Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Poker player explains why he left his Idol back at camp
As I mentioned in my recap of the "Survivor: Cagayan" premiere, poker player Garrett Adelstein managed to get himself blindsided through a number of impressive, self-generated circumstances.
He pushed easy target J'Tia on a path to nutso rage at camp with his open forum strategy back at camp. He nudged Tasha to more aggressive play by trying to cut of strategizing at camp. He alienated Kass at Tribal Council by outing their semi-alliance. And, of course, he found an Immunity Idol, but left it buried at camp.
To me, I also felt like he fixated too heavily on getting David out at the first Tribal Council, a decision that left J'Tia in the game in the first place.
Although Garrett came across as failing to live up to his tribe's braininess in the premiere, in his exit interview, he seemed much more articulate and introspective about his performance. One thing he didn't want to entertain was the possibility that targeting Dave was a mistake and, in that answer, he impressively filibustered for nearly half of our interview time, leaving me with a number of things I wasn't able to ask about.
As I suggested in my recap, I think that the season goes a very different way if Brice, whose IQ I don't actually know, and Garrett had been swapped. Probably the season goes different if Garrett had been on the Brawn tribe as well. You can tell Garrett has thought about these things and more.
Click through for the full Q&A...
'Enlisted' equals recent repeats for FOX
Fast National ratings for Friday, February 28, 2014.
After three weeks of NBC Olympics dominance, "Shark Tank" and "Blue Bloods" put ABC and CBS back in their normal positions atop primetime in young viewers and overall.
In its first Friday airing, NBC's "Hannibal" outdrew its Thursday episodes from the summer, but its premiere numbers weren't appreciably different from recent "Dracula" performances in the same time period.
Meanwhile, "Enlisted" failed to get any post-Olympics bump and an original did the same numbers as recent encore for FOX. Having a lead-in might have helped.
On to the numbers...
Early Brains leader discusses his choices and a fantasy baseball sleeper
I wanted David Samson to stick around on "Survivor: Cagayan" until May. I had Miami Marlins-based humor to scatter through my recaps for months.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The President of the Marlins, a position he has held in good years (a 2003 World Series title) and bad (lots of those other years) since 2002, David made his first "Survivor" mistake before his tribe ever made it to camp.
Put on the spot in the opening seconds of the season, the Brains tribe selected Samson as their leader and, seconds later, Samson selected six-pack-wielding poker player Garrett as the tribe's weak link. At the time, he said it was a 39 Day "Survivor" Strategy, targeting an obvious threat. In his exit interview this week, David offers other explanations.
See, David made an unfortunate enemy with that decision and after the Brains tribe went down in defeat at the first Immunity Challenge, Garrett targeted David and successfully evicted him from the game. Garrett, of course, was blindsided at the next Tribal, so there are no winners here.
In his exit interview, David discusses the problems with a Brains tribe, the problem with his specific Brains tribe and how he could have been clearer about the Garrett decision. We also talk lots of baseball including how he would have liked to trade Garrett to another tribe and which Florida Marlin would be a good sleeper for your fantasy baseball team this year.
Click through for the full interview...
It was only a one-episode run for the Twinnies
Normally the first team eliminated on "The Amazing Race" ends up being pretty anonymous, because it's just too hard for producers to give quality time to so many players in a crowded premiere episode.
Say what you want about All-Star seasons or the specific All-Stars this season, but very few people were ambivalent about Twinnies Natalie & Nadiya Anderson, who earned fans and haters alike for their first season, which included a contentious money incident, some smart U-Turn strategy and lots and lots and lots of yelling.
On Sunday's "Amazing Race" premiere, though, only the yelling was in evidence and even that was half-hearted after a while. Natalie & Nadiya got an early advantage getting on the first of two flights to China, but struggles in a wedding district saw them fall from first to last. By the time they started bickering at the top of the Canton Tower over ferris wheel cars, they were basically doomed, before they got to their first Roadblock or Detour.
In the season's second "Amazing Race" exit interview -- I also chatted with Bopper about his medical departure -- Natalie & Nadiya talk about the mistakes they made, how things might have been different if they'd had allies from their season and the All-Stars they're disappointed they didn't get to race with more.
Click through for the full Q&A...
'Hostages' hasn't been cancelled yet, but it will be
Last spring, both sides of Derbel McDillet shot formally ambitious hostage dramas set in and around Washington, DC.
Dylan McDermott's "Hostages" premiered in the fall to mixed-to-negative reviews and stable-but-miniscule ratings. It hasn't formally be cancelled, but come on. Get real. CBS is going to cancel it.
That leaves Dermot Mulroney's NBC drama "Crisis." Now "Crisis" hasn't premiered yet, but like many NBC dramas in recent years, one could assume that it will fail. Or one could assume that given NBC's recent semi-hot streak and the stature of Mulroney and Gillian Anderson, that it could totally succeed. Or one could look at NBC's non-football Sunday programming in recent years and assume it's going to succeed.
"Crisis" has become Schrödinger's Derbel McDillet Hostage Drama.
