<p>The 2015 NCAA Championship</p>

The 2015 NCAA Championship

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Wisconsin-Duke title game helps CBS dominate Monday

'The Following,' 'Jane the Virgin' draw ugly numbers

Fast National ratings for Monday, April 6, 2015.

A competitive showdown between high-powered and star-studded No.1 seeds Duke and Wisconsin helped the 2015 NCAA Championship Game draw its best overnight numbers in 18 years, getting a huge bump from last year's game and leading CBS to Monday domination.

Keep in mind, as always, that these are time period numbers for a game that started a bit after 9 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. PT, rather than ratings for the game itself.

While "The Voice" and "Dancing with the Stars" mostly held their own against CBS' basketball, the enhanced competition took a bite out of a few scripted shows, sending "The Following" to below The Mulaney Line with a 0.9 key demo rating and also dropping the drama below 3 million viewers. Basketball also sent The CW's "The Originals" and "Jane the Virgin" to low ratings.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Nina Dobrev of &quot;The Vampire Diaries&quot;</p>

Nina Dobrev of "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

Nina Dobrev is leaving 'The Vampire Diaries'

Season 7 will be a season of transition for the long-time hit

Already renewed for next year, "The Vampire Diaries" is going to look very different in Season 7.

On Monday (April 6) afternoon, Nina Dobrev took to Instagram to announce that this will be her last season on the CW hit.

In a long note accompanying a picture of Dobrev with "Vampire Diaries" co-creator Julie Plec, the star writes:

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<p>&quot;A.D. The Bible Continues&quot;</p>

"A.D. The Bible Continues"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Solid 'A.D.' premiere, but '10 Commandments,' 'Madam Secretary' lead

'American Odyssey' stumbles from its solid lead-in

Fast National ratings for Sunday, April 5, 2015.

NBC's "The Bible" sequel "A.D. The Bible Continues" delivered Sunday's best individual ratings, but "The Ten Commandments" still helped ABC score a slim Sunday win in the key demo, while CBS' dramas scored a slim victory overall.

Because of the Easter holiday, all of CBS' originals are deemed "specials" within Nielsen semantics, which probably doesn't matter to you, but certainly matters to CBS, since "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife" tied series lows and "Battle Creek" hit a low.

In addition to the decent launch for "A.D.," NBC also premiered "American Odyssey," which launched better than such early spring debacles as "The Slap" and "Allegiance," but launched lower than last spring's "Crisis" and suffered a decline at the half-hour.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Kelly Remington of &quot;Survivor: Worlds Apart&quot;</p>

Kelly Remington of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Kelly Remington talks 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'

Blue Collar devotee admits to post-Merge strategic gaffes

For fans of slick Idol play and Tribal Council blindsides, Wednesday's (April 1) "Survivor: Worlds Apart" episode was a season highlight.

Probably Kelly, the Blue Collar stalwart who fell victim to the Jenn's Idol shocker and had her torch snuffed, wasn't quite as enthusiastic, but at least Kelly realizes what she did wrong.

Looking back on her "Survivor" ouster, Kelly admits that she was so irked by her post-Shuffle Nagarote tribe that she could could only be bothered to play nice with them for a few days, but couldn't maintain that diplomacy after the Merge, leaving no doubt that she'd flipped and putting a target on herself. She still thinks, though, that voting her out was a personal decision and not a strategic move.

She's probably right.

In her exit interview -- a slightly truncated conversation due to travel and timing on my part -- the New York state trooper also discusses the impact of her challenge head injury and the amusement of watching Mike try and frequently fail to let her win a pre-Merge Immunity Challenge.

Click through for the full Q&A, in which I dwelled more on the lack of painkillers than I might have if I'd had a better sense of my reduced time...

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<p>Friday&#39;s &quot;Hawaii Five-0&quot;</p>

Friday's "Hawaii Five-0"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Blue Bloods,' 'Hawaii Five-0' make it a Good Friday for CBS

'Dateline' and 'Grimm' put NBC in second for the night, while 'Cristela' rises

Fast National ratings for Friday, April 3, 2015.

Good Friday and the first night of Passover had a smaller impact on the Friday ratings race than ABC's "Shark Tank" repeat, as "The Amazing Race," "Hawaii Five-0" and "Blue Bloods" were able to sweep the primetime hours and give CBS wins in most measures.

Friday offered little else of note, though The CW got decent numbers for "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" and FOX's "21 Jump Street" airing couldn't compete with last week's "Grown Ups."

Oh and "Cristela" was up for ABC, if you're paying attention. Apparently there was a crossover with "Last Man Standing." Who knew?

On to the numbers...

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<p>Jackie of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jackie of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Get in That Lederhosen, Baby'

The teams head to Germany for an extended Ford commercial

"The Amazing Race" returned on Friday (April 3) night and while I didn't exactly forget that the Emmy-winning series was back, I realized almost immediately during the pre-credit recap that I barely remembered anything about where we'd left things several weeks back.

Bergen & Kurt won the last Leg? How the heck did that happen?

Was anybody especially good? Was anybody especially bad?

I know CBS had to air the NCAA Tournament, but "The Amazing Race" isn't a hit anymore and this season has been a wobbly, albeit sometimes amusing, experiment. And pulling a struggling show in a unsteady season is a pretty dismal way to maintain momentum.

Fortunately, most of what I was and wasn't liking about the season came back pretty early in Friday's episode, which was funny and entertaining in moments, but also exposed the absolutely worst case scenario for this blind dating season.

[Full recap after the break...]

