<p>Virginia Kull of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

Virginia Kull of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

Interview: Meet 'Gracepoint' star Virginia Kull

Theater veteran discusses getting emotional to play a grieving mother

VICTORIA, BC. Two of TV's biggest breakout performances of 2014 have come from Allison Tolman and Carrie Coon, a pair of thirtysomething actresses who seemingly arrived fully formed in "Fargo" and "The Leftovers." Tolman and Coon were relative unknowns, unless you happened to know your Chicago or New York theater, but it was instantly clear from their opening small screen moments that they were stars.

If "Gracepoint," FOX's 10-episode remake of "Broadchurch," is a hit, you can expect Virginia Kull to find herself in conversations with Tolman and Coon. While the Texas-raised actress has had brief and occasionally memorable guest turns on shows including "The Following," "The Good Wife" and "Boardwalk Empire," you probably won't know her unless you saw her in stage productions of "The Orphans’ Home Cycle" or "The Heiress" or "Dividing The Estate," among others.

In "Gracepoint," Kull plays Beth Solano, grieving mother to the young boy whose murder sets the drama in motion. If you've seen "Broadchurch," it's the Jodie Whittaker role and you know how much emotional heavy-lifting it requires.

Back in May, Kull and her knee-high rubber rain boots braved drizzle and muck to sit down for interviews near the "Gracepoint" set on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

I met Kull without having seen her "Gracepoint" performance, but having heard raves from all of her co-stars. In the conversation, we talked about her detour to acting from a career in medicine and her gifts as an easy crier. We also talked about why her character will inevitably be different from Whittaker's, even if Kull is a big admirer. 

I've subsequently seen seven episodes of "Gracepoint" and I can vouch for what her colleagues told me. Kull is very impressive. 

Check out the full Q&A to get to know a bit about Virginia Kull before Thursday's "Gracepoint" premiere...

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

Wednesday's "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: San Juan Del Sur' - 'Method To This Madness'

In which everybody knows about John Rocker and everybody wrestles over water

Pre-credit sequence. I really want an explanation for Josh and Baylor's Tribal Council votes. Will we get one as we return to Coyopa? Yup! Kinda! "There's a method to my madness. I put your name down," Josh tells Baylor, claiming his goal was "to further advance their alliance." He begs her not to be mad. "That was a smart move in a way, but it was also sketchy and scary that he didn't tell me before," Baylor says. Yeah. I still don't get what anybody was thinking.

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Credit: FOX

FOX shifts 'MasterChef Junior' to Tuesday, strands 'Utopia' on Fridays

Effective immediately, 'Utopia' has been shifted away from Tuesday

While it's not our first cancellation of the fall, FOX became the first network to correct a scheduling weakness, moving "MasterChef Junior" from Fridays to Tuesdays.

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;NCIS&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "NCIS"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Selfie,' 'Manhattan' push 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' to a series low on Tuesday

'NCIS' leads CBS overall, while 'The Voice' helped NBC win the key demo

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

"NCIS" added a few viewers from last week, while "NCIS: New Orleans" retained well in its second airing, leading CBS to an easy Tuesday win overall. However, both CBS procedurals were down in young viewers, as "The Voice" helped helped NBC to an easy victory in the key demo.

The night's big new premieres were ABC's "Selfie" and "Manhattan Love Story," which got off to less-than-impressive starts, but still easily beat FOX's "New Girl"/"Mindy Project" comedy block. Of more concern to ABC is the way that soft opening block may have contributed to drops for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Forever."

And although FOX's entire night was still untenably low, "Utopia," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" were all up a hair either in viewers, the key demo or both.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Monday&#39;s &quot;Gotham&quot;</p>

Monday's "Gotham"

Credit: FOX

Ratings Analysis: 'NCIS: Los Angeles' has a problem, 'Gotham' and 'Scorpion' do not

'Castle' returns to ABC with 'Castle'-esque numbers

Everything dropped on Monday (September 29) night. Or nearly everything dropped.

