TV Q&A: 'Harry's Law,' 'Two and a Half Men' and HGTV shows

Friday, 01 June 2012 11:47 AM Written by 
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TV Q&A with Rob Owen

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Two and a Half Men,” “Harry’s Law” and HGTV shows. As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: Why did PBS stop the live broadcast of the National Memorial Day Concert about halfway through and finish with a replay of the 2011 program?
I noticed the orchestra conductor had stopped them before going to the next number.
- Dale, 71, Adena, Ohio
Rob: PBS didn’t stop the concert, the weather did. Thunderstorms in Washington, D.C., led to the concert ending early and concertgoers being sent home, the first time it happened in the concert’s 23-year history. PBS replayed last year’s concert after the 2012 edition came to an abrupt end.
Here’s the official release from the show’s producers that was put out Sunday night: “Due to severe weather, the live broadcast of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT on PBS slated for May 27 was canceled and the Capitol grounds were evacuated. As a result, the 8 p.m. broadcast on PBS aired live for the first half of the show, then transitioned seamlessly to footage from the 2011 NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT.
“The 9:30-11 PM broadcast will feature the first half of the 2012 concert that aired live, followed by a seamless transition to footage of the 2012 concert taped during the full dress rehearsal on Saturday, May 26. ‘Safety is our first priority for audience, service men and women, and performers on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol,’ said Michael Colbert, producer, Capital Concerts.”
 
Q: Will Jake be returning to “Two and a Half Men” next season? After watching the final episode, it seemed to me that now that he has joined the service, he will be off of the show. I hope I am wrong.
Will there be a spinoff of “Desperate Housewives”? The show's ending indicated that there would be. The new neighbor was shown hiding a "secret" box.
Is Patrick Dempsey really leaving “Grey’s Anatomy”? What other characters are not returning to the show? This is one of my favorite programs to watch.
Thanks as always for your response and for your great column in the PG.
- Janet, 64, Morningside
Rob: Jake will be back on “Two and a Half Men” in the fall.
There will not be a “Desperate Housewives” spinoff and I don’t think the finale was ever intended to suggest there would be; it was more of a thematic ending intended to echo some of the show’s mysteries over the years.
Patrick Dempsey has signed a new contract to return to “Grey’s Anatomy.” Dr. Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) will not be back.
 
Q: Hated to see “Harry's Law” canceled by NBC. My husband and I really loved that show. Is there any chance another network may pick up this show?
- Mary Jane, Hopewell
Rob: These days there’s always a chance but not a great chance. There’s been no scuttlebutt about another network picking up “Harry’s Law” as there has been about CBS’s “Unforgettable.”

Q: I'm so disappointed to hear that “Breakout Kings” was canceled. I'd expect that from one of the regular networks, which is why I don't bother watching them anymore. While this was a good show and I enjoyed watching it, I don't plan to start a petition or send weird things to the network hoping they will change their mind (like pencils in honor of Lloyd's unrequited love.)
My beef is this show is on cable where the network isn't slave to upfronts and fall schedule releases or "full" season orders. They shouldn't have let it end with such a juicy cliffhanger. They either should have given the writers enough notice to not leave us hanging or at the very least order an abbreviated season to wrap things up.
In your opinion, do you see the cable networks moving in this direction of canceling shows and not giving notice to wrap up? If HBO and Showtime can renew series after one or two episodes air then surely A&E can know ahead of time if it needs to cancel a scripted series.
- Linda, 39, Castle Shannon
Rob: Not necessarily. Remember, HBO and Showtime have an additional revenue stream (subscriptions) that a basic cable network like A&E does not have. HBO and Showtime, while still aware of ratings, are not slaves to ratings. The fates and fortunes of A&E and its executives, like broadcast networks, are much more closely tied to ratings.

