Credit: FOX

FOX extends 'Gotham' Season 1 to a full 22 episodes

Originally slated for 16 episodes, Batman prequel gets six more episodes

Last year, FOX ordered 13 episodes of "Sleepy Hollow" and decided to order a second season rather than giving the freshman hit drama a back-nine, which resulted in a nine-month absence between seasons, which may or may have resulted in the show's current Season 2 ratings drop. 

This year, FOX has learned its lesson about not necessarily sticking to its guns when it comes to a successful first-year show.

Kevin Reilly told reporters repeatedly last spring that "Gotham" would only do 16 episodes in its first season.

When I spoke to "Gotham" star Ben McKenzie in August, he expressed relief at not needing to do more than 16 episodes.

And on Monday (October 13), FOX announced that "Gotham" has received a back-six pickup, bringing its first season to 22 episodes.

Fair enough! I guess this means we're getting a Rooney episode after all.

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<p>The Eagles manhandled the Giants on Sunday</p>

The Eagles manhandled the Giants on Sunday

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Giants-Eagles rout leads Sunday, while 'Once Upon a Time' tumbles

How big a bite did "Walking Dead" take out of the networks on Sunday?

Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 12, 2014.

A one-sided Sunday Night Football rivalry game between the Giants and Eagles dominated Sunday primetime in all measures, with NBC's only competition coming from FOX, which was boosted by NFL overrun.

FOX's football overrun definitely played a big role in the week-to-week growth for "The Simpsons" and the ripple continued with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and even "Mulaney" rising in Fast Nationals.

Most of the night's other network returns were on the low side, with "Once Upon a Time," Resurrection" and "Revenge" all slipping for ABC and "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife" probably dropping for CBS, though football makes those CBS numbers a bit murky.

And yes, it's fairly certain that Sunday's top program was actually AMC's "The Walking Dead" premiere, but those numbers won't be available until later.

On to the network primetime figures...

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<p>John Mulaney of &quot;Mulaney&quot;</p>

John Mulaney of "Mulaney"

Credit: FOX

Interview: 'Mulaney' creator-star John Mulaney on his FOX comedy's learning curve

What does 'Mulaney' creator John Mulaney think of his leading man?

It can't be ignored that "Mulaney" premiered last Sunday night on FOX and the ratings weren't especially good.

I got on the phone with creator-star John Mulaney on Thursday and made a promise up-front: I'd lead with quick ratings discussion and then never return to the topic and we stuck to it.

The bottom line on that subject: FOX is 100 percent behind "Mulaney" and the network knows things will turn around. And what else would anyone say after one week?

Mostly, we discussed the learning process on "Mulaney," which was originally developed at NBC, moved over to FOX and which is already far deeper into production than most freshman shows. 

This week, in fact, found "Mulaney" working on its 13th episode, while Mulaney was also, at least according to Twitter, parlaying with old chum Bill Hader in advance of Hader's "SNL" hosting stint, so it's impressive both that he found time to chat all, but also that he politely apologized because production lunch break was delayed by seven minutes, making him late to call.

Instead of talking about ratings or following in the NY Times footsteps to talk about reviews, Mulaney and I discussed the transition from stand-up to sitcom structuring, the need to sometimes adjust his material to network commercial considerations and, in an amusing moment, the strengths and weaknesses of Mulaney's leading man.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Cristela' premiere builds on 'Last Man' as ABC splits Friday

'Blue Bloods' leads CBS to overall victory, while 'Utopia' rises a bit for FOX

Fast National ratings for Friday, October 10, 2014.

The series premiere of "Cristela" grew from an already-decent "Last Man Standing" lead-in to help ABC win Friday night among young viewers, while "Blue Bloods" was, as always, Friday's most watched show and led CBS to victory overall.

In its first airing as a Friday-only series -- Last week was still preceded by a Tuesday episode -- FOX's "Utopia" posted a very small gain, while ABC's "Shark Tank" was also up.

Also showing growth were The CW's episodes of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

On the down side, after rising a hair last week, CBS' "The Amazing Race" slipped back again.