That wasn't surprising and it wasn't upsetting for most of the TV networks. TV shows premiere high and then audiences dwindle for roughly the same reasons movies premiere big and then fall off 60 percent. Getting people in the door isn't hard. The challenge is getting them to come back every week. 

But the TV business now is shifting so aggressively toward Live+3 numbers that it also stands to reason that while heavily promotion encourages live viewership, it's perfectly reasonably to expect that many of the shows that suffered week-to-week declines on Monday will recover those viewers when DVRs are factored in.

That's all a round-about way to say that CBS is probably very happy with the Week 2 performance for "Scorpion." The drama that I've dubbed "Katharine McPhee: Nerd Wrangler" premiered last week with 13.83 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49, coming out of a "Big Bang Theory" episode with 18.24 million viewers and a 5.4 key demo rating. In Week 2, with a "Big Bang Theory" repeat drawing 12.26 million viewers and a 3.1 key demo rating, "Scorpion," after a small bump in Final Live+SD totals, drew 13.36 million viewers and a 3.1 key demo rating. If ABC is throwing a full-on parade for the opening week numbers for "How To Get Away With Murder" and "Black-ish," CBS is surely naming a lunchroom special in Kat McPhee's honor.

The retention numbers are just astoundingly rosy for "Scorpion," at least for one week. Among adults 18-34, "Scorpion" did a 1.9 rating for its premiere and a 1.9 rating for its second episode, even though the difference between the new "TBBT" and the "TBBT" repeat was a 1.7 in that demo. Among women 18-49, "Scorpion" did a 3.4 rating for its premiere and a 3.4 rating in the second week.

There were some male demo drops for "Scorpion." Among men 18-49, it slipped from a 3.0 to a 2.7. Oh no! And among men 25-54, it went from a 4.4 to a 3.6. Well, that's a bit bigger, but... CBS will live. "Scorpion" got a decent, but not "Gotham"-esque, Week 1 DVR bump, so there's at least a chance that its Live+3 numbers could grow week-to-week.

But now, let's look at some of the shows that weren't as lucky as "Scorpion"...

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

Random people from "How To Get Away With Murder"

Credit: ABC

'How To Get Away With Murder' sets Live+3 records for ABC Thursday

All of Shonda Rhimes' Thursday hits pad their big numbers

"How To Get Away With Murder" has added a record-breaking Live+3 Day DVR haul to what was already a tremendous premiere.

The September 25 premiere of "How To Get Away With Murder" added 6 million viewers after three days of playback, which ABC is calling the largest-ever total viewer increase in Live+3 for a network telecast. Your previous record-holder? A January 2014 telecast of "Blacklist," which NBC likes to note has a disproportionate number of the largest-ever DVR audience bumps.

The DVR boost took "How To Get Away With Murder" from 14.3 million viewers in Live+SD to 20.3 million in Live+3. "HTGAWM" also got a sizable DVR bump among adults 18-49, rising 1.9 ratings points, or 49 percent, to a 5.8 key demo rating, up from a 3.9 Live+SD rating that was already a triumph. While it wasn't the largest volume gain in the key demo of any show from last week -- two "Big Bang Theory" episodes both added 2.0 ratings points -- it was the biggest freshman gainer in volume. It also moved "Murder" up to second among scripted programs for last week in Live+3 numbers for the 18-49 demo, behind only those episodes of "Big Bang Theory."

So yeah. ABC is pleased.

And how did the rest of ABC's lineup do with Thursday DVR figures? And what happened with FOX's "Bones"? 

Let's take a look...

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Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 249

Dan and Alan review 'Selfie,' 'Stalker,' 'Gracepoint,' 'A to Z,' 'Bad Judge' and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!

Time for the first of what will probably be two Firewall & Iceberg podcasts this week. 

In this podcast? We review a lot of trash, including "Selfie," "Manhattan Love Story" and "Stalker." We were less negative on "Gracepoint" and "A to Z," at least.

And we talked about Sunday's "Simpsons" premiere and the "Family Guy" episode that took place in Springfield and featured characters from "The Simpsons," but wasn't really a crossover.