Q: I was a fan of “Awake” which, as you know, was canceled by NBC.
But unlike many a series that ends prematurely and therefore abruptly, the
final episode of “Awake” neatly resolved the ongoing mystery of the two
opposite worlds inhabited by Detective Michael Britton (Jason Isaacs) and
tied up many if not all of the plotlines.
Was this the producers' original plan for the season-ending episode? If
so, where could they have gone in season two? If this was a deliberate
series finale, did the network give them advance warning they were
canceled, or could they read the writing on the wall, knowing that their
ratings were sinking?
- Arthur, Glendale, Calif.
Rob: I have to admit, as much as I liked the early “Awake” episodes, once I saw the ratings (and what those ratings meant for the show’s fate), I did not stick with it. There’s only so much TV one person can watch and I feel it’s sometimes better to direct my attention to programs with a fighting chance.
But series creator Kyle Killen has said in interviews that the season finale was written before the show was canceled and he had a plan for where the story would go next if “Awake” had been renewed.

Q: Any info on an air date for the adventure miniseries "Blackout" that was filmed last year?
- Mary, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Rob: Although there’s a listing for a recent “Blackout” on IMDB there’s no other evidence it exists or will ever air under that title. There’s been nothing in the form of a network announcement or air date.
 
Q: We always hear of the high salaries paid to TV stars, but who are the highest paid directors and how do their salaries compare to the actors?
- Donald, 62, Pittsburgh
Rob: I can only assume Donald means TV directors since this is a TV Q&A. The Directors Guild of America minimum on a 30-minute prime-time episode on a broadcast network is $23,993. For a half-hour pilot, it’s $67,908 because pilots set the template for the whole series and are considered to be more work. But it’s a good bet that the best known TV directors -- David Nutter, Thomas Schlamme, Jimmy Burrows, Pittsburgh native Jamie Widdoes, Gail Mancuso, Paris Barclay, Pam Fryman and Andy Ackerman – all make much more than that. DGA publishes its rate cards online.
So how does that compare to actors? Well their rates are also published online but the reality is that every case in unique. Most of the name performers get well above the minimum rate so there’s really no way to make an apples-to-apples comparison. But it’s safe to say none of the folks whose names you know are going hungry.

Q: I read that “Design to Sell” and “House Hunters” are "fake." On “Designed to Sell,” they only decorate/re-decorate the part of the room that will be shown on TV, fabric is put on pillows with duct tape and the people viewing the house at the end of the show are friends and family. On “House Hunters,” the person has already selected a house and the real estate agent just shows the person two other houses. Are “Income Property” and “Property Brothers” also "fake"? Do they really renovate the entire rental property/house? Occasionally, I see in the background an area that doesn't quite look finished. Who pays for the renovations?
- Diane, 58, Arlington, Va.
Rob: It took almost a month to get a response to Diane’s question from an HGTV representative who said, “’Designed to Sell’ is no longer in production, but all current and past HGTV series, from ‘House Hunters’ to ‘Property Brothers’ to ‘Income Property’ showcase the authentic real estate, renovation or makeover experience. Depending on the series, we tackle everything from whole home makeovers to individual room transformations. Sometimes we cover the entire cost and sometimes the homeowner contributes to the budget. “
 
Q: What has happened to Channel 4's “Action Sports Sunday”? I noticed it's just news from 11 p.m.-12 a.m. now instead of the sports show from 11:30-12:00. Did they cancel it? If so, was it due to poor ratings?
- Todd, 30, Pittsburgh
Rob: Yes, it was canceled a while ago. I could swear I saw PG sports blogger Bob Smizik write about it at the time but a search turns up no sign of such a post. WTAE news director Alex Bongiorno did not remember exactly when the change occurred.
“We have been doing news in that time period, however we do extended sports as well,” she wrote in an email response. “We will also do a heavier sports emphasis during specific times of the year such as football and hockey season.”
 
E-MAIL EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
 
“You’re an ignorant, racist idiot”
- From Anna, who has a U.K. email address, apropos of who-knows-what
 
“You're going to have to be more specific. I have no idea what's got your dander up.”
- My response, with no clue what article she might be referring to
 
“You basically just insulted my entire country and everything [it has] made. just needed to get my anger out, that's all.”
- Anna, again, avoiding specifics
 
“Again, no idea what you are talking about.”
- Me, still confused because she steadfastly refuses to explain what she’s talking about
 
“Don't bother yourself then. Like I said, I just needed to get my anger out.”
- Anna, the world’s most obtuse Internet flamethrower

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