Q: I am a big fan of "Black Gold" which aired on TruTV. The program recorded the apparently true, daily life of an oil well drilling crew in West Texas. Will it return to TV later this year? The last show ran on February 20th and nothing was mentioned about it being the last show of the season or end of the series.
- Jerome, 81, Fridley, Minn.
Rob: According to a TruTV representative, the last show was simply the end of the season. No decision has been made about renewing or canceling the show.
Q: When the dancers on “Dancing with the Stars” are all lovey-dovey with their partners, don't the children, wives, boy/girl friends get upset, mad, at the dancers?
- Glenn, 51, Minneapolis
Rob: I suppose some jealousy can happen but the dancers are professional entertainers, just like actors who have to film love scenes with other performers who they are not married to in real life. I think people who work in these fields – and those who love them -- generally understand it’s a performance.
Q: Can you tell me what happened to “CSI: New York” on Friday night? I really enjoyed that show.
- Joanne, 66, South Haven, Minn.
Rob: That show had its season finale last month and we won’t know until May if it will be renewed or canceled. My guess is it will not be back.
Q: Can you find out when the next season of “The Newsroom” will be returning? This is a fabulous show and my family is eagerly anticipating its return. Can you also find out how many episodes are on tap for us? Ten were not enough last summer! Will you also find out if it will only be a summer series or if they will be doing a split summer/winter season for it as they do with other HBO shows? It's just too long to wait for it to return and give us some quality in our television viewing.
- Cate, 48, Bloomington, Minn.
Rob: HBO has not yet announced a premiere date for the second season of “The Newsroom” but it will be this summer and my guess is it will be in June or July. HBO rarely runs split seasons of shows. There will be 10 episodes, which is typical for an HBO season.
Q: What happens to all the outfits on “Project Runway”? It used to be that the winning and losing outfits of each round were kept in the workroom to act as inspiration or warning to the surviving designers. Now, I don't see them. Do the designers get to keep the looks they make after the season is over or does the show? Do the models get to take home what they like from their designer? Are the outfits recycled somehow or is there a warehouse somewhere with over 10 seasons of “Project Runway” leftovers? They go through so much fabric and so many clothes so quickly, I've always wondered about it.
- Anjuli, 30, Coraopolis
Rob: The outfits are auctioned off each week after an episode airs via this online site: http://projectrunway.auction.seenon.com.
Q: What is with the emphasis on brown suits on the Jimmy Fallon show? His announcer always wears brown and Jimmy invariably wears brown or some related shade. That's so noticeable and very odd! Why is that?
- Clay, 68, from Plymouth, Minn.
Rob: A Google search – and past phone calls -- reveal that Clay isn’t the only one with this question or perception but the show’s NBC publicist says there is no emphasis on brown suits: “Jimmy wears a variety of colors including brown, but more regularly wears navy, charcoal, medium gray or black.”
Q: The last season of the “Next Food Network Star” was won by Justin Warner. What happened to his show? I have looked on the Food Channel website and there is no news about it. Usually when the winner is announced the show starts in a few months. It has been about 6 months.
- John, 52, Imperial
Rob: Warner’s “Rebel Eats” debuts at 10 p.m. March 30 on Food Network.
Q: Are there any plans for “Being Human” to return on BBC America?
-Tess, 35, Raleigh, N.C.
Rob: The show will be back but no air date has been announced.
Q: Why do stations repeat shows ad infinitum? The exact same show is broadcast over and over, sometimes two or more times a day. Just last week, a “Mail Call” episode was repeated two hours after it ended, which sad to say is not an oddity. With VCRs and DVRs I'd think this is totally unnecessary. Can't they find enough programming to show without repeating everything?
In the BC (Before Cable) era, you watched a show when it was on or hoped to catch it again in summer repeats, now you simply wait a few hours and it's on again.
For what cable costs, we should be able to avoid this.
Let look at tonight, beginning at 9 p.m. for example; these are just a few repeats within hours of each other:
Ch.125 - Military - 8:00 - Myths of Pearl Harbor, Episode 1.
Ch.125 - Military - 11:00 - Myths of Pearl Harbor, Episode 1.
Ch.134 - Smithsonian - 9:00 - WWII - Episode 1 - Final Days
Ch.134 - Smithsonian - 12:00 - WWII - Episode 1 - Final Days
- Gene, Pittsburgh
Rob: Cable networks use a business model that relies on shows repeating and airing multiple times, often within the same week.
