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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 209

Dan and Alan also discuss 'SNL' diversity and whether there's a TV version of the Mendoza Line


The all-"Breaking Bad" edition of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast still exists at some indeterminate point in our future, boys and girls, but in the meantime, Dan and I did a more traditional installment this week, including discussing the return of "Mike & Molly" — which really turns into a long discussion of movie stars working in TV and vice versa — checking in on "Sleepy Hollow" and "Parenthood," and answering several of the excellent questions you guys submitted over the past week. (Please keep 'em coming!) And please vote for us in the Podcast Awards.

The rundown:

The New "Mike & Molly" (00:00:50 - 00:18:50)
"Sleepy Hollow" (00:18:50 - 00:32:40)
Listener Mail: Hattie & "Parenthood" (00:33:05 - 00:45:30)
Listener Mail: Race & "SNL" (00:45:35 - 00:54:55)
Listener Mail: TV's Mendoza Line: (00:55:00 - 00:59:30)


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, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Everything seems to be in &quot;Gravity's,&quot;&nbsp;well, gravity at the moment.</p>

Everything seems to be in "Gravity's," well, gravity at the moment.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Off the Carpet: The awards circuit comes to life ahead of AFI Fest

With new entries set to unveil, studios get their ducks in a row

It's been a few weeks since I've been prepared to offer much of anything in this space, and really, it's been good to let the dust settle, as plenty has happened. "The Monuments Men" got out of dodge. "The Wolf of Wall Street" committed to Christmas. "Her" found critical embrace and "The Book Thief" has emerged as Fox's best bet for awards success. AFI Fest is on the horizon, and with it, the fates of "Out of the Furnace," "Lone Survivor" and, in some ways, "Saving Mr. Banks." The groundwork has mostly been laid otherwise and the circuit work is starting to click in.

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<p>&quot;Nebraska&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Paper&nbsp;Moon&quot;</p>

"Nebraska" and "Paper Moon"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Paramount plays up 'Nebraska's' old-fashioned charms with 'Paper Moon' double bill

LA's New Beverly Theater will host the Nov. 10 event

Every once in a while a studio capitalizes on parallels between one of its awards hopefuls and a classic of the medium that also did pretty well on the circuit by booking a double bill. Fox Searchlight did it with "The Wrestler" and "On the Waterfront," for instance. This year, Paramount is going that route with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon."

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Chris Hemsworth trusts Whedon for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and teases Mann's 'Cyber'

Chris Hemsworth trusts Whedon for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and teases Mann's 'Cyber'

And what did Alan Taylor bring to 'Thor: The Dark World'?

LONDON - There is something refreshingly humble about Chris Hemsworth. In this business you quickly hear who is difficult to work with either on set or when making the publicity rounds.  Hemsworth?  Well, imagine you've been cast as one of the premier members of Marvel Studios "The Avengers."  You're getting your own franchise feature film. And, the next thing you know, your co-star (Tom Hiddleston) not only steals the first movie he becomes so popular he's almost the top draw for the sequel. If any of this is bothering Hemsworth's ego it isn't showing. Instead, he's all smiles and - seemingly - no drama as he enjoys the impressive directions his career continues to take.

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Kasi Lemmons

 Kasi Lemmons

Listen: CulturePop No. 31 - Kasi Lemmons, 'Black Nativity'

We talk with the writer/director about her new movie and more

Well, we finally found a guest whose work so moved Melinda that she started tearing up in the interview. If you haven't seen Kasi Lemmons' "Eve's Bayou," it's one of Melinda's favorite movies of all time. We discussed the 1997 film, but also Lemmons' new movie, "Black Nativity," which is based on Langston Hughes' musical of the same name.

We had a great time talking to Kasi, who walked us through her creative process, the challenges of bringing together a "dream cast," and why it's been so great to work with major talents including Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor in her directing career. If you weren't familiar with Kasi's work beyond "Silence of the Lambs" (she started her career as an actress) before this podcast, we suspect you'll be renting some movies (she also directed "Talk to Me" and "The Caveman's Valentine") and checking out "Black Nativity" after you listen. Here's the rundown: 

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<p>Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell in &quot;Mike &amp;&nbsp;Molly.&quot;</p>

Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell in "Mike & Molly."

Credit: CBS

Will the 'new' 'Mike & Molly' make Melissa McCarthy a TV star?

Do movie stars automatically become TV stars? And do stars even matter in TV?

I'm not sure I've heard the word "new" thrown around as often in a marketing campaign for a show entering its fourth year as I have for "Mike & Molly" — or, as all the CBS promos have dubbed it, "The New Mike & Molly" — which returns tonight at 9. Though the ads don't entirely hide the fact that this is a show that has existed for several years, we're told over and over about all that's new about the new "Mike & Molly," as if emphasizing that thought enough might subconsciously convince the audience that this is a first-time debut.

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'Breaking Bad' creator Vince Gilligan will guest on 'Community'

"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan will guest on "Community"
Gilligan, who will be playing a "smooth-talking gold digger," is just the latest TV show creator to cameo on the NBC comedy. "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz recently shot his own cameo.

E! picks up "Saved by the Bell" reruns

The '90s comedy will air from 7 a.m to 9 a.m. weekdays starting next week.

"SNL" writers also have a diversity problem: Kerry Washington was stuck with black female stereotypes
As Soraya Nadia McDonald notes, "Mammy, Jezebel and big booty ghetto girl are our ball-and-chain. We can’t shake them."

"The Following" adds Jacinda Barrett
The former "Real World" star will play a "very disarming and alluring woman."

TNT orders a missing persons reality show that uses an app
"APB With Troy Dunn" will utilize a social media app to get viewers' tips.

