'Bones' and 'Nip/Tuck' actors face off on DirecTV's Neil Labute drama
DirecTV's innovative "Full Circle," from playwright Neil LaBute, premiered last week and introduced a two-people-a-dinner format in which characters rotate, "La Ronde"-style, through the narrative with a slew of familiar stars appearing in two episodes in a row.
Last week, audiences met Julian McMahon's Stanley, a high-powered attorney dealing rather aggressively with his younger wife's (Minka Kelly) request for a divorce.
Kelly, who was in both of last week's episodes, doesn't appear on Wednesday's (October 16) two episodes. Instead, this week's double-performer is "Bones" star David Boreanaz, playing a particularly boorish shock-comedian who professional life is jolted when he discovers that his words, including words delivered on social media, have very real consequences. Boreanaz's Jace appears in his first episode opposite McMahon and then spars with Keke Palmer's Chan'dra in the second of Wednesday's 30-minute verbal meals.
All of the "Full Circle" segments are set in a restaurant and back in August, I sat down with Boreanaz and McMahon at the Little Door eatery in Beverly Hills to discuss this unique project. In the wide-ranging interview, the "Buffy" and "Nip/Tuck" veterans talk about the theatrical style LaBute brought to "Full Circle," the challenges of acting while seated and acting while eating and the advantages and disadvantage of public communication in the digital age.
Click through for the full Q&A.
NBC's 'The Blacklist' and CBS' 'Big Bang Theory' are also winners
TV ratings are not, as a rule, about delayed gratification. Overnight ratings arrive first thing in the morning. Live+Same Day Nationals come mid-afternoon the next day. Live+3 Day DVR numbers come five or six days after premiere.
But Live+7 figures? They take a solid three weeks to show up for some reason.
Don't ask me. I don't make the rules.
If networks made the rules, they'd want Live+7 audience figures to be deeply meaningful, because everybody wants to maximize the perceived audience for their shows. They'd want to include Live+7, but also OnDemand and Hulu and Netflix and iTunes and streaming and everything else. They don't get to and so it's hard to know what value Live+7 figures actually have. Last year, ABC cancelled shows with 60 percent ("666 Park Avenue") and 71 percent ("Private Practice") Live+7 growth among adults 18-49 and replaced those shows with "Betrayal" and "Lucky 7." As a rule, Live+7 ratings are less exciting than you probably want them to be. Successful shows generally get big bumps in viewers and 18-49 ratings, but maybe not high percentage bumps. Low rated shows get high percentage bumps, but that's because they start off low rated to begin with. Low rated shows that don't get high percentage bumps just get cancelled.
I probably won't look at Live+7 ratings very often, but the Live+7 figures just came in for Premiere Week, Monday, September 23 through Sunday. September 29.
Let's give a look to the numbers...
'The Voice' is still Monday's top program in all measures
Fast National ratings for Monday, October 14, 2013.
With new shows, early drops are the norm, so it's notable that NBC's "The Blacklist" was flat week-to-week and combined with "The Voice" to help the network rule Monday in all measures.
CBS saw some positives from shaking up its Monday comedies, with "2 Broke Girls" getting a small bump from "How I Met Your Mother" and both "Mom" and "Hostages" adding a few viewers thanks to a "Big Bang Theory" repeat. Despite those cosmetic changes, though, CBS still finished fourth for the night.
Meanwhile, FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" remains close-to-level, while "Hart of Dixie" maintained its premiere week advantage over "Beauty and the Beast" for The CW.
On to the numbers...
Football and the ALCS boost FOX into second
Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 13, 2013.
NBC got big Sunday Night Football results from a rivalry game between the Cowboys and Redskins, its best NFL results in a few weeks and enough to easily dominate Sunday primetime in all measures.
And it was NFL overrun that pushed FOX to a strong second place finishing, giving the network a huge 7 p.m. hour, though Red Sox-Tigers baseball coverage also helped
Meanwhile, for the first time all season, CBS got to air its Sunday lineup without preemptions, giving us a chance to see just how low the numbers for "Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" actually are without boosting. The answer? "Fairly Low."
