<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...

Read Full Post
<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!

Read Full Post
<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...

Read Full Post
<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!

Read Full Post
<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.]

Read Full Post
<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.

Read Full Post
<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."

Read Full Post


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...

Read Full Post
'iZombie' co-star Aly Michalka explains not noticing your roommate is a zombie

'iZombie' co-star Aly Michalka explains not noticing your roommate is a zombie

'Hellcats' veteran stopped by the HitFix offices to discuss her new CW series

A very odd thing happens to Olivia Moore in the opening minutes of The CW's "iZombie."

To be general, she becomes a zombie.

To be specific, her hair goes shock-white, her skin grows pale, she goes all raccoon-eyed, she dumps her perfect fiancé, she takes a major detour in her medical career and she starts eating brains.

Leaving the different organ consumption aside, most of Liv's changes are external and they're mostly very noticeable. 

One of the funnier things in "iZombie" is that while family and friends aren't utterly oblivious to the transformation, they're certainly oddly blasé.

In "iZombie," Liv's best friend and roommate Peyton (Aly Michalka) is busy starting her law career and I guess that somewhat explains how she's able to live with a zombie for several months without beginning to put together the pieces in any way.

Last week, Aly Michalka stopped by the HitFix studio to try to give an explanation for Peyton's limited awareness. 

I also chatted with Michalka about what drew her to "iZombie" and the chance to leap from her law-curious character in "Hellcats" to a full-blown lawyer for her latest CW offering. 

Check out the full interview above.

"iZombie" premieres on Tuesday (March 17) night at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;One Big Happy&quot;</p>

"One Big Happy"

Credit: NBC

Review: ‘One Big Happy’ illustrates sad state of NBC comedy brand

'Undateable' is better, but still needs to become more consistent

With "Parks and Recreation" ascended to heaven, "Community" descended to Yahoo and "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" preparing to evaporate into the ether, you might say that NBC's comedy brand was in jeopardy.

That, however, would make the completely false assumption that NBC has a comedy brand. As the network heads into the heart of the Spring 2015 development season, NBC has a couple half-hour blocks of laugh-intended programming, which does not a "comedy brand" make. 

The network's confusion at its place-filling strategy is evident in the new Tuesday block of "Undateable" and "One Big Happy," which premieres on Tuesday (March 17) with the not insignificant boost of "The Voice," which NBC presumably hopes will prevent the ignominy of a network having to start 100 percent from scratch, comedy-wise, at the May upfronts. On the surface, "Undateable" and "One Big Happy" feel similar, at least if your concept of similar is "All multi-cam comedies are identical and therefore compatible," which seems to be NBC's theory. 

Read Full Post