Q: I'm confused about the “Temple Grandin” movie. I remember Claire Danes winning some award(s) for her part in the “Temple Grandin” movie last year. How was she still eligible this year?
Great review of the Golden Globes this week!
-Lin, 43, Pittsburgh
Rob: It’s easy to get confused. I believe Danes won an award at the Emmys in August. The Globes work on a calendar year schedule; the Emmys follow a schedule that’s closer to the regular TV season, approximately June-to-June.
Q: Monday night my DVR works overtime! It seems everything is on Monday.
I have a question about why Fox programs "House" to run over one hour by a few minutes but the episode is not that long? I am sure it is so that people like myself who record everything cannot move to another station easily at 9 p.m. It is very frustrating and the only way I know how to combat it is...stop watching "House."
-Earl, 36, United States
Rob: Networks began running their programs beyond the top of the hour before the advent of the DVR. It is an effort to keep viewers from switching the channel but it did not begin as an effort to thwart DVR viewers.
Q: I was a huge “Star Trek” fan, which carried me for quite awhile. Then I found “Firefly” but that was tragically canceled, as we all know. Then came “BSG,” which I thought was fantastic and brilliant. After that went off the air, I researched and purchased all ten seasons of “SG1,” which I came to love and worship. Obviously, I went ahead and purchased all five seasons of “Stargate Atlantis.” The two movies: “Ark of Truth” and “Continuum” too. Loved every episode. LOVED. I have been watching “SGU” but my understanding is that has been canceled. Now what am I supposed to do? I am a huge sci-fi fan but there is simply nothing out there to watch. I just ordered the first two seasons of "Sanctuary" and "Fringe" but those don't inspire.
How about “Farscape”? Is there anything that I missed? “Torchwood”? That seems to get good reviews but that’s been around. “V” looks good but that seems to be hitting a wall.
Any hope for a truly desperate situation? Any suggestions? C'mon give me some expert advice. :) I enjoy the articles. Keep up the good work.
-Tom, Mt. Lebanon
Rob: I’d skip “V,” which has been a disappointment, but maybe check out “Fringe.” I’ll admit I gave up on that show in season one but people whose taste I respect say it’s gotten a lot better – I just haven’t had time to get on board.
I’d also suggest watching “Farscape” on DVD, another show I enjoyed a great deal. I’ve never been a “Doctor Who” fan but I do like “Torchwood,” especially the most recent edition, “Children of Earth.” Hope that helps.
Q: Is there any way of starting a support group for a program -- specifically “Detroit 1-8-7”? You wrote recently that ABC is making up its mind about renewing or cancelling it -- so maybe a campaign could encourage them to think renewal. It's a super show -- Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel are amazing, and the rest of the cast is terrific, too. It's also good for a city that REALLY needs all the help it can get right now. I seem to recall a few years ago a show up for cancellation was saved by petitions and a letter-writing campaign.
-Alison, 78, Edgewood
Rob: For every show, there is a save-this-show campaign, and because of that, they really do not work that well anymore. “Detroit 1-8-7” has fans pulling for it, too, but I’m not sure it will work. The show just does not have enough of the positive buzz – any buzz, actually – that generally accompanies low-rated shows that are given a second chance.
Q: I have tried to find this answer out from The Food Network and nothing. On the show “Cupcake Wars” that airs on Tuesday night, they have two contestants that compete, each making a 1,000-cupcake display. The winner's cupcakes are taken to the event that is being held. What happens to the loser's cupcakes? Are they thrown away? That would seem a waste. Are they donated to a food kitchen? I am curious what they do with 1,000 extra cupcakes that look delicious. Thanks a lot if you can find an answer.
-Linda, 46, Cecil, Pa.
Rob: According to a network publicist, any leftover cupcakes that are in good condition will either be donated to area charities that accept prepared food or enjoyed by the show’s crew and their family/friends.
Q: Any predictions for the new mid-season TV shows? Which are hits and which are not?
-Diane, 57, Arlington, Va.
Rob: If I had expertise in predicting hits, I’d be running a network!
But in terms of the best shows to look forward to, I’d suggest Fox’s “The Chicago Code” (9 p.m. Feb. 7) and ABC’s “Mr. Sunshine” (9:30 p.m. Feb. 9).
Q: Has Fox dropped "House" from it's primetime lineup? I can only find re-runs on WPCW on Saturday night.
-BLB in Pgh.
Rob: Nope. Many shows take a hiatus around the holidays. “House” returned from its holiday break with a new episode on Monday of this week.
Q: Any idea when seasons 3-7 of “Hill Street Blues” will become available on Netflix? Only seasons 1 and 2 are available at this time.
-Ellen, N. Pt. Breeze
Rob: Probably not until Fox releases more season on DVD (or makes them available for digital download). So far, only the first two seasons are available. If those did not sell well, it’s possible subsequent seasons will not be released on DVD. Given that a third season release was first reported almost five years ago, it seems like no more may be forthcoming.
Q: Would somebody give Julie Bologna a Thesaurus? She uses the word "spotty" several times a broadcast.
Actually, it was so much nicer when she was gone earlier this month and a gentleman took her place. No cutsey phrases, no out-of-the-norm names of cities. Actually, I never noticed it until he did the weather, just the weather, and very professionally.
Between her, and the newscasters constantly claiming they were "first to report this" with every other story, I am considering going back to KDKA news.
Do you think they are trying too hard?
-Diane, 29, Bethel Park
Rob: Every station at one time or another has claimed to be “first to report” and “only on,” although some stations probably brag more than others.
As for Bologna, given what they’ve invested in her and in promoting her presence on Channel 11 newscasts, and especially give the station’s rising ratings, I don’t think she’s going anywhere anytime soon.
Q: Forgive me if you have already addressed this. Jennifer Abney and Todd McDermott don't seem to be co-anchoring the morning news that much any more on WPXI. We get one of the other. Any significance to this? Just wondering....
- Linda, 61, Pittsburgh
Rob: I’m not sure why people don’t believe me when I give the same explanation over and over again but it has not changed: The people who work at TV stations and who we watch on TV get vacation time. They cannot take that time during sweeps months (February, May, July and November) so they are likely to take that time in other months. January is just such a month.
Abney and McDermott were back on the anchor desk together this week.
If you see an anchor absent for more than two weeks, then maybe something hinky is going on. Otherwise, just assume they are on vacation, take a deep breath and don’t worry about their absence.
Q: Who do you think will replace Patrice King Brown at 4, 6 and 11? Kristine Sorensen has young children.
- Elaine, 56, Mt.Lebanon
Rob: That is the $64,000 question, isn’t it?
Internally, it seems like Jennifer Antkowiak is the most viable choice. Stephanie Watson has been passed over already for weekday gigs and Kristine Sorensen doesn’t exhibit enough personality. But there are a few complications with the Antkowiak idea: Would she want an evening schedule again? And does KDKA management want to shake up its morning team (yet again) when it has started to show some ratings traction?
Viewers have their own ideas and there’s already a Facebook page devoted to the notion of bringing Sonni Abatta back to Pittsburgh. Who knows if that’s even an option given the often-restrictive nature of news anchor contracts or if Abatta would want to return, but it’s an interesting possibility.