Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Limp 'Slap,' tumbling 'Blacklist' as 'Scandal,' 'Mom' lead Thursday

'Backstrom' gets an encouraging bump for FOX

Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 12, 2015.

With "The Big Bang Theory" in repeats, ABC swept Thursday's primetime hours among young viewers (tying with "Idol" at 8 p.m.), but even a "Big Bang" repeat still led CBS to a narrow overall win for the night.

Thursday's other big story was NBC's across-the-board struggles. "The Slap" got off to a weak start in the 8 p.m. hour, "The Blacklist" took a big drop at 9 p.m. and "Allegiance" is a dead-show-walking at 10 p.m. 

The decline for "Blacklist" no doubt benefitted FOX's "Backstrom," which got a big bump from last week's series lows to numbers that are low, but not instantly dire.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Matt Ryan of &quot;Constantine&quot;</p>

Matt Ryan of "Constantine"

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Constantine' star Matt Ryan is 'very hopeful' about a Season 2

'Constantine' star teases Friday's season finale on NBC

NBC's "Constantine" wraps up its 13-episode first season on Friday (February 13) with an episode titled "Waiting for the Man," which promises the return of Papa Midnite and Jim Corrigan, plus some new information about the Rising Darkness. 

Although "Constantine" has struggled with low ratings in multiple time Friday periods and NBC opted not to order a back-nine, all involved parties are still referring to Friday's episode as a "season" finale and there have been more than a few [entirely unsubstantiated] rumors about steps that might be taken to keep the DC Comics adaptation around for a Season 2.

I chatted with "Constantine" star Matt Ryan on Thursday afternoon and Ryan is hopeful. Very.

"I am very, very, very hopeful," he told me. "Obviously he's such an amazing character and I feel like we've got so far to go with it. I think there's so much potential with the series, with the source material, with the character and it's something that I would really love to continue exploring. Yeah, I'm very, very hopeful. Obviously it's out of my hands. It's in the hands of the Gods, as they say, but I'm very hopeful, very, very hopeful."

Ryan isn't basing his hope on any tangible renewal negotiations, but at least he hasn't been told to abandon hope, which is the important thing. 

A relative unknown to American audiences who didn't watch CBS' "Criminal Minds" spinoff, Ryan has been widely admired for moving John Constantine back in the direction of the character from the "Hellblazer" comic, rather than whoever Keanu Reeves played in the "Constantine" movie. He's given the character a nervy attitude and an often prickly edge.

In our conversation, we talked about maintaining Constantine's bastard streak, the moment Matt Ryan felt "Constantine" found its creative groove and some of the things he's hoping to see if Season 2 somehow happens.

The big takeaway from the conversation? There are a lot of things Matt Ryan would still like to explore about John Constantine.

Check out the full Q&A below before Friday's finale...

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<p>Rayvon of &quot;American Idol</p>

Rayvon of "American Idol

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - 'Hollywood Week #4' - Top 48 Revealed

The judges make more cuts as the field begins to take shape

After spinning wheels with two straight Group Round episodes in which almost nothing happened, "American Idol" may start making some tough cuts tonight. 

FOX is promising that we're gonna get down to the Top 48 tonight, which still leaves many cuts to come, but at least things will begin to take shape for the season. 

Follow along as we get to trimming...

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<p>James Franco</p>

James Franco

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Hulu's '11/22/63' catches James Franco's wandering eye

The occasional college professor will play a time-traveling English teacher

The boundaries and lines of demarcation that constrain normal actors -- Nay, the boundaries and lines of demarcation that constrain normal mortals -- have never applied to James Franco.

Writer, fictional love pillow enthusiast, director, soap star, producer and eternal graduate student James Franco is diving into the world of streaming television, but is the "127 Hours" star doing the expected thing and committing to Netflix or up-and-coming new kid Amazon? 


James Franco is set to star in "11/22/63," the Hulu event series that marks that service's biggest push yet into original programming.

