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<p>James Spader of &quot;The Blacklist&quot;</p>

James Spader of "The Blacklist"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: Big 'Voice,' 'Blacklist' premieres lead NBC Monday while 'Sleepy Hollow' holds well

CBS' 'Mom' and 'Hostages' have weak Premiere Night launches
Fast National ratings for Monday, September 23, 2013.
 
Welcome to the 2013-2014 TV season!
 
There was plenty to report on the Nielsen-approved opening night of the new season.
 
On the positive side, "The Voice" returned above last fall's Monday premiere, building with each half-hour, beating "Dancing with the Stars" overall and prompting a strong premiere for "Blacklist," even if "Blacklist" came in below last September's "Revolution" premiere.
 
Speaking of positives, FOX's "Sleepy Hollow" held up very well in its second airing, especially among young viewers, even against far tougher competition.
 
Also positive, CBS got good numbers for the hour-long premiere of the final season of "How I Met Your Mother," which was a competitive second to "The Voice" among young viewers and equalled last fall's premiere.
 
That's where the good news stops for CBS, though, as "Mom" had a soft launch after "2 Broke Girls," which was down nearly a quarter from last year's premiere. "Mom," in turn, led into a very underwhelming premiere for the new drama "Hostages," which started weak and limped to a third place finish for the hour, certainly below CBS' hopes for the heavily promoted limited series, which may find itself even more limited if it doesn't perk up.
 
On to the numbers…
 
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Christina Aguilera on "The Voice"

 Christina Aguilera on "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

'The Voice': Is Cee-Lo and Christina's return a good or bad thing?

The original band's back together, but has it lost its rhythm?

Much has been made of the return of CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera to the merrily spinning judges' chairs on "The Voice." As fellow judge Blake Shelton reminded us during last night's premiere, it's like the original band is back together. The catch is, of course, that original doesn't always mean better.

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<p>Isiah Whitlock Jr. in &quot;Lucky 7,&quot;&nbsp;Malin Akerman in &quot;Trophy Wife&quot;&nbsp;and Jeff Garlin in &quot;The Goldbergs.&quot;</p>

Isiah Whitlock Jr. in "Lucky 7," Malin Akerman in "Trophy Wife" and Jeff Garlin in "The Goldbergs."

Credit: ABC

Fall TV Reviews: 'The Goldbergs,' 'Trophy Wife' & 'Lucky 7'

How do the non-'SHIELD' parts of ABC's all-new Tuesday lineup stack up?

As I noted yesterday, the combination of A)a really weak freshman class of fall shows, and B)my very slow recovery to full health means I'm not going to be doing long reviews of all the new shows (and in certain cases will be skipping them altogether).

Tuesday has four new shows debuting, all of them on ABC. (When you have as many holes as ABC has, you sometimes have to do insane things like schedule a night featuring only first-year shows.) "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." got the full review treatment, and I'll have some brief thoughts on "The Goldbergs," "Trophy Wife" and "Lucky 7" coming right up...

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<p>&quot;Like Father, Like Son,&quot; one of the films controversially absent from this year's foreign-language race.</p>

"Like Father, Like Son," one of the films controversially absent from this year's foreign-language race.

Credit: Sundance Selects

Roundup: Fixing the foreign-language Oscar

Also: Fantastic Fest winners, and has Michael Douglas been taken for granted?

By this point, it's common knowledge that the Academy's voting system for Best Foreign Language Film -- or Best Foreign Language Film Approved And Selected By A National Committee That Is Also Agreeable To The Widest Academy Demographic And Was Domestically Released Within The Eligibility Window -- is, to put it gently, somewhat flawed. Everyone has different ideas about how to fix it (including, to their credit, the Academy itself), but Toronto Film Festival director Cameron Bailey's are more sensible than most. I wholeheartedly echo his statement that the idea of this being a country-based competition in this era of global co-production is archaic. Also interesting: he argues that requiring contenders to have a US release date would encourage increased distribution of foreign fare. Good points all round. [Variety]

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<p>Maria Hill (a cameo-ing Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)&nbsp;in &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot; </p>

Maria Hill (a cameo-ing Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Are too many companies too invested to let 'The Avengers' spin-off be special?

