TV Top 10 For 2014: The Fien Print picks 'Game of Thrones,' 'Fargo' and more

TV Top 10 For 2014: The Fien Print picks 'Game of Thrones,' 'Fargo' and more

The Fien Print runs down its Top 10 for 2014

My 2014 Top 10 By-the-Numbers...

Repeat Shows from 2014: 4
Shows Premiering in 2014: 4
Established Shows Rising into My Top 10: 2
Network Shows: 1
Cable Shows: 5
Premium Cable Shows: 3
Streaming Shows: 1
Comedies: Between 3 and 5
Adapted Formats: 6

I did that breakdown mostly for my own purposes trying to figure out if I cans see any trends emerging from my Top 10. The biggest trend, I suppose, is that there's a lot of great TV and there's a lot of great TV coming in a lot of great formats and coming from a lot of new and interesting directions even if it maybe isn't necessarily coming from the five broadcast networks, though I'd argue that there's a lot of very good TV coming from there. [Network TV isn't the best source of great TV going, but network TV is probably still the best source, by volume, of GOOD TV.]

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

Alec of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Alec Christy talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

Does he regret making Julie quit? Does he mock Drew for how he left?

When Alec Christy was voted out in the second of two "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" episodes this week, he was disappointed, but took solace in at least outlasting his older brother Drew.

Indeed, he can take added pleasure in the relative simplicity with which he went out: The dominant alliance was supposed to split votes, but take out Keith. Instead, Natalie flipped and voted Alec out, figuring Keith might be a better ally to keep around.

That beats Drew's exit, which involved throwing a challenge in order to target an all-female voting conspiracy that never existed, subsequently alienating all of the women his his tribe, creating a female conspiracy and getting himself voted out.

Of the brothers, Drew was the "Survivor" fan and Alec told me in his exit interview that he had only watched two episodes before going into the game. And while he understands that he made certain beginners' mistakes, he only sounds a little regretful about, for example, goading Julie into quitting the game and preempting a vote that could have given his alliance a big numbers advantage, or failing to strategize with Jaclyn sufficiently before another vote that went against his alliance.

Generally, Alec is pretty pleased with how he did in making the Top 7. In the full Q&A below he explains why and also discusses what he would do differently now that he actually knows "Survivor"...

Click through...

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<p>Oregon QB Marcus Mariota</p>

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank,' Pac-12 Championship lead Friday as CBS Grammy special fizzles

'Grimm' and 'Constantine' are both down for NBC

Fast National ratings for Friday, December 5, 2014.

The Friday pecking order was a little strange this week, as "Shark Tank" led ABC to a rare overall win for the night, made possible by CBS' unimpressive "A Very Grammy Christmas" special, but FOX's coverage of the Pac-12 football championship was good for a key demo win.

Among other Friday notables, "Grimm" and "Constantine" were both down for NBC, while "The Amazing Race" was up for CBS. There was a sizable gap between performances for ABC's "Last Man Standing" and "Cristela," while NBC's "How Murray Saved Christmas" had a soft premiere.

On to the numbers...

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

Reed of "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Reed Kelly talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

Latest bootee discusses pushing Keith and counseling Jon & Jaclyn

"Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" has been losing a lot of its biggest personalities and most aggressive strategic players in recent weeks.

No, I'm probably not talking about Wes, but in Josh and Jeremy, the season lost its two biggest ringleaders and this week the game lost Reed, whose was forced to scramble in Josh's absence and was, if nothing else, trying very hard to move the pieces around the chessboard. 

That's the thing with the recent eliminations. Were Josh and Jeremy and Reed the best "Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" players? Apparently not, but all three seemed to know what they were doing out there, which can't be said for many of the castaways still in the game.

That makes it a little bittersweet to talk to players as affable and into the game as those three. In his exit interview, Reed talks about Keith's "Just stick to the plan" blunder and explains where his game might have gone if Jon hadn't played his Idol. He also talks about the challenges of playing relationship counselor to the game's swing couple.

Reed also gives context for both how hard he was pushing Keith at that ill-fated Tribal and he gives context for his reference to not needing to win this past week's pony-ride reward because he has horses at home. And he admits that comment sounded bad.

Check out the full Q&A with the "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" veteran...

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<p>&quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

"The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Smells Like Dirty Tube Socks'

The teams head to Manila and deal with fish, oxen and motorcycles

A note on "Amazing Race" travel:

If there are two flights to a location getting in an hour or two apart in the mid-morning or early afternoon, it's probably acceptable to worry if you're on the later flight. Those people ahead of you have a solid advantage and if they don't screw up, your chances of moving ahead of them are remote, though probably not nil. 

If, however, there are two flights to a location getting in an hour or two apart late at night, chances are reasonably good that you won't need to sweat it. Yes, there's always the chance, especially if the destination city is considered a night-life hot-spot, that your next task could be at a bar or club -- i.e. Sri Lanka last season -- but precedent suggests you're more likely to follow your clue to a sign telling you to have an unpleasant night's sleep waiting for something or other to open. Maybe you'll find yourself in a later departing group by 10 or 15 minutes, but you're getting into a place before business hours, so you're not going to be required to do very much, most times. 

There are no absolutes to these rules, but I'd say they're 90 percent reliable. I know it. You know it. "The Amazing Race" producers know it.

And if we all know it, what's the point in wasting the first 10 minutes of an episode on whether or not Dentists Misti & Jim made a big mistake in going to the Singapore airport to buy tickets to Manila rather than going to a travel agency and thus ended up on a flight getting in at 11:55 p.m. rather than 11:00?

