Credit: Showtime

Emmy appeal sends 'Orange Is The New Black' to Drama, credibility out the window

Go home, Emmy category classifiers. You're drunk.

On Friday (March 20) morning, I assembled a one-person appeals board and by a unanimous decision, I've decided that the TV Academy and its genre classification system is/are a Comedy, because darned if those clowns don't make me laugh, which is more than I can say for undisputed comedy "Nurse Jackie."

For a few years, the TV Academy has had difficulties with Emmy classification, because nobody on the Emmy rules committee is capable of accepting that sometimes things that are dramatic can also offer comedic elements and sometimes things that are comedic can often have dramatic elements and sometimes things that have a running time of between 44 minutes and an hour can be comedies and, in occasional extremes, it's even been known for half-hour things to be dramatic. It's almost as if life itself is neither wholly dramatic or wholly comedic and sometimes tone is fungible.

But don't expect for the TV Academy to understand that. Sensing that its membership was too dumb to recognize tone and quality without empirical qualifications, a rule change was made last month.

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<p>Thursday&#39;s &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Thursday's "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: NCAA Tournament action, 'American Idol' lead Thursday

'Blacklist' rises for NBC, but 'Scandal' and 'American Crime' dip for ABC

Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 19, 2015.

A two-hour performance night for "American Idol" was up from last week and helped FOX win Thursday overall, but it was NCAA Tournament action leading CBS to victory in the key demographic, at least in preliminary numbers.

Due to the nature of live events, these are time period figures and it's entirely possible that ABC, a close second in the key demo in Fast Nationals, may move up to first in Finals, despite down weeks for both "Scandal" and "American Crime."

NBC got Thursday's positive news as "Dateline: The Real Blacklist," "The Blacklist" and even "The Slap" all got bumps without scripted competition from CBS.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Kyle Chandler of &quot;Bloodline&quot;</p>

Kyle Chandler of "Bloodline"

Credit: Netflix

Interview: 'Bloodline' creators talk casting and their new Netflix home

Kessler, Zelman and Kessler discuss binge-viewing, secret-keeping and more

Whether or not you happened to be a fan, it's hard to deny that "Damages" was, in many ways, ahead of its time.

"Damages" was intensely serialized within seasons, but then each season was largely a reboot, bringing in a handful of big name supporting actors to play along with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne.

FX chief John Landgraf admitted that it was a hard show for the network to handle and maintain, because viewers couldn't jump in midway through a season and other viewers would store up three or four or 13 episodes and then plow through them well after the Nielsen measuring windows circa 2009 were closed.

In effect, "Damages" was a show designed for binge-viewing and anthology storytelling at a time when being a binge-favorite would get you cancelled by FX and shuffled off to DirecTV. [FX was also a producer on "Damages," which incentivized them to keep the show going in some form, even if it wasn't working in the landscape of that moment.]

"Damages" creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman didn't know it at the time, but they were already making a show that was designed for Netflix, not that Netflix knew it at the time either. 

Since "Damages" ended its five-season run, Netflix has gone from red-envelop deliverer of DVDs to an original programming behemoth build on binge-watching and ratings-ignoring, so it's not surprising that KZK, as the Kesslers and Zelman are often dubbed, have made Netflix the home for their new drama "Bloodline."

Superficially "Damages: Florida Keys," "Bloodline" is a story of buried secrets and ambiguously motivated crime set against the backdrop of a mostly close-knit family that reaches a breaking point after gathering to celebrate a pier being named after the parents. The absurdly packed cast includes Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz, Ben Mendelsohn, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard.

In January, I sat down with the KZK team to discuss finding a home on Netflix, the unique challenges of working in the Florida Keys and several key casting points on the twisty series.

DISCLOSURE: Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman are a collective unit making up KZK. As they say in this interview, they have a singular collaborative process that doesn't include strict delineation of responsibilities. They also have very, very, very similar voices and although they each identified themselves at the beginning of my interview, distinguishing between them a month later, even with carefully taken notes, is an inexact science. I've done the best I could and if Glenn, Todd or Daniel would like to clarify that while one was attributed with saying something that the other clearly stated, I'll happily change. These are the sentiments of the KZK unit, but there may be a time or two my Kesslers are reversed and I apologize sincerely.

Check out the full Q&A below. "Bloodline" premieres on Netflix in its bingable entirety on Friday, March 20...

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 11</p>

The "American Idol" Top 11

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - Top 10 Movie Night and Results

Plus, Jennifer Lopez promotes her new movie with a performance

Sorry, but I'm still annoyed that we sent Sarina-Joi Crowe packing. It's not that she didn't, at least on some level, deserve to go. She gave a bad performance at the beginning of a long episode, which is an easy path to being forgotten and being eliminated.

Still, "American Idol" lost a singer with almost limitless upside and we kept at least four or five people who almost certainly will never have anywhere near Sarina-Joi's potential.

Oh well.

After dedicating Wednesday night to two ridiculously high-rated hours of "Empire," FOX is turning Thursday over for a sure-to-be-lower-rated two hours of "American Idol" with a Movie Night theme. This is always one of the show's fuzziest and least justifiable themes and tonight we're using the theme as a hook so that Jennifer Lopez can perform the song she has in an upcoming movie.

Click through and follow along!

