Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 262 - Worst TV of 2014
Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 262 - Worst TV of 2014

Dan and Alan discuss 2014's worst, from 'Mixology' to 'Mysteries of Laura' to the 'Homeland' finale


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!

And Happy Holidays!

It's time for what will be our final podcast of 2014 and it's a crowd favorite.

Yup. For 87 minutes, we talked about TV's Worst of 2014. Some of this was covered in my Worst of 2014 gallery (below), but the back and forth is fresh!

Plus, Showtime's "Homeland" delivered a finale on Sunday that fit perfectly into this week's theme. Thanks, "Homeland"!

So it's a fun dose of Angry Dan and Angry Alan as we step back from our, "There's a lot of great stuff on TV" stance and remind you there's some awful stuff as well. [Podcast theme this week features music and lyrics by Linda Holmes, arrangement by Jeff Alexander.]

We'll be back in 2015.

Enjoy this week's podcast. It does have spoilers for some stuff. But only wretched stuff.

Today's breakdown:
TV's Worst of 2014 (00:01:25 - 01:14:15)
TV's Worst of 2014 - "Homeland" finale (01:14:20 - 01:26:35)

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>&quot;One Direction: The TV Special&quot;</p>

"One Direction: The TV Special"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: NBC's 'One Direction: The TV Special' fizzles as CBS, ABC split Tuesday

'NCIS' repeats dominate overall, while 'The Year: 2014' leads in the demo

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, December 23, 2014.

NBC's "One Direction: The TV Special" dominated Tuesday night among females 12-17, but failed to strike a cord in any other demographic as CBS repeats and ABC holiday specials ruled a sleepy Christmas Eve eve on Tuesday.

Repeats of "NCIS," NCIS: Los Angeles" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were Tuesday's most watched shows overall, while encores of "Shrek the Halls" and "Toy Story That Time Forgot" led in the key demo for ABC.

And NBC's three celebrity-driven specials all did the same weak demo number and drew under 3.7 million viewers.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Natalie Anderson of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Natalie Anderson of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Natalie Anderson discusses her 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' win

'Amazing Race' veteran on the advantages of being the Evil Twinny

We've reached the end of our "Survivor: San Juan del Sur" exit interviews.

Natalie Anderson began this "Survivor" season in a defensively position. Not only did she enter the game with a certain reputation from her two seasons on "The Amazing Race" -- "I know we have a lot of Twinny haters. There's no middle. It's either you love us or you hate us," she says -- but sister Nadiya was voted out first by her tribe. That left Natalie with notoriety and without a loved one in the Blood versus Water season.

What followed was a "Survivor" run that stood out both for Natalie's sturdy combination game -- She made big strategic moves, performed well in challenges and also found and used an Immunity Idol effectively -- but also for her major image overhaul. Coming into the season facing derision from some CBS reality fans, Natalie ended the season a very popular winner, almost universally well-received, at least from what I've seen online.

"It's really surreal to see happen because people are very, very... like they're very stuck in the way they thought about me and Nadiya from 'Amazing Race' if they didn't like me. And it's cool to see that now all my haters have become lovers. It's awesome," Natalie said when we spoke after last week's finale. 

In our exit conversation, Natalie talks about several of her most important moves in the game, as well as her nervousness about nearly torpedoing herself with an overly persuasive self-appraisal at the penultimate Tribal Council. She explains why she was better-suited for a long solo run than Nadiya would have been and she gives a slightly surprising answer for who she would have voted for if she'd gone home at Final 4.

Click through for the full Q&A.

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The Worst TV of 2014 - 'Stalker,' 'Mixology' and More

The Worst TV of 2014 - 'Stalker,' 'Mixology' and More

The Fien Print counts down 2014's Bottom 8, plus Dishonorable mentions

Whether or not you feel like 2014 was The Best Year For TV Ever, I'd like to believe that you'll agree with this assertion: There's more *good* TV now than ever before. I'm just talking volume here. Network TV is churning out more programming than ever before and even if it isn't necessarily great, a lot of it is very good. And if you don't like what's happening on the networks, more cable networks are producing more original scripted shows than ever before and then there's the ratings-free Wild West of streaming services, which have proven to be yet another fertile playground for creative talents.

But with more TV, you get more good TV and also probably more bad TV, which produces a problem: I can only watch so much TV and I have a hard enough time following the stuff that's worth my attention. So maybe I had less time in 2014 than ever before to watch bad TV.

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<p>Katherine Heigl of &quot;State of Affairs&quot;</p>

Katherine Heigl of "State of Affairs"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Saturday Night Live Christmas,' 'Mike & Molly' lead Monday

'State of Affairs' takes a big drop without 'The Voice'

Fast National ratings for Monday, December 22, 2014.

NBC won Monday night among young viewers thanks to the "A Saturday Night Live Christmas" special, while a "The Big Bang Theory" repeat and a new "Mike & Molly" led CBS to overall victory.

The finale of "The Great Christmas Light Fight" put ABC in second overall and third in the key demo, while "State of Affairs" took a big dip without "The Voice" to boost it. How big? That'd be a 27 percent drop for "State of Affairs."

Note that NBC had the NFL preemption in Cincinnati.

On to the numbers...

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Interview: Jaclyn Schultz talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'
Credit: CBS

Interview: Jaclyn Schultz talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

The season's second place finisher explains where her yoga pants came from

As so often happens with second place finishers on "Survivor," I really think that there were some seasons that Jaclyn Schultz would have won.

