<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Friday's "Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go'

Teams hit to Jolly Old England and mictation plays a small role in the drama

[This recap of Friday (October 3) night's "The Amazing Race" may be a bit rushed. I've got some Yom Kippur atoning to do. But I still want to do some honor to a decent enough Leg.]

As you may have heard from a unshaven, drunk, pot-belled WWII era manager, there is no crying in baseball.

Nobody has ever made the same claim about "The Amazing Race."

In actuality, there's a lot of crying on "The Amazing Race." 

And I'm not entirely without understanding.

Let's say you're an "Amazing Race" superfan and you've actually taken the time to study Race strategy and accumulate some of the skills that normally pay dividends and then you find yourself actually on "The Amazing Race" and in only your second Leg, you find yourself falling victim to a semi-unavoidable combination of current and lack of upper-body strength? 

I guess I can allow for some sniffling, especially if your commitment to remaining in the hunt goes so far as to let you put self-consciousness aside and urinate in a river while tittering Brits point and shame you.

On that note, though, if people are falling into the river left and right, why would you not just feign a topple into the drink, whiz away and then climb back up? On the scale of embarrassment goes, surely clumsiness is superior to public micturition. 

The problem with not doing "Amazing Race" exit interviews this season is that I'll never get to ask Nici about that decision.

[More after the break... With spoilers]

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<p>Nick Offerman on &quot;The Simpsons&quot;</p>

Nick Offerman on "The Simpsons"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Nick Offerman on his 'Simpsons' voice and TV life after 'Parks and Recreation'

Will Offerman be jumping into pilot season this spring?

I talked with Nick Offerman earlier this week and got the answer to the question I'm sure you're all wondering:

A ukelele. 

What? You weren't clamoring for details on the latest carpentry projects from Hollywood's endlessly busy Renaissance Man? 

Personally, I'm always interested in Offerman's woodworking, because I know the value he puts in maintaining that pursuit and skill -- it's not just a hobby -- while following a schedule that would exhaust a lesser man. On Offerman's recent/current slate: He's completing work on the final season of "Parks and Recreation." He's touring the country with his one-man humor/lifestyle spectacle "Full Bush." He directed the marvelous and star-studded video for Tweedy's "Low Key." He's apparently co-producing a documentary about writer Wendell Berry. He appeared in the summer blockbuster "22 Jump Street" and probably has another half-dozen movies coming out soon.

And this Sunday night (October 5), Offerman can be heard as a guest voice on "The Simpsons."

While Offerman is no stranger to FOX animation voices -- he produced and starred in "Axe Cop" and also was heard on "The Cleveland Show" and "Bob's Burgers" -- he describes the chance to guest on "The Simpsons" as "a pinnacle." 

In the episode, Offerman voices Captain Bowditch operator of The RelationShip, a vessel that gives fathers and sons the chance to learn to sail and to repair their relationships. And if you're surprised that Offerman is, himself, a passionate devotee of all things nautical, you haven't been paying enough attention.

Beyond talking about "The Simpsons" and carpentry, my interview with Offerman also covered the on-set emotions for the "Parks and Recreation" team, as well as his thoughts about this spring's pilot season and a return to TV.

It was a great chat, because Offerman is always great to chat with.

He can be heard on "The Simpsons" this Sunday. 

Check out the full Q&A...

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 250

Dan and Alan review 'Survivor's Remorse,' 'Homeland,' 'Mulaney' and several finales

The

Happy Friday, Boys & Girls! 

Time for this week's second installment of The Firewall & Iceberg podcast.

We covered a lot on Tuesday's podcast, but we still have reviews for "Mulaney," "Survivor's Remorse" and the new season of "Homeland." We liked one and disliked the other two... 

And we talked about last Sunday's finales for "Outlander" and "Masters of Sex." 

Oh and "Bob's Burgers" is coming back on Sunday and the episode is awesome, so we at least mentioned that...

Here's today's breakdown:
"Survivor's Remorse" (00:00:55 - 00:10:50)
"Bob's Burgers" (00:11:00 - 00:13:00)
"Homeland" (00:13:00 - 00:26:30)
"Mulaney" (00:28:05 - 00:41:05)
"Outlander" midseason finale (00:41:40 - 00:55:40)
"Masters of Sex" finale (00:55:40 - 01:13:30)

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.