When shows air twice in a night that has more to do with time zones: A network can advertise a program is airing at “9 p.m.” nationally by having it air at 9 p.m. and midnight since when it is midnight on the east coast, it is 9 p.m. on the west coast.
Q: Is “America's Most Wanted” off the air permanently or will it return as rumored in 2013?
- Sylvia, 63, Conway
Rob: I thought the show had been renewed but I guess not. A Lifetime publicist said a decision about the show’s future has not been made.
Q: What is with our local news stations’ -- especially KDKA -- ridiculous obsession with the weather? Eighteen weather spots in three hours rehashing the same thing over and over again, this doesn't count the silly weather lead-ins by the anchors pretending to be oh-so-interested in a forecast they just heard five minutes ago.
- Robert, 60, Regent Square
Rob: As we’ve written many times before, local news stations put on the news stories that tend to get the most viewer attention. Like it or not, viewers tend to have a Pavlovian response to weather news, which is why TV stations obsess over it.
Q: Why has “The Nightly Sports Call” (Pittsburgh CW @ 10:30) stopped using members of The Post Gazette as co-hosts? The show has always had a KDKA sports anchor and a sportswriter from the PG discuss the day’s sports news and take calls from viewers. There hasn't even been a mention of the format change by the KDKA anchor.
- Jeff, 45, Pittsburgh
Rob: According to Post-Gazette Assistant Managing Editor/Sports Jerry Micco, nothing has changed.
“At times, we can't provide someone because of an assignment or because of illness, etc., but we are still committed to having someone on the show five nights a week,” Micco said.
Q: Last week there was an article about Comcast offering full seasons of series on On Demand.
Do you know if Verizon Fios will do something similiar?
- Jackson, 37, Munhall
Rob: It doesn’t sound like there are similar plans.
“While not offering this exact type of promotion, Verizon’s FiOS TV offers a number of free premium channel previews and other video-on-demand promotions each month during the year, including movies, TV shows, children’s content, etc.,” said Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski. “Currently, Verizon is offering a number of free movies on its video-on-demand service until April 15. In addition, Verizon will be offering a free preview of View Now, a new subscription video service with 1,500 movies from April 12 through April 14. From April 16 through May 31, Verizon will be offering FiOS TV subscribers free access to a collection of comedy shows on TV. More details to come on that.”
Q: I was surprised to receive my March cable bill from Comcast and learn that the two “free” Digital Transport Adapters (DTA) that Comcast provided a few years ago now cost $1.99 per month. Apparently there was a six-page insert in the February bill summarizing a whole slew of price increases, but since my account is automatically paid from my credit card each month, I don’t receive a paper bill in the mail and only get a pointer to an online PDF file, I usually only look at the first page that summarizes my charges for the month (which is how I noticed the price increase on the latest bill) and never noticed the additional six pages tacked on the end.
This seems like a very bad job of communication by Comcast (intentionally so, perhaps?). And I haven’t seen anything in your Q&A column or the Post-Gazette announcing this, either. (The most recent article on the topic I could find was dated March 12, 2012, with the headline “Blank TV screens for some Comcast subscribers in city”)
As for me, I am returning my “free” DTAs to Comcast as soon as possible and getting the charges reversed.
- Mark, Squirrel Hill
Rob: Looks like if you just drop down to Limited Basic, you won’t have to pay for adapters but all other tier levels started getting charged on March 1. This was news to me, too.
"When we began moving markets to full digital distribution in 2008, we provided up to two digital adapters (DTAs) at no additional charge to customers with Standard/Expanded Basic Cable,” explained Comcast spokesman Bob Grove. “In addition to providing customers with additional channels – including History International, Biography, C-SPAN 3, G4, Sprout, Bloomberg News and Hallmark Movie Channel – at no change in price, DTAs also provided customers improved picture quality. The deployment of DTAs allowed us to increase the number of HD channels from about 30 to as many as 100 channels and faster Internet speeds. We are also beginning the deployments of HD-DTAs which will provide customers a less expensive way to access HD services on additional outlets, as well as deployments of an interactive guide for the DTAs. Bringing these enhancements to our customers requires significant investment, and we feel the nominal fee now being implemented for DTAs appropriately reflects the additional value of the service.”
KEEP OR CANCEL?
The annual Keep or Cancel? poll is now online for a soft launch. We'll kick off the poll in earnest in Sunday's Tuned In column in TV Week.