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

Viola Davis of "How To Get Away With Murder"

Credit: ABC

'Black-ish,' 'How To Get Away With Murder' get full-season orders from ABC

Viola Davis, Anthony Anderson vehicles get the fall's first pickups

This is one time "The Flash" didn't move fast enough.

ABC has become the first network this fall to extend full-season orders, confirming the extended runs for "How To Get Away With Murder" and "Black-ish."

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<p>Wednesday&#39;s &quot;Arrow&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Arrow"

Credit: The CW

TV Ratings: 'Arrow' returns up, 'Black-ish' rises, 'Stalker' falls on Wednesday

ABC takes the night in the key demo while CBS leads overall

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

Week-to-week gains for the third episode of "Black-ish," a rarity in today's TV landscape, helped ABC eke out a slim key demo victory on Wednesday night. And although it slipped from its premiere, "Stalker" still helped CBS cruise to overall victory.

Although the drop for "Stalker" probably could have been worse -- its "Criminal Minds" lead-in also slipped -- the freshman drama went from tying last year's "CSI" launch in its premiere to follow below the former time period occupant.

Wednesday also saw a drop below The Mulaney Line for FOX's troubled "Red Band Society," as well as tiny dips for all three NBC dramas.

"Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" rose a hair for CBS, while "Modern Family" was up in viewers but down in the key demo.

Over on The CW, "Arrow" got off to a fine start for its third season, up from both last year's premiere and last year's finale, maybe the most interesting piece of the network's Wednesday was the nearly 2.1 million viewers who caught an encore of "The Flash," an encore audience that comfortably topped audience for "The Vampire Diaries" or "The Originals."

Let's get down to the Fast Nationals...

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<p>Kevin Rankin of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

Kevin Rankin of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

Interview: 'Gracepoint' co-star Kevin Rankin on diversified roles from 'Undeclared' on

Would he ever want to play English-accented Herc in a British 'Friday Night Lights'?

VICTORIA, BC. It's early May on Vancouver Island and rain has temporarily trapped Kevin Rankin in a makeshift press tent just inland at Island View Beach Regional Park.

With several of his co-stars in rotation being interviewed, Rankin ends up sitting next to the heat lamp, which means sitting next to me for what turns out to be an in-depth conversation about both his work on FOX's "Broadchurch" and his eclectic and varied career. 

With his turns as rascally and resilient Herc on "Friday Night Lights" and gloriously unprepared-for-authority RA Lucien on "Undeclared," Rankin has the rare honor of having been part of multiple shows that earned the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast Summer ReWatch treatment. [Three, if you include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," though his one-episode appearance came after the season featured in the podcast.]

Rankin has also had runs on shows including "Breaking Bad," "Six Feet Under," "Big Love" and "Justified," when he wasn't terrorizing the President in "White House Down" or assisting Matthew McConaughey to his Oscar in "Dallas Buyers Club."

On "Gracepoint," a FOX remake of the British "Broadchurch," Rankin plays Rev. Coates, a man of the cloth trying to steer a small town through its collective grief at the murder of a young boy. Is Coates just a shepherd caring for his flock, or does he have a personal agenda?

For an actor who has moved back and forth between hero-adjacent good guys and villain-adjacent henchman, it's a role that could absolutely go either way.

We covered a lot of Rankin's career in our 20-minute chat. Clad in a buttoned up brown cardigan, Rankin talked about his attempts to diversify his resume to prevent typecasting and how that has led to myriad responses when people recognize him in public. We talked about the pleasures of doing brief guest spots on established shows, but also the value in being with a show from the ground floor. And Rankin discussed the advantages and frustrations of kicking the wheels on being a network procedural regular. 

I think this is an interesting glimpse into the progress of a hard-working character actor.

The second "Gracepoint" episode airs tonight on FOX. The full Kevin Rankin Q&A is below...

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<p>Keith of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Keith of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' - 'Actions vs. Accusations'

John Rocker goes Full-John Rocker in a heated Immunity Challenge

Pre-credit sequence. Coyopa returns to camp sans Val. Baylor has begun to realize that she isn't as safe as she thought she was. You have thought Baylor might have realized that earlier, but Baylor's not so good at following the flow of the game. She's still open to playing with anybody, but she isn't going to trust anybody. John Rocker figures that by giving Val insider information, he did everything he could. Josh, by the way, admits that he was the person who flipped his vote in the first round. Josh suspects Val and John Rocker of having colluded --  which they did --  though he isn't ready to bail on the All-Guy Alliance, putting Jaclyn and then Baylor in jeopardy.

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<p>The premiere of &quot;The Flash&quot;</p>

The premiere of "The Flash"

Ratings Analysis: 'The Flash' premiere grows, 'Manhattan Love Story' sinks

New superhero drama enters conversation with 'Vampire Diaries,' '90210' and 'Gilmore Girls'

As you probably already saw, "The Flash" gave TV reporters a workout when it came to speed-related headline puns after a start that was unquestionably fast on Tuesday (October 7) night. [I went with a "Flashdance" pun, because I'm old.]

Well, the news just keeps getting better for the DC Comics series starring Grant Gustin. 

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<p>Grant Gustin as &quot;The Flash&quot;</p>

Grant Gustin as "The Flash"

Credit: The CW

TV Ratings: 'The Flash' dances to The CW's best debut since 2009 on Tuesday

'Selfie' and 'Manhattan Love Story' fall hard for ABC

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, October 7, 2014.

