<p>Jeff Probst snuffs Jonathan Penner's torch on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jeff Probst snuffs Jonathan Penner's torch on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jonathan Penner talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

The third time wasn't the charm for this returning favorite
As "Survivor" contestants go, Jonathan Penner is one of a kind. 
 
Yes, there have been other three-time "Survivor" players and of the three-time players, Penner presumably goes down as one of the least accomplished within the game itself, right? He finished seventh in "Survivor: Cook Islands," was medically evacuated from "Survivor: Micronesia" and just earned a repeat seventh place finish for "Survivor: Philippines."
 
But how many of those three-time players can also say that they were nominated for an Oscar (for the short "Down on the Waterfront") and part of the inciting event that launched the sitcom classic "The Nanny"? 
 
Only Penner.
 
In addition, Penner has gained a reputation as a "Survivor" strategist and quotable talking head that goes well beyond whether or not he ever won the million bucks.
 
That Penner made it to seventh place on "Survivor: Philippines" is a minor miracle, since he was on a tribe with former MLB star Jeff Kent, who immediately announced it was his mission in the game to send all of the returning players home. But thanks to an Immunity Idol and some savvy dealing, Penner outlasted Kent, at least by a few days. 
 
And he could have lasted even longer except for two things: First, much maligned Abi chose Wednesday's episode to put forth her first effort of the season, winning Immunity when her elimination was a foregone conclusion otherwise. And second, Penner refused to make any Final 4 deals within his Top 6 alliance and by failing to lock down the vote of former "Facts of Life" character Blair Warner, he allowed her to become part of a different foursome, leaving him on the outside and heading home.
 
In a lively exit interview, Penner discusses his colorful Tribal Council exit, his simultaneous understanding and misreading of Blair Warner and handicaps Abi's chances as a "Survivor" villain. He also talks about the possibility of a fourth run on "Survivor" in the future.
 
It's a good interview. Click through...
 
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<p>Abbie and Ryan of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Abbie and Ryan of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Abbie & Ryan talk 'The Amazing Race'

Frankfurt and U-Turn talk with the latest eliminated team
In order to make it home for Sunday night's installment of "The Amazing Race," I had to make a tight flight connection at a German airport, sweating it out through international customs and racing across terminals to catch my Lufthansa plane. 
 
In that respect, I understand what "Amazing Race" contestants Abbie Ginsberg and Ryan Danz were going through.
 
The key difference: I made it to my gate and my plane departed successfully, which allowed me to watch Abbie & Ryan struggle in a German airport for the second time in three weeks, as travel inconveniences and a U-Turn by chums James & Jaymes led to their elimination.
 
Two other differences: I was making my connection in Munich and Abbie & Ryan were in Frankfurt, while I was returning from a vacation and they were racing for $2 million.
 
By virtue of winning the season's opening "Amazing Race" Leg, the competitive dating duo had a chance to be the first "Amazing Race" team to double the show's standard $1 million prize. And, for several Legs, it looked like they might dominate the course, finishing first or second in five of the first six Legs before the two travel disasters eventually did them in.
 
In their "Amazing Race" exit interview, Abbie & Ryan talk about the free coffee at the Frankfurt airport, the reason for their frustration at Jaymes & James' U-Turn decision and their ongoing confidence that they were dominating the controllable elements of the Race.
 
Click through for the full conversation
 
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<p>Diamond White of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Diamond White of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Top 8 - Two eliminations and Alicia Keys performs

But mostly? Burrito Josh returns to the 'X Factor' stage!

It's nearly time for Burrito Josh!

That's why we're all watching Thursday (November 29) night's "The X Factor," right? Burrito Josh!

He was like Vino Alan, only instead of tattoos everywhere, he had a huge beard! And instead of entertaining the troops for a living, he MADE BURRITOS!

Oh right. Alicia Keys is gonna perform also.

Oh right. We're sending home two musical acts.

OK, fine. Let's get down to business...

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<p>Malcolm and Abi of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Malcolm and Abi of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Hell Hath Frozen Over'

With her back against the fall, could Abi become a warrior?
Pre-credit sequence. I'm not going to miss Pete [an uninteresting exit interview]. Will anybody from Dangrayne? Abi will! It's The Morning After and she's whining about the "brutality" of Tribal Council. She declares that their behavior towards her wasn't "cute." [Monkey!] Denise says that Abi's next to go, unless she "miraculously" wins Immunity, but since she wanted to introduce that possibility, she might as well tell us who would be the next target in the event of said miracle. That'd be Jonathan Penner. That's what we so often call "foreshadowing," kids. 
 
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<p>Tate Stevens of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Tate Stevens of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Top 8 - Performances

Like tentacles on an octopus, the eight perform

I was out of the continent last week and, thus, missed both Wednesday and Thursday installments of "The X Factor." 

Somehow, the roar of buzz failed to inform me that Beatrice Miller and Arin Ray were sent home until now. I'm not shocked. Beatrice was incredibly talented, but her insecurities were worsening as the glare of the spotlight grew brighter. This show wasn't helpful to her. I think we'll see her again in a few years, but it's not an insult to say some people shouldn't be forced to become stars at 13. And as for Arin, he was only an OK version of an archetype that doesn't do all that well on FOX singing competition shows. 

So it goes.

We've got performances from the Top 8 coming up tonight. I have no clue how the time will be filled beyond that. Lots of Khloe Kardashian-Odom reading cue-cards?

Let's find out!

