<p>Tony Goldwyn of &quot;Scandal&quot;</p>

Tony Goldwyn of "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Scandal' returns huge while 'Big Bang Theory' lifts CBS on Thursday

'Vampire Diaries' returns below last year, whole 'Sean' may not save NBC
Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 3, 2013.
 
"Scandal" kicked off its third season with series highs in all available demos on Thursday night, dominating "Elementary" and "Parenthood" for the 10 p.m. hour, but still not lifting ABC past CBS either overall or among young viewers for the night.
 
CBS was, once again, driven by "The Big Bang Theory," which dropped a little from last week, but still helped "The Millers" get a decent-but-not-spectacular sampling in its premiere. With a weaker lead-in, "The Crazy Ones" took a big drop in its second week, pushing "Two and a Half Men" down as well. It's notable that "Elementary" posted only a tiny decline from last week, despite a far skimpier lead-in.
 
The "Millers" premiere wasn't big, but it was much more impressive than the launches for NBC's "Sean Saves the World" and particularly "Welcome to the Family." "The Michael J. Fox Show" dropped as well.
 
Meanwhile, The CW started its fall roll-out with somewhat disappointing numbers for "The Vampire Diaries," which was up from May's finale, but nearly a million viewers shy of last season's premiere. That, in turn, meant that "The Originals," airing at a special time, got a smaller sampling than "Beauty and the Beast."
 
On to the numbers…
 
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<p>Colton Cumbie of &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Colton Cumbie of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Colton Cumbie discusses quitting 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'

So, has Colton really changed? Was this season a victory?
Colton Cumbie won few fans in his run on "Survivor: One World," which included bold strokes of strategy, but many more accusations [founded] of racism and bullying. 
 
When Colton returned for this season's "Survivor: Blood vs. Water," he was joined by his fiance Caleb and he professed to have a desire to change the way people looked at him. For one night, it seemed to be working, as Colton told his fellow castaways about his struggles growing up gay in the South and appeared to be winning sympathy.
 
It lasted for one episode. By the second week of the season, Colton was attempting to plot and scheme on a tribe of returning contestants who had no desire to get into that part of the game any sooner than necessary. If Colton temporarily removed the target from his back on the first night, it returned very quickly.
 
On Wednesday's episode, Colton lasted only five minutes. Before a Redemption Island Duel, he started crying and announced his decision to leave. "Survivor" host Jeff Probst then determined that Colton couldn't depart without being called a quitter multiple times and being told that some people shouldn't play "Survivor," they should just watch on TV. It was an unsparing assault from Probst and response on my episode recap has been mixed between people thinking the host was needlessly combative and people who felt that it was no more than Colton deserved. 
 
In our second "Survivor" exit interview after an abrupt game exit -- Probst accused Colton of also quitting in his earlier season when he left the game  for appendicitis that turned out merely to be an infection -- Colton discusses why, in the long run, this season was still a small victory and tries framing his exit as an attempt to take pressure off of Caleb. He discusses his frustration with his tribe and talks about his "Survivor" future.
 
Check out the full Q&A and draw your own conclusions.
 
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<p>Demi Lovato of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Demi Lovato of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #2

Which Girls held onto Demi Lovato's Four Chairs on Thursday?

In case you've forgotten, Wednesday night's "X Factor" featured the debut of the Four-Chair Challenge and saw Kelly Rowland narrow her team of Geriatrics down to Jeff Gutt, James Kenney, Rachel Potter and Lillie McCloud.

Then Demi Lovato listened to the first four Girls and assigned chairs to Bree Randall, Khaya Cohen, Jamie Pineda and Ashly Williams. However, with six Girls still to perform, I'm assuming that Bree and Jamie are almost certain to be displaced.

Click through and follow along for my recap of Thursday (October 3) night's "The X Factor"...

