<p>This &quot;Constantine&quot; pilot picture remains very pretty.</p>

This "Constantine" pilot picture remains very pretty.

Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Friday Nights

'The Amazing Race' and 'Constantine' will try to shake things up

[As is my recent tradition, over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]

FRIDAY NIGHTS

8:00 p.m.
ABC: "Last Man Standing," "Cristela"
CBS: "The Amazing Race"
The CW: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
FOX: "MasterChef Junior"
NBC: "Dateline"


9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Shark Tank"
CBS: "Hawaii Five-0"
The CW: "America's Next Top Model"
FOX: "Utopia"
NBC: "Grimm"


10:00 p.m. 
ABC: "20/20"
CBS: "Blue Bloods"
NBC: "Constantine"

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<p>&quot;Undateable&quot;</p>

"Undateable"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Good premiere for 'Undateable,' steady 'Gang Related' numbers on Thursday

'Last Comic Standing' and 'The Big Bang Theory' also lead tight night

Fast National ratings for Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Buoyed by the aggressive promotional efforts by the show's stars and creative team, "Undateable" got off to a decent start for NBC, helping the network join a three-way tie for Thursday among young viewers. Overall, of course, there was very little competition as a CBS repeat of "The Big Bang Theory" was the night's most watched program by a wide margin.

NBC is boasting that "Undateable" had its best summer comedy premiere numbers since 2004 and the immortal "Come to Papa."

The "Undateable" premiere far outdistanced most of NBC's Thursday comedy performances in-season, built slightly on its "Hollywood Game Night" lead-in in the key demo and was steady between two double-pumped episodes. That's good news for Bill Lawrence and company. Of course, "Last Comic Standing" was NBC's top program for the night.

Similarly, "Hell's Kitchen" got FOX's best results and was the reason FOX also tied for Thursday's key demo lead, but the network has to be at least somewhat relieved to see "Gang Related" steady in its second airing, rather than plummeting like the second week of "I Wanna Marry 'Harry.'" 

The relatively good news for Thursday's summer scripted shows did not, however, extend to ABC's "Black Box."

On to the numbers...

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<p>Lee Pace of &quot;Halt and Catch Fire&quot;</p>

Lee Pace of "Halt and Catch Fire"

Credit: AMC

Interview: Lee Pace on 'Halt and Catch Fire' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

'Pushing Daisies' vet is excited for his TV return, his Marvel debut

Lee Pace doesn't do many projects that generate ambivalence. 

After making his small screen bones in the Bryan Fuller-created "Wonderfalls" and "Pushing Daisies" and having his earliest big screen exposure in Tarsem Singh's polarizingly unique "The Fall," Pace has been on an absurd franchise streak of late. 

He checked "Twilight" off the list as Garrett in the second part of "Breaking Dawn." 

His Thranduil has had an increasingly large presence through the last two "Hobbit" films.

And this summer, Pace will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ronan the Accuser in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

It's unclear how many Lee Paces exist, because amidst these major franchise films, Pace also found the time for his return to regular series television. 

On the new AMC drama "Halt and Catch Fire," Pace plays Joe MacMillan, a former IBM wunderkind who recruits Scoot McNairy's Gordon Clark to work with him on an ethically murky project in the midst of the early-80s personal computing boom. 

MacMillan is part con man, part visionary and, watching the pilot for "Halt and Catch Fire," which has already been posted to Tumblr and will premiere on AMC this Sunday, it's unclear if Joe is on a journey toward becoming the hero of the piece, or perhaps a basic cable-style anti-hero.

Pace is excited about his new TV character, but as we talked last week, he was also very, very excited about "Guardians of the Galaxy," especially since the first extended trailer -- featuring at least two fleeting glimpses of his character -- had just debuted. 

So we talked mostly about "Halt and Catch Fire," but Pace also shared what he's looking forward to seeing from his Marvel debut.

Check out the full Q&A [And stay tuned for my interviews with McNairy, Kerry Bishe and showrunner Jonathan Lisco]...

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<p>David Tennant of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

David Tennant of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Thursday Nights

CBS gets football, ABC goes All-Shona and more

[As is my recent tradition, over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]

THURSDAY NIGHTS

8:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Grey's Anatomy"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/ "The Big Bang Theory," "The Millers"
The CW: "The Vampire Diaries"
FOX: "Bones"
NBC: "The Biggest Loser"


9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Scandal"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/ "Two and a Half Men," "The McCarthys"
The CW: "Reign"
FOX: "Gracepoint"
NBC: "Bad Judge," "A to Z"


10:00 p.m.
ABC: "How To Get Away With Murder"
CBS: Thursday Night Football/"Elementary"
NBC: "Parenthood"

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<p>Jen and Caroline of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jen and Caroline of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jennifer & Caroline talk 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars'

Country Blondes discuss their second place finish this season

For a fleeting second in last week's "Amazing Race: All-Stars" finale, Country Blondes Jennifer & Caroline seemed to have the million dollar prize in the sights. After Dave & Connor had a brief cab misadventure, Jen & Caroline's all-world cabbie had them in the lead heading toward the season-closing Roadblock. 