That leaves us with a TON still to talk about on Thursday or Friday.

Here's today's breakdown:
"Selfie" (00:00:55 - 00:13:20)
"Manhattan Love Story" (00:13:23 - 00:23:15)
"Stalker" (00:23:15 - 00:26:25)
"Bad Judge" (00:26:30 - 00:39:10)
"Gracepoint" (00:39:10 - 00:53:00)
"A to Z" (00:53:00 - 01:06:20)
Sunday's "Simpsons" and "Family Guy" (01:06:20 - 01:18:40)

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

Katharine McPhee of "Scorpion"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: Monday viewers still loving 'Scorpion,' 'NCIS: LA' flops and 'Gotham,' 'Blacklist' dip

'The Voice' maintains NBC's advantage in the key demo

Fast National ratings for Monday, September 29, 2014.

As you'd expect, most of Monday's originals dipped from their premieres in the season's second week, with "Scorpion" retaining relatively impressively to help CBS win the night overall, while "The Voice" helped NBC dominate the key demo even in decline.

There were no gainers on Monday, in fact, as "Gotham," "Sleepy Hollow," "The Blacklist" and even the all-powerful "The Big Bang Theory" fell.

There were a couple shows that held off on their premieres for this week and got mixed results.

ABC's "Castle" came back on the high side, but with NBC taking Monday Night Football coverage in several markets, those numbers are certain to slip at least a little. But no matter how far "Castle" slips, it's unlikely to fall below CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles," which collapsed on Monday night in its first separation from the "NCIS" mothership.

Finally, another of The CW's IHeart Radio specials vanished without much of a trace.

On to Monday's numbers, subject to change as always...

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<p>David Tennant and Anna Gunn of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

David Tennant and Anna Gunn of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

Talking with David Tennant and Anna Gunn on the set of FOX's 'Gracepoint'

American accents, uncertain whodunits and a Scottish 'Breaking Bad' are discussed

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA. This past spring, my tour of Fake American Police Precincts took me from Bemidji, Minnesota in Calgary for FX's "Fargo" to Gracepoint, California in Victoria, BC for FOX's "Gracepoint."

After avoiding incarceration in Bemidji, I find myself with two other reporters, a publicist and at least three or four hair-and-makeup professionals in Gracepoint's not-uncomfortable lock-up.

Once they have us behind bars, there's a very real chance that one of us will turn out to be the murderer in "Gracepoint," since a consistent refrain from the entire cast is that none of them know know whodunnit and the person behind the death of young Danny Solano won't be the same character who killed Danny Latimer in the original "Broadchurch."

It's early May on the "Gracepoint" set and they're finishing up paired production on episodes seven and eight and moving on to the climactic ninth and 10th episodes, but nobody has seen a script for those last episodes and nobody is admitting to outside knowledge.

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<p>FOX&#39;s &quot;Red Band Society&quot;</p>

FOX's "Red Band Society"

Credit: FOX

'Red Band Society,' 'Modern Family,' 'Black-ish' add big Wednesday Live+3 numbers

'Mysteries of Laura' doesn't get much of a DVR bump

When is it slightly less disastrous for a Wednesday drama only to be doing a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49? When it's getting a 60+ percent DVR bump in today's TV landscape. 

Or at least that's the narrative FOX is pushing this week, as "Red Band Society" got a 64 percent Live+3 DVR bump from last Wednesday's (September 24) episode, bringing its three-day total to a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49.

That's still not terrific. It ties "Red Band Society" with its Wednesday stablemate "Hell's Kitchen" and places it ahead of only "The Mindy Project" and "Utopia" among network Live+3 performances in the 18-49 demo for last week. However, a 1.8 key demo rating is still better than a 1.1 key demo rating and it means that Week 2 of "RBS" delivered the same Live+3 key demo rating as its premiere, despite the drop in Live+SD numbers.

Let's look at some other Live+3 numbers from Wednesday's premieres and finales and whatnot...

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