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Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

It's been a dismal fall for new shows, hasn't it?
Since we did galleries for Most Anticipated New and Returning shows a couple weeks ago, normally we would have done Worst New Shows at some point as well. Instead, time got away from us. Also, *most* of the new shows could have qualified for a Worst gallery and we went with "Most Anticipated" instead of "Best" for a reason.
 
Anyway, instead of trying a Worst gallery now, I went with Quick Fixes/Suggestions for the fall's worst new shows, including a couple that have yet to premiere. It's too late for basically all of them, but that's the nature of a business that still believes that, when in doubt, Heather Locklear can fix any new show.
 
Check out all of my suggestions (and a couple from Sepinwall) in the gallery below:
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<p>Rebel Wilson of &quot;Super Fun Night&quot;</p>

Rebel Wilson of "Super Fun Night"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Ironside' disappoints, 'Fun Night' is OK on competitive Wednesday

'Survivor' rises week-to-week to boost CBS
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 2, 2013.
 
Week-to-week gains for "Survivor" helped CBS tie for the Wednesday night crown among young viewers and combined with "Criminal Minds" and "CSI" to give the network an easy overall win.
 
After several nights of positives, NBC had plenty of bad news on Wednesday, with "Ironside" premiering to a dismal 1.4 among young viewers, "Revolution" taking a big slide overall and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" failing to maintain last week's renewed energy. 
 
ABC, meanwhile, saw a moderate decline for "Back in the Game," but got a good sampling for "Super Fun Night" and watched "Nashville" retain decently from last week's return.
 
And as for FOX? "X Factor" was basically steady with last week -- perhaps down a tick in the demo and up a hair overall -- which continues to count as better-than-expected news.
 
On to the numbers…
 
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<p>Wednesday's &quot;The X Factor.&quot; At least one chair is off-screen.</p>

Wednesday's "The X Factor." At least one chair is off-screen.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #1

Would a new format bring new drama?

As you may have already read, I got a tease of the new "X Factor" round known as the Four-Chair Challenge on Monday evening and had a chance to discuss the format shift and the season as a whole (plus the possibility of a One Direction guest appearance) with judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato.

Check out the article.

And check out my full live-blog recap of Wednesday's (Oct. 2) debut of the Four-Chair Challenge after the break...

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<p>Wednesday's &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' - 'Opening Pandora's Box'

Colton is Colton, but a fighting challenge adds real drama
Pre-credit sequence. I've already forgotten who the Newbies voted out at Tribal Council. Rachel, apparently. Instead, we're starting with the Returnees, where everybody is discussing Tyson's cupcake belt and Tyson and Aras are enjoying some homoerotic banter. Colton is frustrated. "I love the strategy component of this game and apparently that's threatening to people," Colton says, before Aras reassures him that he is, indeed, in trouble. Colton complains that he'd hoped to redefine himself in the game. "He doesn't get this game. He thinks this game's about creating chaos. He might have dug his own grave," Aras tells us, before telling Colton to relax and enjoy himself. Yeah. That's exactly what Colton wanted to hear. "Unless you've got people who are willing to roll with you, there's nothing you can do," Colton laments.
 
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<p>Malin Akerman of &quot;Trophy Wife&quot;</p>

Malin Akerman of "Trophy Wife"

Credit: ABC

Tuesday ratings analysis - 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' loses viewers, 'Trophy Wife' loses women

And has ABC cancelled 'Lucky 7' yet?
It's been a busy day and I meant to have some ratings analysis up earlier, since there was a lot to talk about stemming from the numbers for Tuesday, October 1
 
There are also several days of Live+3 ratings that I haven't gotten to. 
 
So it goes!
 
Click through for full discussion of the big "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." drop, which was slightly smaller than reported earlier; the dangerously low numbers for "Lucky 7," which were slightly lower than reported earlier; and the ongoing weakness of FOX's comedy lineup, which is every bit as weak as reported earlier.
 
