Pre-credit sequence. Poor Jaclyn is all alone and there's a scary creature in the trees. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do," Natalie tells Jaclyn, who also praises her fellow castaways for their acting and being fake. "I'm loyal to a fault in my life," Missy replies. Natalie and Jaclyn get into a shouting match about who does or doesn't know Jon. Jaclyn is particularly angry, which I guess makes sense. This, of course, is exactly what Natalie wanted, because she wants people to be wary about aligning with Jaclyn. She knows it'll take effort to maintain her ties to Missy and Baylor in the short term. "You've gotta put in work if you want to win this," Natalie says.
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, December 16, 2014.
The latest season finale was, predictably, far below last December's finale and a hair below last May's finale among young viewers, but still helped NBC rule Tuesday in the key demo. "NCIS," however, dominated its hour overall and helped CBS comfortably win in total viewers.
CBS' overall win was boosted by a weak performance from NBC's "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas" special, but hindered by relatively low numbers for "NCIS: New Orleans" an "Person of Interest."
The season finale for "MasterChef Junior" was up a bit week-to-week.
On to the numbers...
A month after setting a nebulous February 2015 premiere for its latest invasion, History's "Vikings" now has a specific premiere date.
Season 3 of "Vikings" will hit the shore on Thursday, February 19 at 10 p.m. The 10-episode season will follow up on Ragnar's elevation to King and will find the scruffy Norsemen taking aim at a little French city known as Paris.
Fast National ratings Monday, December 15, 2014.
The first night of the "Voice" season finale helped NBC win a comfortable Monday victory among young viewers and edge out "Scorpion"-led CBS overall.
FOX got zero interest in its latest pre-fab country kudosfest as the American Country Countdown delivered weaker numbers than last year's broadcast of the American Country Awards.
Over on The CW, "Jane the Virgin" appears to have gotten a small bump for its midseason finale, perhaps due to last week's Golden Globe nominations (or maybe just due to a Nielsen statistical hiccup, you never know), tying its series high in the 18-49 demo. A one-off Monday airing of "Hart of Dixie" delivered decent ratings as well.
Note that NBC had the Monday Night Football game in New Orleans, while ABC was showing the game in Chicago.
On to the numbers...
The final season of "Mad Men" won't air until spring/summer of 2015, but even after it's gone Christina Hendricks may not be away from the small screen for long.
Showtime announced on Monday (December 15) that Hendricks has signed on for one of the leads in "Roadies," the network's new hour-long comedy pilot from writer-director Cameron Crowe.
Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Sunday Night Football showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles dominated primetime in all measures as NBC cruised to primetime victory.
The Dallas-Philly game delivered NBC's best Sunday Night Football overnights since the Week 1 game between the Colts and Broncos.
Over on ABC, the "Once Upon a Time" midseason finale delivered weak numbers and Barbara Walters' annual "Most Fascinating" special attracted very little interest, finishing down from last year's special, which aired on a Wednesday.
CBS got decent numbers for the return of "Undercover Boss," but since the network had a variety of primetime delays in different football markets, it's hard to gauge the exact ratings.
On to the numbers...
I've said it before and I stand by it: For six or seven votes in this "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" season, Jon Misch and girlfriend Jaclyn Schultz had more power than any pair of castaways in "Survivor" history.
Tribal Council after Tribal Council, the week's vote hinged on what the recent Miss Michigan and the former Michigan State Spartan decided, as they flipped back and forth taking out powerhouses and threats, often in blindsides.
This past week, Jon & Jaclyn's "Survivor" run came to an end, fittingly, with a blindside and it was, fittingly, an act of revenge, as Natalie targeted Jon for taking out her only strong non-Blood ally in the game, Jeremy.
As we saw things play out, Jaclyn seemed to be warning Jon that Natalie might come after him, but Jon dismissed the idea. This came one week after a fight between Jon & Jaclyn seemed to derail the season's strategic momentum.
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Jon talks about the Tribal Council blindside that saw Missy and Baylor also flip on him and ended with his torch being snuffed, Idol still in his pocket. But if Jon had played that Idol, Jaclyn would have gone home instead. How would he have felt about that? And what was it light watching his lovers' spat play out on national TV? Or watching Alec flirt with his girlfriend?
Jon explains many things in this week's interesting Q&A...
Fast National ratings for Friday, December 12, 2014.
Even a relatively weak performance by "Shark Tank" still helped ABC lead Friday night among young viewers, while "Blue Bloods" and "Hawaii Five-0" led CBS to its normal comfortable overall win.
NBC's "Grimm" and "Constantine" were both up week to week, continuing a recent pattern of very small rotating up and down fluctuation.
And over on The CW, an encore of TNT's "The Librarians" premiere drew a large, by CW standards, overall Friday audience.
On to the numbers...
The latest journey of Marco Polo has brought the 13th century Italian merchant into the world of 21st century digital entertainment with a dose of '70s kung fu and just a hint of premium cable fantasy.
"Marco Polo," which premiered on Friday (December 12) on Netflix, has been described as the streaming service's answer to "Game of Thrones," an expensive epic of warring armies, courtly intrigue and not-insignificant quantities of nudity.
Of course, I'm not making that comparison and neither is "Marco Polo" EP Daniel Minahan.
"The similarity is that there's court intrigue but I think that's about it," Minahan tells me. "I mean we're set in Mongolia and China; it's the story of a warlord rather than six different kingdoms vying for their throne. There's really big differences in the way 'Marco Polo,' the tone of it and the structure of it. I think the only thing that might be similar would be the scale of it, you know, the idea that we were creating this big spectacle. But that's just what it takes to re-create the Empire of the Kublai Khan."
But Minahan's presence as producer and director on "Marco Polo" pushes the comparison, since his directing credits including five "Game of Thrones" episodes, as well as installments of some of HBO's other acclaimed shows including "Six Feet Under" and "Deadwood."
"Marco Polo" represents Minahan's first time as an executive producer, as he's had the opportunity to help shape series creator John Fusco's vision on locations in Malaysia and Kazakhstan bringing, as he says, the Empire of Kublai Khan to life.
I chatted with Minahan this week about achieving the scope and realism of "Marco Polo," but also about the series' crazier moments, including a naked kung fu set piece that caps the second episode. We discussed the long process that led to the casting of Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy as Polo, plus the shaping of the 10-episode drama for Netflix's binge-friendly audience.
Check out the full Q&A below...
Once again, there were many things to recommend Friday (December 12) night's episode of "The Amazing Race."
Yes, it was an episode that drew much of its drama and I know lots of fans hate that kind of thing. There were travel blunders and accompanying hubris. There were clue reading miscues and clue misplacing blunders.
But it was also a Leg that featured a few difficult tasks and that found all of the teams competing hard for a place in the Final 3, even risking their health in the Manila heat. There was dehydration and a contestant fighting through an injury.
It was close and competitive in the way that you want an "Amazing Race" Leg to be.