Credit: Yahoo

Interview: 'Community' star Jim Rash on The Dean's sexuality, directing and more

What's in store for Dean Pelton and how does Yahoo "Community" feel different?

The cast of "Community" has come a long way from where they were when the comedy premiered on NBC in 2009 to where they are now as "Community" begins its latest rebirth on Yahoo. Not to take anything away from the career arcs of Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi or Alison Brie, but Jim Rash's journey from comic day player perhaps best known for a resemblance to Moby to beloved supporting performer, Oscar-winning screenwriter and acclaimed indie director seems like the biggest leap.

As the cast of "Community" has shifted in recent years, Rash's Dean Pelton has become increasingly central and as Rash's creative profile has grown, thanks to "The Descendants" and "The Way Way Back," he was able to write an episode in The Lost Dan Harmon-less Season.

The sixth "Community" season begins on Tuesday (March 17) on Yahoo and Rash has been able to add TV directing to his resume as he and Oscar-winning writing and directing partner Nat Faxon helmed a pair of episodes this season including the Dean-heavy second installment.

I sat down with Rash two weeks ago to talk about the different historical layers of "Community" and whether we're on "Community 2.0" or "3.0" or "4.0" this season, as well as his experience directing on the show. We also discussed the particular and unique creative environment that has allowed nearly every cast member to seek outside writing, directing or producing opportunities during various "Community" hiatuses. And we talked about what his plans are for when "Community" inevitably ends.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Grant Gustin</p>

Grant Gustin

Grant Gustin explains why 'Flash' won't get too dark, plus The 3 H's of 'Flash'

Why will 'Flash' be able to withstand a spinoff?

For all of its levity, "The Flash" has always had as its backdrop the death of Barry Allen's mother and his father's conviction.

Things took a darker turn in a recent episode when evidence suggested that Young Barry had witnessed time-bending Flash Barry on the night of the murder. This revelation meant two key things: The first, that time-travel was something that might become a part of Barry's skill-set, but the second being the sad knowledge that even by going back in time, Barry hadn't averted the tragedy.

It's the kind of morbid information that could linger as the season progresses, but on Saturday's (March 14) PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet, Grant Gustin told me that hasn't exactly been the case.

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<p>Greg Berlanti</p>

Greg Berlanti

Greg Berlanti compares 'Arrow'/'Flash' spinoff to 'The Magnificent Seven'

In our interview, the ubiquitous producer also explains how he can be so busy

This may not be 100 percent accurate, but if you cover the TV industry, hardly a week seems to go by without producer-writer Greg Berlanti having a pilot picked up.

The "Everwood" and "Brothers and Sisters" veteran has most recently been working to expand the presence of the DC Comics Universe on The CW. 

"Arrow" launched in 2012 and immediately became on of The CW's foundational hits.

"The Flash" was loosely spun out of "Arrow" this season and has become the sort of breakout smash The CW has been search for years, reliably topping some of its competition on other networks.

And it was only a couple weeks ago that it was announced that Berlanti and his team are developing an elaborate "Arrow"/"Flash" spinoff featuring a slew of characters from both shows, including Brandon Routh's Atom, Victor Garber's Firestorm and Wentworth Miller's Captain Cold.

On the PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet on Saturday (March 14), I began my interview (featured above) with Berlanti by asking how many of him there are. His answer, as is always the case, was to be generous about the importance of his collaborators, including Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim.

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Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 272 - 'Jinx' finale, 'Community' and more

Dan and Alan also review 'Bloodline' and 'Undateable'


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.

It's time for an early-week installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

We've got plenty to cover in this podcast, including the return of "Community" and "Undateable," the Netflix premiere of "Bloodline" and Sunday night's chilling series finale of HBO's "The Jinx."

We also answered follow-ups to a couple things we discussed in recent podcasts.

Here's today's breakdown:
"Community" (00:01:25 - 00:13:15)
"Undateable" (00:13:15 - 00:21:15)
"Bloodline" (00:21:15 - 00:32:55)
Listener Mail: TV Character Mt. Rushmores (00:33:10 - 00:40:00)
Listener Mail: Supporting Characters surpassing Leads on Great Shows (00:40:00 - 00:48:40)
"The Jinx" Finale (00:49:10 - 01:17:45)

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>&quot;Madam Secretary&quot;</p>

"Madam Secretary"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Madam Secretary,' 'Once Upon a Time' lead Sunday split

'Last Man on Earth' is among many dippers

Fast National ratings for Sunday, March 15, 2015.

"Once Upon a Time" dipped from last week, but still led ABC to a Sunday primetime win among young viewers, while "60 Minutes" and "Madam Secretary" helped CBS build up a huge overall lead and coast to victory in total viewers.

Nearly everything was down on Sunday, including FOX's "Last Man on Earth," which remained the network's most watched show on Sunday, only by a hair, but also helped FOX to a second place finish in the key demo.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Emily Bett Rickards</p>

Emily Bett Rickards

'Arrow' star Emily Bett Rickards weighs in on Felicity's Jewishness

The time wasn't right, sadly, to teach Rickards the hora

On Saturday (March 14) afternoon's PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet for The CW's "Arrow" and "The Flash," I was content to let a dozen other reporters ask Emily Bett Rickards about Felicity Smoak's romantic choices between Oliver Queen and Ray Palmer, about her advanced and evolving hacking skills and about whether things are becoming crowded in the Arrow Cave.

