<p>Terrence Howard</p>

Terrence Howard

Credit: AP

FOX orders 'Red Band Society,' 'Empire' to series

'Gotham' got a series order on Monday

For the second straight day, FOX has given an official series order to a high profile drama pilot, actually doubling down with drama orders on Tuesday (May 6)

One day after sending "Gotham" to series, FOX has done the same for "Red Band Society" and  "Empire," or "Lee Daniels' Empire," to avoid confusion with the 2002 John Leguizamo classic "Empire."

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<p>Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling of &quot;The Mindy Project&quot;</p>

Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling of "The Mindy Project"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Michael Spiller discusses the 'Mindy Project' finale and the job of directing producer

What was it like actually shooting 'Mindy' in NYC?

We're many years into the Cult of the Showrunner on TV and nobody would argue, I don't think, that in the vast majority of cases, TV is a writer-producer's medium. 

And nobody would argue, I suspect, with the notion that on FOX's "The Mindy Project," the driving creative force is Mindy Kaling, who is the creator and star and leads an extraordinary strong writing stuff of comedy veterans. 

With that focus, I've often felt that one of the industry's least understood figures is the directing-producer. Sometimes, like with a Pamela Fryman on "How I Met Your Mother," that person may end up directing ever episode of a series, so their name is easy to notice and retain. Other times, the directing producer may be a frequent director on a series, but they aren't behind the camera on every episode, which makes their involvement a bit nebulous in the mind of some viewers.

Michael Spiller is the producing director on FOX's "The Mindy Project." He didn't direct the original pilot and he's only the credited directed on maybe a third of the episodes, but he's been with the show since before it premiered and he's had day-to-day contributions ever since.

Spiller got his start as a cinematographer on Hal Hartley's '80s and '90s films and made the transition to directing on HBO's "Sex and the City." Since then, he has worked as a frequent director on some of the best single-cam comedies of recent years, including "Scrubs," "Better Off Ted" and "Modern Family," for which he won an Emmy.

"The Mindy Project" wraps its second season on Tuesday (May 6) night with a finale that continues the spring's on-and-off budding romance between Kaling's Mindy and Chris Messina's Danny. The finale even takes the show to a very unexpected place: New York City. Yes, "Mindy" has always been set in New York City, but it's a Hollywood Backlot version of New York City and it's almost shocking to see Kaling and Messina out in locations that couldn't have been faked in the Valley. It's a very satisfying conclusion to a season that has seen "Mindy" become an increasingly consistent pleasure within FOX's Tuesday lineup, if you've been able to keep track of when it's on.

Last week I got on the phone with Spiller to discuss the role of the director-producer, his part in the show's comedic evolution and the opportunity to shoot in New York City, if only for a single day. 

It's a different look at the inner-workings of "The Mindy Project"...

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<p>&quot;24: Live Another Day&quot;</p>

"24: Live Another Day"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: '24' return clocks in strong, while 'The Voice' leads NBC Monday

ABC leads overall, while '2 Broke Girls' finales weak

Fast National ratings for Monday, May 5, 2014.

Although it was below its Season 8 averages, "24" had a strong return for FOX on Monday, pushing the network close to "Voice"-boosted NBC among young viewers, though not especially close to "Dancing with the Stars"-boosted ABC overall.

The funny thing to remember is that "24" averaged over 9 million live viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49 in its final season, numbers that seemed a little sluggish, but still totally respectable at the time. Now, of course, those would be blockbuster numbers for a drama, especially the key demo figure. So the "24: Live Another Day" average of approaching 8 million viewers and a 2.5 key demo rating? Well, you can either view it as down from established "24" standards, or far better than any drama FOX has aired this season since the early "Sleepy Hollow" episodes. Maybe I'll do analysis when Finals come in.

When you look at other numbers, "Dancing with the Stars" was down steely from last week, while "The Voice" and "The Blacklist" were basically flat.

Presumably it was "24" that took a big bite out of "2 Broke Girls" and "Friends with Better Lives."

And over on The CW, "The Tomorrow People" rose for its first season finale.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Adam Goldberg of &quot;Fargo&quot;</p>

Adam Goldberg of "Fargo"

Interview: 'Fargo' co-star Adam Goldberg on ASL challenges and Calgary cold

Also, the "Midnight Cowboy" thing? Not intentional.

In March, I was on the Calgary set of FX's "Fargo" and I got to talk to most of the show's main stars, including Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman, Keith Carradine, and Colin Hanks and Joey King. I also chatted with producers Noah Hawley and Warren Littlefield and, before the premiere, I interviewed Billy Bob Thornton as well.

The characters on the reimagined take on the Coen Brothers' Oscar winner are compelling and that gives everybody involved plenty to discuss, so I hope to keep checking off members of the eclectic cast plenty to talk about.

Up next? Adam Goldberg, who was introduced in the second episode as a fiery hitman whose name has never been given. Official FX literature says that Goldberg is Mr. Numbers, while Russell Harvard's character is Mr. Wrench. Apparently, we aren't going to learn anything more than that.

Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench are intriguing because they're dressed an awful lot like Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's characters from the classic "Midnight Cowboy" and because all of their dialogue together is delivered in often passionately delivered ASL. Goldberg's character also gets to talk in frequently irritated bursts of speech, but Harvard only communicates in sign language. It's a unique partnership. 

Goldberg is a master of frequently irritated speech in films like "Dazed and Confused" and on the small screen on shows like "Friends" and in the Hawley-created brilliant-but-cancelled ABC drama "The Unusuals." He's carried that over into his work as an indie writer-director, a gig that nearly prevented him from taking the "Fargo" role and reuniting with Hawley.

It's also a master of irritated speech in real life. The guy is NOT a fan of the cold weather in Calgary, it turns out. And he was really worried about his ability to do justice to the ASL dialogue. 

