's asking it to return to its fall levels, only to do nearly what it has done in a dwindling spring and hold onto its robust DVR tallies. If it does that, it'll be a huge improvement over NBC's various comedy duds this year. If it fails to do that and takes a "Smash"-sized plunge without "The Voice," "Revolution" will be remembered as an epic flameout and little more. Otherwise, there's a lot of pragmatism on Wednesday. FOX, for example, knows that "X Factor" isn't likely to improve much, so the network is just hoping for another modest season and maybe a few drama hits elsewhere so that "X Factor" doesn't need to be brought back again. NBC can't honestly expect "Ironside" to improve much on what "Chicago Fire" did here last year, but if it can approach those levels while "Chicago Fire" takes the next step on Tuesday after "The Voice," it's a win. And The CW can't be expecting "Tomorrow People" to improve much on "Supernatural," but if "Supernatural" can boost Tuesday and "Tomorrow People" can near those numbers thanks to "Arrow," that's a win. And how much can ABC really expect "Super Fun Night" or "Back in the Game" to do in those sandwich slots? The answer: If either of them does a *smidge* better than "The Neighbors" or "How To Live Blah Blah Blah," that's a victory. [All bets on "Super Fun Night" are off if the network can redevelop the pilot *successfully*. I think there's breakout potential for a *good* Rebel Wilson comedy. A bad one could fail fast and hard.] In short, I don't see anybody making any big advances or huge declines on Wednesday this year. It's a night that's about enabling success elsewhere more than anything else.
My Predicted DVR: For me, a lot depends on whether or not I simply quit recapping "The X Factor" this year. I haven't decided yet. If I drop "X Factor," I then recap "Survivor" on Eastern Time and that leaves me with "Arrow" and maybe "Revolution" being recorded at 8 p.m. and "Modern Family" (and maybe "Super Fun Night" just due to convenience) and possibly "Tomorrow People" at 9 p.m. If I recap "X Factor," that then require another DVR slot for "Survivor" at 8 p.m. and probably drops "Revolution" from my rotation, which won't be a tragedy. At 10 p.m. I'll still be recording "Nashville" and we'll see about "Ironside," or if I just go with something on cable. 
How have the new schedules impacted your Wednesdays?
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 185

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 185

Dan and Alan talk 'Graceland,' 'Game of Thrones' 'Orphan Black' and more


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls. 
We like to switch back and forth on who cased Firewall & Iceberg podcasting delays. This week? Totally my fault. 
There's lots to talk about, though. TONS to talk about. In fact, this is the latest "longest podcast ever." Yes. We say that every week. But, like the universe, we are ever-expanding. 
This week's podcast features a review of USA's "Graceland," a strange amount of babble about the WGA's 101 Best Written TV Shows list and spoiler-laden discussions of "Orphan Black," "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men."
We also debut this summer's Rewatch, with the pilot for "The Sopranos." Next week's pilots will be first installments of "Taxi" and "Cheers."
Here's today's breakdown:
"Graceland" (00:01:05 - 00:18:30)
WGA's Top 101 Shows (00:18:30 - 00:38:10)
"Orphan Black" (00:38:30 - 00:57:05)
"Game of Thrones" (00:57:05 - 01:15:10)
"Mad Men" (01:15:15 - 01:40:20)
Summer Rewatch: "The Sopranos" pilot (01:40:30 - 02:01:05)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>&quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

