<p>&quot;The Mysteries of Laura&quot;</p>

"The Mysteries of Laura"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '14: NBC's 'The Mysteries of Laura'

Debra Messing's character is a detective AND a mother. Crazy, right? Not very good, either.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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<p>&quot;The McCarthys&quot;</p>

"The McCarthys"

Credit: CBS

Take Me To The Pilots '14: CBS' 'The McCarthys'

If you like gay jokes and Boston punchlines, maybe this multicam is for you?

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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<p>&quot;How To Get Away With Murder&quot;</p>

"How To Get Away With Murder"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '14: ABC's 'How To Get Away With Murder'

Shonda Rhimes/Viola Davis vehicle wasn't created by Shonda Rhimes and is more of an ensemble

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

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<p>&quot;Mulaney&quot;</p>

"Mulaney"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '14: FOX's 'Mulaney'

So far, the humor of John Mulaney's standup isn't translating

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

 
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TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' and NFL Preseason help CBS concuss Thursday rivals
Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' and NFL Preseason help CBS concuss Thursday rivals

'Gang Related' and NBC's comedies also get NFL-based bumps

Fast National ratings for Thursday, August 7, 2014.

A "Big Bang Theory" repeat and a new "Big Brother" led CBS' rout on Thursday night, though the network had NFL preemptions for 22 percent of the country, which probably helped more than a little.

With preemptions or delays taking over such markets as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, CBS' numbers will certainly change -- "Mom" repeats tend not to do 2.0 key demo ratings -- but it probably won't matter in terms of the bottom line of Thursday rankings.

Meanwhile, there were some positive grace notes to Thursday's ratings, with small bumps for "Gang Related," "Working the Engels." There are NFL-based reasons for those bumps as well and there may also be, I suppose, an NFL-based explanation for the flat numbers for "The Quest" and "Rookie Blue." The NFL ruins everything. These ratings are concussed.

In addition, several networks had preemptions and delays for President Obama's address on Iraq. 

So let's just say that as value-questionable as Fast National ratings normally are, these are extra-worthless.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Taxi Brooklyn</p>

Taxi Brooklyn

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' & 'Big Brother' split Wednesday for NBC & CBS

'Taxi Brooklyn' and 'Extant' remain even at 10

Fast affiliate ratings for Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

"America's Got Talent" and "Big Brother" carried NBC and CBS to a Wednesday tie among young adults (though NBC won easily among total viewers), while "Taxi Brooklyn" and "Extant" continued their stalemate at 10.

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<p>Laura Carmichael of &quot;Downton Abbey&quot;</p>

Laura Carmichael of "Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

Interview: 'Downton Abbey' star Laura Carmichael discusses the challenges of Lady Edith

Star explains what Lady Edith was up to for much of Season 4

It's a perfect Lady Edith moment.

I'm talking to Laura Carmichael a couple weeks back during the Television Critics Association press tour and early in our interview, she has to pause and take a call. She's all apologetic, but it's Ealing Studios and they've apparently forgotten that Carmichael isn't in England shooting "Downton Abbey," but rather she's Across the Pond promoting the upcoming fifth season.

Ooops. 

That's the kind of thing that just doesn't happen with Lady Mary and CERTAINLY wouldn't have happened with Poor Lady Sybil, rest in peace.

But for Edith? Well, she's always had it harder. Lady Edith has reliably been forgotten, sneered at or grumbled about, but she perseveres.

"Julian [Fellowes] has a theory that some people in life are lucky and some people are not. And Edith has not been lucky," Carmichael laughs. "But I think, to her credit, it's helped her be a far more proactive person and the sort of a modern day woman in that way, because she hasn't laid down and let it all washed over her. She has gotten up and gone to work and created a life for herself."

Two seasons ago, it seemed like Lady Edith might have turned a corner. Yes, she was still subject to withering scorn from Mary and general apathy from her parents, but she seemed to have found a reasonably good man and she also had found a job. 

But in Season 4, Michael Gregson vanished in Germany, leaving Edith to cope with an unplanned pregnancy, a plight that kept her so busy that she stopped mentioning her newspaper column entirely. 

In our conversation, Carmichael explains what Edith was up to last year and the importance of being the keeper of your own character when you're one piece of a 17-person ensemble. She argues for Edith's growth and evolution over the years and talks about the change in reactions to her. 

