<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;New Girl&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "New Girl"

Credit: FOX

Ratings Analysis: FOX struggles, 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' bumps up, good times roll for 'NCIS: NOLA'

'Forever' isn't huge, but it's the best ABC's had on Tuesday at 10 for years

I dunno about you, but I'm already getting disturbed by the fact that we're two days into the 2014-2015 season and we're largely disaster-free.

OK. That's not exactly true. 

FOX's Tuesday is a disaster. Yes, "Utopia" gets a bigger DVR bump that most reality shows. That's a dud. And yes, "The Mindy Project" will get a nice DVR bump and it's a really good show at this point, but those numbers aren't acceptable. I'll let "New Girl" skate by for a while, just because it isn't FOX's biggest problem. 

But leaving FOX's Tuesday aside... No disasters.

Tuesday's big new premiere was "NCIS: New Orleans" and it drew a massive audience, one that it's hard to imagine any new show topping over the next couple weeks.

And Tuesday's other premiere was ABC's "Forever," which didn't do fantastically, but when the bar was set by "Lucky 7," "Mind Games" and "Killer Women" last season... It's a hit!

"Chicago Fire" came back strong.

"NCIS" remains impressive.

And although nobody's jumping around for joy at the numbers for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," at least they went up from Fast Nationals.

Now let's take a deeper look at Tuesday's Live+Same Day ratings...

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<p>&quot;The Vampire Diaries&quot; Season 6 art</p>

"The Vampire Diaries" Season 6 art

Credit: The CW

8 'Vampire Diaries' Season 6 teases from showrunner Caroline Dries

Most importantly: Are we done with doppelgangers?

On Monday (September 22) morning, The CW invited a handful of reporters to break up the madness of premiere week with a screening of the sixth season premiere of "The Vampire Diaries," which will air on October 2.

I'm not going to tell you much about the premiere both because it's a [relatively] long way off and because many of the salient plot points are embargoed. 

But mostly, I'm not quite ready to give more than a quick gut opinion. I felt like Season 5 was frequently over-extended and repetitive, but the finale also set in motion a number of shifts which, if utilized correctly, could clear a lot of the clutter from Mystic Falls. In turn, the premiere is mostly resetting the pieces. How's Elena handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How's Jeremy handling the events of the finale? Poorly! How're Stefan, Caroline, Matt and The Witch Twins handling the events of the finale? Poorly! And how is Alaric handling being alive again and whatnot? Poorly! That doesn't mean it's a depressing premiere, just that there's a lot of flux and, unlike last year's premiere, nobody is wandering around hubristically talking about how it was the best summer ever.

And what's up with Damon and Bonnie? Come on. You know I can't tell you anything.

But I can offer some hints about the season-to-come, thanks to "Vampire Diaries" showrunner Caroline Dries, who dropped by after the screening to answer some probing queries from the press.

I'm sure there are minor spoilers if you want to go into the new season knowing nothing, but otherwise...

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Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Big 'NCIS: New Orleans' premiere, rising 'Voice' lead Tuesday

'Forever' grows its audience from 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

CBS got a huge audience for the premiere of "NCIS: New Orleans" and dominated Premiere Week Tuesday overall, while "The Voice" rose from Monday's so-so launch to combine with "Chicago Fire" to give NBC the night among young viewers.

The numbers weren't all great for CBS, of course, as "NCIS" was well below last year's premiere and "Person of Interest" probably squandered much more of its lead-in audience than the network would want.

The night's other significant new series premiere was ABC's "Forever," which equalled Monday's premiere among young viewers and grew from its less-than-impressive (but comparable to May's finale) "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." lead-in. So anybody -- that'd be me -- who speculated that the Tuesday 10 p.m. Death Slot might doom "Forever" to a quick end appears to have been wrong.

Finally, after premiering its Tuesday lineup last week, FOX saw "Utopia," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" all dip.

More analysis later with Live+Same Day Finals. Now, on to the Fast National numbers...

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<p>&quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

"The Big Bang Theory"

Ratings Analysis: 'Big Bang' is unstoppable, 'Gotham' strong, 'Blacklist' steady

'Scorpion' has a big launch, but how much of that is lead-in?

We're one day into the 2014-2015 season and thus far there are no losers!

Yes, FOX might have wanted better numbers from "Sleepy Hollow," but in a competitive time period, after a nine-month absence with a huge DVR bump probably coming? Yeah, a 2.0 rating in the key demo will suffice for now.