Did Eminem lip-sync on "SNL"?
It looked like the rapper didn't try to hide during his "Berserk" performance.

"The Simpsons" takes shots at "Cable News Alley"

Watch Ken Brockman's visit to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

Charlie Sheen throws the "Anger Management" crew a party at his house
A plane was flown overhead to celebrate the completion of Episode 55.

What if David Hasselhoff sang the "Fresh Prince" theme song?
Watch a "Baywatch"-"Knight Rider"-"Fresh Prince of Bel Air" mashup.

Morrissey hires "The Walking Dead's" David Morrissey
The British actor will read the audiobook of the singer Morrissey's "Autobiography" (no relation).

Nancy Pelosi will deliver the Letterman Top 10
The Democratic former Speaker of the House will deliver the Top 10 on Tuesday in honor of election day.

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<p>Justin Bieber live on Oct. 25</p>

Justin Bieber live on Oct. 25

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Bieber has a 'Bad Day' on new single

Is it another song about Selena Gomez?

It turns out Justin Bieber’s newest song, “Bad Day,” is definitely an apt title. In case you’ve missed the lastest Biebs’ news, in the last 72 hours, he was supposedly caught leaving a Brazilian brothel, then he was struck with a water bottle while performing in San Paulo, and then if that weren’t enough, Katy Perry surpassed him on Twitter to become the new queen of social media.

All that, however, is nothing compared to the pain he’s feeling in the lulling, mainly acoustic “Bad Day,” his fifth release in his #MusicMondays flight of putting out a new song every week.

As the visual below shows, there’s a gray cloud over Bieber and it’s because his lady walked away “like it was nothing, baby.” He couldn’t breathe because “you took away the biggest part of me,” he sings.

The song goes into a sweet falsetto about a minute in as he remains stunned that it was so easy for for her to walk away.

Throughout the tunes we’ve heard so far from Bieber’s diary, he’s taken responsibility for the breakup, but he’s also been decimated by it. And, like the other songs we’ve heard, “Bad Day” is a nice pop song, but there’s nothing so dynamic on it that it feels like required listening.

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'Breaking Bad's' Anna Gunn is coming to 'The Mindy Project'

"Breaking Bad's" Anna Gunn is coming to "The Mindy Project"

She'll play Mindy's idol, "the Tory Burch of Manhattan OB/GYNs."

See Marilyn Manson on "Eastbound & Down" -- without makeup

He plays a waiter in a brief scene with Kenny Powers.

Amazon will release the first 3 "Alpha House" and "Betas" episodes to all, at once

"Alpha House," starring John Goodman, will release the first three episodes on Nov. 15 to everybody, followed by a new episode every week for Amazon Prime members there are 11 in all). "Betas" will follow the same model, starting on Nov. 22.

"NCIS" promotes Ziva's successor before her debut
Emily Wickersham will become a series regular.

"Duck Dynasty" cast will be on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float

Other celebs appearing this year include Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Ariana Grande.

"Nikita" star lands lead in "12 Monkeys"

Aaron Stanford will star in Syfy's remake of the 1995 film.

Jon Gosselin: My ex-reality star kids have developmental problems
The former "Jon & Kate" star tells Oprah that "developmentally, they have problems with their peers, and they have problems with talking to other people, and they have problems with wants and needs and manners and morals and what's right and what's wrong. I think more so than someone who grows up off TV."

Watch a preview of Bill Cosby's 1st standup special in 30 years
Cosby's Comedy Central special airs Nov. 23.

Hulu renews "Quick Draw"
The Western comedy will be back for a 2nd season.

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<p>Colts QB Andrew Luck</p>

Colts QB Andrew Luck

Credit: David J. Philip/AP

TV Ratings: Tight Colts-Texans showdown leads NBC Sunday, 'Once' and 'Revenge' rise

NFL overrun boosts CBS to overall victory
Fast National ratings for Sunday, November 3, 2013.
A sloppy-but-tight Sunday Night Football game between the Texans and Colts helped NBC score its normal primetime win among young viewers, while an hour of NFL overrun let CBS win the night overall. 
With slightly less competition than last Sunday, which included both football and a World Series game, ABC was able to get small week-to-week bumps for "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge," plus a flat performance from "Betrayal," if anybody actually cares how "Betrayal" is doing at this point.
And without football preemptions and overruns, it's possible to see solid performances from "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" on FOX.
On to the numbers...
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<p>John Goodman, Clark Johnson and friends in Amazon's &quot;Alpha House.&quot;</p>

John Goodman, Clark Johnson and friends in Amazon's "Alpha House."

Credit: Amazon

Binge or hold? Amazon tries both with 'Alpha House'

John Goodman political comedy will debut with three episodes at once, then go weekly

Back in the spring, Amazon tried to find a solution to the TV business' broken series development process by crowd-sourcing reaction to a group of new comedy pilots (some for adults, some for kids). All of the traditional networks do audience focus testing of their pilots, but not on this scale: all of the pilots were available to anyone with a good internet connection.  Decisions on which shows would be picked up would be based in part on how highly Amazon's customers rated them, and how many rated them, period.

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Credit: ABC

'Revenge' recap: Can Nolan 'Control' his feelings for Patrick?

Daniel sees an old flame, but the sparks that fly aren't pretty

That was quick, wasn't it? This week the flickering passion between Patrick and Nolan not only ignited, but furniture was actually destroyed by the raging inferno that ensued. Seriously, when your friend thinks you're dead because of the broken glassware, overturned lamps and general chaos of your lovemaking, you may want to rent a cheap hotel room or a bouncy house next time. Of course, Nolan really should assume anyone who excites him this much isn't long for the Hamptons, and guess what? Ding, ding, ding!

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