Q: How can TV directors not notice that certain things reflect the numerous studio lights? Specifically, sunglasses, motorcycle helmets, balloons. This drives me crazy and insults my intelligence more than the show itself. Do they think we are really so stupid we don't notice? “Hannah Montana” "beach scenes" were the worst but saw another one last night. How many suns do we have on this planet ?
- Doris, 54, Shaler
Rob: I can’t say this is something I have ever noticed. Occasionally I’ll see a boom mic in a scene but I can’t recall ever seeing the reflection of studio lights. I’m not sure in what TV shows, other than “Hannah Montana,” Doris is seeing these reflections but I suppose low-budget cable sitcoms may be more prone to such gaffes.
Q: I'm a great fan of "Mad Men." Unfortunately, I'm also a Dish TV subscriber. Dish dropped AMC from their lineup earlier this year, even though I and many other subscribers protested vehemently beforehand. I want to switch to FiOS, but the TV is not yet offered in my area and Verizon has no idea when that will happen. I don't want to switch until all three components (phone, internet & TV) are available. I've searched online for entire episodes for viewing, but have only found previews for upcoming episodes, even on the amctv.com website. Do you know where I can view full episodes this coming season?
- Mary, 54, Mount Oliver
Rob: Previous seasons of “Mad Men” are available on Netflix and season five, which aired earlier this year, is available on AmazonInstant. We’ll have to see if Amazon carries season six next year in real time or if you’ll need to wait until the season is over on AMC to see all the episodes on Amazon. Of course, by then the dispute between AMC and Dish may be settled -- I hope.
Q: This is a “Glee”-related question: Can you find out if Becky, the cheerleader who worked with Sue but suffered with autism in real life has been written out of the show. I have not seen her (or many of the major characters for that fact) but I do miss Becky. She would make you laugh. If you find out something, can you let us know.
- Linda, 38, Cecil
Rob: Becky was scheduled to appear in the episode that aired last night, “Makeover.” Many of the show’s characters are appearing less often this season due to the bifurcated nature of the story with some characters in Ohio and others in New York.
Q: I was wondering why Comcast dropped Cool TV, WPMY's digital sub-channel, from their digital cable lineup? I'm also wondering why Root Sports Pittsburgh is headquartered on the North Shore, yet it's not considered a local station by Comcast? So it's part of their digital starter package and above for Comcast. Maybe you could help since I emailed Comcast and have yet to receive a response.
- Josh, 34, Crafton
Rob: Comcast spokesman Bob Grove points out that Sinclair dropped Cool TV everywhere, as reported by my friend John Kiesewetter in Cincinnatti, so it’s not available over-the-air anymore either.
Grove said the location of a cable channel’s headquarters does not determine its placement in the lineup. “Several programmers on our Limited Basic lineup are not based in Pittsburgh,” he notes.
Q: Channel 11's news on PCNC is always badly out of sync for the audio/visual on my Comcast system. Emails to the station's engineering and news departments have not resulted in any correction. Can you comment on this or do you have a channel 11 connection that may be able to get it corrected?
- Louis, 65, Beaver Falls
Rob: We had this same complaint a number of years ago. The folks at Comcast and WPXI are looking into the issue but Channel 11 programming director Mark Barash points out, “We do know that the signal is leaving here in synch and is in synch on the cable systems familiar to us.”
In addition, neither WPXI nor Comcast have received other complaints about the issue, which suggests it might be a localized event and not widespread. It's probably best for Louis to contact Comcast and see if there's a problem with with the cable box or connection to the house.
Last call for TV 101
The new TV season has begun and I'll offer a PGU course – that’s Post-Gazette University -- called TV 101, 7-9 p.m. Wednesday [Oct. 3] at the Post-Gazette office at 34 Blvd. of the Allies.
We'll discuss how TV shows get developed, why shows are put on the air, why they're canceled and how the TV business works generally. We'll watch clips from shows that have been retooled, and of course there will be time for a live TV Q&A session.
The cost is $35 and you can register online at http://old.post-gazette.com/PGU or by calling 412-263-1302.