<p>&quot;The Astronaut Wives Club&quot;</p>

"The Astronaut Wives Club"

Credit: ABC

Review: Style and performances keep ABC's 'Astronaut Wives Club' watchable

It's not quite a blast, but some viewers will orbit happily

Too little too late, but ABC has finally found the perfect companion piece for "Pan Am."

A bright-and-glossy dose of '60s nostalgia mixed with easily digestible proto-feminism, ABC's "Astronaut Wives Club" premieres on Thursday (June 18) night, more than three years after "Pan Am" was cancelled and I suspect they're likely to be remembered in the same way: Period dramas with high production values, a fantastic cast that ABC will look back at yearningly and unrealized creative potential obscuring otherwise solid storytelling.

Is there a hypothetical TV series about the wives of the Mercury astronauts that's more than a slightly superficial, slightly choppy and slightly misfocused showcase for fine performances and some snazzy retro-style? Absolutely, but there's still some virtue to this sort of watchable, somewhat nourishing summer entertainment, even in a landscape that's overflowing with summer viewing options.

Read Full Post
<p>NBA Finals</p>

NBA Finals

Credit: AP

Tuesday Ratings: Golden State wins the NBA Championship, ABC wins night

FOX's Women's World Cup coverage does solid demo numbers

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

The Golden State Warriors capped off their NBA Championship run with a Game 6 win and ABC capped off the highest rated NBA Finals on the network with a Tuesday win in all measures. 

ABC is estimating that the NBA Finals series was up a whopping 31 percent over last year, keeping in mind that these Fast National ratings reflect time period data and not ratings for the game itself.

"America's Got Talent" and particularly "I Can Do That" were both down from last week, but still put NBC in second place for the night, while FOX's coverage of the Women's World Cup did solid key demo ratings.

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Kit Harington of &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;</p>

Kit Harington of "Game of Thrones"

Credit: HBO

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 288 - 'Game of Thrones' finale and more

Dan and Alan also discuss the 'Veep,' 'Silicon Valley' and 'Cheers' finales


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls! It's time for the return of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

We took last week off from podcasting because Alan was traveling to LA, but because Alan was traveling to LA, we were able to do an in-person video show, so we really didn't take last week off at all.

And this week, we're doubling up. 

In today's podcast, we're reviewing ABC's "Astronaut Wives Club," we talk about all of HBO's various finales from Sunday night and in our Summer Rewatch, we discuss the "Cheers" finale.

And on Friday, we're going to be talking about HBO's "The Brink," "Ballers" and "True Detective," as well as a couple other new series premieres.

So this is a two podcast week! [Next week will be a zero podcast week, so be warned.]

Here's today's breakdown:
"The Astronaut Wives Club" (00:02:00 - 00:13:50)
"Silicon Valley" finale (00:14:00 - 00:24:05)
"Veep" finale (00:24:10 - 00:40:15)
"Game of Thrones" finale (00:40:20 - 01:20:45)
Summer Rewatch: "Cheers" finale (01:20:50 - 01:44:35)


And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Penny Dreadful&quot;</p>

"Penny Dreadful"

Credit: Showtime

Showtime picks up 'Penny Dreadful' Season 3

The next installment will be nine episodes

John Logan's Victorian horror mash-up "Penny Dreadful" has mixed up a witches brew for a third season. 

Showtime announced on Tuesday (June 16) that a nine-episode third "Penny Dreadful" season will shoot on location in Dublin and will premiere in 2016.

Read Full Post
Monday Ratings: Blackhawks' Stanley Cup clincher leads NBC rout
Credit: AP

Monday Ratings: Blackhawks' Stanley Cup clincher leads NBC rout

'So You Think You Can Dance' gets a bump for FOX

Fast National ratings for Monday, June 15, 2015.

The Chicago Blackhawks cemented their semi-dynasty with another Stanley Cup win on Monday night and coverage of the Game 6 clincher helped NBC cruise to victory on Monday night.

Interestingly, while NBC's hockey coverage outrated the network's strong regular Monday coverage, removing the network's reality hits from the mix helped FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance" rise, while "The Bachelorette" was flat.

The night's only other original notable was another week of declines, smaller than last week, for "The Whispers."

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>NBA Finals Game 5</p>

NBA Finals Game 5

Credit: AP

Sunday Ratings: Golden State's Game 5 triumph leads ABC Sunday

With 'Game of Thrones" also making a mark, everything else is sluggish

Fast National ratings for Sunday, June 14, 2015.

The Golden State Warriors took control of the NBA Finals with a relatively comfortable Game 5 victory, as ABC remained in control of the primetime ratings race.

