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

"State of Affairs"

Credit: NBC

NBC sets Fall 2014 premiere dates from 'Blacklist' to 'Constantine'

'Biggest Loser' comes early, 'Marry Me' and 'Grimm' go late.

NBC formally announced its fall 2014 premiere dates on Monday (June 2) morning and they're mostly in the officially Nielsen-dictated premiere week, with a few key stragglers including "Marry Me" and "Constantine."

Yes, that's pretty boring, but that's what comes from being TV's top-rated network. CBS has been hopelessly devoted to the official premiere week for decades.

There are a couple shows premiering early: Sunday Night Football kicks off on Thursday, September 4 and more linguistically appropriately on Sunday, September 7. And the 16th installment of "The Biggest Loser" starts on Thursday, September 11. 

Then the deluge begins the week of September 22.

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<p>Neil deGrasse Tyson of &quot;Cosmos&quot;</p>

Neil deGrasse Tyson of "Cosmos"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Cosmos' and 'Bachelorette' lead Sunday split, while 'Enlisted' return fizzles

'60 Minutes' helps CBS win the night overall

Fast National ratings for Sunday, June 1, 2014.

ABC's two-hour "Bachelorette" special was weak outside of the series' normal Monday home, but still helped the network tie "Cosmos"-fueled FOX for the Sunday night crown among young viewers. Overall, CBS led the way with "60 Minutes," which was Sunday's most watched show.

Despite an admirable guerrilla promotional campaign from the show's creator and stars, canceled-but-beloved "Enlisted" failed to make even a small ripple in its return to primetime, coming in below a repeat of "American Dad." [The "Enlisted" demo number was steady with its most recent Friday airing back in March. But that's not exactly good news.]

There was better news, not that it matters, for NBC's canceled "Believe" and "Crisis," which were both up week-to-week. 

On to the numbers...

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<p>Scoot McNairy of &quot;Halt and Catch Fire&quot;</p>

Scoot McNairy of "Halt and Catch Fire"

Credit: AMC

Interview: Scoot McNairy on 'Halt and Catch Fire'

'Monsters' star also says we haven't seen Gareth Edwards' true capabilities yet

Scoot McNairy had a resume of TV guest spots and indie movie roles when he appeared as one of the two leads in the minimalist creature feature "Monsters." The low-budget film didn't exactly set the global box office on fire, but it served as a calling card for its director, Gareth Edwards.

It also positioned McNairy for a run of character actor ubiquity with memorable roles -- if you happened to see the films -- in "Killing Them Softly," "Promised Land" and "Touchy Feely." He has also become a Best Picture lucky charm with important parts in "Argo" and "12 Years a Slave."

McNairy transitions to TV leading man status in Sunday (June 1) night's premiere of AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire."

In the '80s-set computer drama, McNairy plays Gordon Clark, formerly promising computer wizard who has put many of his ambitions on hold to try to live a more stable life with his wife (fellow "Argo" veteran Kerry Bishe) and kids. Frustrated and disappointed at the direction his career has taken, Gordon gets recruited by newly arrived hotshot Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) for an ethically problematic project that might be his second and last chance.

You've perhaps already seen my chat with Lee Pace about Joe's motivations and his skills.

Now, here's my conversation with McNairy about what drives Gordon, about reuniting with Bishe, about his own technical acumen and about the impact of "Monsters" on his career.

Check out the full Q&A...

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Emily Blunt says 'Into the Woods' looks 'absolutely beautiful'

Emily Blunt says 'Into the Woods' looks 'absolutely beautiful'

'Edge of Tomorrow' weighs in on her own singing prowess

LONDON - My dad took me to see "Into the Woods" during its original run in 1988. 

It was my first Broadway show and Stephen Sondheim's twisted take on classic fairy tales has been amongst my favorite musicals ever since. It's full of beautiful, complicated music and I notice new lyrical nuances every time I listened to the soundtrack.

So I wasn't just blowing smoke when I told Emily Blunt that I'm looking forward to Rob Marshall's big screen adaptation, which will premiere this Christmas.