This has been the case all season long on "The Amazing Race." Nobody's really had the chance to take courageous travel risks. Nobody's really made any idiotic travel blunders. And when there have been minor discrepancies in arrival times for various flights, they've almost always been followed by Equalizers either with additional legs of travel, or just with one of the aforementioned "Gates open at 7:30" signs.

But these are the things that we kill time with on "Amazing Race" Legs when everybody at home is pretty much assuming that a Non-Elimination Leg is coming.

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<p>&quot;The Odd Couple&quot;</p>

"The Odd Couple"

Credit: CBS

CBS sets 'Two and a Half Men' series finale, new 'Odd Couple' premiere

Will you be sad to see Jon Cryer and Not-Charlie Sheen go?

We already knew that "Two and a Half Men" was shedding its mortal coil after this, it's 12th season. Now, however, we finally know when the coast will be clear for viewers to return to CBS without fear of "Two and a Half Men" episodes or promos.

CBS announced on Friday (December 5) that "Two and a Half Men" will end with a one-hour series finale on Thursday, February 19 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. The comedy, which won Jon Cryer a pair of Emmys and launched Charlie Sheen to "Anger Management," will have aired 262 episodes.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 259
Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 259

Dan and Alan review 'Peter Pan Live!' and midseason finales for 'Good Wife' and 'Walking Dead'


Happy Friday, Boys & Girls!

We delayed this week's podcast so that we could luxuriate in NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" and give it the critical deconstruction it so richly deserved.

So we did!

We also talked a bit about the long-since-past midseason finale of "The Good Wife, featuring a heated "Barcelona vs. Jail" debate. And we talked "Walking Dead" fall finale as well.

We'll be back early next week with the beginning of our End-of-the-Year podcasting cycle, as we celebrate The Best of 2014.

Today's breakdown:
"Peter Pan Live!" (00:00:45 - 00:21:30)
Listener Mail: "The Wire" in HD (00:21:45 - 00:30:00)
Listener Mail: Beards (00:30:00 - 00:36:25)
"The Good Wife" (00:36:30 - 00:50:25)
"The Walking Dead" (00:50:30 - 01:16:00)

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.

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<p>&quot;Battle Creek&quot;</p>

"Battle Creek"

Credit: CBS

CBS sets 'Battle Creek' for Sundays, shifts 'CSI: Cyber' to Wednesdays

Vince Gilligan drama takes the former 'Breaking Bad' time period. On a different network.

CBS has finally set a premiere date and time period for the anticipated new drama "Battle Creek," from Vince Gilligan and David Shore, though it's a time period that was previously set aside for the now-on-the-move "CSI: Cyber."

The network announced on Friday (December 5) morning that "Battle Creek" is going to take the Sunday 10 p.m. slot beginning on March 1. "Battle Creek," which stars Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters was created by Gilligan, but has been entirely run by Shore ("House") with the "Breaking Bad" mastermind off co-showrunning "Better Call Saul."

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Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Peter Pan Live!' falls hard from 'Sound of Music Live!' on Thursday

By the 10:30 half-hour under 7 million viewers were still around

Fast National ratings for Thursday, December 4, 2014.

NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" was no match for last December's "Sound of Music Live!" with ratings falling so hard and dramatically that the network started the morning with a defensive press release and statement from Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt.

These morning ratings stories never include network quotes/blurbs, but this is the first time in my memory that a network has tried to smooth over ratings before 8 a.m. on the West Coast.

"We're very pleased with the 'Peter Pan' ratings and it was a great night for NBC.  We won every hour, which hasn't happened on Thursday with entertainment programming since a year ago.  I'm proud to be part of a company that takes chances and creates big events, and that's exactly what we're going to continue to do," Greenblatt states. 
He continues, "We didn’t expect to reach the same rating as 'The Sound of Music' since that was the first live movie event of its kind in over 50 years.  But the high wire act of Peter Pan was a joy for everyone involved and I take my hat off to Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, the entire company, and our incredible directors and producers for three months of the hardest work I've ever seen.  I love these live events and we're already working on putting the next one together."

Quotes and justifications aside, "Sound of Music Live!" averaged 18.5 million viewers and a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49 in Fast Nationals last December. "Peter Pan Live!" averaged 9.13 million viewers and a 2.3 key demo rating in Fast Nationals last night, winning primetime among young viewers, but losing to football-inflated CBS overall.

The most disconcerting thing for NBC is that "Peter Pan Live!" drew an OK audience to start with and then plummeted by the last hour. Some viewers were curious, but they left. Heck, you might say the audience petered out. I wouldn't. But you might.

The quick football-related caveat would be that last year's Thursday Night Football game pitted the Jaguars against the Texans, a fairly weak matchup. Last night's game featured the Bears and the Cowboys and, almost certainly, drew a bigger audience. [CBS had the preemptions in both Chicago and Dallas.] That's not why "Peter Pan Live!"  did half the "Sound of Music Live!" numbers.

On to Thursday ratings...

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<p>&quot;True Detective&quot;</p>

"True Detective"

Credit: HBO

FX doesn't submit 'Fargo' as 'Transparent,' 'True Detective' lead WGA TV nominations

Wait. How was 'Leftovers' nominated for longform?

The Writers Guild of America announced the TV nominees for the 2015 WGA Awards on Thursday (December 4) morning and several new shows broke into the fields in a big way.

And, of course, there were a number of big WGA Award nomination head-scratchers. Specifically, where the heck was FX's "Fargo"? The answer is below.

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