Credit: History

'Vikings' raids and pillages a 4th season on History

History's flagship drama series "Vikings" has been renewed for a fourth season.

Including Live+3 numbers, the third season's first five "Vikings" episodes are averaging 4.3 million viewers, including 2 million in the 18-49 demo, making its renewal a no-brainer.

"'Vikings' has raided the hearts of both audiences and critics, establishing itself as one of the most compelling, visually stunning dramas on television," blurbs History EVP and General Manager Dirk Hoogstra. "We are so proud of our immensely talented cast and crew led by Michael Hirst, whose intriguing storylines and pivotal arcs have the perfect balance of scope, smarts and bloodshed to keep our loyal fans watching and wanting more."

The Season 3 "Vikings" finale will be April 23.

When I asked Michael Hirst in January if he was already looking forward to a bigger-and-badder Season 4, he quickly agreed.

"Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We haven't finished with Paris for a start. No, I do know," Hirst said. "It's just every season I have to up the ante and I have to figure out, 'Let's do a different kind of a battle.' That's one thing. If you're just getting these armies of CGI warriors going from left to right and then from right to left you actually, I think, have to have different kinds of battle experiences. So that's what I'm doing at the moment actually."

Revisit that Hirst conversation here.

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<p>Wednesday&#39;s &quot;Criminal Minds&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Criminal Minds"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Empire'-free FOX dips as 'Survivor,' 'Criminal Minds' top Wednesday

'Arrow' rises for The CW, while ABC and NBC see general declines

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

The departure of "Empire" from the Wednesday landscape didn't drive audiences back to its 9 p.m. competition, but the spring juggernaut's absence did allow  "Survivor" to carry CBS to victory among young viewers, while "Criminal Minds" led overall.

"Criminal Minds" actually slipped slightly from its last original airing opposite "Empire," as did "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Modern Family," which returned from a couple weeks away to a big drops.

On the positive side, The CW's "Arrow" rose from last week, but didn't help "Supernatural."

Let's get to the numbers...

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

Sierra of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' - 'Odd Woman Out'

Good things always happen when you throw challenges. Right?

Pre-credit sequence. We begin at Nagarote, as I try to remember where we left off and what the names of the tribes were. Shirin is sad to have been blindsided and to have lost Max. "I don't know that I can trust you," Carolyn tells Shirin, further shunting her aside. Shirin protests that Max made her isolate herself, but Carolyn is being rough, making it clear that she wants no part of the newly solitary Shirin. "Is anybody left in this game willing to play with me?" Shirin ponders, wondering if this is a reflection on her. Hali levels with Shirin and tells her that Max had been annoying and that people felt like she was annoying as well. Ouch. This hits home for Shirin, who grew up rich, but not popular. So sad. I guess. Kinda. "I'm trying to do now what I was incapable of doing back then, which is deal with it, adapt, fix it," she promises.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Season 14 Top 11 and Boy George</p>

The "American Idol" Season 14 Top 11 and Boy George

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 9 '80s Night and Double-Elimination

After last week's Save, two people are definitely going home tonight

We're only two weeks into this season's "American Idol" Finals and The Save is gone. 

The "Idol" judges opted to Save Qaasim Middleton last week. Were they protecting the entertainment factor that Qaasim brings to the show? Were they rewarding Qaasim for bringing energy to an episode that had lacked energy? Were they recognizing that America's voting has, thus far, been wonky as heck this season?

Either way, Wednesday's (March 25) episode of "American Idol" is going to be a double-elimination episode, meaning that there are 11 remaining contestants, but presumably only nine are going to sing. This will change the entire architecture of the episode. Plus, FOX is boasting an appearance by Salt and/or Peppa, following last week's big Kenny Loggins appearance. Whee!

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<p>Willa Holland</p>

Willa Holland

'Arrow' star Willa Holland talks Speedy, pull-ups and on-set injuries

Where is Thea Queen in her grief cycle over Sara's death?

The "Flash"/"Arrow" PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet tip sheet contained the usual pictures of actors and a listing by name. In the cases in which alternate identities have been revealed, those were listed as well, so it was "Oliver Queen/Arrow," "Laurel Lance/Black Canary," "Roy Harper/Arsenal."

Poor Thea Queen's name was listed without an alter ego, even though Oliver's formerly bratty little sister has undergone a major change this season, going from whiny club kid to club owner/nocturnal butt-killer under the tutelage of her nefarious father Malcolm.

While an assortment of random references and traits have left many "Arrow" fans figuring that Thea's emergence as Speedy was just a foregone conclusion,  nobody is willing to make that pronouncement official, including star Willa Holland.

On the purple carpet, I talked with Holland about Thea's transformation this season and the guilt from Sara Lance's death that still drives her. We also talked about her own physical transformation that she says has her on the verge of a successful pull-up. But with great training and increased stunt responsibilities come hidden dangers and Holland also talked about her recent on-set injuries

Check out the full video interview above. And also watch my interviews with Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell and, of course, Emily Bett Rickards discussing Felicity's Jewishness.