ABC's Sunday offerings also struggled with "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" slipping and "Betrayal" continuing to stand in vicinity of cancellation.
And, of course, numbers for "The Walking Dead" premiere on AMC will be available later today.
On to the numbers...
If you like travel fun, this was an exciting 'Race' episode
It's the season of travel on "The Amazing Race."
The premiere was determined largely by seven teams taking one prohibitively early flight to Chile, while the other four teams were basically left battling to stick around. And Naina & Hoskote, one of those four lagging teams, were eliminated after one faulty cab right. In their exit interview, Naina & Hoskote lamented the inability to their their travel in their own hands.
The second Leg saw Rowan & Shane struggle with one bum cab ride and then they did what Naina & Hoskote could not and they tried to break from the pack on a long bus ride across Chile. They didn't succeed but, heck, they made the effort.
Sunday (October 13) night's "Amazing Race" was the most travel-centric episode in recent "Amazing Race" memory, as it turned out that getting from Santiago, Chile to Lisbon is surprisingly easy, or at least that there are a surprising number of possible ways of making the journey. We had smart travel moves. Stupid travel moves. And, sadly, we had a team get utterly and totally hosed by a booking agent and attempt a bold move to recover from that blunder. And for the second week in a row, we learned that sometimes it's healthier to stick with the pack, rather than attempting to game the system.
I don't remember the last "Amazing Race" episode to end with Phil Keoghan greeting a team before they had the chance to do even a single task because they were so far behind, but in this case, Phil greeted the eliminated team at the airport, told them they were eliminated and suggested that since they were in the airport still, it should be easy for them to find their way home. Ouch.
Meanwhile, at least three times per season I complain about the actual Non-Elimination Legs and at least once or twice, I lament an episode in which I'd totally have approved of seeing an NEL. This is one of those.
More after the break...
'Queen of Bingo' stars discuss their 'Race' demise
When I talked to "The Queen of Bingo" stars Rowan Joseph and Shane Partlow before they embarked on their "Amazing Race" experience, the long-time buddies and co-stars were in performance mode, giving nearly endless answers, playing off of each other energetically.
I spoke with a less enthusiastic Rowan and Shane this week following their "Amazing Race" elimination. They were sent packing after a tough Leg that included a bad cab ride, a mistaken gamble on a long-haul bus to Santiago, Chile and a strange Roadblock in which Rowan did a full task along with an unaffiliated amateur shoeshine worker, rather than one of the marked shiners, leading to a long delay.
Despite all of those misadventures, Rowan and Shane finished the Leg right behind Baseball Wives Nicky and Kim, very nearly surviving.
In their exit interview, Rowan and Shane discuss the circumstances behind their elimination and I pull teeth.
Click through for the full conversation...
'MasterChef Junior' wins its hour with young viewers
Fast National ratings for Friday, October 11, 2013.
Even with a season low in viewers, "Blue Bloods" helped CBS to its usual dominant performance on Friday night overall and also led the network to eke out a slim victory in the key demo over ABC.
A weak night for "20/20," as well as the continued sluggish performance by "The Neighbors" were responsible for ABC slipping from its usual perch atop Friday in the key demo, though ABC and FOX both topped CBS among adults 18-34.
There wasn't much else of excitement, though "MasterChef Junior" was up a little in the key demo and won its hour.
On to the numbers...
Gervase's niece talks about being an early target
Marissa Peterson never really had a chance in this "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" season.
Well, she had a chance, but the chance got messed up pretty quickly. She responded negatively to future tribal ringleader Brad at the very first grouping of the castaways, putting a target on her back. Then, when the Returning players defeated the Newbies in the first Immunity of the season, Marissa's uncle Gervase, a veteran of the very first American "Survivor" season, made a display of enthusiasm that rubbed Brad the wrong way and made the target even bigger.
Marissa was the first member of her Tadhana tribe voted out and weathered two Redemption Island Duels before going out on this Wednesday's episode.