Then, of course, Dave & Connor's cab moved back into the lead and that was all it took to win the season, since the last Roadblock and, therefore the entire "Amazing Race: All-Stars" season, was determined based on which team reached that last clue-box in first.

Oh well.

It was another eventful season for Jen & Caroline, who won some fans with their plucky attitude, enthusiasm and humor, but lost other fans when they coined the term "Accidental Alliance" to describe the multi-team partnership that sprung up only to exclude Brendon & Rachel.

And, along the way, Jen & Caroline continued to do what they do most consistently: Complete Legs without winning "Amazing Race" Legs, something they've now done for 23 victory-free Legs. 

In their exit interview -- nearly done with these now -- Jen & Caroline discuss the Accidental Alliance, the uneventful Final Leg, the mean tweets they've gotten from the Brenchel Army and more.

Click through...

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<p>&quot;Undateable&quot;</p>

"Undateable"

Credit: NBC

Interview: Bill Lawrence and Adam Sztykiel on 'Undateable' and The State of TV Comedy

Network vs Cable, Single-Cam vs Multi-Cam and more more.

I interviewed "Undateable" executive producer Bill Lawrence and Adam Sztykiel at a noisy bar in Pasadena shortly before a press conference in mid-April.

Going back and transcribing the 35-minute interview is bittersweet.

At the time, Lawrence had two shows in limbo -- TBS' "Cougar Town" and FOX's newly premiered "Surviving Jack," which he EPed along with creators Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. While Lawrence wasn't directly involved with "Enlisted," he has a close relationship with "Enlisted" and "Cougar Town" creator Kevin Biegel, whose comedy was newly shelved.

Since that time, "Enlisted" and "Surviving Jack" were both cancelled. "Cougar Town" was renewed for a final season on TBS.

At the time, Lawrence also wasn't feeling especially confident about "Undateable." The multi-cam sitcom, which features Chris D'Elia as seemingly cocksure ladies man Danny, who mentors the less confident Justin (Brent Morin) and his group of allegedly "undateable" friends.

"Undateable" had been announced for NBC's 2013-2014 slate at the May 2013 upfronts and went without a premiere date until spring. And when a premiere date was slated, NBC gave "Undateable" a launch on May 29, after the conclusion of the season. The network also announced plans to double-pump the comedy, airing two episodes per week.

Normally, that would be a sign of pessimism, but just because Lawrence wasn't confident doesn't mean he lacked confidence. A network veteran who burst onto the scene as a wunderkind on "Spin City," had a huge hit with "Scrubs" and has most recently been shepherding a series of protégées including Biegel, Halpern and Sztykiel, Lawrence has watched the TV business shift and watched the business of TV comedy shift and he's never been shy when it comes to holding court on Small Screen State of Affairs.

In this wide-ranging interview, Lawrence and Sztykiel talk about why they're not discouraged about "Undateable," why they think the show is special and why they think the cast is special. They also talk about TV ratings, the eternal battle between multi-cam and single-cam comedy and other industry shifts.

It's a huge interview -- 6200 words of transcribing -- but I think it's a good one... [And remember the timing of the interview as it relates to "Cougar Town," "Surviving Jack" and "Enlisted." Lawrence was hopeful on all three shows. Oh well...]

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<p>&quot;The Mysteries of Laura&quot;</p>

"The Mysteries of Laura"

Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Wednesday Nights

Does everybody feel liberated by the absence of 'X Factor'?

[As is my recent tradition, over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS

8:00 p.m.
ABC: "The Middle," "The Goldbergs"
CBS: "Survivor"
The CW: "Arrow"
FOX: "Hell's Kitchen"
NBC: "The Mysteries of Laura"


9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Modern Family," "Black-ish"
CBS: "Criminal Minds"
The CW: "The 100"
FOX: "Red Band Society"
NBC: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"


10 p.m. 
ABC: "Nashville"
CBS: "Stalker"
NBC: "Chicago PD"


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Sharlto Copley discusses giving his 'Maleficent' villain human shadings

Sharlto Copley discusses giving his 'Maleficent' villain human shadings

Also, reuniting with Neill Blomkamp on 'Chappie'

Sharlto Copley intrigues me.

