Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Mom' helps CBS top slow Thursday as NBC's People Magazine Awards tanks

The CW gets decent numbers from an IHeartRadio special

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 18, 2014.

With a "Big Bang Theory" repeat and a new episode of "Mom" leading the way, CBS dominated Thursday night in all measures. 

And yes, CBS had the NFL preemption in Jacksonville and FOX had the preemption in Nashville on Thursday, but given that the game was between the Jaguars and Titans, it's unlikely that it caused a huge amount of ratings inflation.

Meanwhile, NBC's "People Magazine Awards" became the latest failed attempt to start a new primetime awards tradition, following in the footsteps of FOX's latest country music thing and the movie awards that failed on CBS last month.

The night was slow enough that The CW even got an OK audience for another of its normally lackluster IHeartRadio specials, in this case the Jingle Ball.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Phil Keoghan and friend</p>

Phil Keoghan and friend

Credit: CBS

Interview: Phil Keoghan teases the 'Amazing Race' Season 25 finale

Host and puffin cohort discusses the remaining four teams and this season's twists

"The Amazing Race" concludes its 25th installment on Friday (December 19) night with its first four-team finale, pitting Wrestlers Brooke & Robbie, Food Scientists Amy & Maya, Dentists Jim & Misti and Surfers Bethany & Adam.

The field is extra packed because in last week's episode, Amy & Maya reached the Pit Stop in last, only to be told that it was a "Keep on racing..." Leg, which isn't the same as a Non-Elimination Leg, because we already had three of those this season, making four out of 11 weeks in which the "Amazing Race" episode ended without a team heading home.

Earlier this week, I got on the phone to chat with "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan about the season so far and the upcoming finale. 

As usual, Phil and I don't always agree on everything. He, for example, insists audiences loved last year's Las Vegas finale. I'm reasonably sure that was not universal the universal opinion.

Phil also saw only positive reactions to last week's result for Amy & Maya, which hasn't entirely been my read on fan response.

And he's sure that audiences started out hating Brooke & Robbie, but have grown to love them. You can decide for yourself!

However, even when we disagree, Phil is always an "Amazing Race" enthusiast, so I enjoy chatting with him about these developments and more, including his appearances within challenges this season and the time crunch that has caused.

Check out the full interview below and check back on Friday night for my full "Amazing Race" finale recap...

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<p>Sadie Calvano of &quot;Mom&quot;</p>

Sadie Calvano of "Mom"

Credit: CBS

Interview: 'Mom' star Sadie Calvano discusses CBS' dramatic comedy

Therapy brings up some dark secrets in Thursday's episode

It's time for your weekly reminder: CBS' "Mom" is taking creative risks that no other comedy on TV, especially no other multi-cam comedy on network TV, is even considering.

After tackling drug addiction, teen pregnancy, cancer and an assortment of other maladies and discomforts last season and delving into depression and economic hardship so far in Season 2, "Mom" delves into some of its darkest terrain with Monday's episode, "Free Therapy and a Dead Lady's Yard Sale," in which, as the title suggests, a group therapy session leads Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) to tell an acting-out Violet (Sadie Calvano) some distressing truths about her father. Long stretches of the episode play out in almost purely dramatic mode with nary a punchline.

But, as always seems to be the case on "Mom," if ever things get too somber, there's a corpse that "looked like a bean-bag chair in a nightgown," or an acerbic cut-down from the deservingly Emmy-toasted Janney. 

That Janney and Faris have been able to sell the tonal rainbow that is "Mom" hasn't been a surprise. They were always the anchors for this Chuck Lorre show. The big surprise, especially since midseason last year and into this fall, has been Calvano, a 17-year-old actress whose most prominent credit before this was apparently "Melissa & Joey."

Last season, Calvano's Violet had to deal with comedic subplots -- Flatulence at prom is an issue if you're pregnant, apparently -- but also with the tough to decision to give up her baby to an adoptive couple. This season, things have gotten far murkier and I've been pretty reliably impressed by how effective Calvano has been in the raw, emotional moments.

Ahead of this week's admirable episode, I got on the phone with Calvano to discuss the challenges of "Mom," including how much she was prepared for when she signed on. We discussed the different on-set atmospheres for dramatic scenes versus comedy, as well as the influence of her two co-stars.

Check out the full Q&A below and check out "Mom" on Thursdays at 8:30 on CBS.