That's my way of saying that Dylan McDermott has signed on for the lead in CBS' untitled Kevin Williamson drama. Dermot Mulroney, however, could not have signed on for a CBS pilot, because "Crisis" is in a box, it's simultaneously a guaranteed hit and a guaranteed failure. "Hostages," however, is a dead cat.
This has been a long day and I'm very sleepy. Click through for more details on McDermott's role.
'Community' and 'Parks and Recreation' are low for NBC
Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 27, 2014.
With "Big Bang Theory" leading the way, CBS dominated the start of Thursday primetime and then held on for a narrow win in young viewers over ABC, which got strong returns from long-absent "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal."
CBS had an easier time winning overall, where the network got a boost from "Two and a Half Men," which rose in its new 9 p.m. time period. Somewhat encouragingly for "The Crazy Ones," the shift to 9:30 didn't have a negative impact.
Over on FOX "American Idol" was no match for "Big Bang Theory," which isn't surprising, but it also lost to "The Millers" both overall and in the key demo, which isn't so pretty. "Idol" still rose slightly overall over last week (but dipped a tiny bit in the key demo). With the return of "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS' boosted 9 p.m. hour, however, "Rake" plummeted to dismal series lows.
Also doing weak numbers on Thursday were NBC's "Community" and "Parks and Recreation." In its time period premiere, "Hollywood Game Night" failed to provide any sort of meaningful improvement in the 9 p.m. hour, which isn't to say that there wasn't some improvement over "Sean Saves the World" and "Michael J. Fox," but that minor uptick didn't benefit "Parenthood" at all.
And, finally, "Vampire Diaries" also suffered from the sea of competition and drew under 2 million viewers for the night, not that anybody is concerned.
On to the numbers...
Candice Glover performs. She won last year, remember? And somebody heads home.
You know, I was a big Candice Glover fan last year. I was rooting for her almost from the beginning and I was pleased when she won. But when Ryan Seacrest mentioned during Wednesday's show that Candice Glover would be performing tonight, it took me way longer than it should have to remember who Candice Glover was. "American Idol" would also like you to forget that Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey were ever judges.
Things were pretty tight after Wednesday's performances. I think Malaya Watson made the biggest mess of her song, but I don't think she's going home. I'm assuming that Ben Briley, one of my four favorites last night, is safe, so he's the guy in my picture.
Everything else is up in the air, so click through for my full live-blog!
Acclaimed drama was down from its series premiere, but up from end-of-year
Despite rave reviews -- including Sepinwall's written review and our joint podcast praise -- and aggressive promotion, the second season of FX's "The Americans" got off to a ratings start which can most politely be described as "soft."
Wednesday's (February 26) premiere drew 1.9 million viewers, including 863,000 in the key 18-49 demographic.
'Survivor' premiere is up from last spring, 'Modern Family' is low
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 26, 2014.
Airing without Olympics competition, "American Idol" was flat among young viewers and rose slightly overall, leading FOX to primetime wins on Wednesday night.
"Idol" was able to hold off a solid premiere for CBS' latest "Survivor" installment, though it lost to "Modern Family" among young viewers in their head-to-head half-hour. ABC couldn't top FOX for that hour, though, because in one of the season's least surprising developments, "Mixology" didn't do a particularly good job of holding onto its lead-in. It should be noted that "Modern Family" was also very low for the night, so comparing "Mixology" to other Wednesday 9:30 comedies that had better lead-ins might not be especially illustrative.
Meanwhile, NBC didn't get a very good return from "Revolution," the numbers were better for "Law & Order: SVU" and particularly "Chicago PD" later in the night.
"Revolution," "Nashville," "The Middle" and "Suburgatory" all tied series lows last night, but "Mixology" was the only show to deliver an actual series low. [Yes. That was a wee joke.]
On to the numbers...
Would Brains, Beauty or Brawn be the first tribe to meltdown?
Pre-credit sequence. The division of tribes has been made by the quality the players most rely upon in life, whatever that means. The Brains Tribe has an average IQ of 130 which is, honestly, not all that impressive. I mean, they're smart, but they're not GEENA DAVIS smart. Spencer tied for first in the World Open Chess Championship and says he's both diabolical and a genius. If you say so! David is the President of the Marlins, which means that if there's a challenge that requires salary dumping, he's going to be hard to top. Kass is a lawyer who boasts about being undefeated, which is the kind of thing John Grisham characters boast about, that and smart older secretaries who have forgotten more law than most of us will ever know. On to the Beauty Tribe, whose beauty can't be measured numerically. But Morgan was an NFL cheerleader and she's sure she can get what she wants from guys. Jeremiah has a thick accent. Jefra was second place in Miss Kentucky three years in a row, which suggests at least three people who should be on "Survivor" instead. The Brawn Tribe includes Cliff Robinson, who is one of the 50 leading scorers in NBA history. Also in Brawn are Tony and Sarah, both police officers, though only Sarah says she likes punching people in the face. Brainy Tasha declares herself "super-smart," which is something no super-smart person would ever say. And Alexis is pretty, but she's also a student. Why do I feel like she isn't pretty enough to be classified only for her beauty or smart enough to be classified only for her Brains?