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<p>Cookie is pleased with the &quot;Empire&quot; finale ratings</p>

Cookie is pleased with the "Empire" finale ratings

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: Huge 'Empire' finale hits series highs for FOX Wednesday

Two-hour 'Survivor' puts CBS in second for the night

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, March 18, 2015.

As expected, FOX's "Empire" couldn't complete its first season without doing what it does best: Rising.

"Empire" capped off a remarkable spring run by topping 16.5 million viewers and rising to a 6.4 rating in the key demo for its Wednesday finale, leading FOX to a rout in all measures. 

And because this is "Empire" we're talking about, the 8 p.m. hour for the finale already hit series highs and then the 9 p.m. hour rose from there, as "Empire" neared 17.5 million viewers in its final hour.

Most of the competition wisely got out of the way of the "Empire" juggernaut, though "Survivor" pretty much held its own and "Arrow" and "Supernatural" were down a bit. With "Survivor" doing two hours, "CSI: Cyber" had to air without a "Criminal Minds" lead-in and took a big drop.

Coming out of two hours of comedy repeats, ABC got surprisingly decent numbers for the special "The Untold Story of 'The Sound of Music.'"

On to Wednesday's ratings...

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

Jenn of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' - Two episodes, Two eliminations

In a Wednesday double-dose, two castaways go home

Pre-credit sequence. Storms seem to be building as No Collar returns to camp. "Nina got what was coming to her," Hali cackles, malevolently, as if Nina had done her any harm at all. Hali explains to Will that his name only came up twice as a safety net. Will says that No Collar has the unit they want, but he also knows that he's doomed unless he can get Joe to turn on the girls this early.

He eats things that would make a billy-goat puke. Yikes. There's a big snake over at Blue Collar. Mike successfully machetes the snake and he skins it for dinner. Actually, it's not that big at all, but Mike is willing to eat anything, as he proved with the scorpion situation. Rodney is hesitant, but he wants protein. It seems that the hatchet has been buried between Rodney and Mike. That's nice!

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<p>Stephen Amell</p>

Stephen Amell

Stephen Amell says 'Arrow' will 'examine death' as Season 3 finale approaches

We only had one question with the 'Arrow' star, but he gave a good answer

Briefly killing your hero or heroine is a great way to temporarily raise stakes on a certain kind of show, but it's also a stunt you can only pull a couple times before viewers realize that probably death is only temporary. 

At the "Arrow"/"The Flash" PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet on Saturday (March 14) afternoon, time was getting short and stars and producers were about to get whisked upstairs for the panel. It briefly looked like "Arrow" star Stephen Amell was going to get yanked before pausing at our HitFix paddock. 

Fortunately, we at least got one question with Amell, so I asked about what death (or near-death) did for Oliver as a character and how "Arrow" is handling the stakes as the Season 3 finale approaches. [We're only at Episode 16 now, so it's not approaching that instantaneously.]

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<p>Tom Mison of &quot;Sleepy Hollow&quot;</p>

Tom Mison of "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

FOX renews 'Sleepy Hollow,' set 'Glades' veteran as showrunner

Including DVR numbers, Season 2 dipped from a 4.2 to a 2.6 key demo rating

After a season of declining ratings and some creative wobbliness, "Sleepy Hollow" has been renewed for a third season, with a new showrunner in place.

FOX announced on Wednesday (March 18) that "Sleepy Hollow" will be back next season (timing for that return is unannounced) and that Clifton Campbell will be taking over as showrunner.

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<p>Katie Cassidy</p>

Katie Cassidy

'Arrow' star Katie Cassidy admits Laurel had to earn becoming Black Canary

It was a three year wait, but Cassidy says it's 'the coolest thing ever

Katie Cassidy was cast as Laurel Lance on "Arrow" in the spring of 2012 and fans of the comic immediately went, "So she's Black Canary."

It took three years, however, for Cassidy and Laurel to finally take on the mantle of Black Canary.

There was a first season that pushed Laurel to emotional extremes, but not into the costume of a masked vigilante.

There was a second season that included more emotional extremes, but when Black Canary was introduced, it was Laurel's sister Sara (Caity Lotz) taking on the bad guys.

It's only been in Season 3 that Cassidy and Laurel have achieved their Black Canary destiny, which Cassidy calls "the coolest thing ever."

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Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Decent 'Undateable' start helps NBC Tuesday, 'iZombie' is OK too

'One Big Happy' also contributes to NBC's primetime wins

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

While it was "The Voice" and "Chicago Fire" that really paved the way for NBC's Tuesday wins, the "Undateable"/"One Big Happy" comedy block got off to an OK start and certainly didn't prevent those Tuesday wins.

"Undateable" and "One Big Happy" took advantage of a 9 p.m. hour in which "NCIS: New Orleans" and "New Girl" were in repeats, but still came in below the fall premieres for "Marry Me" and "About a Boy," though they were in line with the second week for those comedies, so we'll see how the numbers look next Tuesday.

Without a new "NCIS: New Orleans," ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." ticked up week-to-week.

Tuesday's other big premiere was The CW's "iZombie," which had a low-ish "Flash" return as its lead-in, but debuted to numbers comparable to what "Supernatural" had been doing in the time period. Helped by all of the competing repeats, The CW spent a rare night in second place among young viewers.

On to the Tuesday ratings...

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