<p>Howie Mandel</p>
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Howie Mandel

Watch: Howie Mandel talks FOX's 'Mobbed'

Does the germ-phobic host have a favorite fist-bump?
What better way to celebrate a holiday eve than with a special about people celebrating major life moments with the help of flash mob performances?
 
That's the way FOX is thinking, scheduling Howie Mandel's "Mobbed" for Wednesday (November 23) night, airing after a double-elimination episode of "The X Factor."
 
"Mobbed" has a solid history following FOX musical talent shows, premiering as a one-off last March after an "American Idol" hour. That special retained the "Idol" audience so solidly that FOX ordered more "Mobbed" just days later.
 
In September, I sat down with Mandel, "Mobbed" host and executive producer, to talk about the flash mob phenomenon, what sort of announcements work best in this format and whether or not the famously germ-averse star has any favorite styles of fist-bump.
 
Check out the interview. 
 
 
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<p>Astro of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Astro of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - Top 9 Performances Live-Blog

It's a Giving Thanks theme week, whatever the heck that means

If you love stuffing and you love apologies, Tuesday (November) night's Very Special "The X Factor" is a two-hour block made just for you.

The "stuffing" is going to come from the show's Pre-Thanksgiving theme of "Giving Thanks," which is sure to be as efficiently adhered to as last week's Rock-n-Roll debacle. But "stuffing" is also relevant because Tuesday's show will cram nine performances into two hours, as the field keeps dwindling, but the programming block remains the same. 

And as for "apologies"? Well, if self-flagellation involving teenagers doesn't make you uncomfortable, you're gonna love watching Poor Li'l' Astro throw himself at the mercy of Simon Cowell and company begging their forgiveness for last week's lapse of positive mental attitude. With a double elimination pending on Wednesday, how many times will Astro have to say "I'm sorry" in order to avoid packing his bags? 

Let's find out!

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<p>Zooey Deschanel</p>
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Zooey Deschanel

Credit: FOX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 103

Dan and Alan play catch-up on a slew of TV comedies

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
How did a week in which we had nothing new to discuss end up being our longest podcast ever?
 
I have no idea.
 
But last week, we caught up with many of our favorite TV dramas and this week we caught up with many of our favorite TV comedies and that somehow resulted in an epic 100-minute-plus podcast.
 
I can't really explain it, but Justin Verlander is probably to blame.
 
This week's exhausting breakdown:
 
"How I Met Your Mother" (01:35 - 10:50)
"2 Broke Girls" (10:50 - 19:05)
"New Girl" (19:05 - 25:00)
"Suburgatory" (25:00 - 30:05)
"Modern Family" (30:05 - 34:50)
Justin Verlander winning AL MVP (34:50 - 37:50)
"Happy Endings" (38:05 - 42:50)
The shelving of "Cougar Town" and "Community" (42:50 - 52:00)
"Community" (52:00 - 01:01:25)
"Parks and Rec" (01:01:30 - 01:08:50)
"The Office" (01:08:50 - 01:19:14)
"Always Sunny" (01:19:20 - 01:23:55)
Listener Mail: Miscasting vs. Bad acting (01:23:55 - 01:28:45)
"Homeland" (01:28:50 - 01:38:00)
 
 

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.] 

And here's the podcast...
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<p>Marcus and Amani of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Marcus and Amani of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'It's Speedo Time'

In honor of Jean-Claude Van Damme, teams get greased up in Belgium
Whatever.
 
I dunno what to say about Sunday (November 20) night's "Amazing Race."
 
Every week I sit down to recap this show and every week, I write a full recap. Sometimes the recaps are poorly edited. Sorry. Some weeks the recaps are less inspired. Sorry for that as well. But a full recap gets posted every week, complete with a beginning -- intro and lead-up to the break -- a middle -- description of various challenges and whatnot -- and an end -- a few random observations and a bolded question asking what you thought of the episode.
 
Somehow, this season of "The Amazing Race" has lost all grasp on the beginning-middle-and-end narrative. After delivering the season's best episode last week, "The Amazing Race" limped back into its season-average form with the fourth time in nine episodes that the credits have rolled without a team going home. This week's episode -- not a Non-Elimination Leg, but one of the equally frustrating "Welcome to the Pit Stop, now continue with the Race" non-results -- ended the season's longest streak of episodes featuring an elimination at TWO.
 
That's just stupid and it has prevented me from getting any sort of emotional momentum in watching the Race. You should be watching every episode going "I hope my favorite teams don't get eliminated this week!" rather than "I wonder if anybody's going to be eliminated at all."
 
And Sunday's episode felt like an elimination-free Leg from very early on when it quickly became clear that too much time was being spent on too many things that weren't really placement factors, as the hour-mark got closer and closer and closer. I knew with 15 or 20 minutes left that there was no way the teams were all going to reach the Pit Stop by the end of the hour, so I had lots of time to marinate in frustrated anticipation. 
 
[I'll say this again: In isolation, an elimination-free Leg or two might tick me off a little, but my increased ire at this season has been the distribution of such legs. There has to be a better way to do it, because this season's structure has been the worst way to do it. So there's no need to tell me "But they have to do elimination-free episodes to stretch out the season." I know this. Previous seasons have had different scatter patterns for NELs and whatnot. All have been better than this season in that particular respect.]
 
Click through for my recap of Sunday's "The Amazing Race"...
 
