'TV's Top 5' Podcast: 'Game of Thrones' Finale Unpacked; Inside ABC's Live Content Push

Hosts Daniel Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg are joined this week by ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke and THR's resident Westeros expert Josh Wigler.
HBO/Photofest; ABC/Eric McCandless; Inset: Getty Images
'Game of Thrones' (left) and Jamie Foxx in 'The Jeffersons' Live with ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke (inset)

Welcome back to TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

In every episode, the weekly podcast — hosted by The Hollywood Reporter's West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg (that's me!) and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg — will feature five topics that are top of mind in the TV industry and go inside the latest headlines, as well as provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week, we put the spotlight on two major series finales — Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory — and the varying responses to them. Additionally, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke joins TV's Top 5 this week to discuss the Disney-owned network's big ratings returns for its star-studded Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons and the future of that franchise. Plus THR's resident Westeros correspondent — and Series Regular host — Josh Wigler joins the podcast to unpack that divisive Thrones ending. All that and a special announcement: TV's Top 5 is hitting the road for a special live show June 6 at the ATX Television Festival in Austin!

Here's how this week's Top 5 breaks down:

1. Game of Thrones and its Emmy impact. The series finale drew monster ratings and had its fair share of critics. Will that impact chances for Game of Thrones to take home its fourth best drama Emmy statuette? Plus Goldberg provides an update on the state of the franchise going forward and Fienberg evaluates the odds that Game of Thrones will be rewarded the Television Critics Association's prestigious show of the year award. The segment starts at the 2:38 mark.

2. Unpacking the Game of Thrones ending. THR's resident Westeros expert Josh Wigler joins TV's Top 5 this week to look at the onscreen surprises and takeaways from the series finale ending. Did the HBO juggernaut set the stage for its surprising ending? Wigler also offers a hot take on the new king's future career as an online journalist. The discussion begins at the 14:36 mark. For more critical discussion about the Thrones finale, be sure to check out this week's episode of Wigler's Series Regular podcast.

3. The Big Bang Theory finale explained. Here's one finale that was wildly considered satisfying, though one surprise twist did receive its fair share of backlash. Goldberg — who was on set for the finale taping — and Fienberg explain why the series, frequently a punchline, deserves its moment in the sun. The conversation begins at the 26:51 mark. 

4. ABC's big bet on live content. Hot off the impressive ratings strength of its star-studded live takes on Norman Lear's beloved comedies, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke joins TV's Top 5 for a conversation about why the network bet big on the live sitcoms, its push for more content in the space (hello, Nik Wallenda) and which sitcoms could be next in the potentially annual event. The interview — which includes Burke providing an update on Whiskey Cavalier— begins at the 39:15 mark.

 5. Critic's Corner. As always, every episode ends with Fienberg offering his thoughts about what to watch (or skip). This week, Fienberg weighs in on season two of Starz's Vida and National Geographic's The Hot Zone. Tune in at the 48:12 mark.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email Goldberg and Fienberg with any topics or questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

TV's Top 5 is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including Awards ChatterScott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; genre reporter Josh Wigler's newly launched Series Regular (which continues its focus on Game of Thrones); crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.