On to the numbers...

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<p>John Rocker of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

John Rocker of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Interview: John Rocker talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur'

Former Atlanta Braves closer discusses heading home with an Idol

The following exit interview contains more expletives than most of my "Survivor" exit interviews.

I sensed how things were going to go from John Rocker's cheerful response to my "How're you doing this morning?" greeting.

"Horses***! How you doing?"

In retrospect, "Survivor" fans should be less amazed that John Rocker's "San Juan del Sur" run ended this week in the aftermath of a post-Immunity Challenge shouting match with Natalie Anderson and more surprised at how little John Rocker needed to be bleeped during his three episodes.

While John Rocker frequently seemed to be a physical asset for his Coyopa tribe, that merely meant that he was a physical asset on a tribe that has started the season losing five-of-six challenges, including all three Immunities. And on Wednesday's episode, led by Josh and Wes, Coyopa decided that removing the John Rocker-sized target from the tribe was better strategy than maintaining strength.

Or is that not what happened? John Rocker still isn't sure. The former Atlanta Braves closer doesn't know why his tribe chose to vote him out rather than old-and-not-always-useful Dale, especially since his fellow castaways had gotten past the stigma attached to him since a 1999 Sports Illustrated article included racist, homophobic and xenophobic quotes. Or that's how John Rocker tells it.

"All you've gotta do is get to know me and you're gonna like me," John Rocker says.

There's little doubt that when you talk to John Rocker, you're getting John Rocker Unfiltered, whether he's giving the background on his shouting match with Natalie or trying to justify why and how he went home with an Immunity Idol in his pocket. 

John Rocker is so very much John Rocker that I got to fewer than half of the questions on my tip list, despite going a few minutes over my regular time. He just had plenty to say. 

And only some of it is suitable for small children. And I have to admit that lots of John Rocker's confusion at being voted out is similar to the confusion I expressed on his behalf in my Wednesday recap.

Check out the full John Rocker Q&A below...

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<p>Phil and a Giant Puffin on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Phil and a Giant Puffin on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Get Your Sheep Together'

The teams head to Scotland and deal with sheep and ponies

"Bad directions are worse than no directions." 

Those words of wisdom came from the Boston firefighter I believe was Mike during Friday (October 10) night's episode of "The Amazing Race."

There's the usual litany of things we/I always tell "Amazing Race" contestants to do: Learn to drive stick. Make sure you can swim. Read the freaking clue. Etc. 

Mike's piece of advice is a good one and one that should be added to the permanent list. But maybe it should be amended somewhat. Yes, bad directions are worse than no directions, but a better phrasing might be: If you ask stupid people for directions you'll get bad directions. Because Friday's "Amazing Race" Leg didn't really come down to "bad directions" at all. The eliminated team got perfectly acceptable directions that just happened to lead them to a ridiculous place that had no connection to the desired destination. 

Oh well. 

More from Friday's Leg, which featured my new all-time favorite greeter, after the break...

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<p>Andrew Luck tries to escape J.J. Watt</p>

Andrew Luck tries to escape J.J. Watt

Credit: David J. Phillips/AP

TV Ratings: Colts-Texans game leads Thursday as 'Gracepoint' dips, 'Judge' steadies

Shonda Rhimes Thursday holds second even while falling

Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 9, 2014.

The Colts and Texans offered CBS' first competitive Thursday Night Football game in weeks (assuming viewers stuck in past the first quarter) and helped the network dominate primetime in all measures.

While all three ABC dramas were down, Shonda Rhimes Thursday still topped all of the night's scripted programming and was good for second across the board.

The night's best news, relatively speaking, was for NBC's "Bad Judge," which retained all of its premiere audience. While that audience still wasn't big, week-to-week flatness this early is a good sign. Also basically flat week-to-week were The CW's "Reign," NBC's "Parenthood" and FOX's "Bones."