For me, this was the best possible time to ask Rickards about my personal favorite part of Felicity Smoak's backstory, specifically the character's Jewishness, which has been referenced in four or five lines through two seasons, as well as through the character's menorah, which had a place of honor at her workplace desk.

[If you stop to think about it, Felicity has been far more demonstrably Jewish than the characters on ABC's "The Goldbergs." I find this interesting.]

I was able to chat with Rickards about her increased interest in Felicity's Jewishness, as well as the "Arrow" writer -- Beth Schwartz, if you're curious -- who has been Judaism Svengali. 

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<p>Tobias Menzies</p>

Tobias Menzies

'Outlander' star Tobias Menzies on Black Jack: 'The Devil's sexy, isn't he?'

Two-role star talks about the catharsis of Black Jack and Frank's big midseason finale

On "Outlander," Tobias Menzies plays a pair of very different characters. Frank Randall is dogged and dependable. Black Jack Randall is, as Menzies puts it, "a study in sadism."

Black Jack is a nasty piece of work, but in certain corners of the internet, there are great affection for him.

"I completely understand it," Menzies told me on the PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet for "Outlander." "Yeah. Of course. The Devil's sexy, isn't he?"

Menzies explained, "I try and understand him as much as I can, make him as three-dimensional, as rooted in the life he's lead. I think he's a product of that war and that time, rather than just sorta randomly evil."

Plus, it's just liberating to play the bad guy.

"You get to say and do all of the things that you're not allowed to do in your own life and that is absolutely cathartic and enjoyable. There's a relish about it," Menzies laughed.

But our carpet conversation wasn't only about Black Jack. Menzies excitedly talked about the "Outlander" midseason finale "Both Sides Now," in which he got to experience some 1945 Frank Randall moments that aren't in Diana Gabaldon's book.

Check out the full interview above. Also check out my interview with Sam Heughan and my chat with Caitriona Balfe.

"Outlander returns to Starz on April 4.

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

Nina of "Survivor: Worlds Apart"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Nina Poersch talks 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'

Latest bootee discusses her hearing challenges and the challenges of the theme

All you need to know about the "Survivor: Worlds Apart" White/Blue/No Collar twist can be summed up in Nina Poersch's reaction to initially finding herself on the No Collar tribe.

"I thought in my head, 'Holy crap. I am on the wrong tribe,'" Nina told me in her "Survivor" exit interview. "I am not and have never considered myself to be a No Collar person. You might look at my lifestyle right now and think that, but that’s not me. That’s never been me."

By that standard, we probably shouldn't be surprised that Nina's "Survivor" run was a brief one, with the only surprise being that she escaped one vote for her No Collar tribe. 

Not only was Nina a spiritual outlier on her tribe, but she also was quickly on the outs with what last week's bootee Vince called The Barbie Block, a young alliance featuring Jenn, Hali and Joe. Did that trio dislike Nina because she's deaf or because she wasn't free-spirited enough or because she was older? Probably a little of each.

As Nina is quick to note, she made have disclosed her deafness to her tribe, but she has cochlear implants and hears fairly well. Other than asking me to repeat a couple questions, Nina's exit interview was entirely business-as-usual over the phone, as she discussed her distance from her tribe, especially with Joe, who announced he had special understanding of her deafness, but then squeezed her out in a key challenge.

Click through for the full Q&A, minus only a little trimming of the couple repeated questions: 

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<p>Jane Lynch of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>

Jane Lynch of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Amazing Race,' 'Blue Bloods' and a basketball boost lead CBS Friday

'Glee' gets a tiny pre-finale boost for FOX

Fast National ratings for Friday, March 13, 2015.

CBS swept the primetime hours overall in all measures and also won two of three hours among young viewers to lead Friday, preliminarily. 

Why is it only "preliminarily"? Because basketball preemptions on the East Coast were almost certainly responsible for a big bump for "The Amazing Race," among other CBS offerings. While CBS will still win Friday overall no matter how the numbers shake out, it wouldn't be surprising to see "Shark Tank"-fueled ABC rise to its normal top position among young viewers.

Among other Friday notables, FOX's "Glee" rose a bit in advance of next week's series finale.

On to the preliminary-and-likely-to-change numbers...

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<p>Sam Heughan</p>

Sam Heughan

Sam Heughan is pleased 'Outlander' April premiere gets inside Jamie's head

'Outlander' star talks about Jamie's youth and his bearded disguise

When "Outlander" returns from its lengthy midseason hiatus on April 4, viewers will immediately hear something very different, specifically Sam Heughan's voice.

Through eight episodes, Caitriona Balfe's Claire has had the narration, just as Diana Gabaldon's entire book is from Claire's perspective. But with the episode titled "The Reckoning," Jamie Fraser has the voice-over, which meant a big change for Heughan.

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