<p>Simon Cowell of &quot;X Factor&quot;</p>

Simon Cowell of "X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #4

Simon listens to his last four Groups and makes tough choices.

When we left "The X Factor" on Wednesday night, Simon Cowell had listened to four of his Groups and given chairs to all four.

Six groups remain, including a slew of early favorites and the last two FrankenGroups, so which big Switches does Simon have in store?

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 205

Dan and Alan discuss 'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,' 'Walking Dead' and more

The

Happy Thursday, Boys & Girls!
 
It seems like forever, but we're back with our first new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast in 10-ish days. Apologies for the delays and apologies for not having the opportunity to tell you to avoid basically every new network show premiering last week and maybe this week.
 
Actually, we got in under the wire on ABC's "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," which premieres tonight. We also reviewed the new season of AMC's "The Walking Dead." We talked about the early season successes and failures -- this podcast was completed mere minutes *before* ABC picked up a back-nine for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." -- and we answered a couple pieces of mail.
 
No podcast next Monday in honor of Columbus Day, but hopefully we'll be back sometime next week!
 
Today's breakdown:
"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (00:01:40 - 00:16:20)
Season 4 of "The Walking Dead" (00:16:25 - 00:26:25)
Early Season Successes and Failures (00:26:30 - 00:49:30)
Listener Mail - Spinoffs (00:50:05 - 00:56:15)
Listener Mail - Showtime meddling (00:56:20 - 01:04:55)

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

 

 

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<p>Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen of &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' gets its full-season order from ABC

Joss Whedon co-created show has been winning its Tuesday 8 p.m. slot
This was just a matter of time: ABC has given a full-season order to "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
 
Co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is a spinoff-of-sorts from the recent string of successful Marvel features, specifically using "The Avengers" as its starting point. 
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<p>Wednesday's &quot;Modern Family&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Modern Family"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Super Fun Night,' 'Ironside' take Wednesday drops as 'Modern Family,' 'Criminal Minds' lead

'Arrow' and 'Tomorrow People' have solid launches for The CW
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 9, 2013.
 
With "Modern Family" delivering Wednesday's best numbers among young viewers and "Criminal Minds" drawing the biggest audience, it was no surprise to see ABC and CBS battling for Wednesday's ratings crowns.
 
It also wasn't surprising to see NBC's "Ironside" dip ever-closer to cancellation in its second week, nor to see ABC's "Super Fun Night" take a rather large dip in its second airing.
 
Most of Wednesday's TV offerings posted small declines, with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" having one of the bigger drops and ABC's "The Middle" serving as one of the exceptions with a small audience gain.
 
Meanwhile, the second season premiere of "Arrow" basically equalled its May finale in both viewers and in the key demo, giving a solid lead-in for "The Tomorrow People," which retained well in its debut.
 
On to the numbers... 
 
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<p>Tim Olstad of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Tim Olstad of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #3

Simon and Paulina face tough decisions

Last week, we were introduced to the 4-Chair Challenge on "The X Factor" and unless you're Ashly Williams or an Ashly Williams fan, the format worked out reasonably well for you. 

With the Girls and the Geriatrics out of the way, let's see which acts we're putting on the spot tonight...

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<p>Wednesday's &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' - 'One Armed Dude and Three Moms'

A Redemption Island Duel stirs more tension for Brad
Pre-credit sequence. John arrives on Redemption Island and greets his wife. "Candice. It's me," he introduces himself. He's such a courteous man! "What are you doing here?" she asks, either confused or annoyed. John is shell-shocked that Brad lied to him, but Candice isn't shocked that Brad was lied to. "I knew you were going to be too trusting with people," Candice tells him. She loves how gullible her husband is, but she knows this bodes ill for his "Survivor" performance.
 
Us & Them, premiering on FOX at midseason. Back at camp, the Returnees agree that John wasn't a good liar and Brad gloats about his achievement. He thinks that in past seasons, the five guys would have stayed together, but in a Loved Ones season, "This isn't Us versus Them, this is Some against Others." That's confusing. Caleb thinks he may be in trouble, because he no longer has a Loved One on the other side. 
 
A third pre-credit sequence? Don't they know I need time to write? At Redemption Island, Candice arrives flipping Brad off. "I was really upset," Candice tells Jeff Probst about seeing her husband again. She wanted somebody she hated to be sent to Redemption Island. "Somebody like Brad Culpepper," she adds. Interestingly, Brad greets this without a smirk. Does the bully dislike being bulled? CREDITS!
 
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<p>America did not find this to be hilarious</p>

America did not find this to be hilarious

Credit: CBS

CBS pulls 'We Are Men,' sets 'Mike & Molly' for November

It's off to 8:30 p.m. for '2 Broke Girls' as CBS tries to rescue it
If you had "We Are Men" in the pool as the season's second cancelled show (and first cancelled comedy), give yourself a pat on the back.
 
Late Wednesday (October 9) afternoon, CBS announced that effective immediately, "We Are Men" has been pulled from its Monday schedule as part of a wholesale overhaul of a night that used to be a network strength, but has become a major weakness early in the new season.
 
