Brian Williams, 'Empire' Soars, What Makes a Good Spin-off?

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The Spin-off crew has survived TCA, and they're back in their respective home cities watching lots of mid-season premieres of new and returning shows...thinking those shows will probably dominate the TV-related conversation...and then Brian Williams happened. Or, more correctly, Brian Williams didn't happen…to be shot down in Iraq.

We talk about Williams and his possible fate at NBC, and also take a moment to speculate about what the heck is happening to broadcast news in general.

Then we look at some of the shows doing especially well on network TV right now, Empire, Fresh Off the Boat and How to Get Away with Murder among them. The one thing they'll all got in common is that their casts all look a lot more like the real complexion of America -- a lot more than the prime-time shows of eras past. Is TV diversity finally paying off, and this time, is it here to stay?

And what happens when a new spin-off rises, like a Phoenix, from the ashes of a beloved retired show? As excited as we all are about Better Call Saul, will it turn out to be Frasier… or is it the next AfterMash or Joey? Does the party have to ever end, or is there a time when it's best to say goodbye?

Finally, we go around the horn for our Download segment and share the stories or shows that are top of mind this month.

End of show Downloads:

Joe: If you're a news junkie, check out some of the news-based game shows like MSNBC's Up Against The Clock  on Steve Kornacki's show Up.

Sandra: Looking for a coming-of-age superhero story? Try The Flash on The CW, a show Sandra says is the thing that reminds her the most of Buffy The Vampire Slayer right now.

Mike: Overwhelmed attempting to keep up with all the new TV content out there? Try going back in time with Shout Factory TV, a new streaming service from Shout! Factory where you can find more than 1,000 of cult TV shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 or the animated Home Movies from Adult Swim. The site also streams movies, including 16 Werner Herzog films.




Kaitlin Parker