And it turns out that the "Midnight Cowboy" thing? Well, it wasn't a part of his thought process. 

Click through for my chat with Goldberg, which covers that terrain and more. And check out "Fargo" on FX on Tuesday nights.

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Our favorite season-ending TV cliffhangers

Our favorite season-ending TV cliffhangers

From near-assassinated presidents to intriguing time jumps, we celebrate finales

Cliffhangers aren't just for finales. 

Recent shows as different as "24" and The Collected Works of Shonda Rhimes have proven that if you drop a cliffhanger on a weekly basis, audiences will keep coming back, while soap operas have been doing almost daily cliffhangers for decades.

But the season-ending cliffhanger is a particular creature. Producers know that they have to drop narrative bombs big enough to carry audiences across not just a couple weeks, but several months of anticipation and speculation. 

There's a reason why "Who shot J.R.?" and "Is Buffy Dead?" and "Wait, that was a Flash-Forward?" are questions that instantly bring back memories of both the finales in question, but also the months of pondering and waiting.

With so many of our favorite shows signing off for the season, we put our heads together to list some of our favorite season-ending cliffhangers and pay tribute to them. 

OBVIOUSLY there are spoilers here, but mostly just for older shows and we didn't spoil how most of the finales resolved. 

Check out our list and chime in with some of your favorites!

<p>Sunday&#39;s &quot;The Simpsons&quot;</p>

Sunday's "The Simpsons"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Resurrection' finale, '60 Minutes' lead Sunday split, 'Simpsons' gets a Lego boost

'Family Guy' is Sunday's top show among young viewers

Fast National ratings for Sunday, May 4, 2014.

ABC got a tiny bump for the "Resurrection" season finale and the network edged out FOX for victory among young viewers, while "60 Minutes" and "The Good Wife" helped CBS comfortably win Sunday night overall.

Although FOX couldn't quite beat ABC in the key demo, the network had a strong night, with a Lego-filled "Simpsons" episode rising and "Family Guy" actually doing Sunday's best young demo numbers. This animated comedies helped "Cosmos" to growth as well.

In terms of Sunday negatives, NBC's "American Dream Builders" hit another low, while "Believe" stopped several weeks of encouraging stability with a drop.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Leo struggles inside an inflatable bull</p>

Leo struggles inside an inflatable bull

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars' - 'Bull Down'

The teams head to Spain where another Double U-Turn awaits

I spent my day on the set of FOX's "Broadchurch" remake "Gracepoint" up in beautiful Victoria, BC, so I'm on my own race not-exactly-around-the-world, a race that left me unable to watch Sunday's (May 5) "The Amazing Race" until late, meaning that it's already after midnight as I start on this recap.

Fortunately, this is a really easy episode to recap.

In fact, there are really only two things to discuss about Sunday's episode, which doesn't mean it was a bad episode. In fact, thanks to one utterly bonkers Detour, it was quite fun. But Sunday's Leg was darned straight-forward and, once again, all came down to an over-reliance on the U-Turn for drama.

On to the recap after the break.

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<p>&quot;Shark Tank: Swimming With Sharks&quot;</p>

"Shark Tank: Swimming With Sharks"

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank' goes big on Friday while 'Hannibal' rises, 'Dixie' falls

'Blue Bloods' leads CBS to overall victory

Fast National ratings for Friday, May 2, 2014.

Posting a big 22 percent week-to-week gain among young viewers, "Shark Tank" led ABC to an easy Friday win among young viewers, while "Blue Bloods" was up over last week and led CBS to an overall rout.

In short: Business as usual.

There was some Friday variation, though. NBC's "Hannibal" was up for the third straight week, though once again basketball preemptions in the Portland market mean that these numbers are inflated.

On the negative side, "Hart of Dixie" was low for The CW, as was "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" FOX's "Kitchen Nightmares" was also on the low side.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Jefra was very excited about her guac</p>

Jefra was very excited about her guac

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jefra Bland talks 'Survivor: Cagayan'

The Last of the Beauties discusses her 'Survivor' snuffing

And then the Beauty Tribe was gone. 

Had the Beauty Tribe been functional, perhaps they could have made a go of things after the Merge. They made the Merge with four players, same as the Brawn tribe, one more than the Brain tribe. And when Sarah was blindsided post-Merge, Beauty had a plurality and theoretically could have bonded with anybody to take power. 

With no particular unity, though, the Beauty tribe failed to mount any sort of strategy. First, Morgan went out without a whimper. Then L.J. was blindsided. Then Jeremiah knew he was doomed.

Finally, on this week's "Survivor: Cagayan," Jefra Band became the last Beauty castaway sent packing, blindsided by Tony, who feared that a gender-based alliance might be the only thing that could halt his paranoid scurry to the million.

Jefra, who previously expected elimination and then was spared after Kass flipped, faced her torch-snuffing with a smile.

In her exit interview, the two-time Miss Kentucky runner-up discusses her tribe's early demise and what it says about "beauty" as a "Survivor" attribute. She explains her end-game strategy and why she stuck with Tony, rather than trying to blindside him. And she remembers the flood of emotions on the night Kass' flip spared her.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Sam Heughan and&nbsp;Caitriona Balfe of &quot;Outlander&quot;</p>

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe of "Outlander"

Credit: Starz

Starz's first full 'Outlander' trailer teases timeless romance

Nobody says 'Sassanach,' so what's the point?

After January's Television Critics Association press tour panel for Starz's adaptation of "Outlander," I lamented that we hadn't been given copies of Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel for background.

I arrived home a day later and a copy of "Outlander" had arrived at my door, appearing from nowhere as if it had made contact with a mysterious standing stone circle after and even more mysterious pagan ritual.

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