TV Q&A: 'The Big C' + 'The Closer' + Verizon changes

Friday, 22 July 2011 12:00 AM Written by 

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TV Q&A with Rob Owen

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This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “The Big C,” “The Closer” and Verizon changes.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: Now that TNT has canceled the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged "Men of a Certain Age," do you think there's any chance another network will pick up the series? It was one of my favorites.

- Chuck, Overbrook

Rob: Probably not. There were not enough viewers tuning in to make the show viable.


Q: Has Syfy canceled "Mary Knows Best"?

- Mary-Ann,  Baldwin Borough

Rob: Yes, “Mary Knows Best” has been canceled by Syfy.

Q: Do the companies featured on "Undercover Boss" pay (or underwrite) the broadcast?
On “The Big C,” did they change the opening credits, and if so, why?

- Justin, 32, Squirrel Hill

Rob: A CBS spokeswoman says, “Absolutely no money changes hands between the featured bosses/companies and either CBS or the production company that produces ‘Undercover Boss.’”

I thought the opening credits of “The Big C” looked different, too, but according to a publicist, the show’s producers said the title sequence was not re-shot and remains the same as it was in the first season.


Q: Will “V” be returning for a third season?  I sure hope so, because I really enjoy watching that show.

- Wendy, 34, Pittsburgh

Bad news alien lizard lovers, it won’t be back. We reported it was among ABC’s cancellations in May.


Q: A few weeks ago I was flipping around and found a channel that was airing "L.A. Law."  Right after that was "Hill Street Blues."  I didn't make note of the name of the channel or the number and now I can't find it again. We have DirectTV. Any idea what that could have been?

- Lynn, 49, Pittsburgh
Your best bet is always to do a search of the schedule for the shows you want to see at under “check schedules.” Not sure where you could have seen it though as a search turns up no scheduled airings of either series, although “Hill Street” episodes pop up on Hulu.


Q: I would like to know when the series “In the Heat of the Night” will be released on DVD?

Also what kind of chocolate does Brenda eat that is wrapped in the aluminum foil wrapper on “The Closer”?

- Debbie, 46, Asheboro N.C.

Rob: “In the Heat of the Night” is not listed as available at and there’s no information on when it might be available. It’s possible it may never be released. We’ve written before about sometimes music rights clearances can hold up a DVD release, so perhaps that’s the case with this show. Or maybe the studio doesn’t think there’s much demand for it.

On “The Closer,” Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) is generally seen eating Ring Dings or a Ring Dings-like treat.


Q: Why did Verizon suddenly change the look and navigational features of FIOS TV and what if any research did they do to support the changes? I ask because it is beyond not being easy on the eye. It is annoying. Talk about fixing something that wasn’t broken.

The new color scheme makes it harder to see the information. It actually hurts my eyes.

I never understood why they had that magnifying feature in their guide when you scrolled thru the channels. It took me a while to get used to it when I switched over from Comcast several years ago. So what do they do? They make it bigger. I have no idea what the benefit of this is. Maybe Verizon feels that showing fewer channels per view is a good thing?

Also, if you are watching a program on the DVR, say goodbye to another feature. Before this giant step backward, you could scroll the guide to see what was on live TV, while you were still watching the show you recorded. Not anymore.

A big company like Verizon, they had to test market this, right? Other than the executives at Comcast, I can’t imagine anyone saying this new look is an improvement. Speaking of Comcast, I am seriously considering switching my phone, Internet and TV back to them. Hey Verizon – can you hear me now?

- Tom, 59, McCandless Township

Rob: Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said it’s not uncommon for customers “to experience a slight learning curve when enhancements to the guide are introduced,” but he said customer response to the new FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Many of the enhancements to the new guide were based directly on customer feedback regarding the features and capabilities they wanted to see,” he wrote in an emailed response. “In fact, customer participation was a key part of the product development process. This recent post on the Verizon at Home blog discusses the emphasis Verizon is placing on customer feedback as we continue to improve FiOS TV.

“That said, the latest IMG retains the navigational features of past guide versions and adds some significant new ones, like DVR chaptering, which gives viewers DVD-like capabilities to jump ahead or resume viewing at a particular moment of recorded programming by using on-screen thumbnails in 10-minute increments and new ‘play all’ and ‘delete all’ options, allowing customers to play episodes back-to-back and automatically delete all episodes of a show with the push of a button.

“The upgraded IMG is now optimized for HDTVs (16:9 screens) with HD-resolution graphics (1080i), making the graphics sharper and crisper. The color scheme remains the same (green for sports, blue for TV shows, red for movies, etc.) though the colors may appear softer. Customers can adjust the sharpness by accessing the menu – video settings – video sharpness.

“I’m not sure what the customer is referring to when he mentions the ‘magnifying feature.’ Customers can access a full guide, half-screen guide, mini guide or a single channel option that appears at the bottom of the screen. Each option shows the current programming in a box with the guide. The size varies depending on the option chosen.  In addition, by hitting the up arrow button, customers also can access another guide option that appears on the right third of the screen, showing the channel the customer is watching in addition to several channels above and below the currently tuned-in channel.  Or by hitting the down arrow button, customers can access yet another guide option that provides from left to right at the bottom of the screen the current channel and the channel above and below it, the current channel with a description of the program, and the next three programs scheduled to appear on the current channel the customer is watching.

“I’m not sure if the customer is concerned about the number of channels displayed on the guide, but the standard view displays six to seven channels on the screen, same as previous versions of the guide. Customers also have the option with the new IMG to select a classic view that presents a less-cluttered screen with five channels displayed.

“Also, the new IMG still allows customers to access the guide and scroll through the channels while watching recorded programming on the DVR. If this customer does not have that capability, it could be a customer-specific issue that can be addressed.


“If this customer would like more information regarding the guide, he can tune into channel 1952 which continuously runs FiOS TV tutorials and features. In addition, there are a host of FiOS TV help videos in the FiOS TV video-on-demand library. Customers can simply press the video-on-demand button on their remote, select ‘browse all’ and then select ‘FiOS TV Help Videos.’”



Just some general thoughts on "Rescue Me: The Final (Thank God) Season.”  It used to be the new “Sopranos" show to watch each week. I couldn't wait for the next one when it first started. Now it is a nighttime soap opera. Spoiler Alert: Tommy paints the baby's room a sky blue, Franco redoes his apartment to showcase his softer side and Lou gets a backyard makeover...... I'm done.  I just rescued me and my DVR from boredom.....

- Bryan, 46, Bethel Park


So very glad to read about Steven Cropper. I am switching to WPXI immediately.

- Debbie



Because I’ll be covering the summer 2011 Television Critics Association press tour here in Tuned In Journal beginning next Wednesday, TV Q&A likely will be pre-empted until Friday, Aug. 12. But keep sending in questions in the meantime!

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