Yes, NBC may not have wanted such a big drop from last fall for "The Voice," but when will "The Voice" ever have to face a full hour of "The Big Bang Theory" ever again?

And yes, ABC might have wanted more viewers to check out "Forever," but it was just a chance to get some eyeballs and 8.6 million viewers (17.1-ish million eyeballs) counts. Remember that expectations are very low for ABC's Tuesday 10 p.m. slot after last season.

And there are plenty of early winners.

"Gotham" did a big demo number despite going against a full hour of "Big Bang Theory."

"The Blacklist" was up from last year's finale.

"Scorpion" drew nearly 14 million viewers.

"The Big Bang Theory" remains "The Big Bang Theory."

I started my morning with Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22.

Now it's time to end my afternoon with a deep dig into the Final Live+SD numbers.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 248

Dan and Alan review 'Black-ish,' 'How To Get Away With Murder,' 'Transparent' and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls. 

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

Last week we doubled things up so that we could both spend an hour wrapping up our "Friday Night Lights" Summer Rewatch, but also so that we could get a head-start on this week's reviewing. 

That means that this podcast contains reviews of new shows including ABC's "Black-ish," ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" and Amazon's "Transparent." Although we didn't give it a full review, we reminded y'all that "Key & Peele" returns on Wednesday.

And we also answered one piece of Listener Mail about recent TV coverage of the NFL and we discussed Sunday's "Good Wife" premiere and Monday's "Sleepy Hollow" return.

So that's plenty for one podcast. We may need to double up again next week...

Here's today's breakdown:
"Black-ish" (00:01:55 - 00:11:30)
"Key & Peele" (00:11:35 - 00:14:30)
"How To Get Away With Murder" (00:14:30 - 00:29:15)
"Transparent" (00:29:15 - 00:46:05)
Listener Mail - Recent NFL Coverage (00:46:25 - 52:30)
"Good Wife" premiere (00:53:25 - 01:03:45)
"Sleepy Hollow" premiere (01:03:45 - 01:16:55)

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.



Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' rock Monday like a hurricane, 'Sleepy Hollow' is drowsy

'The Big Bang Theory' has a huge Monday return for CBS

Fast National ratings for Monday, September 22, 2014.

Even airing outside of its normal Thursday home, "The Big Bang Theory" had a huge launch on Monday, combining with a strong premiere for "Scorpion" to help CBS snatch the Monday ratings crown from NBC, at least overall.

"Big Bang Theory" helped push "The Voice" to a relatively low fall launch, though "Blacklist" returned with big numbers to dominate the "Under the Dome" finale and carry NBC to a win among young viewers.

Over on FOX, the exhaustively promoted premiere of "Gotham" did reasonably big numbers, especially in the key demo, but the return of "Sleepy Hollow" after a nine-month absence was somewhat soft. 

Finally, the night's other major debut was ABC's sneak of "Forever," which drew well below the normal "Castle" ratings for its time period.

Stay tuned for more analysis later when Final Live+Same Day ratings become available.

Now, on to the Fast National numbers...

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'Gotham' co-star Cory Michael Smith discusses slowly building to The Riddler

'Gotham' co-star Cory Michael Smith discusses slowly building to The Riddler

Actor says Edward Nygma is a long way from his villainous destiny

Given the limited amount of time he's featured in the pilot for "Gotham," Cory Michael Smith is appearing in a lot of the FOX drama's publicity.

In fact, chances are good that if Smith were just playing any old character working in the Gotham Police Department, you'd merely think the guy was a little bit quirky, a little bit weird, a little bit mysterious. Dare I say you might call the character a bit of an...

No. Don't use the word "enigma." 

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<p>LeGarrette Blount of the Pittsburgh Steelers</p>

LeGarrette Blount of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Madam Secretary' premiere overshadowed by Super Bowl rematch, Steelers-Panthers

CBS leads Sunday overall, but NBC wins the key demo

Fast National ratings for Sunday, September 21, 2014.

CBS' overrun from a Broncos-Seahawks overtime Super Bowl rematch and NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast dominated primetime in all measures, overshadowing CBS' premieres for "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife."

In preliminary numbers, "Madam Secretary" got a good sampling with 14.28 million viewers, but did only a lackluster 1.9 key demo rating, while "The Good Wife" then sunk to 9.95 million and a 1.3 key demo rating, but since football extended roughly 64 minutes into CBS primetime for much of the country each total includes four minutes of the previous program and everybody should know better than to take much stock in the Fast National numbers.

I'll have more analysis either this afternoon with Finals, or bundled into Monday night ratings analysis tomorrow afternoon.