Perhaps if Brad hadn't been so giddy to vote out the strong, feisty Marissa, followed by the strong, feisty Rachel -- keeping the much less strong and much less feisty Katie and Ciera -- Tadhana wouldn't be searching for its first challenge win of the season. We'll never know.
Marissa certainly thinks Tadhana would be doing better if she'd stuck around. She's also the first contestant I've talked to this season with a pragmatic understanding that this is a game and it may have been necessary to writer Gervase's name down at some point.
Click through for the full exit interview, which may make you wish we'd gotten a bit more Marissa...
TV Ratings: Monteith tribute boosts 'Glee,' 'Wonderland' premieres soft and 'Big Bang' leads CBS Thursday
NBC gets low numbers across the board
Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 10, 2013.
It was a very mixed Thursday, as several networks found things to be enthusiastic about and several shows sunk into the danger zone.
CBS was, as always, led by "The Big Bang Theory," which was Thursday's top show in must measures and led the network to overall wins for the night, though "The Millers," "The Crazy Ones" and "Two and a Half Men" all continued to fall, despite that powerful lead-in.
Some of the declines for several shows in the 9 p.m. hour are probably due to a well-above-average audience for FOX's "Glee," which paid tribute to the late Cory Monteith and drew its biggest audience since last September.
The night's lone premiere was ABC's "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," which came in below the fall Thursday 8 p.m. launches for "FlashForward," "Charlie's Angels" and "Last Resort" from recent years. And while it still led the 10 p.m. hour, ABC's "Scandal" was down from last week's premiere.
Meanwhile, NBC's former Must See Thursday was five shows averaging under 4 million viewers and between an 0.8 and 1.2 in the key demo, with rather dire numbers across the board.
Note that The CW's lineup was preempted in the New York market for football and will probably change, perhaps dramatically in the case of the 9 p.m. encore of "The Originals."
On to the numbers...
Lea Michele and Naya Rivera were the emotional standouts
After two weeks in a Beatles-induced haze, "Glee" simultaneously paid tribute to the all-too-real Cory Monteith and the fictional Finn Hudson on Thursday (October 10) night with an episode titled "The Quarterback."
It's an episode that fans have been dreading, but also anticipating, since Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room in July at the age of 31. When somebody so young dies, it's impossible to "get closure," but it was important that "Glee" offer fans the opportunity for shared grief with all of the show's stars.
And... Oy. If it's hard to comprehend how a young fanbase deals with the death of a young star, it's even harder to figure out how a cast like the "Glee" cast deals. While there have been periodic rumors of bickering and disfunction involving one actor or another, few workplaces are entirely harmonic at all times and why should "Glee" be any different? But no matter how estranged or how close anybody in that cast is, most of them share a common experience, wherein they went from virtual unknowns to global sensations in just a few months. It's an experience that only the people within that bubble fully comprehend and, this summer, they lost somebody who was there with them from that first moment. Even if Cory Monteith wasn't humble, kind and grounded, it would be a shock and a nearly unhealable wound, but by all accounts [and in my limited, but pleasant, experiences with him] he was.
Watching "The Quarterback" was witnessing an uncomfortable piece of communal grieving. For obvious reasons, we put a premium on Lea Michele's mourning and we wonder how she was able to do what she did in this episode. Michele is a pro and she's said all of the right things about this episode, as have all of the stars and writers, but the public face that anybody puts on a situation like this doesn't really tell us anything. I watched and listened to Michele's "Make You Feel My Love" and it hurt, because she wasn't acting. Nobody in "The Quarterback" was acting. We've seen the "Glee" cast act and many of them are very good, but we've seen all of them do heightened emotion before and this looked different. Or maybe I'm just projecting. Maybe we're all just projecting. Maybe the "Glee" cast grieved in their own way in July and for this episode, they were professionals, keeping their emotions in check and committing only to their finest acting on behalf of their fallen comrade. I don't know. You don't know either. None of us know. I watched the episode and in moments I felt it was a cruel thing to do to the cast. And then in moments I felt like it had to be cathartic. But I don't know. And you don't know either.
[More after the break…]