<p>Travis Fimmel of &quot;Vikings&quot;</p>

Travis Fimmel of "Vikings"

Credit: History

Interview: 'Vikings' creator Michael Hirst teases Season 3's prophecies, romance

Why will this be The Season of Floki?

History's "Vikings" returns on Thursday (February 19) night for the start of what looks to be its most ambitious season to date. 

When we left Travis Fimmel's Ragnar last season, he'd completed his ascension to king, but he still had lots of unfinished business, particularly Across the Pond with Linus Roache's King Ecbert. 

Season 3 finds Ragnar and friends holding things down at home, expanding their reach in England and, as series creator Michael Hirst has long teased, eying a raid on Paris.

Hirst is always one of my favorite interview subjects, but I tend to only get through a third of my questions when I get 15 or 20 minutes on the phone with the erudite Englishman, so I made sure to get a solid half-hour-plus when we sat down last month during the Television Critics Association press tour. 

In the wide-ranging conversation, we discuss Ragnar's unease ruling position, the prophecy that starts Season 3, the looming attack on Paris and the show's increasing interest in a slew of fantastic female characters, including Lagertha, Aslaug and a few new additions.

Hirst teases which characters have pivotal arcs this season and, on the second page, he gives a few spoilers for at least one key relationship that develops over the first three episodes of the season. 

It's a great conversation and I hope to have a review of "Vikings" before Thursday's premiere...

Check out the full Q&A...

Read Full Post
<p>Wayne&#39;s World</p>

Wayne's World

Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 267 - 'SNL 40,' 'Odd Couple' and more

Dan and Alan also discuss 'Jack & Triumph,' 'CitizenFour' and the Oscars


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls! Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 

In this week's installment, we talked for a while about Sunday's "Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special" and we reviewed CBS' "The Odd Couple," Adult Swim's "Jack and Triumph" and then we talked a bit about presumptive Oscar frontrunner "CitizenFour," which will premiere on HBO next Monday.

Then we answered a bit of Listener Mail about John Oliver and "The Daily Show," a conversation that became instantly irrelevant when HBO renewed "Last Week Tonight" for two more seasons within minutes of the completion of the podcast. Fortunately, we didn't say John Oliver-to-"The Daily Show" was either likely or a good idea. Quite the opposite. 

Oh and next week is the end of "Parks and Recreation" and we're going to either do two podcasts or we're going to do one epic podcast with a big "Parks and Recreation" segment, but we want/need your help in asking us some awesome questions for that "Parks and Recreation" segment, so... FirewallIceberg@HitFix.com.

But that's next week.

Here's today's breakdown:
"Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special" (00:02:08 - 00:25:45)
"The Odd Couple" (00:25:50 - 00:36:05)
"Jack and Triumph" (00:36:10 - 00:43:55)
"CitizenFour" and the Oscars (00:44:00 - 01:01:50)
Listener Mail: John Oliver/"The Daily Show" (01:01:50 - 01:12:00)

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.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Man Seeking Woman&quot;</p>

"Man Seeking Woman"

Credit: FXX

HitFix First Look: 'Man Seeking Woman' star Jay Baruchel gets Scared Straight

Suburbia looks pretty dysfunctional in this clip from Wednesday's episode

Wednesday February 18) night's episode of "Man Seeking Woman," titled "Gavel," was actually one of the initial three episodes sent to critics this winter.

As always with "Man Seeking Woman" episodes, it's hard to say what the episode is about without giving away the week's metaphorical approaches to Josh Greenberg's (Jay Baruchel) singledom and dating travails. 

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life&quot;</p>

"Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Bachelor' leads, 'Gotham' rises, Stevie Wonder special soft

'Sleepy Hollow' is also up for FOX on Monday

Fast National ratings for Monday, February 16, 2015.

Coming off of an additional three hours of programming on Sunday, ABC's "The Bachelor" was down week-to-week, but still helped the network win Monday night in all measures.

CBS took second place overall thanks to "Mike & Molly," Monday's most-watched show, despite a tepid performance for the "Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life" special. FOX, meanwhile, was second in the key demo with "Gotham" and "Sleepy Hollow" rising week-to-week.

Meanwhile, NBC got middling interest in the two-hour finale for "The Celebrity Apprentice" and no real interest in the season [series] finale for "State of Affairs."

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special&quot;</p>

"Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' special draws 20-times 'Mulaney' finale

Even the 'SNL' red carpet special did big ratings

Fast National ratings for Sunday, February 15, 2015.

Viewers didn't seem to care that it wasn't Saturday night and it wasn't actually the 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live." NBC's "Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special" did the sort of huge numbers normally reserved for an award show or a football game and topped the combined totals for its network competition in all measures.

The "SNL" special ran from 8 to 11:30, so these are only the three-hour numbers for primetime, but the three-hour figures include a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49, a whopping 9.2 rating among adults 25-54 and a 6.1 rating among adults 18-34.

NBC is calling this the network's most-watched primetime entertainment telecast, excluding post-Super Bowl programs (and also sports), in the 18-49 demo since the "Will & Grace" finale in 2006.

There was basically no way for the network competition to keep up with that, though ABC rode three hours of "Bachelor" specials to second in the key demo, while FOX rode the "Mulaney" finale to fourth. 

And while it's unclear if CBS will give "CSI" one more season, the current installment went out with a whimper, though it still helped CBS to second place overall.

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;Constantine&quot; finale</p>

Friday's "Constantine" finale

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Constantine' finale flat as 'Blue Bloods,' 'Shark Tank' lead Friday

'Safety Not Guaranteed' proves less popular than 'Hart of Dixie' on The CW

Fast National ratings for Friday, February 13, 2015.

