TV Q&A: 'Zero Hour,' 'American Restoration' and local news coverage

Friday, 29 March 2013 04:16 PM 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 “Zero Hour,”“American Restoration” and local news coverage. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: While watching one of the many “Golden Girls” episodes last night, Burt Reynolds made a cameo appearance at the end of the show. This made me wonder what has become of him. Is he still alive - working or retired, and how old would he be now. I really enjoyed him years ago.

- Peg, Pittsburgh

Rob: His last major on-screen appearance was on a “Burn Notice” episode in 2010.  One report suggests Reynolds, 77, recently had a medical scare


Q: Any chance ION TV will put “Leverage” back on? Such a great show.

Also on the lighter side, what happened to “Sitting Ducks” on QUBO?

- Sam, 47, Minneapolis

Rob: “Leverage” is airing in syndication on local stations and reruns continue to air on TNT.

As for Ion, a network representative says Ion doesn’t have a planned return date for “Leverage.”

“Sitting Ducks” aired for more than five years on Qubo and, a networks spokesman said, “despite its success, the network is always looking for ways to keep its children’s programming fresh. Qubo will soon be adding 10 new shows to its schedule.”


Q: I was wondering what happened to "Zero Hour"? Is it coming back?

Is “Rizzoli & Isles” coming back?

- Janet, Lakeville, Minn.

Rob: “Zero Hour” was canceled due to low ratings. It’s possible ABC will burn off unaired episodes this summer but don’t count on it.

“Rizzoli” returns for new episodes at 9 p.m. June 18.


Q: I want to know the status of a couple of my favorite shows: “American Restoration,” “Whitechapel” and “Copper.” When will new episodes air?

- Paul, 62, Minneapolis

Rob: New episodes of History's “American Restoration” begin at 10 p.m. April 9.

BBC America has not announced a premiere date for season two of “Copper” but my best guess is late summer. BBC America announced a June 23 premiere date this afternoon. A network publicist did not respond to an email inquiring about the status of “Whitechapel,” but it appears the show was renewed for a fourth season to air in England sometime this year, so it may air this year in the U.S., too. 


Q: Is there some type of 'back room deal' between the local news stations and a certain Pittsburgh grocery chain? How else can you explain several minutes of 'news'' coverage about the grocery chain allegedly lowering prices? There wasn't a price comparison with other chains to verify the claims, they just took their word for it and ran with the story. Is this ethical? My guess is that this particular chain agrees to buy more ad time on the stations that cover this. I've never seen a story about a car dealer or furniture store’s 'low' prices. I recall seeing it on Channel 2  and maybe Channel 4 too.

Yes, I mean Giant Eagle. I didn't want to give them anymore attention than they already received via the newscast. I do not work for a competitor, I just find it interesting that the news story was nothing more than an extended commercial for them. I'm sure the GMs from the local stations will deny it, but there has to be a deal in place. If they truly are journalists, at the very least, there should be some type of comparison made with other grocery outlets to verify the claims made.

- Jeff, 45, Pittsburgh

Rob: I’m not sure I would apply nefarious motives to the reason for the story. The PG reported on the Giant Eagle price cut last week. I’m sure some stories are inspired by Giant Eagle press releases and then it’s just a matter of what you do with that release. Everyone buys food so I can see news value in reporting on what local chains do; that Giant Eagle pretty much has a grocery store monopoly in the region is unfortunate and may be more likely to result in this kind of story where other markets with more competition may be more likely to do price comparison stories.

The KDKA story did include some skeptical commentary by a shopper, essentially saying the chain marks prices up so they can then have a sale or trumpet price cuts.

As for comparing Giant Eagle prices to those at other chains, the KDKA report did not claim Giant Eagle was slashing prices lower than prices at other stores, just that it was cutting prices compared to what it has previously charged. Obviously, you could do a comparison story and that might be a more valuable public service but the report does not make the claim Jeff suggests.

“Anytime a major retailer in our market announces a large-scale change in their pricing policy, we view that as news many consumers would be interested in knowing about,” said KDKA-TV news director Anne Linaberger. “It was a purely editorial choice.”

“The WTAE Channel 4 Action News Department makes editorial decisions independently,” replied WTAE news director Justin Antoniotti. “In this case we decided there was news value in Giant Eagle’s announcement to lower prices. We have done price comparisons stories in the past and may very well decide to do them in the future.”



It's that time of year again: Networks are debating whether to renew their "on the bubble" shows all the while developing new series for fall.

And that means it's time once again for the Post-Gazette's Keep or Cancel? poll where you, the viewer, get to play programmer and vote for the shows you would renew and those your would send to the ever-expanding TV show graveyard.

Voting continues through April 21 and one vote per computer will be accepted. Cast your ballot now by clicking on this link! 

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