<p>Packers QB Aaron Rogers</p>

Packers QB Aaron Rogers

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: Thursday Night Football rout tops 'Gracepoint,' NBC comedy premieres

'Scandal' and 'How To Get Away With Murder' hold up well for ABC

Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Yet another dismal Thursday Night Football rout still helped CBS hold off the primetime competition as "Gracepoint," "Bad Judge" and "A to Z" all delivered lackluster debuts.

Meanwhile, although ABC's Shonda Rhimes Thursday lineup sported across-the-board declines, none of the drops were dangerously large as the network finished second in all measures. [Plus, all three ABC dramas rose last week in Finals, which has been a consistent recent trend for ABC.]

Oh and The CW had its first fall premieres, with "The Vampire Diaries" delivering solid demo numbers and "Reign" flopping. "The Vampire Diaries" was, in fact, up from last year's finale and beat NBC's "Biggest Loser" among adults 18-34.

On to the Fast National ratings...

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<p>&quot;The Vampire Diaries&quot; - &quot;I&#39;ll Remember&quot;</p>

"The Vampire Diaries" - "I'll Remember"

Credit: The CW

10 Thoughts on the 'Vampire Diaries' Season 6 Premiere

Bonnie and Damon are WHERE? Elena's taking WHAT?

I saw the Season 6 premiere of "The Vampire Diaries" last week and you've perhaps already seen my post with a handful of teases courtesy of showrunner Caroline Dries, who did a Q&A with a few reporters afterwards.

At the time, I held off on any spoilers beyond mentioning that just about everybody was handling the aftermath of last season's finale with varying degrees of sadness, self-hatred and mourning.

Now maybe I can talk a bit more about the premiere, which I thought was more mired in the aftermath of the Season 5 finale than progressing the narrative in ways I wanted to see in upcoming episodes.

I don't have time for a full review or recap, but after the break, I've got a handful of thoughts, all involving spoilers, obviously...

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'Gotham' elects a 'Heroes' veteran as its Harvey Dent
Credit: DC Comics

'Gotham' elects a 'Heroes' veteran as its Harvey Dent

FOX and WBTV believe in Nicholas D'Agosto

Yet another one of the most famous villains in Batman lore is coming to FOX in his nascent form.

HitFix can confirm that Nicholas D'Agosto has been cast as Harvey Dent in "Gotham," which has been a solid early success for FOX. D'Agosto will be a recurring guest star for the remainder of the first "Gotham" season with a series regular option for the second season which is, as of now, both likely and hypothetical.

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<p>Wednesday&#39;s &quot;Black-ish&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Black-ish"

Credit: ABC

Ratings Analysis: 'Black-ish' down, 'Stalker' ties 'CSI,' plus Tuesday numbers

ABC's 'Selfie' and 'Manhattan Love Story' rise in Finals, while 'Forever' is soft

I started a Tuesday Ratings Analysis piece yesterday afternoon, but then a problem arose.

See, I dedicated the entire intro to the dire ratings for "Utopia" and its negative pull on FOX's Tuesday comedies and the necessity to finally give up on "Utopia" and shuffle lineup positions.

My solution was the one I've given a couple times before: Shift struggling Wednesday drama "Red Band Society," with its young female core and nothing else, to Tuesdays where it could at least bring those viewers to "New Girl." Put "MasterChef Junior" on Wednesdays either before or after "Hell's Kitchen" and just make it a Gordon Ramsay night. Let "Utopia" continue on Fridays and just plug your nose and look away.

Of course, as I reached the half-way point in the post, FOX announced that "MasterChef Junior" would move to Tuesdays and "Utopia" will remain on Fridays, where the network can plug its nose and look away. This was what I recommended on the morning after "Utopia" premiered when there was no way of knowing whether or not "Red Band Society" would succeed. It makes sense. Relaunching a low-rated scripted drama after a few episodes is vastly harder than just using playoff baseball to promote a new time period for a new season of a reality show.

The FOX announcement, followed by "Survivor" recapping duties put the kibosh on analysis. So this is now several days of Live+Same Day Finals analysis, which is a lot of bullet points. Sorry. Blame Dan Piraro. And if you don't know who Dan Piraro is... That's why this all happened.

