<p>&quot;Limitless&quot;</p>

"Limitless"

Credit: CBS

'Big Bang Theory' will boost 'Supergirl' as CBS sets Fall 2015 premieres

Thursday Night Football causes a multi-phase launch

With Thursday Night Football launching on September 17, CBS has set what the network is calling a "multi-phase launch" for its 2015-2016 season, including giving the heavily anticipated "Supergirl" a special "Big Bang Theory"-fueled premiered.

CBS will still launch much of its lineup the week of Monday, September 21, which is the traditional and official start of the Nielsen season.

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<p>&quot;American Ninja Warrior&quot;</p>

"American Ninja Warrior"

Credit: NBC

Is American Ninja Warrior the best show on Monday nights?

'So You Think You Can Dance' and 'The Bachelorette' are also down

Fast National ratings for Monday, June 8, 2015.

Monday's "The Whispers" news was all about the big DVR bump for the premiere, while Tuesday's "The Whispers" news is all about the 33 percent live key demo dip for the summer drama, which allowed "American Ninja Warrior"-led NBC to rule primetime in all measures.

The night also saw dips for "The Bachelorette" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Constantine&quot;</p>

"Constantine"

Credit: NBC

'Constantine' is really most sincerely dead

Showrunner Daniel Cerone abandons last hope

If we're being honest, "Constantine" has been dead for a while.

"Constantine" has been dead since November when NBC confirmed that the DC Comics adaptation wouldn't get a back-nine order. The number of network shows that do low ratings in the fall, fail to get back-nine orders and then somehow get picked up for additional episodes the next season is basically "zero."

"Constantine" has also been dead since February, when the series finale did a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, capping off a season in which even factoring in DVR numbers, the series was barely doing "Dracula"-level ratings.

And, most significantly, "Constantine" has been dead since May when NBC confirmed that at least as far as NBC was concerned, the series was cancelled.

Through it all, showrunner Daniel Cerone has kept hope alive for fans with nebulous tweets about pitching future seasons to NBC and Warner Brothers pitching the potentially desirable -- were it not for a season of dismal ratings and a not-insignificant price tag -- property to other homes. Fans have kept their own spirits up with completely irrelevant beacons like Stephen Amell volunteering to appear in a "Constantine" crossover with "Arrow."

But on Sunday afternoon, Cerone finally gave up the ghost.

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<p>LeBron James is happy with Game 2</p>

LeBron James is happy with Game 2

Credit: AP

Sunday Ratings: Cavaliers-Warriors Game 2 crushes dipping Tony Awards

NBC's original dramas also fade

Fast National ratings for Sunday, June 7, 2015.

For the first time in NBA history, the Finals started with consecutive overtime games and the showdown between the Cavaliers and Warriors produced a second consecutive primetime domination for ABC on Sunday night.

ABC is estimating that this will be the highest-rated NBA Finals Game 2 ever on the network and posted 26 percent gains over last year's Game 2. These Fast National numbers, of course, reflect time period data and, as always, are extra imprecise when one of the competing teams has a fan homebase on the  West Coast.

Sunday night's other notable was CBS' broadcast of the 69th Tony Awards, which dipped from last year both overall and among young viewers, falling by 25 percent in the key demo. 

Also down on Sunday were NBC's "A.D. The Bible Continues," which hit a series low, and "American Odyssey."

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>Richard Hatch of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Richard Hatch of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Waxing Episodic: The 15th anniversary of the premiere of 'Survivor: Borneo'

The game had fewer cameras, less strategy and less Probst... but it worked

In HitFix's new feature "Waxing Episodic," we reflect on an episode of television we'll never forget.

On May 31, 2000, I watched the premiere of "Survivor."

I was edgy. 

At that point, the "Survivor" audience was just me and 15.5 million of my fellow early adapters. The next week, the "Survivor" audience went to 18 million and then to 23.25 million. Before "Empire" made our minds boggle at the mere idea of a show actually gaining viewers each week, there was "Survivor," which started with a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49 and was at a 12.7 rating by its penultimate installment.

