Pre-credit sequence. No Collar returns to camp after dispatching with Vince. Nobody's especially sure what happened, at least nobody other than Will, who screwed up the split-voting plan and also screwed up his chances of being trusted by anybody else. With new understanding, Joe is less grateful that Will booted his nemesis and more distrustful of a new nemesis. Will says he's playing chess, not checkers, which is irrelevant, because what he's actually supposed to be playing here is "Survivor." Nina announces that she knows she's the next one out. Once again, she's feeling like an outsider and once again she wants everybody to know that she's feeling like an outsider. She just asks people not to whisper behind her back. "Enjoy yourself, Nina!" Jenn instructs her, with the most half-hearted pep talk imaginable. We know how Jenn really feels about Nina anyway and it isn't especially attractive. "I get it. You're deaf. We all understand," Jenn tells us. Oy.
There were definitely some surprises in last week's first Top 24 eliminations.
One week, Trevor Douglas was my pick to win the whole thing. The next week? Poof. Gone.
One week, it seemed like everybody hated Maddie Walker for taking Rachael Hallack's place in the Top 24. The next week? Bam! Embraced by America despite an utterly mediocre performance.
On Wednesday (March 11) night, "American Idol" is unveiling our Top 12 Finalists. How will the lucky singers be revealed? And what will we do to fill the hour?
Click through and follow along!
For the most part, Season 4 of "Homeland" was widely hailed as a comeback for the Showtime, which scored a bevy of revisionist appreciations and worked its way back into award conversations after a Season 3 cooling.
The finale, though, with its concentration on Carrie Mathison's familial self-discovery, left some fans a little bit less enthused. Not all. But some.
On the "Homeland" PaleyFest 2015 purple carpet last Friday (March 6), I chatted with finale director Lesli Linka Glatter about the episode and she described it as "risky," a word I then used with showrunner Alex Gansa, who disagreed.
"It really did not feel risky to me at all," he insisted, saying that the show had finished its action arc and merely doing action-for-action's-sake would have been "pandering."
As Gansa puts it, "If you want to watch a story about an escape from a Middle Eastern country, go watch 'Argo.'"
Always prone to awareness of online rumblings about "Homeland," Gansa said simultaneously that he'd previously had an AP reporter tell him the finale was his favorite episode yet, but he also noted, "Go on the Internet and you will legitimately want to blow your brains out."
In the balance, when it comes to the roller-coaster of affection for "Homeland," Gansa admits, "You weren’t an idiot last year and you’re not a genius this year. You’re just a guy trying to make a television show."
Check out the full Gansa interview above, including his frustration the online "culture of meanness."
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
Daylight Saving Time sent a slew of of Tuesday offerings plummeting, as "The Voice" helped NBC crush the competition among young viewers and CBS' depressed procedurals eked out a slim victory overall.
In general, TV usage levels -- or HUT levels if you prefer -- were down by 5 percent week-to-week in the 18-49 demo.
Among the shows down either overall, in the key demo or, usually, both on Tuesday were "Fresh Off The Boat," "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "NCIS," "NCIS: New Orleans," "Person of Interest," "The Voice" and "Chicago Fire." And without a new "New Girl" as lead-in, FOX's "The Mindy Project" slipped below The Mulaney Line and also below 2 million viewers on Tuesday.
Let's get to the ugly numbers.
The fourth season of "Homeland" surprised many fans by concluding with a quiet finale that was more about emotional revelations for Claire Danes' Carrie Mathison and less about roller coaster action set pieces.
On the red (or purple) carpet for Friday (March 6) night's PaleyFest opener, I asked several "Homeland" principals about the impact of those quiet moments going forward, while Danes reflected on the new status quo in a big group scrum.
"We really have never seen her be relatively normal and social," Danes told reporters, adding that, "The writers are relentless in redefining the show every season."
For producer Meredith Stiehm, long known as The Carrie Whisperer and the writer of the finale, it was a pleasure to delve into Carrie's psyche in the finale and also to honor the passing of her father (and, in the process, the late James Rebhorn).
But how long, I asked Stiehm, is any stability or serenity likely to last for Carrie in Season 5?
"I think she's got some settled windows of time, but I think her nature is just antsy and needing excitement and curious," Stiehm admitted.
In our purple carpet conversation, "Homeland" showrunner Alex Gansa was even more passionate about the choice to go with a quiet finale. Stay tuned for that interview.
And check out Stiehm and Danes' thoughts on Carrie's changes and maturation above.
Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Due to the possibility that we may not have a regularly scheduled podcast next Tuesday, today's episode is kinda all over the map. We have a review of PlayStation's "Powers," which is already out, but also "iZombie" and "One Big Happy," which premiere next week. We also answered some mail and talked about Monday night's eventful and terrific "Better Call Saul."
We may have a second podcast later this week, or maybe a podcast early next week as usual. Who knows?
Here's today's breakdown:
"Powers" (00:00:55 - 00:15:20)
"iZombie" (00:15:25 - 00:24:55)
"One Big Happy" (00:25:00 - 0035:20)
Listener Mail: The "Empire" phenomenon (00:33:00 - 00:42:50)
Listener Mail: "Last Man on Earth" (00:43:30 - 00:51:25)
Monday's "Better Call Saul" (00:51:45 - 01:10:55)
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.
Fast National ratings for Monday, March 9, 2015.
"The Voice" built up a big enough lead in the first two hours of primetime for NBC to still win Monday in most measures despite another weak performance from "The Night Shift."
Three hours of finale action for "The Bachelor" had ABC in a close second in the key demo, though ABC dominated in the 18-34 demo and also won easily among women 18-49.
And the combination of "Scorpion" and "NCSI: Los Angeles" put CBS in second overall for the night.
Meanwhile, without a new "Gotham" for support, the season's second episode of "The Following" plummeted to sub-"Sleepy Hollow" levels.
Let's get to the numbers...
This will be Lawless' first role on Starz since "Spartacus," a series that was also executive produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. Raimi and Tapert also executive produced a little Lucy Lawless show called "Xena: Warrior Princess. "
Oh and Lawless has been married to Tapert since 1998.
Lawless will play Ruby in the "Evil Dead" spinoff, opposite returning franchise star Bruce Campbell's Ash. Ruby is described as "a mysterious figure who is myopic in her quest to hunt down the source of the recent Evil outbreaks." She also believes that the outbreaks are Ash's fault.
Raimi is directing the first "Ash vs Evil Dead" episode and co-wrote the pilot with Ivan Raimi.
Sam Simon, a nine-time Emmy winner and one of the co-creators of "The Simpsons," died on Sunday (March 8) after a long battle with colorectal cancer.
He was 59.
A writer and later showrunner on "Taxi," Simon also produced and wrote for "Cheers."
Simon was part of the original team that helped develop "The Simpsons" into a regular-length series after it began its run as shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show."
Credited as series co-creator with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, Simon assembled the original team of "Simpsons" writers, a murderers' row that included legendary show scribes including John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky. Simon, and the staff he brought together, has been given much of the credit for helping craft the sensibility of the series, as well as the ever-expanding universe of Springfield.
Simon left the show in 1993 and had a wildly eclectic post-"Simpsons" career including a number of successful World Series of Poker appearances, a run as manger to heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster and a number of high profile charitable ventures.
You didn't seriously think that AMC was going to reject its "Walking Dead" companion series pilot, did you?
If you did, you were wrong.
If you assumed this one was pretty close to a lock?
AMC announced on Monday (March 9) that the currently untitled "Walking Dead" companion pilot has been given a two-season series order.