Q: I am not from the Pittsburgh area but I listen to Tuned In podcast as well as other culture podcasts regularly. I just listened to your conversation about “Smash.”
I think there is one reason for the decline in the winter premiere episode's ratings that no one seems to be talking about: That episode was offered for free on iTunes for weeks before it aired on TV. I just wonder if a lot of people were like us and watched the show through iTunes. We skipped that episode on TV because we had seen it. As a matter of fact, we thought it was so good we watched it twice. We were not going to watch it a third time on television.
Anyway I just wondered if that was a strategy error by the network.
- Kayann, 59, Ohio
Rob: Maybe, but here’s what I think they were thinking: “Smash” aired as a two-hour premiere but only the first hour was available online before the premiere. I think the hope was people might watch the first hour online but then tune in to watch the second hour on TV. That doesn’t appear to have happened. So maybe putting the episode online early was a mistake.
Another possible scheduling mistake was to premiere “Smash” last week and then pre-empt it this week due to State of the Union coverage. ABC wisely moved the return of “Body of Proof” to next week after realizing the conflict.
“Smash” was also likely hurt by competition from “The Bachelor” and ABC will seek to do damage to “Smash” again next week by airing “The Bachelor: Sean Tells All” against the “Smash” lead-in shows at 9 p.m.
Q: Why do some TV shows get released almost immediately after the season ends, and others take years, if ever. (example: “Major Dad,” “Still Standing,” seasons 4-6 of “Party of Five,” season 2 and later of “Malcolm in the Middle.”)
- Darrell, 49, Corydon, Ky.
Rob: There’s probably no one reason but several likely reasons. Sometimes the rights for a particular TV show are in dispute. Sometimes a show has a lot of music and no permission to use that music in a DVD release, which means someone would have to go through and clear the rights to all the music, a time-consuming and potentially expensive endeavor.
In the cases of shows that got a first-season release and then nothing else, odds are good that first season did not sell well and that’s why the studio isn’t bothering with releasing additional seasons.
Then again, never say never: “Party of Five” season four is due out on March 5.
Q: Is there a date for the release of “Evening Shade” season 2 starring Burt Reynolds on DVD?
- Lonnie, 58, Roy, Utah
Rob: The best website for seeking information on the status of any TV show is TVShowsOnDVD.com. It shows the first season of “Evening Shade” came out in 2008. My guess is it did not sell well and that’s why no plans for the release of subsequent seasons have been announced.
Q: What happened to Larry the Cable Guy and "Only in America" on the History channel?
- Sue, 65, Burnsville, Minn.
Rob: They are busy making new episodes. “Only in America” has been renewed and new episodes will air later this year. A premiere date has not yet been announced.
Q: Would you please let me know if A&E intends to air new episodes of “Longmire” with Robert Taylor in the lead role.
- Ray via email
Rob: A&E renewed “Longmire” last July and new episodes are expected to air this summer. The show’s first season will be out on DVD on May 28.
Q: I was wondering if “Merlin” is going to be ended this year and why? I think it is a great show. It has a little bit of everything and I can't imagine they are running out of ideas. Medieval time should have a lot of stories to tell.
Is “Rizzoli & Isles” coming back on and if so when?
- Janet via email
Rob: “Rizzoli & Isles” is expected to return this summer on TNT.
“Merlin” is currently in the midst of its 13-episode final season at 10 p.m. Fridays on Syfy. Shows are not usually canceled for lack of plot ideas but due to declining ratings. In this case, “Merlin” was an import and was canceled by BBC One.
CNN gets Zucker punched
Jeff Zucker, the former NBC exec who presided over that network's downfall, has taken his act to CNN. You could see his fingerprints on CNN's non-stop coverage of the Carnival cruise ship returning from its "nightmare" voyage last night. Watching the breahless coverage of an event that warranted about one-tenth as much attention, I couldn't help but wonder who deserves more scorn: CNN for airing it or the viewers who rewarded the network by watching.
Just in case you read over it at the top of this post, let me say it again: We had a technical hiccup that resulted in many TV Q&A submissions after Dec. 8, 2012, not getting through to me. If you submitted a question between Dec. 8 and Wednesday of this week, please submit it again here: http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/questions/qaform.asp