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<p>&quot;Supernatural&quot;</p>

"Supernatural"

Credit: The CW

Ratings Analysis: Solid 'Originals,' sinking 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' and steady 'Trophy Wife'

And 'Supernatural' continues to impress in Season 9
So far this week, there has been a lot of consistency, so I haven't necessarily felt inclined to do any additional ratings analysis, but as I looked over the final figures for two nights of CW premieres, I decided I probably owe it to "Hart of Dixie" and "The Originals." After all, I talked about "Lucky 7" and its 18-49 numbers came in under "The Originals" shortly before it was cancelled.
 
I'm sure I also have some things to say about the ongoing "S.H.I.E.L.D." dropping and more.
 
So click through for the bulletpoints...
 
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<p>Jessica Lange of &quot;American Horror Story: Coven&quot;</p>

Jessica Lange of "American Horror Story: Coven"

Credit: FX

TV Review: FX's 'American Horror Story: Coven' offers a familiar brew

HitFix
C-
Readers
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At this point, if you enjoy the 'AHS' craziness, you'll enjoy this too
A couple years ago, either in a fit of nutritional pique or as an impulse buy at Target, I purchased a Magic Bullet, or perhaps its generic hand-blending equivalent. 
 
For a solid month, I was obsessed with smoothies, with the idea that by tossing a banana, some ice cubes and a little bit of juice in the blender, I could create a sweet, semi-healthy paste that could also be a delivery mechanism for other fruits and vegetables. A handful of carrots vanished into the paste, barely changing the flavor but making the goo orange and higher in Vitamin A or something. A couple leaves of spinach delivered iron and a lurid green tone. An apple or a pear? The consistency might change and maybe the wellness benefits, but the flavor stayed the same. I marveled at all of the different things I could do with my Magic Bullet, the number of things I could blend up, and have the end result be interchangeable. 
 
Like most impulse buys, the pleasure of the Magic Bullet wore off. I wasn't enjoying my smoothies all that much and dispensing with chewing eventually ceased to be a sufficient advantage over just taking a carrot or an apple out of the fridge and devouring that. The interchangeable smoothies maintained amusement, but more as culinary experiments that nourishing meals. I haven't used that Magic Bullet for a long time.
 
That, fans of clunky, extended and imperfect analogies, brings me to the third season of "American Horror Story," premiering on FX on Wednesday (October 9) night. Sorry. The third "miniseries" of "American Horror Story."
 
Snort. 
 
In the past, I've made the argument that FX was taking advantage of Emmy loopholes in calling "American Horror Story" a miniseries because in addition to maintaining the same basic creative team and the same core cast, I suspect that everybody involved with the show is working with a standard series contract. But that's just semantic quibbling.
 
People protest, "But 'American Horror Story' has a totally different narrative and characters each season" and that also makes me chortle. 
 
Watching the premiere of "American Horror Story: Coven," I was stuck by two key things: First, I strongly dislike "American Horror Story" as a week-by-week narrative, but I find it utterly fascinating as a cumulative work now in its third season. And second, it hardly matters what stories or genres Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk want to work through in any given season, because once everything has gone through their narrative Magic Bullet, it all looks and feels exactly the same, so of course the show isn't three [and counting] separate miniseries projects under the same banner, it's just a slightly varying recipe for American Horror Smoothies.
 
With "American Horror Story," after three seasons the audience has become self-selected. If you dig the freakiness that Murphy and Falchuk are laying down, "Coven" will probably hit you with similar success, while if you find "American Horror Story" unpleasant to watch or merely masturbatory, you shouldn't be fooled into thinking you're going to like "Coven" just because the cast has now reached an almost absurd level of awesomeness. And if you're like me and you manage to find exactly enough that's engrossing to compensate for the monotony of what's just gross, that will probably continue as well. 
 
To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green, "American Horror Story" is what you thought it was and what hasn't changed is a good deal less important than what has changed.
 
More after the break...
 
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<p>Clark Gregg on Tuesday's &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Clark Gregg on Tuesday's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' dips, 'Supernatural' soars and NBC, CBS split Tuesday

'The Voice' recap episode, 'NCIS' are Tuesday's top shows
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, October 8, 2013.
 
NBC's pre-Battles clip show for "The Voice" performed well below the competition's normal numbers, but despite that decline, the network still topped Wednesday among young viewers, as CBS' procedurals dominated overall, even with a big drop for "NCIS."
 
Although "The Voice" and "NCIS" lost over 4 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo between them in the 8 p.m. hour, there was minimal capitalizing from the rival networks. 
 
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." posted a less steep drop than last week -- down by a 0.3 key demo and 700,000+ viewers -- but was still off in its third frame, which led to "Goldbergs" also posting a second week of declines. Interesting, "Trophy Wife" was steady week-to-week among young viewers and posted a very small audience gain. With huge DVR bumps for each of its first two weeks, "S.H.I.E.L.D." is still doing fine and this probably counts as leveling at this point.
 
FOX's comedies also didn't capitalize much, with "New Girl" rising somewhat" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" also adding a whopping 0.1 in the key demo.
 
Certainly some of that extra audience went to The CW's "The Originals" and "Supernatural," which did solid numbers in their premieres. It was, in fact, the best "Supernatural" premiere since 2010, not bad for a drama in its ninth season.
 
On to the numbers...
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