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<p>Taraji P. Henson of FOX&#39;s &quot;Empire&quot;</p>

Taraji P. Henson of FOX's "Empire"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: Cookie monster builds as 'Empire' rises again for FOX Wednesday

'American Idol' slips, while all three CBS dramas rise

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

Another week and, yup, more growth for "Empire," which continues to buck any sort of expectations or recent TV blueprint, maintaining FOX's domination of Wednesday even in a week that saw a dip for "American Idol."

Wednesday saw dips for "Chicago PD," "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Arrow," while "The Mysteries of Laura" and all three CBS dramas rose.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Terrence Howard of &quot;Empire&quot;</p>

Terrence Howard of "Empire"

Credit: FOX

'Empire' check-in recap: 'Out, Damn Spot'

We drop in on FOX's juggernaut as Courtney Love and Derek Luke guest star

I decided this week would be a good week to check in on FOX's "Empire," since it's the runaway juggernaut of the spring, single-handedly forcing TV networks to treat diversity as a potentially lucrative trend, at least until they program three or four "diverse" shows in the fall and they fail and network heads are like, "Well, it turns out viewers didn't really want diversity" and they go back to giving Eddie Cibrian the lead in things, as if Eddie Cibrian was ever actually even a trend, so much as a person with perfectly appealing dimples and better abs than I would ever possess even if I had a personal trainer and near infinite time in which to do crunches, watch "Peaky Blinders" and eat nothing but those little carrots, which confuse me since was it really so cumbersome to eat full-sized carrots?

Little did I realize that Wednesday's (February 11) episode, titled "Out, Damned Spot," would also work effectively as a season or series finale. 

What? Most of the show's major plotlines have been cleanly and clearly resolved as the episode ended.


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<p>&quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

"American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 14 - 'Hollywood Week #3' - Group Round Continued

Group performances continue and more cuts are made

When last we left "American Idol," they'd cut a bunch of people from Hollywood Week, albeit nobody we'd been made to care about in the slightest. 

And as last Thursday's episode ended, Alexis Granville was clinging to life. Or, at the very least, Alexis Granville was having a panic attack. 

What comes next? 

Follow along with my recap of Wednesday's (February 11) episode...

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;Fresh Off The Boat&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "Fresh Off The Boat"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Fresh Off The Boat' premieres solid, while 'NCIS' leads CBS Tuesday

'Flash' and 'Agent Carter' tick up among young viewers

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

"NCIS," "NCIS: New Orleans" and even "Person of Interest" won their Tuesday hours both overall and in the key demo, as CBS cruised to victory in all measures. 

Tuesday's biggest shake-up came courtesy of ABC, which had "Fresh Off The Boat" premiere to more-than-respectable numbers, helping the network grab second for the night in all measures.

Also of note, The CW's "Flash" posted a tiny gain, while NBC's double-dose of "Parks and Recreation" struggled.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Brian Williams</p>

Brian Williams

Credit: NBC

NBC News suspends Brian Williams for 6 months

Anchor and managing editor admitted last week to lying about a 2003 helicopter incident

As reports of Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" departure were breaking in the world of fake news, NBC decided to slip in some news from the world of real news on Tuesday (February 10). [I hope that made sense. It made sense in my head.]

NBC News officially announced on Tuesday that NBC News Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months in the wake of ongoing controversy stemming from Williams' confession that he had not, as he had long claimed, come under fire in a military helicopter during a 2003 visit to Iraq.

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<p>&quot;The Daily Show With Jon Stewart&quot;</p>

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"

Credit: Comedy Central

Jon Stewart is leaving 'The Daily Show'

Veteran Emmy winner made the announcement on Tuesday, February 10

In the most Earth-shattering news to hit Twitter since the Spider-Man news that hit Twitter last night, reports began percolating out on Tuesday (February 10) afternoon that Jon Stewart told the audience of tonight's show that he's leaving "The Daily Show."

Comedy Central confirmed the news soon after. 

Jon Stewart, who transformed "The Daily Show" into an Emmy-winning juggernaut, is indeed departing his Comedy Central favorite.

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