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;Person of Interest&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "Person of Interest"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Voice,' 'One Big Happy' dips help 'NCIS'-led CBS win Tuesday

'Person of Interest' and 'Hell's Kitchen' don't drop on a sluggish night

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

"NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" led CBS' overall primetime rout, while "Person of Interest" toppled a special "Night Shift" to help CBS score a slim Tuesday win among young viewers as well.

"NCIS: New Orleans" was up over its last airing and "Person of Interest" added viewers.

Most of Tuesday's non-CBS offerings were down, including "The Flash," "iZombie" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." NBC's "The Voice" took a dip and the 9 p.m. comedy block of "Undateable" and "One Big Happy" fell accordingly.

One of the few shows to at least stay flat was FOX's "Hell's Kitchen," but even the season finale of "The Mindy Project" was down a hair from an already low point.

Let's get to the numbers...

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Danielle Panabaker has a hint for when 'Flash' may be ready for Killer Frost

Danielle Panabaker has a hint for when 'Flash' may be ready for Killer Frost

Why does EP Andrew Kreisberg compare Caitlin Snow to Buffy?

Dr. Caitlin Snow has had a roller-coaster year on The CW's "The Flash."

She began the season mourning for beau Ronnie Raymond, but just when she seemed past her grief, Ronnie returned with new powers and a strange partnership with Victor Garber. 

Ooops. Wounds reopened. So what's in store for the last third of the season?

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Eoin Macken explains the motorcycle-doctor 'Night Shift' key art
Credit: NBC

Eoin Macken explains the motorcycle-doctor 'Night Shift' key art

Back in October, I spent three days on the Morocco set of National Geographic's "Killing Jesus."

You can see the first part of my coverage, Kelsey Grammer's thoughts, here.

Grammer was paired with Eoin Macken, who plays Herod Antipas in the telefilm and, toward the end of the interview, Macken mentioned that he was preparing to return to work on NBC's "The Night Shift."

I couldn't resist asking if he'd get the chance to do more key art riding a motorcycle in the ER. Macken was... Amused.

"Oh f***'s sake, yeah!" the Irish actor exclaimed. "Jesus Christ. Would you like to know how hungover when we did that?  When we finished shooting, we all had a big massive party and then the next day we’re doing stills.  And we’re so easily malleable that day because everyone had headaches. We’re like, ‘We’ll do whatever you want.’  Do you want this? Sure. They were clever about it."

Still obviously bemused by the picture, he added, "We’ve had many conversations with deaf ears.  I realized then the importance if photo-kill in America and I’ve never thought about that before."

"The Night Shift" Season 2 key art did not, in fact, include the motorcycle.

And "Killing Jesus" premieres on Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic.

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<p>Loretta and Raylan on &quot;Justified&quot;</p>

Loretta and Raylan on "Justified"

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 273 - 'X-Files,' 'Justified,' 'Americans'

Dan and Alan also talk 'Girls,' 'Broad City' and 'Empire'


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!

It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 

We were delayed slightly by FOX's announcement of the six-episode limited return of "The X-Files," so we got to discuss that a bit.

And since this week was light on premieres, we took the chance to do a ton of catching up, including just-past-midseason looks at "Justified" and "The Americans," as well as post-finale discussions of "Empire," "Broad City" and "Girls."

That's a lot to cover -- there are spoilers for already-aired episodes of all five shows, but no spoilers for anything upcoming -- so let's just jump right in!

Today's breakdown:
The "X-Files" return (00:00:45 - 00:08:45)
Listener Mail: Cable episode counts (00:09:05 - 00:17:50)
Listener Mail: Producer to build a programming night (00:17:55 - 00:23:00)
"Justified" (00:23:15 - 00:40:20)
"The Americans" (00:40:20 - 00:58:25)
"Empire" finale (00:58:35 - 01:08:25)
"Broad City" finale (01:08:30 - 01:16:40)
"Girls" finale (01:16:45 - 01:27:35)

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.

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<p>Kelsey Grammer in National Geographic&#39;s &quot;Killing Jesus&quot;</p>

Kelsey Grammer in National Geographic's "Killing Jesus"

Credit: National Geographic Channels/Kent Eanes

'Killing Jesus' star Kelsey Grammer talks faith, religion and Herod's genitals

Plus, check out an exclusive behind-the-scenes Kelsey Grammer clip

OUARZAZATE, MOROCCO. When the story of Jesus is told, the name of "Herod the Great" is rarely accompanied by applause.

That is not the case on the central Moroccan set of National Geographic's "Killing Jesus" in late October 2014.

We're off to the side of a towering, multi-tiered set standing in for The Temple in Jerusalem, bearing witness to endless repetitions of a shot featuring Herod and an assortment of priests ascending the steps. Kelsey Grammer has been off to the side of video village watching as robed stand-ins went up and down the steps making sure the light was right, serving as a cheerleader to get the shot and move on.

Grammer's motivation becomes clear an hour later when the shot is finally locked and a bellowing voice declares, "That's a wrap for Kelsey Grammer."

For one brief moment, Herod is beloved by all and takes in the adulation from the cast and crew.

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