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<p>Pete's torch is extinguished on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Pete's torch is extinguished on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Pete Yurkowski talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Was his strategy of 'creating chaos' worthwhile in the end?
I wasn't around to recap last Wednesday night's eventful episode of "Survivor: Philippines," but due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I was still able to have my weekly exit interview and chat with Pete Yurkowski about his torch-snuffing.
 
In one of those reversals of fortune that happen three or four times every "Survivor" season, Pete went from atop a seemingly powerful majority alliance to out-of-the-game over a two-episode span. First he helped minimize the Tandang domination by voting against long-time rival RC, then he lost a tenuous ally when Mike Skupin flipped on Artis. And finally Pete was forced to beg for Skupin's support when it became clear that primary target Abi's Immunity Idol made him the next player on the block.
 
Pete's attempts to convince other players that Malcolm, holding an Idol himself, would be better blindside fodder amounted to nothing when host Jeff Probst spent a full Tribal Council dwelling on the collective antipathy towards Abi.  
 
In a conversation marked by long pauses and frequent dodges, Pete discussed his relationship with Abi, his dislike of Skupin and whether or not his own attempts to generate random chaos ended up doing more harm than good. 
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 158

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 158

Dan and Alan talk 'The Hour,' 'Treme,' 'Revolution' and more

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
 
After taking last week off for Thanksgiving, we're back with another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this week's podcast, Sepinwall and I review the new season of BBC America's "The Hour," talk about the finale of "Treme" and the midseason finale of "Revolution" and discuss two weeks of "Homeland." We also answered a few pieces of Listener Mail. Oh and Alan talks a little bit about a certain new book you might have heard of.
 
Next week's podcast could be light, so feel free to send more mail and we'll get to some of it!
 
Here's today's breakdown:
Alan's Book (00:00:50 - 00:07:10)
"The Hour" (00:07:15 - 00:16:05)
Listener Mail - "Last Resort" cancellation (00:17:05 - 00:26:35)
Listener Mail - female TV stars in movie ensembles (00:27:00 - 00:30:35)
Listener Mail - Skippable "Cheers" seasons (00:30:35 - 00:32:30)
"Revolution" (00:32:50 - 00:43:05)
"Treme" (00:43:10 - 53:30)
"Homeland" (00:53:35 - 01:16:22)
 

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.] 

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

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<p>Jaymes and James of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jaymes and James of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Fishy Kiss'

The teams head to Amsterdam where a Double U-Turn looms
Sunday (November 25) night's episode of "The Amazing Race" was simultaneously very simple and yet very complicated, wasn't it?
 
None of the tasks completed during the episode were especially difficult, but there were definitely a lot of them. We had a Roadblock and a Detour and a Fast-Forward, plus there was a Double U-Turn. And then, as if that weren't enough, we got several layers of travel drama. 
 
There was such a myriad-assortment of busy-ness that there were three or four majority contributing factors to the week's elimination, even though none of them had to do with success or failure at any challenge. 
 
The result was that this was a third straight week in which "The Amazing Race" delivered a strong episode, despite major structural problems. 
 
Then again, when was the last time "The Amazing Race" delivered three straight episodes of this caliber? 
 
It's been a while, so I guess I won't quibble.
 
[On to the recap after the break. Apologies if any of this is scattered. I'm on an 11-hour flight returning from a vacation and it's already two or three in the morning in my head...]
 
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<p>Josh and Brent on &quot;The Amazing Race.&quot;</p>

Josh and Brent on "The Amazing Race."

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'We Was Robbed'

Egos, ankles, and pants take a beating in a 'unique' Moscow showdown.
[Note: Dan is on vacation, so Myles McNutt is filling in for this week's "The Amazing Race" recap.]
 
When last week’s “Amazing Race” ended with “To Be Continued,” it was a different ending than we’re used to seeing with that particular phrase: whereas sometimes the show has done this when a leg gets extended (and the “Pit Stop” becomes a halfway point), in this case it was to put off the inevitable conclusion temporarily. Josh and Brent were failing miserably at the Synchronized Swimming Detour after falling behind due to a missed connection, but then James and Abba lost a passport, meaning that it was a race to see whose failure would be most insurmountable.
 
“We Was Robbed” tells that story and a few others, although they’re also different stories than you may be used to seeing. If you watch “The Amazing Race” to see teams race against one another, you likely enjoyed the first twenty minutes of tonight’s episode. If you watch “The Amazing Race” to see teams race against themselves in a seemingly meaningless march to the finish line, though, you were in for a treat.
 
To find out who won the race for failure, and who ended up leaving Russia empty-handed, click through for the full recap…
 
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<p>Artis of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Artis of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Artis Silvester talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

What was Artis' problem with Skupin and his deal with Pete and Abi?
"You're asking people to give you a million dollars and as human beings, nobody in their right mind wants to give an a***hole a million dollars, unless he's up there with other a**holes," says Artis Silvester, summarizing one of the basic truths of "Survivor."
 
Those are wise and fitting words for the 53-year-old, who became the most recent player voted out on "Survivor: Philippines."
 
Artis didn't get an especially complimentary edit on "Survivor," receiving very little screentime and spending much of that time mocking, maligning or fighting with returning player Mike Skupin.
 
However, Artis came away as practically saintly compared to his alliance-members Pete and Abi.
 
In his exit interview, Artis makes it clear that while he was aligned with Pete, the more problematic Abi was merely an unfortunate byproduct. He also discusses his issues with Skupin and he insists that he knew who Jeff Kent was, even if that never was featured on TV.
 
Click through for the full Q&A.
 
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