The CW has a splashy new hit in "The Flash," which huge across-the-board numbers and crushed the second weeks for ABC's "Selfie" and "Manhattan Love Story," drawing some of Tuesday's best numbers in several young demos, ranking as the night's second leading show among adults 18-34 and its top show among men of that age.

"The Flash" was The CW's most watched debut since "The Vampire Diaries" in 2009.

Of course, even with "The Flash" and also "Supernatural" having big Tuesday premieres, The CW couldn't compete with "NCIS"-led CBS overall or "The Voice"-paced NBC among young viewers.

Meanwhile, both "Forever" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were flat week-to-week in the key demo, which counts as a victory for a new show at this point in the season.

And with both of its lead-ins plummeting, it's no surprise that "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." could be looking at a series low.

On to the numbers...

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 251

Dan and Alan review 'The Flash,' 'The Affair,' 'Kingdom' and the first season of 'The Strain'

The

Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!

Time for another installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. 

There's lots to cover in this week's podcast, but don't worry, we still found time to discuss this week's breaking TV news about Showtime's "Twin Peaks" resurrection and NBC's development faux pas on a "Say Anything" sequel series.

We also reviewed "The Flash," "Kingdom," "Cristela" and "The Affair," several of which we liked.

And, finally, we discussed the finale for FX's "The Strain" and our thoughts on the first season.

Today's breakdown:
"Twin Peaks"/"Say Anything" news (00:00:40 - 00:16:00)
"The Flash" (00:16:00 - 00:25:30)
"Kingdom" (00:25:30 - 00:40:00)
"Cristela" (00:40:00 - 00:46:45)
"The Affair" (00:46:45 - 00:56:45)
"The Strain" finale (00:56:55 - 01:20:00)

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.

<p>O.J. Simpson</p>

O.J. Simpson

Credit: AP

Ryan Murphy's empire grows with O.J. Simpson-centric 'American Crime Story'

Simpson Trial project was previously in development as a FOX limited series

No longer content to terrify FX viewers with tales of American horror, Ryan Murphy will now turn his attentions to gripping tales of American crime.

FX announced on Tuesday that it has ordered the first season of Murphy's new anthology series "American Crime Story," with the initial installment titled "American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson."

Based on "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson" by Jeffrey Toobin, the first two installments of "American Crime Story" will be written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.

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<p>Katharine McPhee of &quot;Scorpion&quot;</p>

Katharine McPhee of "Scorpion"

TV Ratings: Big 'Scorpion' drop pushes NBC into Monday lead, while 'Sleepy Hollow' steadies

'The Voice' and 'Blacklist' help NBC claim Monday victory

Fast National ratings for Monday, October 6, 2014.

After posting an encouraging decline in its second week, CBS' "Scorpion" had a big Week 3 drop, combining with another weak performance from "NCIS: Los Angeles" to let NBC sneak in and win Monday in both the key demo and overall.

Just about everything, in fact, was in decline on Monday which meant that the 0.1 key demo decline for "The Blacklist" and a flat key demo week for "Sleepy Hollow" were both small victories, even if both shows were down in viewers.

"Scorpion" was off 19 percent from last week, while other shows with double-digit declines included "NCIS: Los Angeles," "The Voice" and "Gotham."

Transplanted to Monday, The CW's "The Originals" was the night's only return/premiere and it did solid key demo numbers, but failed to bring in a big audience. The CW is emphasizing time period improvement, noting "The Originals" bumped the Monday 8 p.m. average up 75 percent over last year.

On to the Fast National ratings...

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<p>Joseph Morgan of &quot;The Originals&quot;</p>

Joseph Morgan of "The Originals"

Credit: The CW

9 Thoughts on The CW's 'The Originals' Season 2 Premiere

Thoughts on Esther's plan, Phoebe Tonkin's accent, Rebekah and more

In retrospect, it wasn't all that shocking that it took less than a season for "The Originals" to usurp "The Vampire Diaries."

"The Originals" wasn't just a spinoff that took one character away from "The Vampire Diaries." For the better part of two season, Joseph Morgan was a menacing force on "TVD," while Daniel Gillies and Claire Holt supplied both charm and threat. [I'm not going to try pretending that Phoebe Tonkin's Hayley was any particular key cog in the "Vampire Diaries" machine, but y'all know I like Phoebe Tonkin.]

Stripped of Morgan, Gillies, Holt and Tonkin, "Vampire Diaries" was left with a fundamental adversarial weakness in its fifth season and the show compensated by doubling and tripling down on doppelgängers and by trying to make viewers care about Travelers, who were scary enough to make you clutch your passport if they sat next to you on a Eurail journey, but nothing more. In only a season, "Vampire Diaries" went from a show that constantly made fans say "Whoa" to a show that mostly left me saying, "Huh?"

In contrast, "The Originals" went through the sort of early series growing pains that every new show goes through -- Denizens of Mystic Falls were compelled to forget Stefan's time as a football stud -- in short order. There was a clarity of purpose that was admirable and understandable. See, vampires and werewolves and witches all wanted a piece of New Orleans' French Quarter. And who could blame them? Oysters! Po Boys! Gumbo! Jazz! Even if I couldn't always understand the in-fighting within the factions, I knew that vampires, werewolves and witches don't get along under normal circumstances and as those factions battled and a seemingly human faction interceded as well, that made for a clear narrative thrust. 

Did I still have problems with "The Originals"? Certainly. 

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