The overstuffed nature of the title "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." says a lot about "The Avengers" TV spin-off (it debuts tonight at 8 on ABC) as a whole. It's a show serving multiple masters in ABC, Disney and Marvel — and, in turn, the throng of Marvel superhero films to which the show will be very loosely tied. It has a whole lot of producers, though the most famous and talented of them, Joss Whedon, is too busy making the "Avengers" sequel to be as hands-on as he was in his days with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly."  The pilot episode introduces three different point of entry characters for the audience, on top of mysteriously bringing Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson back from his apparent "Avengers" death.  There are many potentially fascinating shows lurking inside the "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, but the primary agenda seems to be to make a superpower-flavored "NCIS" — which, conveniently, will be airing right against "SHIELD."

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Ex-'Dexter' boss: How I would've ended the series


Ex-"Dexter" boss: How I would've ended the series

Clyde Phillips, who left after the Trinity Killer season, says he would've put Dexter Morgan on an execution table with those he killed glaring at him. PLUS: "Dexter" finale copped out in the worst way possible.


Conan goes all-in on "Breaking Bad": Watch his barrel opening
Last night's show featured the cast and creator Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston reading his favorite erotic fan letter, plus the performers of "The Ballad of Heisenberg" and the cast giving away "meth."


"The Disappearer" from "Breaking Bad" says: "It came out of left field"
The surprise big-name actor from this week's episode says he got a call from Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the writer/director of "Granite State." "They said in their own private conversations they had used my name and asked if I was available," he says. "They could not have been nicer to me. What good guys." PLUS: Why the "Breaking Bad" finale will disappoint, how to escape from handcuffs using a paperclip, it's a Dean Norris vs. Derek Hough dance-off, writer/director Peter Gould talks about filming this week's episode, the vacuum repair number is real, Anna Gunn has dreamed about "Breaking Bad," Walter White watches Jeff Daniels win an Emmy8, "Lost's" Damon Lindelof compares Heisenberg to Batman, and "Breaking Bad" podcast reveals that part of the bar scene had to be reshot after a plane ran over the film after it was flown to L.A.


Apple refunds "Breaking Bad" fans who were charged separately for both halves of Season 5.
iTunes sold the first half under the name "Season 5" and the second half under "The Final Season."


Shonda Rhimes: I welcomed a new baby to my family, but didn't adopt
"This time," the "Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy" honcho explains, "I had my baby via gestational surrogacy."


Julia Louis-Dreyfus flips out for Jimmy Kimmel
Watch her coffee shop temper tantrum. PLUS: Emmy's accidental cameo guy makes a cameo on Kimmel, and Paul McCartney performed 15 songs for Kimmel on Hollywood Blvd.


In defense of Jeff Daniels' Emmy upset victory
Don't confuse Aaron Sorkin with Daniels' "Newsroom" performance.


Kaley Cuoco's sister earned a blind audition for "The Voice"
Briana Cuoco was with her "Big Bang" sister when she got a surprise from Carson Daly. PLUS: Cee Lo Green has a henna tattoo on his head.


"Homeland's" "Abu Nazir" explains how to play a Hollywood terrorist
Watch Navid Negahban's video for Funny or Die.


Amber Tamblyn on joining "Two and a Half Men": "You binge eat a lot"
The sitcom-filming process, Tamblyn learned, is totally different from making a TV drama.


Julianne Hough will be back on Dancing" as a guest-judge

She'll fill in while Len Goodman works on "Strictly Come Dancing" in the UK.


Emmy In Memoriam controversy: Jonathan Winters over Larry Hagman?

The Emmy controversy could've been avoided if certain stars weren't elevated over others -- and giving short shrift to Hagman was simply inexcusable.


James Spader loves everything about his "Blacklist" character, "which was very little"
"I think that was the point," he says. "I loved how little you learned, and yet my reaction to reading him in the script was acute, you know? It was based on no knowledge." PLUS: "The Blacklist" makes the best use of Spader's creepy-crawly qualities.


John Slattery to appear in the "Arrested Development" movie
Mitch Hurwitz says he plans to have the "Mad Men" star reprise his Dr. Norman role.


"Sons of Anarchy" creator takes on conservative columnist over school shooting controversy
Brent Bozell accused FX of milking a fictional Catholic school shooting for commercial gain. To which Kurt Sutter responded: "Anyone with half-a-cup of brain cells can filter out the noise of your conservative bellowing and hear the truth – it’s all about your own political agenda."


CNN visits ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption"
"Reliable Sources" looked at the importance of an on-air fact-checker like Tony Reali.


So far, Cristin Milioti appears to be the right pick for "HIMYM"
In last night's two-episode premiere, she seemed like somebody who could easily be part of the gang. PLUS: Milioti considers herself "very lucky," and why this final season should've been "How I Met Your Father."


Watch the "Bonnie & Clyde" trailer
The four-hour miniseries airing on Lifetime, History and A&E in December stars Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger.