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<p>Diana Gabaldon</p>

Diana Gabaldon

'Outlander' author Diana Gabaldon talks book-to-screen changes, spanking

Writer raves that Saturday's shift to Jamie's POV is 'brilliant'

"Outlander" returns to Starz on Saturday (April 4) night and fans of the book are going to notice that there are a few reasonably big deviations, including a one-episode shift in POV from Claire to Jamie.

"I thought it was brilliant," "Outlander" creator Diana Gabaldon told me on last month's PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet, full interview above. 

She added, "For this particular episode, that was particularly effective." 

Gabaldon is referring specifically to the notorious spanking scene that takes place in Saturday's episode and has been interpreted in myriad different ways by fans and dismissers of the book. 

The author, who first published "Outlander" in 1991 and has followed it up with eight novels, says that "it's not hard at all" to watch the Starz series and view it as separate from the books. Of course, it helps that Gabaldon sees scripts and dailies from the series. She adds that she only sometimes pushes for changes.

"I will mention it if there's something that I think is actually wrong, not if it's just a change," she emphasized. "Changes have to be made. It's an adaptation and frequently the changes are brilliant and I love them."

Check out the full video interview above, as well as my video and Q&A with "Outlander" showrunner Ronald D. Moore here.

"Outlander" airs Saturday nights on Starz.

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<p>&quot;Your Family Or Mine&quot; star Richard Dreyfuss</p>

"Your Family Or Mine" star Richard Dreyfuss

Credit: TBS

Interview: 'Your Family or Mine' star Richard Dreyfuss on TV's draw - 'Money'

Oscar winner discusses the challenges of being natural in TBS' multi-cam comedy

Richard Dreyfuss doesn't need to play any reindeer games.

An Oscar winner and one of the world's biggest movie stars for two decades, Dreyfuss has only periodically popped up on the big or small screens in recent years because he's been concentrating his efforts on overhauling the way American children are taught civics and serving as Senior Associate Member of St. Anthony's College in Oxford.

While his recent credits have been sparse, I've talked to Dreyfuss several times in the past few years and the key is always to find what he wants to discuss, even if it isn't necessarily the project he's promoting. 

So with the 2012 A&E adaptation of "Coma," it certainly wasn't "Coma," but it could have been the shift in interactions between actors and directors over the years and whether or not TV is more actor-friendly.

With this winter's Sundance debut of "Zipper," it was the political backdrop to the thriller.

And with TBS' upcoming comedy "Your Family or Mine"? Well, I'm not exactly sure I found the right thing.

I was on the set of the multi-cam family comedy last fall and after talking to most of the show's strong cast, including Kat Foster, Kyle Howard and Angela Kinsey earlier in the day, I waited around for three hours for Dreyfuss to be available to talk about a show that attracted him for what reason, exactly?

"Ummm... Money," Dreyfuss explained.

Fair enough.

It's also not exactly true. Dreyfuss goes way back with many of his "Your Family or Mine" co-stars, including Ed Begley Jr., who told me about working with Dreyfuss on an episode of "Room 222" back in 1971. Dreyfuss has also had a long friendship with JoBeth Williams, who plays his wife in "Your Family or Mine." 

But still, Dreyfuss has no interest in sugar-coating his feelings about the multi-cam format and the sitcom-y artificiality that he thinks has infected the genre.

The result is a fun-if-combative discussion that was ended just as Dreyfuss really got going.

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<p>NBC&#39;s &quot;The Slap&quot; finale</p>

NBC's "The Slap" finale

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Low 'Big Bang Theory' leads Thursday, 'Slap' sallies forth silently

Lots of ugly numbers as CBS rules Thursday

Fast National ratings for Thursday, April 2, 2015.

CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" plummeted in its latest Thursday airing, but it was still the night's top show in all measures and led CBS to easy primetime wins in all measures.

Thursday was, in fact, full of low numbers as "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," "American Crime," "Bones," "Backstrom" and CBS' whole lineup got ugly.

"The Slap" almost deserves some sort of award for not falling in its series finale, though it's difficult for a broadcast network to fall much below a 0.7 for new programming.

Presumably the upcoming holiday -- Easter, Passover, etc -- weekend is responsible for the Thursday doldrums, but who really knows?

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Vincent Kartheiser of &quot;Mad Men&quot;</p>

Vincent Kartheiser of "Mad Men"

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Mad Men' star Vincent Kartheiser on Pete Campbell's ill-fated optimism

How could Kartheiser end up as a janitor?

In the early stages of "Mad Men," it sometimes seemed like Pete Campbell was on the brink of being the show's villain.

But, at the same time, there was also the prevailing theory that Pete Campbell could turn out to be the show's most forward-looking character, the man of the future to Don Draper's man of the past.

As "Mad Men" begins the seven-episode march to its series finale, we don't really view Pete as Don or Peggy's nemesis anymore. In fact, one of last year's best episodes, "The Strategy," climaxed with a surprisingly positive dinner meeting with the three characters. 

But we also don't look at Pete as a potential visionary anymore. Pete's efforts to reinvent himself found the character in Los Angeles last half-season and although he initially took to his new surroundings, it became clear that California was not the place Pete Campbell ought to be.

In anticipation of this final "Mad Men" mini season, I sat down with Vincent Kartheiser two weeks ago to discuss The State of Pete Campbell and which parts of the character have evolved and which aspects of his personality remains the same. 

Months after leaving Pete Campbell behind, Kartheiser looks younger and more relaxed than the high-strung Pete, he of the razor-imposed receding hairline. As of now, he says that he hasn't found the right follow-up project.

What's he looking for?

Kartheiser explains, "I read the script and if I like it I try to find something that I can add to the telling of the story, something that makes my perspective and my performance valuable and important and if I can come up with that then I’ll work and if not then I’ll be a janitor."

Click through for my full Q&A in anticipation of Sunday's (April 5) "Mad Men" return...

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