On to the Fast National numbers...

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<p>Katharine McPhee</p>

Katharine McPhee

Credit: AP

Interview: 'Scorpion' star Katharine McPhee on stunts, fictional motherhood and her 'Smash' Tony loss

'American Idol' veteran hopes her CBS drama doesn't let her sing

Going back to my failure to get on-board with the Soul Patrol, I'm accustomed to supporting Katharine McPhee in ill-fated circumstances.

It's no wonder, then, that we're simpatico when it comes to Karen Cartwright losing the Tony to Ivy Lynn.

"That's a great question," McPhee says when I inquire about her disappointment regarding this fictional theater award. "I wanted Karen to win!"

"[M]y heart kind of like broke for her," McPhee admits. "I'm like, 'Really? She ends up with this loser guy who goes to jail and she can't even win the Tony?' And she has to have this nasty catfight with a girl who she could have potentially had a great relationship with? And she can't win the Tony. At least she got to play Marilyn for a little bit."

McPhee's two-year run on "Smash" taught her many lessons, which we discussed in July when we sat down to talk about her new CBS drama "Scorpion," premiering on Monday (September 22) night. The buzzy NBC musical shaped her approach to subsequent acting roles and also impacted what she was looking for in pilots when she looked at scripts last spring.

In "Scorpion," McPhee plays Paige, who begins as a diner waitress trying her best to raise a wildly introverted young genius. Through an odd set of circumstances, she comes to meet Elyes Gabel's Walter O'Brien and his rag-tag team of socially maladjusted whiz-kids and this somehow leads to car chases and a massive stunt involving an airplane.

In our conversation, McPhee talks about what attracted her to Paige and the challenges of playing both a young mother and also playing the "normal" character in a show about prodigies. 

She explains how much, or how little, she got to do in those huge stunt scenes and admits that she has no clue what "Hit List" was actually about.

Oh and how long before her "Scorpion" character takes the gang out karaoke singing? Or at admits her life-long dream has been music? McPhee hopes it's a while.

Check out the full interview...

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<p>&quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

"Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Producer Ken Olin on 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 and getting Timothy Busfield naked

Director discusses the different templates that make 'Sleepy Hollow' unique

WILMINGTON, NC. Ken Olin's giant dog has the run of his office in the gloriously air-conditioned oasis that is the "Sleepy Hollow" production offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios.

This is a fact I had forgotten until I went back to the recording of my interview with Olin and discovered that the audio is a fine conversation with a steady background of occasionally deafening panting. 

While "Sleepy Hollow" production has the run of large chunks of Wilmington, plus a variety of outdoor environments, EUE/Screen Gems Studios is the home to several stages housing a variety of regular interiors, as well as frequently repurposed sets like the tunnels and caves and caverns and various subterranean chambers that our characters constantly seem to find themselves navigating. [You can check out some non-spoilery pictures from the various stages here, as well as the photo of a dog who is NOT Olin's dog.]

The production offices are largely Olin's domain.

TV viewers of a certain age will perhaps always think of Olin as Michael Steadman from "thirtysomething" or, for those with a love of the esoteric and quickly canceled, Cameron Quinn from "EZ Streets." However, he's been directing since "thirty something" and for around 15 years that's been his primary gig. He has been a director and a directing producer on "Alias," "Brothers & Sisters" and "The Mob Doctor."

He's now director and executive producer on "Sleepy Hollow," helming a trio of episodes -- "Bad Blood," "The Sin Eater" and "Blood Moon" -- last season and Monday's (September 22) Season 2 premiere. 

The premiere reunites Olin with "thirtysomething" veteran Timothy Busfield, who plays Benjamin Franklin in which is apparently a rather revealing turn. Olin immediately lights up talking about this latest collaboration with his longtime friend. [Like Olin, Busfield is also a steadily working director and producer, who happened to be local because of his work in those capacities on ABC's midseason drama "Secrets and Lies." Peter Horton has taken the same career path, with his own midseason drama as producer and director, making one wonder what, exactly, was in the water on "thirtysomething."]

During my day on the "Sleepy Hollow" set, I chatted with Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood and Matt Barr, but I relished the chance to talk to Olin, because I love the nuts-and-bolts perspective on the process. And also because of the air-conditioning.

In the conversation, Olin talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the early production start and the 18-episode order for this "Sleepy Hollow" season, as well as the unique challenges that "Sleepy Hollow" presents that he's never experienced before.

He also explains why getting Timothy Busfield naked was a career high point.

Check out the full interview...

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