See Craig Ferguson's new opening sequence
"The Late Late Show" opening with Craig, Geoff and Secretariat.


CBS teams with Twitter
CBS will use Twitter to advertise a large number of shows and products.


Does "Mom" waste Anna Faris?
Faris seems to be part of a trend this season of actresses being above the material. This also applies to Sarah Michelle Geller, Rebel Wilson and Megan Hilty. PLUS: Allison Janney elevates "Mom," and it turns out "Mom" has brains.


Dylan McDermott was skeptical of "Hostages," too
"I think everybody has the same reservations about the show, which I don't mind, because it keeps the intrigue of the show," he says. "My theory was, 'Let's get through the first season and see how it goes.'" PLUS: "Hostages" is a treasure trove of dumb, and McDermott isn't right for the role.

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John Cho in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Andy Dunn (John Cho) has a real pain in the neck in week two of 'Sleepy Hollow'

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: Good witch, bad witch in 'Blood Moon'

How did FOX's crazy surprise hit stack up in week two?

We got a good sense of exactly what kind of wackadoodle show "Sleepy Hollow" aspires to be from last week's surprisingly highly rated pilot, but now comes the real test. Did enough viewers like what they saw to tune in for week two, and will the events of the second episode keep them hooked?

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

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

Credit: ABC

Interview: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' star Ming-Na Wen talks stunts, The Whedonverse and punctuation

How much does the 'E.R.' veteran know about Agent Melinda May?
The core premise of ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is that although you know the big names in the Marvel superhero universe -- the Iron Mans, the Thors, the Hulks, the Captain Americas -- there's a vast infrastructure  of highly specialized agents protecting the globe, straddling the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
 
Fans of the recent hit Marvel films will certainly know Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson and they'll recognize at least one "Avengers" figure in the pilot (it's not being kept a secret anymore, but I'm not going out of my way to spoil anything here). 
 
Within the world of S.H.I.E.L.D., though, Ming-Na Wen's Agent Melinda May is a legend, though we don't immediately know why in the pilot, which premieres on Tuesday (September 24) night. We know she has a notorious past and that she now appears to be working a desk job within Coulson's team. It emerges very quickly, though, that when the situation requires, she still has "it," even if we're only starting to learn what "it" is or why she put "it" on the shelf.
 
A veteran of "Stargate: Universe," "E.R." and "The Single Guy," Ming-Na Wen is also one of the better known stars in a "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." cast dominated by relative unknows.
 
Last week, I got on the phone with Ming-Na to discuss crafting a character whose backstory is full of unknowns, her early experiences with being a part of the Whedonverse and whether or not she includes the periods in her show's title when communicating with friends.
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: The first couple goes home

Who gets the boot? Maybe not who you'd expect

On the many, many occasions when I've thought of what it must be like to be a celebrity contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" (so, you know, like once or twice), I've always thought the suckiest thing would be going home first. It's like the world telling you that they're not even interested in seeing you mildly humiliated or as the focus of an inspirational journey of self-discovery. You're demoted from the C-list and, since Kathy Griffin has claimed the D-list, you may be somewhere below that. Like, F-list. That's not even a thing. 

But tonight someone will be going home, and let's hope it's someone who's tough enough to take it.

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<p>Cristin Milioti as the Mother in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Cristin Milioti as the Mother in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Season premiere review: 'How I Met Your Mother'

Cristin Milioti gets her first big exposure as the Mother

"How I Met Your Mother" has begun its ninth and final season. A quick review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I want the Kennedy package...

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Christian Bale in "Out of the Furnace."
Christian Bale in "Out of the Furnace."
Credit: Relativity Media

'Her,' 'Out of the Furnace,' 'Dallas Buyers Club' to compete at Rome Film Festival

'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' will screen out of competition

At least three American awards hopefuls will have the chance to compete for some European festival hardware, as Spike Jonze's "Her," Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" and Jean-Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyers Club" are among the first four Competition selections announced for November's Rome Film Festival. They'll be joined by the world premiere of Spanish director Isabel Coixet's "Another Me," along with several others yet to be announced.

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<p>Nicole Kidman in&nbsp;&quot;Grace of Monaco&quot;</p>

Nicole Kidman in "Grace of Monaco"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Weinstein moves 'Grace of Monaco' with Nicole Kidman to 2014

Also confirms 'The Immigrant' for quarter one of next year

Well, Harvey Weinstein probably needed to thin things out a bit on this year's slate and now, after being rumored for a little while now, "Grace of Monaco" has been moved to 2014.

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