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<p>Keith and Jim of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Keith and Jim of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Jim Rice and Keith Tollefson talk 'Survivor: South Pacific'

Did they bully Cochran? Would Coach have made the Merge on their Tribe? And more...
We're now two weeks past John Cochran's big "Survivor" flip, a strategic maneuver that some fans have celebrated as a brilliant game play and some fans are hailing as an act of betrayal. 
 
Not surprisingly, the players impacted negatively by Cochran's move are also still irked by what went down in the South Pacific and although they're maybe not as harshly critical as they were on the night the alliance shift went down, they're also not happy.
 
In a double-elimination Duel that aired this past week, Jim Rice and Keith Tollefson were defeated on Redemption Island and it's no surprise that much of their paired exit interview involved questions relating to Cochran.
 
Was Cochran bullied?
 
Does his flip make any more sense six months and a season of episodes later? 
 
Would they really have rather gone to drawing rocks at that first post-Merge Tribal council?
 
And what's up with Coach?
 
Click through for all of their answers, some fairly reasonable and some still fueled by a sense of ongoing frustration... 
 
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<p>Burrito Josh</p>
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Burrito Josh

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Top 9

Rihanna performs and another act heads home on a busy Thursday

The winner of tonight's "They're Not Going Home, So I Feel Confident Using a Picture of Them With My Recap Without Being Accused of Spoiling Anything" prize goes to... Burrito Josh!

Congratulations, Burrito Josh, for giving the only actual "rock" performance on Wednesday night's "The X Factor." For that, and previous achievements, I'm just assuming that Burrito Josh will be sticking around for another week.

As for the rest of Thursday's results (and a performance by Rihanna), click through...

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<p>Sophie of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>
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Sophie of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: South Pacific' - 'Running the Show'

Everybody talks about Big Moves, but did anybody make a Big Move?
Pre-credit sequence. It's Night 24 on Redemption Island and Jim is the latest Savaii bootee to stumble over to the shelter. "I thought we were supposed to be the Final 3," Keith says, looking at Jim and Ozzy. "That is a cult unlike any I've seen before," Jim says, highlighting Coach as the leader of the cult. For some reason, Ozzy thinks he told everybody this would happen. Did he? 
 
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<p>LeRoy Bell of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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LeRoy Bell of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - Top 10 Performances Live-Blog

Paula's lone Group goes against Simon, L.A. and Nicole's full squads

Welcome to Wednesday (November 16) night's live-blog for "The X Factor."

We're about to spend two hours watching performances from this season's Top 10, but is it really necessary? Can't we all just agree that America hates Groups, send Lakoda Rayne packing. Then Paula can head off to spend the rest of her fall some place tropical and L.A. Reid, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger's Boys, Girls and Over-30s can battle this out. 

Right?

Let's get to the show...

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<p>Laurence and Zac and Speckles of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Laurence and Zac and Speckles of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Laurence & Zac talk 'The Amazing Race'

The father-son adventurers talk sewing, dancing and more
Father-son adventurers Laurence Sunderland and Zac Sunderland had a roller-coaster Leg on Sunday (Nov. 13) night's "Amazing Race."
 
As the episode began, Laurence and Zac made a gutsy decision to deviate from the travel plans booked by the producers, opting to go to Copenhagen via London, alone. That gamble resulted in a three-hour lead, which promptly vanished when nearly all of the teams were left waiting overnight for a church to open. 
 
Then they seemed to have put themselves in jeopardy when Zac struggled with a dancing Roadblock and they ran the risk of more difficulties when they were U-Turned by Bill & Cathi. But even after completing both ends of the Detour, Laurence and Zac seemed headed for safety due to a snakebitten leg for Jeremy & Sandy.
 
Instead, Laurence and Zac got lost going out of the Detour and weren't able to navigate themselves to the Pit Stop in time.
 
In our exit interview, Laurence & Zac discussed their team dynamic, Zac's dancing and Laurence's maligned sewing comments.
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie of &quot;Pan Am&quot;</p>
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Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie of "Pan Am"

Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 102

Dan and Alan play catch-up on a slew of TV dramas

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
 
We're baaaaaaaaack.
 
First off, sorry about last week. Or the absence of last week. Not just the absence of a podcast last week, but the absence of last week in general. It's like it never happened.
 
So this week? We went a little extra-long as a bonus. Not two-hours, or anything. But nearly 90 minutes.
 
This week, we caught up on a heaping plateful of our favorite dramas, or at least dramas we haven't talked about lately, including "Parenthood," "Prime Suspect" and "Homeland." We also answered some mail.
 
Next week? Another slow week, so we'll catch up on a bunch of our favorite comedies. And answer more mail. If you e-mail us both as sepinwall@hitfix.com and dan@hitfix.com.
 
Anyway...
 
This week's breakdown:
"Parenthood" -- 02:30 - 12:45
"Prime Suspect" -- 12:50 - 18:30
"Fringe" -- 18:35 - 26:00
"Good Wife" -- 26:10 - 34:45
"Boardwalk Empire" -- 34:50 - 42:20
"The Walking Dead" -- 42:25 - 48:05
"Pan Am" -- 48:05 - 57:50
"Homeland" -- 57:55 - 01:07:45
Listener Mail: Real actors vs. Characters -- 01:09:30 - 01:14:35
Listener Mail: Past TV moments if we'd had Twitter -- 01:14:45 - 01:21:15
Listener Mail: Reflections on "Scrubs" -- 01:21:30 - 01:28:20

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.] 

And here's the podcast...
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