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<p>Chloe Bennet of ABC's &quot;Marvel's Agents of 'S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Chloe Bennet of ABC's "Marvel's Agents of 'S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' plummets on Tuesday, while 'The Voice' and 'NCIS' lead

'The Mindy Project' beats 'Trophy Wife' in the key demo
Fast National ratings for Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
 
ABC's glow from "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." lasted only a week as the "Avengers" spinoff took a steep drop in its second airing. While the numbers for "S.H.I.E.L.D." were still OK out of context, the reduced lead-in also dropped "The Goldbergs" and sent "Trophy Wife" and particularly "Lucky 7" heading into the Danger Zone.
 
While ABC had the dramatic results, the network wasn't a factor in the night's big races. Also a non-factor was FOX, which saw its two-hour comedy block continue to slide, with "Dads" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" now low-rated twins.
 
"NCIS" and "Person of Interest" held onto most of their premiere audiences and led CBS overall, while "The Voice" and "Chicago Fire" helped NBC maintain its domination among young viewers. 
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>Simon Cowell&nbsp;</p>

Simon Cowell 

Credit: FOX

'X Factor' judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato tease Four-Chair Challenge, One Direction visit and more

How has Simon Cowell responded to this season's ratings?
I'm really intrigued by the Four-Chair Challenge, which starts on "The X Factor" this week.
 
Given the amount of skepticism I've been known to heap upon the FOX singing competition, that could perhaps cause you optimism as well. 
 
Thus far, "X Factor" and FOX promotions haven't done a great job of explaining this structural evolution for the Wednesday/Thursday show, which may explain why Simon Cowell and the network hosted a small group of reporters on Monday (September 30) afternoon to try teasing the Four-Chair Challenge.
 
Let me try to explain it a bit better than the teasers have done: Currently, all four judges/mentors have 10 remaining contestants in their respective categories. Starting on Wednesday, the process begins to winnow down to four per category. On the stage, there will be four seats or "chairs," if you will. One by one, the singers in each category will perform and their respective coach/mentor/judge will have to decide whether or not to give one of the chairs to a singer. For a while, it's pretty low-key. Yes or No. Easy peasy. But once all four chairs are filled, things get fun. As the four contestants sit in their chairs, briefly feeling comfortable with their positions, they have to watch as another contestant performs just feet away and their coach then has to give the "Yes" or "No" votes. If it's a "Yes," they have to execute a Switch, booting one of the singers from their chairs. It's like musical chairs or a Yankee Swap, only with young people sensing their dreams are about to get shattered instead of prettily wrapped presents.
 
Cowell explains that the Four-Chair Challenge was transplanted from "X Factor: Holland" and while he acknowledged that it's "possibly the worst title in the world," the results have the potential to be wonderfully sadistic and also entertaining. There's pressure on the performers in the spotlight. There's pressure on the judges. There's pressure on the squirming contestants in the "Yes" chairs, who are experiencing a really unpleasant roller-coaster. And this is all happening in front of a loud and vocal audience trying to sway the contestants and also (with some success) the judges. And it's an audience that includes the parents and family members of the contestants, loved ones with the potential to take heartbreak with even less grace than the singers themselves. Throw in pauses more pregnant than Catherine Zeta-Jones at the 2003 Oscars and you get a recipe to add suspense where none existed previously.
 
Indeed, the biggest thing working in favor of the Four-Chair Challenge is that it isn't really replacing anything of value. These next few episodes are taking the place of those forgettable installments in which the judges and a hand-picked celebrity friend sat in or around houses that may or may not have actually been theirs and listened to the singers perform in environments with dreadful acoustics and then made arbitrary decisions that featured little drama at all. Even if the entirety of the Four-Chair Challenge fails to live up to the 20 minutes I saw last night, it will still be an improvement over Judges' Houses.
 
After the presentation, I was able to grab a few minutes with Simon Cowell and also with Demi Lovato to discuss the Four-Chair Challenge and also to talk about the show's ratings, the inevitable One Direction appearance and more.
 
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