[I actually missed that first finale, which averaged nearly 52 million viewers, because I was in the process of moving to Los Angeles. Nobody tell me who won!]

Last week's 15th anniversary marked a good time to dust off my "Survivor" (or "Survivor: Borneo" or "Survivor: Pulau Tiga") DVDs and our frequent -- when we happen to have the time -- "Waxing Episodic" feature was a perfect time to reflect on how the game has changed and how it remains the same.

I contemplated doing a recap of "The Marooning" in the format that I've utilized, twisted and refined since Season 18 here at HitFix and in a scattered and inconsistent stretch of previous seasons at Zap2it, but I very quickly realized that that would serve no real purpose. "Survivor" as it began was an awful lot like the "Survivor" we know today, but not in any ways that would have benefitted from a traditional Fienberg-style recap touching on the major plot points, the strategic arcing and the Bottom Line take-aways.

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<p>&quot;T.rex Autopsy&quot;</p>

"T.rex Autopsy"

Credit: National Geographic Channels

Chainsaws, Bloody Boots and Dino-Hearts: Inside National Geographic's 'T.rex Autopsy'

HitFix was on the London set of NatGeo's dino autopsy special

LONDON, ENGLAND. Something horrible has happened on TV Stage 2 at London's Pinewood Studios.

Trails of sticky blood lead to and from the stage.

Lurid, red fingerprints spot the doors.

On the actual stage itself, the source of the carnage evident. A tyrannosaurus rex rests prone on a shiny metal platform, chest open. A sluice tray holds a stomach, curling innards and still more blood.

A pair of drenched white rubber boots sits gory and ensanguinated, vacated by their owner.

Science!

Boots

***
***

When a network known for fact-based programming ventures into the realm of the speculative, the slope is a slippery one. 

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<p>Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals</p>

Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals

Credit: AP

Thursday Ratings: 'Hannibal' return ties series low as Warriors-Cavs leads

'Aquarius' takes a steep dip in Week 2 for NBC

Fast National ratings for Thursday, June 4, 2015.

The first game of a marquee NBA Finals pitting the NBA's top two teams, led by two of the sport's biggest stars, lived up to its billing on Thursday with an overtime victory for the Golden State Warriors and a primetime victory for ABC.

Due to the live nature of the basketball, ABC's Fast National totals reflect only time period data and not ratings for the game, which is particularly notable in a game with one of the teams hailing from the West Coast. And with the game going into overtime, the climax was out of primetime for much of the country.

Per ABC, overnight ratings for the game itself were up 24 percent over last year.

With ABC drawing such big numbers, a lot of the air was taken out of the Thursday room, with NBC's "Aquarius" plummeting in Week 2 -- NBC's interest in live ratings may be limited since the series is available to stream in its entirety -- and "Hannibal" returning for a weak Season 3 launch.

Avoiding a big dip was FOX's "Wayward Pines," which only slipped 0.1 in the key demo against basketball and improved in total viewers, beating "Aquarius" in both measures.

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Sense8&quot;</p>

"Sense8"

Credit: Netflix

J. Michael Straczynski says viewers have evolved to be ready for 'Sense8'

'Babylon 5' vet created Netflix's new series with The Wachowskis

With its still-mostly-unique binge-centric approach to programming, Netflix is the sort of creative incubator that inspires writers to say that the story they're telling could only have been told at Netflix.

That's not always true. 

It is, however, probably true when it comes to "Sense8," an almost description-proof sci-fi drama from "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski and "Matrix" masterminds The Wachowskis.

"You literally drop the audience into the middle of the story and because again we’re staying with subjective point of view, the audience only knows as much as the characters know," Straczynski tells me. "As the characters figure out over the course of the next X number of episodes what’s going on, like a mystery structure, the audience also figures it out. And we knew that that would be really, really difficult to pull off on a regular network."