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot; Top 4</p>

The "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" Top 4

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' finale leads CBS to easy Wednesday wins

'Hell's Kitchen' finale, 'The Sing-Off' can't compete

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

The two-hour finale and hour-long reunion show for "Survivor: San Juan del Sur" led CBS to an easy Wednesday sweet in all measures.

FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" finale and NBC's Michael Buble special and "The Sing-Off" were no competition for "Survivor," nor were The CW's "The 100" and a "Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown" special, though both did OK numbers for The CW.

On to Wednesday's ratings...

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot; Final 5</p>

The "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" Final 5

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' Finale - The Winner Is...

Baylor, Missy, Natalie, Keith and Jaclyn gun for the million bucks

Pre-credit sequence. Poor Jaclyn is all alone and there's a scary creature in the trees. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do," Natalie tells Jaclyn, who also praises her fellow castaways for their acting and being fake. "I'm loyal to a fault in my life," Missy replies. Natalie and Jaclyn get into a shouting match about who does or doesn't know Jon. Jaclyn is particularly angry, which I guess makes sense. This, of course, is exactly what Natalie wanted, because she wants people to be wary about aligning with Jaclyn. She knows it'll take effort to maintain her ties to Missy and Baylor in the short term. "You've gotta put in work if you want to win this," Natalie says.

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

"The Voice"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Voice' finale, 'NCIS' dominate Tuesday

FOX's 'MasterChef Junior' finale rises a little

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

The latest season finale was, predictably, far below last December's finale and a hair below last May's finale among young viewers, but still helped NBC rule Tuesday in the key demo. "NCIS," however, dominated its hour overall and helped CBS comfortably win in total viewers.

CBS' overall win was boosted by a weak performance from NBC's "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas" special, but hindered by relatively low numbers for "NCIS: New Orleans" an "Person of Interest."

The season finale for "MasterChef Junior" was up a bit week-to-week.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Ragnar and Rollo of &quot;Vikings&quot;</p>

Ragnar and Rollo of "Vikings"

Credit: History

History's 'Vikings' will pillage again in February 2015

Season 3 will find the Norsemen targeting Paris

A month after setting a nebulous February 2015 premiere for its latest invasion, History's "Vikings" now has a specific premiere date.

Season 3 of "Vikings" will hit the shore on Thursday, February 19 at 10 p.m. The 10-episode season will follow up on Ragnar's elevation to King and will find the scruffy Norsemen taking aim at a little French city known as Paris.

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Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Voice' finale leads NBC Monday, 'Jane the Virgin' rises for The CW

FOX's American Country Countdown is no match for its American Country Awards

Fast National ratings Monday, December 15, 2014.

The first night of the "Voice" season finale helped NBC win a comfortable Monday victory among young viewers and edge out "Scorpion"-led CBS overall.

FOX got zero interest in its latest pre-fab country kudosfest as the American Country Countdown delivered weaker numbers than last year's broadcast of the American Country Awards.

Over on The CW, "Jane the Virgin" appears to have gotten a small bump for its midseason finale, perhaps due to last week's Golden Globe nominations (or maybe just due to a Nielsen statistical hiccup, you never know), tying its series high in the 18-49 demo. A one-off Monday airing of "Hart of Dixie" delivered decent ratings as well.

Note that NBC had the Monday Night Football game in New Orleans, while ABC was showing the game in Chicago.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Christina Hendricks</p>

Christina Hendricks

Credit: AP

Christina Hendricks joins Showtime's 'Roadies' pilot

Luke Wilson, Imogen Poots also lead the Cameron Crowe pilot

The final season of "Mad Men" won't air until spring/summer of 2015, but even after it's gone Christina Hendricks may not be away from the small screen for long.

Showtime announced on Monday (December 15) that Hendricks has signed on for one of the leads in "Roadies," the network's new hour-long comedy pilot from writer-director Cameron Crowe.

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<p>DeMarco Murray</p>

DeMarco Murray

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Cowboys-Eagles dominates Sunday, Barbara Walters fails to fascinate

'Once Upon a Time' midseason finale is weak

Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Sunday Night Football showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles dominated primetime in all measures as NBC cruised to primetime victory.

The Dallas-Philly game delivered NBC's best Sunday Night Football overnights since the Week 1 game between the Colts and Broncos.

Over on ABC, the "Once Upon a Time" midseason finale delivered weak numbers and Barbara Walters' annual "Most Fascinating" special attracted very little interest, finishing down from last year's special, which aired on a Wednesday.

CBS got decent numbers for the return of "Undercover Boss," but since the network had a variety of primetime delays in different football markets, it's hard to gauge the exact ratings.

On to the numbers...

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