Everything was the same as usual on Friday, with "Undercover Boss" rising in viewers to help CBS sweep the night overall, but "Shark Tank" single-handedly giving ABC the win among young viewers.

Friday's variations included a down week in all measures for "Hawaii Five-0" and odd down-in-the-demo-but-up-overall nights for "Undercover Boss" and "Grimm." FOX's 'Glee" was up a hair in all measures.

And on NBC, the season finale of "Constantine" was flat among young viewers and rose the tiniest amount overall.

Oh and The CW aired "Safety Not Guaranteed," which proved that The CW's audience is more interested in "Hart of Dixie" than quirky indie sci-fi movies. Go figure.

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Robert Durst of &quot;The Jinx&quot;</p>

Robert Durst of "The Jinx"

Credit: HBO

Interview: 'The Jinx' director Andrew Jarecki on the origins of his HBO series

How did the 'All Good Things' filmmaker come to be on-camera in 'The Jinx'?

Hopefully you checked out last Sunday's premiere of HBO's "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," which I gave an A- review and said had the potential to be the year's best new show.

Director Andrew Jarecki's second attempt at unraveling the mysteries surrounding Robert Durst, including the three murders he's been linked to over 30 years, began as a slow-burn building to the revelation that, after seeing Jarecki's "All Good Things," Durst agreed to sit down with the filmmaker. 

This Sunday's episode relies heavily on Durst's recounting of his own biographical details, but also gradually shifts that focus to the "character" of Durst's wife Kathleen McCormack, missing since 1982. Even in her absence, Kathleen McCormack looms almost as large as Durst and, in an important role, Jarecki himself.

I got on the phone earlier this week with "Capturing the Friedmans" director Jarecki to talk about the structure and narrative direction of "The Jinx," including how much closure will actually be possible after six episodes.

It turns out that the journey of "The Jinx" and its evolution out of "All Good Things," is mighty complicated stuff and the explanation for the doc-to-narrative-to-interview-to-doc-to-series voyage took up roughly a third of our interview time. 

Jarecki still had lots of interesting things to say about McCormack's family's involvement, how he decided to make himself a part of the series and more, even if I didn't get to more than a few questions from my list. 

I'll just have to talk to Jarecki again after the "Jinx" finale.

Click through for the full conversation.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Beauty and the Beast&quot;</p>

"Beauty and the Beast"

Credit: The CW

The CW reminds us 'Beauty and the Beast' still exists by renewing it

Really? A fourth season renewal three months before Season 3 premieres? Yup!

The CW has set a Season 3 premiere date for "Beauty and the Beast" and, in an added bonus for fans of the low-rated drama, the network also renewed the series.

The 13-episode third season of "Beauty and the Beast" will premiere on Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. 

Read Full Post


Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Limp 'Slap,' tumbling 'Blacklist' as 'Scandal,' 'Mom' lead Thursday

'Backstrom' gets an encouraging bump for FOX

Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 12, 2015.

With "The Big Bang Theory" in repeats, ABC swept Thursday's primetime hours among young viewers (tying with "Idol" at 8 p.m.), but even a "Big Bang" repeat still led CBS to a narrow overall win for the night.

Thursday's other big story was NBC's across-the-board struggles. "The Slap" got off to a weak start in the 8 p.m. hour, "The Blacklist" took a big drop at 9 p.m. and "Allegiance" is a dead-show-walking at 10 p.m. 

The decline for "Blacklist" no doubt benefitted FOX's "Backstrom," which got a big bump from last week's series lows to numbers that are low, but not instantly dire.

On to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Matt Ryan of &quot;Constantine&quot;</p>

Matt Ryan of "Constantine"

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Constantine' star Matt Ryan is 'very hopeful' about a Season 2

'Constantine' star teases Friday's season finale on NBC

NBC's "Constantine" wraps up its 13-episode first season on Friday (February 13) with an episode titled "Waiting for the Man," which promises the return of Papa Midnite and Jim Corrigan, plus some new information about the Rising Darkness. 

Although "Constantine" has struggled with low ratings in multiple time Friday periods and NBC opted not to order a back-nine, all involved parties are still referring to Friday's episode as a "season" finale and there have been more than a few [entirely unsubstantiated] rumors about steps that might be taken to keep the DC Comics adaptation around for a Season 2.

I chatted with "Constantine" star Matt Ryan on Thursday afternoon and Ryan is hopeful. Very.

"I am very, very, very hopeful," he told me. "Obviously he's such an amazing character and I feel like we've got so far to go with it. I think there's so much potential with the series, with the source material, with the character and it's something that I would really love to continue exploring. Yeah, I'm very, very hopeful. Obviously it's out of my hands. It's in the hands of the Gods, as they say, but I'm very hopeful, very, very hopeful."

Ryan isn't basing his hope on any tangible renewal negotiations, but at least he hasn't been told to abandon hope, which is the important thing. 

A relative unknown to American audiences who didn't watch CBS' "Criminal Minds" spinoff, Ryan has been widely admired for moving John Constantine back in the direction of the character from the "Hellblazer" comic, rather than whoever Keanu Reeves played in the "Constantine" movie. He's given the character a nervy attitude and an often prickly edge.

In our conversation, we talked about maintaining Constantine's bastard streak, the moment Matt Ryan felt "Constantine" found its creative groove and some of the things he's hoping to see if Season 2 somehow happens.

The big takeaway from the conversation? There are a lot of things Matt Ryan would still like to explore about John Constantine.

Check out the full Q&A below before Friday's finale...

Read Full Post