Nearly every piece of that quote may be an understatement. With a cast of variably familiar international actors shooting in London, Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin, Nairobi, San Francisco and Reykjavik, "Sense8" does indeed drop both the characters and viewers into intriguing an scenario that involves consciousness-sharing (and much more) and says, "OK. Stick with this until you figure it out."

Straczynski is confident that viewers will, indeed, be able to take this journey, which begins on Netflix at 12:01 a.m. PT on Friday, June 5.

"I think that we are looking at evolution that allows for more complex storytelling, more depth of characterization and more complexity than we’ve had in the past," he says.

In our conversation, we talked about some of the surprising and not-so-surprising challenges of the show's global scale -- Time-zones, for example, are a pain -- and just a few pieces of what sounds like a mighty complicated production. 

Straczynski also discusses his conviction that audiences are amenable to this kind of hard sci-fi and hints at the five-season plan he already has in mind.

Hopefully this interview and our podcast and review coverage of "Sense8" are at least conveying its ambition...

Check out the full Q&A below. 

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<p>Stanley Cup Game 1</p>

Stanley Cup Game 1

Credit: AP

Wednesday Ratings: Blackhawks-Lightning Stanley Cup opener leads NBC split

'The Briefcase' takes a big demo drop, but still helps CBS win overall

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Repeats of "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: Cyber" helped CBS win Wednesday night overall, but the Stanley Cup opener between Chicago and Tampa Bay gave NBC a commanding victory in the key demographic.

The hockey game was up a hair from last year's Game 1.

Remember that NBC's hockey is subject to change due to the nature of live events.

Results for Wednesday's originals were largely negative with small key demo drops for "MasterChef" and "Celebrity Wife Swap," plus a steep 36 percent key demo decline for "The Briefcase."

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;T.rex Autopsy&quot;</p>

"T.rex Autopsy"

Credit: National Geographic Channels

'T.rex Autopsy' advisor John Hutchinson says 'T.rex was the Tony Soprano of the late Cretaceous'

The professor of Evolutionary Mechanics discusses NatGeo's dino special

LONDON, ENGLAND. Check out John Hutchinson's dissection-heavy website WhatsInJohnsFreezer.com for a sense of what it might mean for him to be a proverbial kid in a candy store.

A professor of Evolutionary Mechanics at University of London's Royal Veterinary College, Hutchinson served as an advisor on National Geographic's "T.rex Autopsy," which will air on Sunday, June 7 and shot in April at Pinewood Studios near London.

NatGeo had a number of reporters on-set for the "T.rex Autopsy" shoot, which featured a team of veterinarians and paleontologists going to surgical town on a bio-realistic tyrannosaurus rex constructed by Jez Gibson-Harris' Crawley Creatures.

This is pretty close to a dream for Hutchinson, who has written roughly a dozen papers on T.rex legs and locomotion and is also, for want of a better word, an animal autopsy enthusiastic, the more exotic and rare the species the better. 

For the purposes of the actual "T.rex Autopsy" filming, Hutchinson wasn't on the floor with the specimen, but he instead perched in an observation room above the autopsy floor with a group of reporters, answering a nearly non-stop series of questions over the course of over 10 hours, ranging from queries as simple as "So, is that what it would look like to remove a T.rex's stomach and plop it on a soundstage floor?" to far more specific and detailed discourses that the journalists from scientific publications understood and I did not. 

Hutchinson's excitement when the replica and its excavators got something right was matched only by his excitement and urgency when something wasn't entirely on-point and he was able to send frantic texts to the producers to get get on-the-fly corrections.

Before the actual autopsy took place, though, I sat down with Professor Hutchinson to discuss this autopsy project, the dangers of anthropomorphizing a terrible lizard, the lingering importance of "Jurassic Park" in this field and which parts of this speculative experiment he expects will be outmoded 20 years from now.

And you can also find out the context it took for Hutchinson to declare, "Yeah. T.rex was the Tony Soprano of the late Cretaceous."

Click through for the full Q&A and check out "T.rex Autopsy" on June 7.

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