The news wasn't as positive for NBC's "A to Z" or for FOX's "Gracepoint," which dipped below The Mulaney Line in its second airing.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Viola Davis of &quot;How To Get Away With Murder&quot;</p>

Viola Davis of "How To Get Away With Murder"

Credit: ABC

'Black-ish,' 'How To Get Away With Murder' get full-season orders from ABC

Viola Davis, Anthony Anderson vehicles get the fall's first pickups

This is one time "The Flash" didn't move fast enough.

ABC has become the first network this fall to extend full-season orders, confirming the extended runs for "How To Get Away With Murder" and "Black-ish."

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

Wednesday's "Arrow"

Credit: The CW

TV Ratings: 'Arrow' returns up, 'Black-ish' rises, 'Stalker' falls on Wednesday

ABC takes the night in the key demo while CBS leads overall

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

Week-to-week gains for the third episode of "Black-ish," a rarity in today's TV landscape, helped ABC eke out a slim key demo victory on Wednesday night. And although it slipped from its premiere, "Stalker" still helped CBS cruise to overall victory.

Although the drop for "Stalker" probably could have been worse -- its "Criminal Minds" lead-in also slipped -- the freshman drama went from tying last year's "CSI" launch in its premiere to follow below the former time period occupant.

Wednesday also saw a drop below The Mulaney Line for FOX's troubled "Red Band Society," as well as tiny dips for all three NBC dramas.

"Survivor: San Juan Del Sur" rose a hair for CBS, while "Modern Family" was up in viewers but down in the key demo.

Over on The CW, "Arrow" got off to a fine start for its third season, up from both last year's premiere and last year's finale, maybe the most interesting piece of the network's Wednesday was the nearly 2.1 million viewers who caught an encore of "The Flash," an encore audience that comfortably topped audience for "The Vampire Diaries" or "The Originals."

Let's get down to the Fast Nationals...

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<p>Kevin Rankin of &quot;Gracepoint&quot;</p>

Kevin Rankin of "Gracepoint"

Credit: FOX

Interview: 'Gracepoint' co-star Kevin Rankin on diversified roles from 'Undeclared' on

Would he ever want to play English-accented Herc in a British 'Friday Night Lights'?

VICTORIA, BC. It's early May on Vancouver Island and rain has temporarily trapped Kevin Rankin in a makeshift press tent just inland at Island View Beach Regional Park.

With several of his co-stars in rotation being interviewed, Rankin ends up sitting next to the heat lamp, which means sitting next to me for what turns out to be an in-depth conversation about both his work on FOX's "Broadchurch" and his eclectic and varied career. 

With his turns as rascally and resilient Herc on "Friday Night Lights" and gloriously unprepared-for-authority RA Lucien on "Undeclared," Rankin has the rare honor of having been part of multiple shows that earned the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast Summer ReWatch treatment. [Three, if you include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," though his one-episode appearance came after the season featured in the podcast.]

Rankin has also had runs on shows including "Breaking Bad," "Six Feet Under," "Big Love" and "Justified," when he wasn't terrorizing the President in "White House Down" or assisting Matthew McConaughey to his Oscar in "Dallas Buyers Club."

On "Gracepoint," a FOX remake of the British "Broadchurch," Rankin plays Rev. Coates, a man of the cloth trying to steer a small town through its collective grief at the murder of a young boy. Is Coates just a shepherd caring for his flock, or does he have a personal agenda?

For an actor who has moved back and forth between hero-adjacent good guys and villain-adjacent henchman, it's a role that could absolutely go either way.

We covered a lot of Rankin's career in our 20-minute chat. Clad in a buttoned up brown cardigan, Rankin talked about his attempts to diversify his resume to prevent typecasting and how that has led to myriad responses when people recognize him in public. We talked about the pleasures of doing brief guest spots on established shows, but also the value in being with a show from the ground floor. And Rankin discussed the advantages and frustrations of kicking the wheels on being a network procedural regular. 

I think this is an interesting glimpse into the progress of a hard-working character actor.

The second "Gracepoint" episode airs tonight on FOX. The full Kevin Rankin Q&A is below...

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