Here's a guy who was producing and directing little things, who suddenly captured Hollywood's imagination in Neill Blomkamp's surprise smash "District 9." Even though his "District 9" character, Wikus van der Merwe, was hardly a clean-cut, matinee idol showcase, Hollywood decided out of nowhere that Copley, who improvised much of his dialogue in "District 9," was a leading man, or at least a candidate to be a featured villain.

Subsequently, Copley has taken roles in features like "The A-Team," "Oldboy" and, reuniting with Blomkamp, "Elysium." Each role could have positioned Copley for his next step up the A-list actor. Instead, the South African star has approached each of them with the dogged quirkiness of a character actor.

The same is true in "Maleficent," where Copley's Stefan is a love interest and then an adversary for Angelina Jolie's title character. Working with a scraggly beard, a paranoid mien and an accent that gravitates towards the Scottish Highlands, Copley is, as usual, basically unrecognizable.

As I sat down to talk with Copley at the "Maleficient" junket, it struck me that I actually had no idea what Shartlo Copley actually looked or sounded like out-of-character. I assume he'd take that as a compliment. 

In our conversation, Copley candidly discusses his process of character actor-izing leading man roles, how he chose Stefan's particular eccentricities and the role of the director in helping steer his path. And, if you didn't see that excerpt earlier, he discusses his latest collaboration with Blomkamp in the upcoming robot film "Chappie."

Also check out my interview with "Maleficent's" Sleeping Beauty, Elle Fanning.

"Maleficent" opens on Friday, May 30.

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<p>&quot;The Night Shift&quot;</p>

"The Night Shift"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent,' 'Night Shift' premieres help NBC rule Tuesday

'Supernatural' repeat ties 'I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" among young viewers

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

"America's Got Talent" returned nearly flat with last year -- Down 3 percent if you want to quibble -- and combined with a respectable premiere for "The Night Shift" to help NBC score commanding Tuesday wins in all measure.

NBC wants you to know that "The Night Shift" had the biggest NBC summer drama series debut since... "The Philanthropist" in 2009.

Among other notables, "Extreme Weight Loss" premiered well enough to put ABC in second for Tuesday in the key demo, while CBS' procedural repeats buoyed an easy second place finish overall. 

Meanwhile, FOX's "I Wanna Marry 'Harry'" and "Riot" hit embarrassingly low levels, though "Riot" did it while rising from its previous episode. "Harry," stripped of its "Idol" lead-in, tied with a "Supernatural" repeat on The CW among young viewers. Ouch.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Brendon &amp; Rachel of &quot;The Amazing Race: All-Stars&quot;</p>

Brendon & Rachel of "The Amazing Race: All-Stars"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Brendon & Rachel talk 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars'

'Big Brother' veterans were expecting more from an All-Stars finale

Does anybody still remember the "Amazing Race: All-Stars" finale? 

My apologies.

I'm apologizing both for how long it took me to get to these exit interviews -- Last week was a bear -- but really I'm apologizing because you still remember what was almost certainly the dullest finale in the 24-season history of the Emmy-winning juggernaut. 

Brendon & Rachel probably haven't forgotten the finale. That's because they made it all the way to the last Leg of "The Amazing Race" for the second time and, once again, finished in third. And this time, they didn't really do anything wrong. They got a bad cab driver. Yes, they got a little bit lost wandering around the Mirage in Las Vegas, but they were already behind the other two teams entirely because of their cabbie in a Leg that didn't feature a single challenge that allowed teams to wreath themselves in any glory at all.

Had they won, Brendon & Rachel would have been celebrated by their cadre of passionate fans and lambasted by their equally passionate cadre of haters, a polarization that should have been static after two seasons of "Big Brother" and a previous season of "Amazing Race." But I'll admit it: I kinda rooted for the entity known as Brenchel this season. They were kind to Margie & Luke when they had no reason to be kind. Rachel kept her bawling to a relative minimum. And in the controversy of U-Turn-Gate, I took Brendon & Rachel's side, because... Why not?

This was a filibustering interview, which shouldn't be a surprise, so there were a few questions I didn't get to ask that were on my list. That happened a lot with my finale-week reality interviews. This must have been The Spring of the Chatty Reality Competitor.

Still, Rachel & Brendon have things to say about the lame closing Leg, the disappointing All-Stars competition, their reality TV future and stay tuned for at least one vintage Rachel over-share towards the end...

Click through for the full Q&A...

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