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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<p>Baylor Wilson of &quot;Survivor: San Juan del Sur&quot;</p>

Baylor Wilson of "Survivor: San Juan del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Baylor Wilson talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

The season's 5th place finisher explains whether Missy really deserved her vote

"Survivor: San Juan del Sur" finished its season on Wednesday (December 17) night with a terrific finale that trimmed the field down from the episode-opening Top 5 of Baylor, Missy, Keith, Jaclyn and Natalie down to four and then three and then a very deserving winner.

Over the next five nights, I'll be posting the five exit interviews I did all before 10:15 on Thursday morning, counting down from fifth place.

It happens that the fifth place elimination was one of the season's most shocking, as Natalie bucked with a long-established plan to go to the finals with Baylor and Missy by playing an Immunity Idol for Jaclyn, turning a shocking vote against the totally blindsided Baylor. 

The season's youngest player at 20, Baylor got a bit of a negative rap through the season for being wishy-washy, for being a brat, for being carried along by her mother Missy. But if you look at certain moments in isolation, Baylor was largely responsible for turning the season's first vote against Nadiya. That ended up being huge for several reasons. Then later, Baylor was integral in convincing her mother to flip on Jon, leading to probably the game's most pivotal move. 

In her exit interview, Baylor talked about those big moves and also about Reed's Final Tribal hostility. She discusses the challenges of playing with her mother.

And at Final Tribal, Baylor voted for her mother and said she felt that Missy played the best game. Does she still feel that way?

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>The Season 25 &quot;Amazing Race&quot; cast</p>

The Season 25 "Amazing Race" cast

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Season 25 Finale - The Winners Are...

Four teams head to Los Angeles will a million bucks on the line

There are several things that have to be discussed in this recap of Friday (December 19) night's "Amazing Race" finale, but I want to get this out of the way:

I don't think Brooke was wrong to be pissed off to see The Candy Girls arrive at the Manila airport after the last Leg and I don't think Adam was wrong to say that he was frustrated.

When I talked to Phil Keoghan about the rash of episodes in which teams didn't go home this season -- Four out of 11 episodes -- he said that people were universally excited by the ending of the last Leg, because it was something they had never seen before. 

True. What they hadn't seen before was a team get spared from elimination at the end of what was, for all intents and purposes, a Leg despite finishing last, only to be immediately rewarded with an Equalizer at the airport, heading into what was, for all intents and purposes, a Leg in which they faced no penalty.

So when Brooke complained that everything they'd done in the previous day was for nothing? Well... She's not wrong. It was a pretty good Leg, with some tough challenges. It asked a lot of the teams. And there was nothing that was gained from it. Brooke & Robbie only got to Phil in first one time in the Race and they got nothing for it, neither a prize nor a single second of time advantage. Everything they did in last week's episode amounted to nothing. And everything Amy & Maya did to struggle, coming in last, amounted to nothing. 

I saw a couple people say that Brooke & Robbie were being sore losers, because hadn't they just survived a Non-Elimination Leg themselves? Sure they had. But that was a real Leg, one that earned Jim & Misti a trip to Vietnam and one that caused Brooke & Robbie to face a Speed-Bump penalty. Was the penalty hard? No. But it was a thing they faced. And since both Legs were in Manila, a time difference remained in place from the previous Leg. 

To me, this was a bad structural decision from the "Amazing Race" producers and I don't buy its value or necessity at all. 


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Credit: The CW

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 261 - 'Serial,' Superheroes and More

Dan and Alan talk 'Mozart in the Jungle,' 'The Newsroom,' 'Jane the Virgin' and more


Happy Friday, Boys & Girls.

We wanted to push back this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast because we suspected we'd have things to say about the finale for the Serial podcast. And we did!

Delaying a couple days also allowed us watch seven episodes apiece of Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle."

In this podcast, we also talked about The Year in Superhero TV Shows, a segment that includes spoilers for "Arrow," "Gotham," "Constantine," "The Flash" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." We also did our first check-in on The CW's "Jane the Virgin' since the pilot and we discussed the series finale for "The Newsroom."

So it may seem like this is a slow-ish time for new TV, but we managed to fill over 100 minutes, our longest podcast in a while. 

Today's breakdown:
"Mozart in the Jungle" (00:00:55 - 00:12:00)
The Year in Superheroes (00:12:00 - 00:55:15)
Listener Mail: The "Sons of Anarchy" Finale (00:55:20 - 00:58:55)
"Jane the Virgin" (00:59:00 - 01:08:00)
"Newroom" finale (01:08:10 - 01:24:25)
"Serial" finale (01:24:25 - 01:42:35)

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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Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Mom' helps CBS top slow Thursday as NBC's People Magazine Awards tanks

The CW gets decent numbers from an IHeartRadio special

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 18, 2014.

With a "Big Bang Theory" repeat and a new episode of "Mom" leading the way, CBS dominated Thursday night in all measures. 

And yes, CBS had the NFL preemption in Jacksonville and FOX had the preemption in Nashville on Thursday, but given that the game was between the Jaguars and Titans, it's unlikely that it caused a huge amount of ratings inflation.

Meanwhile, NBC's "People Magazine Awards" became the latest failed attempt to start a new primetime awards tradition, following in the footsteps of FOX's latest country music thing and the movie awards that failed on CBS last month.

The night was slow enough that The CW even got an OK audience for another of its normally lackluster IHeartRadio specials, in this case the Jingle Ball.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Phil Keoghan and friend</p>

Phil Keoghan and friend

Credit: CBS

Interview: Phil Keoghan teases the 'Amazing Race' Season 25 finale

Host and puffin cohort discusses the remaining four teams and this season's twists

"The Amazing Race" concludes its 25th installment on Friday (December 19) night with its first four-team finale, pitting Wrestlers Brooke & Robbie, Food Scientists Amy & Maya, Dentists Jim & Misti and Surfers Bethany & Adam.

The field is extra packed because in last week's episode, Amy & Maya reached the Pit Stop in last, only to be told that it was a "Keep on racing..." Leg, which isn't the same as a Non-Elimination Leg, because we already had three of those this season, making four out of 11 weeks in which the "Amazing Race" episode ended without a team heading home.

Earlier this week, I got on the phone to chat with "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan about the season so far and the upcoming finale. 

As usual, Phil and I don't always agree on everything. He, for example, insists audiences loved last year's Las Vegas finale. I'm reasonably sure that was not universal the universal opinion.

Phil also saw only positive reactions to last week's result for Amy & Maya, which hasn't entirely been my read on fan response.

And he's sure that audiences started out hating Brooke & Robbie, but have grown to love them. You can decide for yourself!

However, even when we disagree, Phil is always an "Amazing Race" enthusiast, so I enjoy chatting with him about these developments and more, including his appearances within challenges this season and the time crunch that has caused.

Check out the full interview below and check back on Friday night for my full "Amazing Race" finale recap...

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