I was talking with Blunt at a London hotel last week about her upcoming action film "Edge of Tomorrow" -- I agree with my colleague Drew McWeeny's enthusiastic review -- and I made sure to slip in an "Into the Woods" query at the end.

"I think we have been very, very loyal to the original musical," Blunt told me. She's playing The Baker's Wife, a role which won Joanna Gleason a Tony and Imelda Staunton an Olivier for the New York and London premieres.

In the snippet above, Blunt talks about Marshall's dark vision for The Woods and the musical chops for a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and James Corden.

It's clear that she's excited about the movie and I love the little grace note at the end with Blunt geeking out about her interactions with Sondheim.

Stay tuned next week for my full "Edge of Tomorrow" interview, in which Blunt talks about doing action in a weighty suit, killing Tom Cruise (not a spoiler) and her interest in sci-fi-tinged films about fate.

"Edge of Tomorrow" opens on June 6.

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'Maleficent' co-star Sam Riley and director Robert Stromberg discuss their Disney hit

'Maleficent' co-star Sam Riley and director Robert Stromberg discuss their Disney hit

What did Riley get from studying birds? And what wouldn't Disney let Stromberg change?

After taking in over $24 million in its Friday (May 30) opening, "Maleficent" is well on its way to being an early summer success for Disney.

Two weeks ago, I sat down with several of the key "Maleficent" players to discuss their revisionist take on "Sleeping Beauty."

Perhaps you may have already check out my chats with Shalto Copley and Elle Fanning.

Here are my last two interviews.

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

"The Amazing Race" Season 25

Credit: CBS

'Amazing Race' Season 25 cast features 'Survivor' veterans, surfer Bethany Hamilton

'Soul Surfer' author and the other 22 Racers departed on Saturday morning

Bucking years of delayed gratification and withholding, CBS and "The Amazing Race" announced the show's Season 25 cast on Saturday (May 31) morning, just hours after the contestants left the starting line in New York City.

In recent years, it has become an annual tradition for "Amazing Race" enthusiasts to be able to cobble together the identities of between 85 and 100 percent of the teams based on purloined cell phone pictures snapped from airports and outside challenges around the globe, images that were then matched with cryptic tweets and obscure Facebook status updates to the point of near-certainty. Despite those reports, though, CBS reliably waited until weeks before premiere for a full, formal casting announcement. 

The reason for the Season 25 deviation is simple: Rather than picking a starting line in a remote location or at a controllable venue like a stadium, the 11 participating teams left Times Square earlier this morning from the civilian-packed Times Square and there isn't much point in keeping up the pretense of secrecy when you begin the Race in front of thousands of picture-snapping tourists. 

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Interview: Dave & Connor discuss their 'Amazing Race: All-Stars' win
Credit: CBS

Interview: Dave & Connor discuss their 'Amazing Race: All-Stars' win

Father-son team celebrates their dominant season and milestone wins.

Whether you love them or wish they'd stop talking about Dave's age, his Achilles and the evils of Brendon & Rachel, you can't deny that Dave & Connor were deserving winners for this "Amazing Race: All-Stars" season.

After having to self-eliminate from their first season after Dave's injury, the father-son team won a whopping six Legs -- they'll be taking tropical vacations together for years to come -- and never really faced any serious jeopardy. Did they do anything impressive in that Final Leg to win? Not really. But they got to Phil Keoghan first and that's all that matters.

In the process, they became the first parent-child team to win "The Amazing Race" and Dave, as he mentioned so frequently, became the oldest individual winner. 

In their exit interview, which finally concludes my spring reality exit interviews, Dave & Connor discuss their comfortable "Amazing Race" triumph, Dave talks about his age and they explain why Brendon & Rachel ticked them off so much.

Click through for the fill Q&A...

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<p>This &quot;Constantine&quot; pilot picture remains very pretty.</p>

This "Constantine" pilot picture remains very pretty.