We won't be getting Season 5 of "Downton Abbey" until January, at least not via legal means. But since we started our conversation with Emmy talk and since there are no real spoilers at all, I'm posting now!

Check out the full Q&A...

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<p>&quot;CMA Music Festival: Country&#39;s Night To Rock&quot;</p>

"CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Country's Night To Rock' rolls ABC to Tuesday split

'America's Got Talent' and 'Food Fighters' are both down for NBC

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, August 5, 2014. 

ABC's three-hour broadcast of "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock" helped the network to a slim Tuesday win among young viewers and put ABC in a close second to NBC among young viewers.

NBC still won the key demo despite week-to-week drops for both "Food Fighters" and "America's Got Talent."

On to the numbers...

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 240

Dan and Alan review 'Outlander' and 'The Knick' and talk 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls.

After a week off, it's time for the triumphant return of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. Or, at the very least, it's time for a new installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

Yes, we missed a lot of stuff last week and... Sorry.

And yes, we've kinda gotten behind on "Friday Night Lights," but we're doubling up next week.

This week, however, we have a pair of highly anticipated premium cable dramas in Cinemax's "The Knick" and Starz's "Outlander." We also answered a trio of questions, including one that let us talk about the finale of "Halt and Catch Fire."

And we talked about "Guardians of the Galaxy" because we have no problems talking about movies in the rare circumstances in which we both saw the same movie in the same week!

Today's breakdown:
"The Knick" (00:01:05 - 00:18:00)
"Outlander" (00:18:00 - 00:33:15)
Listener Mail - Tonally at-odds credits (00:33:35 - 00:39:05)
Listener Mail - Vince Gilligan/Peter Jackson (00:39:10 - 00:44:15)
Listener Mail - "Halt and Catch Fire" (00:44:20 - 00:58:10)
"Guardians of the Galaxy" (00:58:20 - 01:17:05)

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.

 

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<p>Steven Sodebergh of &quot;The Knick&quot;</p>

Steven Sodebergh of "The Knick"

Credit: Cinemax

Interview: Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen on building the world of 'The Knick'

What brought the period medical drama to Cinemax? And much more...

The opening minutes of "The Knick" throw down a gauntlet. 

We're introduced to Clive Owen's John Thackery and his distinctive mustache at a red filtered opium den in 1900 New York City. Accompanied by an anachronistic score from Cliff Martinez, Thackery heads off in a carriage, removing his white leather shoes to shoot up between his toes. In no time, Thackery has reached the Knickerbocker Hospital, where he's thrust into the middle of a placenta previa surgery, like all surgeries in the period, a harrowing and bloody prospect.

You're in or you're out. There are no in-betweens.

Steven Soderbergh, who directed (and shot and edited) the entirety of the first "Knick" season, wouldn't have it any other way.

"[T]he first seven minutes of the first episode contain the sort of DNA of the whole show. If you're not down with how those first seven minutes go you're going to have trouble, because I'm giving you the code for how we're going to do it," Soderbergh told me when we sat down at the Beverly Hilton during last month's Television Critics Association press tour. 

Soderbergh, bless his heart, doesn't believe in short interviews and so, joined by Clive Owen, we discussed how a script by two veterans of "The Shaggy Dog" (Jack Amiel and Michael Begler) attracted an Oscar-winning director and an A-list film star and then how that project ended up at Cinemax.

The short answer? Soderbergh wanted it that way.

"Partly it's just probably a little self-serving in the sense that I knew that we'd be the big kid in a small school over there and I wanted that kind of personal attention," Soderbergh explained, simultaneously smiling and completely serious.

We didn't delve into Soderbergh's "retirement" because, let's be honest, the guy is just doing whatever he wants to do, wherever he wants to do it and it seems silly to quibble about whether he said (or somebody said on his behalf) that he was done with one medium or another. He's producing shows for Amazon and Starz. He directed the full season of "The Knick" and, as was announced within hours of this interview, he'll be directing a second full season as well. And "The Knick" looks and feels and moves like a Steven Soderbergh project.

In the interview, we talked about the show's treatment of its period setting and of the gory period surgeries, the value of the Cliff Martinez score and the pressures and panic moments associated with making five consecutive two-hour movies.

"The Knick" premieres on August 8. Check out the lengthy interview transcript below...

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