With many viewers also basing their evenings around the "Game of Thrones" finale on HBO and whatnot, ABC's network competition barely made a ripple.

Remember, as always, that this is time period data and not reflective of the ratings for the basketball game itself, especially with one of the teams hailing from the West Coast.

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Beauty and the Beast&quot;</p>

"Beauty and the Beast"

Credit: The CW

Thursday Ratings: NBA Finals Game 3 leads, 'Wayward Pines' rises, 'Hannibal' dips

'Beauty and the Beast' premiere is in line with last year's launch

Fast National ratings for Thursday, June 11. 2015.

The fourth game of the NBA Finals was the tight series' first relative rout with the Golden State Warriors cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Meanwhile, ABC's telecast of the game also cruised past the Thursday competition in all ratings measures.

Even with the basketball taking up the majority of the Thursday audience, a big episode of "Wayward Pines" and the third "Aquarius" episode both posted tiny key demo up-ticks for the night, while The CW's "Beauty and the Beast" had an OK season premiere.

On the negative side, NBC's "Hannibal" slipped from last week's already low premiere.

As always, remember that the NBA ratings reflect time period data and not the ratings for the basketball game itself, a particularly important distinction with one of the teams hailing from the West Coast.

Let's get to the numbers...

Read Full Post
<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt of &quot;HitRECord&quot;</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt of "HitRECord"

Credit: Pivot

'HitRECord on TV' maestro Joseph Gordon-Levitt on blending community and Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway and Mindy Kaling are among the guests

It was with genuine trepidation that I approached Joseph Gordon-Levitt to tell him that Season 2 of Pivot's "HitRECord on TV" is a much more polished entity than the first.

With its anything-goes crowd-sourced ethos, "HitRECord on TV" has always seemed to thrive on its rough-around-the-edges and lunatics-running-the-asylum aesthetic, so there was at least a chance that Gordon-Levitt might recoil from the notion.

"Oh as such a compliment, man!" Gordon-Levitt laughed.

Naturally, the "Brick" and "The Walk" star credits the improvement of polish to "more community involvement" and getting better at "the process of mass and open collaboration." 

Indeed, the second season, which premieres on Friday (June 12) night on Pivot finds the show selecting from as many as 18,000 community submissions on topics ranging from The No.2 to Darkness. 

It also helps when you have Gordon-Levitt playing MC, lead storyteller and repertory player and bring in celebrity buddies including Anne Hathaway and Mindy Kaling to star in themed sketches and also to flex their writing and directing muscles.

Gordon-Levitt has a busy autumn ahead of him, with the release of the ensemble holiday "X-Mas," as well as potential Oscar contenders "The Walk" and "Snowden," but I sat down with him last week to discuss his Pivot project, which has been a long-term passion for him, dating back to its online and live show days, particularly its roots with his late brother Dan. We talked about evolving the community process and how HitRECord is still fueled by Dan's inspiration.

Click through for the full Q&A...

Read Full Post


Ron Moody, the original 'Oliver!' Fagin, dies at 91

Oscar nominated actor Ron Moody, best known for a career of playing Fagin in the musical "Oliver!," died on Thursday, June 11 at the age of 91.

Moody was the original Fagin in Lionel Bart's West End production of "Oliver!," which premiered in 1960. He was able to play the pick-pocketing grifter in Carol Reed's 1968 film adaptation, which won the Best Picture Oscar, earned Moody his lone Oscar nomination and also earned him a Golden Globe win for Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy.

Over the years, Moody returned to various productions of "Oliver!" to great acclaim, even picking up a Tony nomination for a 1984 Broadway revival.

Moody famously turned down the opportunity to replace Patrick Troughton as the third Doctor, but he did appear in a "Doctor Who" audio play in 2005. 

His other credits include "EastEnders" and performances as Merlin in both "Unidentified Flying Oddball" and "A Kid in King Arthur's Court."

I leave you with a pair of classic Ron Moody performances from "Oliver!" The second song is my personal favorite...

Read Full Post


Credit: FOX

Wednesday Ratings: 'MasterChef,' dipping 'Briefcase' pace split

FOX takes the key demo, while CBS rules overall

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

"MasterChef" delivered Wednesday's biggest audience among young viewers as FOX won the key demo, while repeats of "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: Cyber" helped CBS triumph overall. 

Also winning its hour overall for CBS was "The Briefcase," but the much reviled summer reality series slipped again in total viewers (but remained flat in the key demo).

Wednesday night was low on notables, so let's get straight to the numbers...

Read Full Post