Credit: NBC

DVR Gridlock 2014-15: Friday Nights

'The Amazing Race' and 'Constantine' will try to shake things up

[As is my recent tradition, over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned. It also assumes that you/I only have a dual tuner DVR (plus occasional access to a Slingbox on ET. Check out last year's DVR Gridlock installments and the DVR Gridlock segments for 2012.]


8:00 p.m.
ABC: "Last Man Standing," "Cristela"
CBS: "The Amazing Race"
The CW: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
FOX: "MasterChef Junior"
NBC: "Dateline"

9:00 p.m. 
ABC: "Shark Tank"
CBS: "Hawaii Five-0"
The CW: "America's Next Top Model"
FOX: "Utopia"
NBC: "Grimm"

10:00 p.m. 
ABC: "20/20"
CBS: "Blue Bloods"
NBC: "Constantine"

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Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Good premiere for 'Undateable,' steady 'Gang Related' numbers on Thursday

'Last Comic Standing' and 'The Big Bang Theory' also lead tight night

Fast National ratings for Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Buoyed by the aggressive promotional efforts by the show's stars and creative team, "Undateable" got off to a decent start for NBC, helping the network join a three-way tie for Thursday among young viewers. Overall, of course, there was very little competition as a CBS repeat of "The Big Bang Theory" was the night's most watched program by a wide margin.

NBC is boasting that "Undateable" had its best summer comedy premiere numbers since 2004 and the immortal "Come to Papa."

The "Undateable" premiere far outdistanced most of NBC's Thursday comedy performances in-season, built slightly on its "Hollywood Game Night" lead-in in the key demo and was steady between two double-pumped episodes. That's good news for Bill Lawrence and company. Of course, "Last Comic Standing" was NBC's top program for the night.

Similarly, "Hell's Kitchen" got FOX's best results and was the reason FOX also tied for Thursday's key demo lead, but the network has to be at least somewhat relieved to see "Gang Related" steady in its second airing, rather than plummeting like the second week of "I Wanna Marry 'Harry.'" 

The relatively good news for Thursday's summer scripted shows did not, however, extend to ABC's "Black Box."

On to the numbers...

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<p>Lee Pace of &quot;Halt and Catch Fire&quot;</p>

Lee Pace of "Halt and Catch Fire"

Credit: AMC

Interview: Lee Pace on 'Halt and Catch Fire' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

'Pushing Daisies' vet is excited for his TV return, his Marvel debut

Lee Pace doesn't do many projects that generate ambivalence. 

After making his small screen bones in the Bryan Fuller-created "Wonderfalls" and "Pushing Daisies" and having his earliest big screen exposure in Tarsem Singh's polarizingly unique "The Fall," Pace has been on an absurd franchise streak of late. 

He checked "Twilight" off the list as Garrett in the second part of "Breaking Dawn." 

His Thranduil has had an increasingly large presence through the last two "Hobbit" films.

And this summer, Pace will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ronan the Accuser in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

It's unclear how many Lee Paces exist, because amidst these major franchise films, Pace also found the time for his return to regular series television. 

On the new AMC drama "Halt and Catch Fire," Pace plays Joe MacMillan, a former IBM wunderkind who recruits Scoot McNairy's Gordon Clark to work with him on an ethically murky project in the midst of the early-80s personal computing boom. 

MacMillan is part con man, part visionary and, watching the pilot for "Halt and Catch Fire," which has already been posted to Tumblr and will premiere on AMC this Sunday, it's unclear if Joe is on a journey toward becoming the hero of the piece, or perhaps a basic cable-style anti-hero.

Pace is excited about his new TV character, but as we talked last week, he was also very, very excited about "Guardians of the Galaxy," especially since the first extended trailer -- featuring at least two fleeting glimpses of his character -- had just debuted. 

So we talked mostly about "Halt and Catch Fire," but Pace also shared what he's looking forward to seeing from his Marvel debut.

Check out the full Q&A [And stay tuned for my interviews with McNairy, Kerry Bishe and showrunner Jonathan Lisco]...

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