DVR Gridlock 2013-14: Tuesday Nights

How will Joss Whedon's 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' impact the night?
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments.]
8:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
The CW: "The Originals"
FOX: "Dads," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
NBC: "The Biggest Loser"
9:00 p.m.
ABC: "The Goldbergs," "Trophy Wife"
The CW: "Supernatural"
FOX: "New Girl," "The Mindy Project"
NBC: "The Voice"
10:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Lucky 7"
NBC: "Chicago Fire"
What's Changed: Well, if you're ABC, *everything* has changed, as the network is going down the rare path of an entire night of newly introduced original scripted programming, all anchored by perhaps the most anticipated premiere of the fall, assuming you trust the Interwebs. Yup. Kids online are *psyched* for "The Goldbergs." After trying to launch a slew of new dramas out of "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS bucked conventional pre-upfronts wisdom and moved established hit "Person of Interest," rather than ordering "NCIS: Red." NBC is doubling up on reality by moving "The Voice" to 9 p.m. and putting in "Biggest Loser" at 8 and then hoping to turn "Chicago Fire" from NBC-sized hit to bona fide hit. FOX is keeping established success "New Girl" and established ratings failure "The Mindy Project" at 9 p.m. but leading into the two female friendly comedies with a pair of male-friendly comedies. And, finally, The CW is putting "Supernatural" on yet another new night, hoping that it'll combine with "Vampire Diaries" spinoff "The Originals" to produce a big bump. But really... It's all about "S.H.I.E.L.D." Duh.
How the Ratings Race Is Impacted: Everybody I know is psyched for "S.H.I.E.L.D." Everybody you know is psyched for "S.H.I.E.L.D." But honestly, are we making a big assumption that just because "The Avengers" was a mind-boggling smash that there's a mammoth mainstream audience out there eager to watch a not-exactly-superhero drama fronted by Clark Gregg and featuring a grand total of "zero" of the established Avengers? It's an astoundingly big question mark and it all comes down to a matter of scale, particularly when it comes to perception. Is "S.H.I.E.L.D." going to be a true phenomenon -- i.e. 15 million viewers and a 4+ rating in the 18-49 demo? Is it going to be a reasonable hit -- 10+ million and a 3+ rating in the 18-49 demo? Or is it going to get clobbered by "NCIS" and then have to pick up a huge DVR bump in order to be considered any kind of success at all? If it's either of the two formers, it could set up a good comedy block for ABC, but what are the odds that that will ripple all the way through to 10 p.m. with a no-name ensemble drama about lottery winners? Very low, I'd guess. CBS will continue to be a total viewer juggernaut thanks to the "NCIS" double-dose and "Person of Interest" has a fanbase of its own after two strong seasons of growth on Thursdays. Even if "PoI" falls from Thursday in a time period with lower TV usage and whatnot, it's certain to improve on both the audience and key demo numbers for "Vegas," "Golden Boy," "Unforgettable" and "Good Wife," among recent time period "favorites." So that makes CBS tough, while NBC will also be tougher, with "Chicago Fire" showing real growth potential with a boost from "The Voice." Heck, even The CW is going to be bigger, since even if "The Originals" doesn't approach "Vampire Diaries" levels, it only needs to approach "Hart of Dixie" level, while "Supernatural" will definitely improve on "Emily Owens" and "Cult" from last season. All of that means that with the other four networks growing, FOX could be in trouble. On the bright side, "New Girl" should be steady and "The Mindy Project" probably will be as well, although that's not so bright. "Dads" is going to struggle to even do steady "Raising Hope"-level ratings. So FOX's entire hope for improvement hinges on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which puts a lot of pressure on Andy Samberg, since as awesome as he is, we know Andre Braugher brings more positive reviews to the table than viewers.
My Predicted DVR: I haven't been overtaxed on Tuesdays for a while, but a bit of a logjam could be forming. "S.H.I.E.L.D." is a lock to get a DVR slot and I'll watch "The Originals" as a "Vampire Diaries"/Phoebe Tonkin fan. So that means "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will have to be a Hulu/OnDemand regular. I'll stick with FOX's comedies at 9 p.m. and maybe add the ABC comedies depending on how they progress. In the 10 p.m. hour, with "Person of Interest" and "Chicago Fire," I have two series recordings, both both for what are effectively laundry shows. I'm not sure I do that much laundry. 
How have the new schedules impacted your Tuesdays?
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