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'Gracepoint' star Anna Gunn on deviations from 'Broadchurch' and 'Breaking Bad' Emmy wins

'Gracepoint' star Anna Gunn on deviations from 'Broadchurch' and 'Breaking Bad' Emmy wins

Emmy winner also discusses bonding with David Tennant

Earlier in the week, I posted my report from the Victoria, British Columbia set of "Gracepoint," which included highlights from interviews with stars Anna Gunn and David Tennant.

Those two interviews were done with a couple other reporters, so when I sat down 1:1 with Gunn a couple weeks ago, was able to try to steer our conversation in different directions. 

This was particularly easy, since on the set, I hadn't watched any episodes of "Gracepoint," but three months later, having seen seven episodes, I was able to ask about the developing partnership between Gunn's Ellie Carver and Tennant's Emmett Carver as they investigate the murder of young Danny Solano. I was also able to ask, in non-spoilery terms, about the deviations from "Broadchurch" that finally occur in Episodes 6 and 7.

"It was very exciting," Gunn says of seeing the changes. "I thought the original storyline of 'Broadchurch' was brilliant, but it was nice to know that they were going to do some different things so that those people, those viewers who had watched 'Broadchurch,' wouldn't feel like, 'OK, well we're watching the same... We know exactly what's going to happen.'"

And, given the timing, I had to ask about the recent Emmy winners for "Breaking Bad," which closed the book on its final season with wins for Drama Series, for Gunn and for stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, which Gunn calls "a dream ending."

Check out the full interview above. [You also get to enjoy the moment when the light goes out on our camera and confusion briefly ensues.]

"Gracepoint" premieres on FOX at 9 p.m. tonight (October 2).

<p>&quot;Stalker&quot;</p>

"Stalker"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Stalker' premiere helps CBS top Wednesday as 'Black-ish' falls hard

'Criminal Minds' returns solidly to help CBS win in all measures

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

The series premiere of "Stalker" retained enough of its "Criminal Minds" lead-in to win its hour and help CBS top Wednesday night in all key measures.

There were a lot of drooping numbers on Wednesday night, with "Mysteries of Laura," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Chicago PD." "Modern Family" and "The Middle" among shows posting big declines. 

No Wednesday drop was bigger, though, than ABC's "Black-ish" decline of 24 percent in the key demo. ABC, in contrast, prefers to emphasize that this was the strongest Week 2 retention for any post-"Modern Family" comedy since 2009, which is also true.

Essentially flat was FOX's "Red Band Society," which makes it a Wednesday winner, if you don't look at how low the numbers are (or just concentrate on the 60+ percent DVR growth last week).

And speaking of numbers...

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<p>Virginia Kull of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

Virginia Kull of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Meet 'Gracepoint' star Virginia Kull

Theater veteran discusses getting emotional to play a grieving mother

VICTORIA, BC. Two of TV's biggest breakout performances of 2014 have come from Allison Tolman and Carrie Coon, a pair of thirtysomething actresses who seemingly arrived fully formed in "Fargo" and "The Leftovers." Tolman and Coon were relative unknowns, unless you happened to know your Chicago or New York theater, but it was instantly clear from their opening small screen moments that they were stars.

If "Gracepoint," FOX's 10-episode remake of "Broadchurch," is a hit, you can expect Virginia Kull to find herself in conversations with Tolman and Coon. While the Texas-raised actress has had brief and occasionally memorable guest turns on shows including "The Following," "The Good Wife" and "Boardwalk Empire," you probably won't know her unless you saw her in stage productions of "The Orphans’ Home Cycle" or "The Heiress" or "Dividing The Estate," among others.

In "Gracepoint," Kull plays Beth Solano, grieving mother to the young boy whose murder sets the drama in motion. If you've seen "Broadchurch," it's the Jodie Whittaker role and you know how much emotional heavy-lifting it requires.

Back in May, Kull and her knee-high rubber rain boots braved drizzle and muck to sit down for interviews near the "Gracepoint" set on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

I met Kull without having seen her "Gracepoint" performance, but having heard raves from all of her co-stars. In the conversation, we talked about her detour to acting from a career in medicine and her gifts as an easy crier. We also talked about why her character will inevitably be different from Whittaker's, even if Kull is a big admirer. 

I've subsequently seen seven episodes of "Gracepoint" and I can vouch for what her colleagues told me. Kull is very impressive. 

Check out the full Q&A to get to know a bit about Virginia Kull before Thursday's "Gracepoint" premiere...

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