In some seasons, she wouldn't have been going up against a strong strategic and physical player in Natalie Anderson, a player who kept Jaclyn in the game by playing an Idol on her behalf in the vote that should have been sending her home.

In some seasons, Jaclyn wouldn't have been staring at a heavily weighted with frat guys who ignored her or dismissed her in the game and lacked the subtlety to respect a game-behind-the-game strategy, rather than only being able to notice a brazen and up-front approach. 

And in some seasons, most seasons really, that Jury wouldn't have included Jaclyn's boyfriend Jon, the public face of the season's most powerful two-person swing alliance. Yes, Jon's presence guaranteed Jaclyn one vote, but it also was a reminder for the Wes and Alecs of the world that Jon had seemingly dragged Jaclyn as far as she got this season.

That attitude ignores that Jon and Jaclyn alike describe their relationship as an equal partnership, which I can buy. It also ignores that in the most important Immunity Challenge of the season, Jaclyn returned from an overnight at Exile Island and pushed aside exhaustion and physical injury to win. And with that Immunity, she opted to protect Natalie, just as Natalie had protected her a Tribal before. 

Jaclyn's achievement in the game earned her Jon's vote and also a vote from Reed, a ballot many people have suggested Reed cast to keep Missy from tying for second.

In her exit interview, Jaclyn discusses the struggle to properly present her achievement to the Jury, that big Final Immunity and how close she came to booting Natalie in that penultimate vote.

Oh and because I sometimes like to ask stupid questions that have been nagging at me, I got the truth about the mysteriously appearing yoga pants that somehow joined Jaclyn's ensemble at the end of the game.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch</p>

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Seahawks-Cardinals rout leads NBC Sunday domination

'Sound of Music: Sing-A-Long' puts ABC in third

Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 21, 2014.

A snoozer between the Seattle Seahawks and the QB-depleted Arizona Cardinals delivered relatively weak numbers for NBC, but Sunday Night Football still dominated primetime anyway.

NFL-inflated CBS finished second for the night, followed by ABC, which finished third thanks to "The Sound of Music: Sing-a-Long." NFL helped inflate FOX's "Mulaney" ratings as well, with some sad, frustrated markets missing "Mulaney" entirely.

The CBS overrun was roughly 50 minutes in most marked on the right side of the country, so adjust accordingly.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Missy of &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot;</p>

Missy of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Missy Payne talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

3rd place finisher discusses her injured ankle and daughter Baylor

For only the third time since "Survivor" switched over to a Final 3, all three remaining castaways received votes at the Final Tribal Council.

So kudos to Missy Payne, even if her lone vote came from her daughter Baylor. 

In retrospect, it's pretty impressive that Missy was even able to stand at the Final 3 at all. The owner of a Dallas-based cheerleading gym hurt her ankle in a late-season Reward Challenge and resisted Jeff Probst's insinuations that she might want to leave the game. Told by the "Survivor" medic that she could stick around if she could stand the pain, Missy refused to quit, even if it meant sitting out several of the season's most important challenges.

Perhaps that injury explains why the Jury took Missy so lightly, even though she tried to emphasize her importance in many key early votes. 

In her exit interview, the season's third place finisher discusses her post-game diagnosis and the problems the injury caused for her.

Missy is also very frank about the challenges of playing the game with Baylor.

"[I]f I ever got to play again I would not play with Baylor," she says.

Click through to find out why and to read the full Q&A...

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<p>Keith Nale of &quot;Survivor: San Juan Del Sur&quot;</p>

Keith Nale of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Keith Nale talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

Fourth place castaway talks about sticking to the plan and more

Last night, I posted my interview with the "Survivor: San Juan del Sur" fifth place finisher, Baylor Wilson, who admitted that even though she voted for her mother at Final Tribal, she'd vote for Natalie now if she had the chance.

One Jury member who voted for Natalie, but who was a question-mark in my early guesses, was Keith Nale, a 53-year-old firefighter from Louisiana. Keith, who became something of an Immunity machine post-Merge, protecting himself from several possible vote-outs, knew that Natalie had spared him at at least one Tribal, but he also arrived at Final Tribal with some frustration at the remaining Twinie, accusing her of lying to him.

In the end, Keith explains that he just thought Natalie was more deserving than the other two finalists, which is a pretty legitimate reason to cast a vote, I suppose.

A fan favorite for his "Awww shucks" approach to the game, Keith also made one of the more glaring gaffes this season when he outed his secret alliance by telling a badgering Reed "Just stick to the plan" mid-Tribal.

In our exit interview, Keith talks about the "Just stick to the plan" moment, as well as his surprise at becoming such a challenge threat. It sounds like Keith, who wasn't a big "Survivor" fan coming is, has become a fan, but don't worry, he'll never become the sort of strategic threat Jeremy wanted him to be.

Check out the full Q&A below...

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<p>&quot;A Home For The Holidays&quot;</p>

"A Home For The Holidays"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Amazing Race' finale rises, but 2-hour 'Dateline' leads NBC Friday

CBS' 'A Home For The Holidays' special tanks

Fast National ratings for Friday, December 19, 2014.

While NBC's "Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon" was unimpressive, a two-hour installment of "Dateline" did well enough to push the network to Friday night victory in most measures. 

Over on CBS, the season finale for "The Amazing Race" rose against reduced competition, but a dismal performance from the "A Home For The Holidays" special took the network out of the running for any Friday wins. 

And even in a repeat, ABC's "Shark Tank" tied for Friday's best numbers among young viewers.

On to the ratings...

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