Q: Why are most of the good shows taking a break of about two weeks and then having one to two episodes and running repeats again? Very agitating. It is so hard to keep up with the story. What the heck is going on?
- Frances, 71, Plum
Rob:In general, the networks order the same number of episodes of a TV show per season now as they did in 1970. That’s 22 episodes. Some series have more (usually 26 at the maximum) and some first-season shows today have fewer as networks take a page from shorter cable runs (often 13 episodes). But established series in 1970 and in 2012 both generally run about 22 episodes.
When you have 22 episodes and the TV season runs from late September to late May – about 34 weeks – there are bound to be 12 weeks of either reruns or pre-emptions. And those won’t happen in September, October or the sweeps months of November, February or May, so that means all those reruns have to be squeezed into December, January, March and April.
Now we’re in May sweeps so we have another three weeks of new episodes before the TV season ends on May 22.
Q: I've heard that NBC will not renew “Smash” for a third season. I'm quite disappointed as I think it's well done and the music is great. If it is not renewed, do you think a cable station such as AMC might pick it up? Have you heard anything else about the future of the show?
- Mary Ann, 56, Pittsburgh
Rob: Sorry, “Smash” is seen as low-rated, damaged goods. It’s unlikely any other network will pick it up.
Q: Will AMC show the first eight episodes of "Breaking Bad" before the final eight are aired?
- Jeanne, 70, Bethel Park
Rob: We answered this a few months ago and at the time an AMC publicist said that would happen but she didn’t have any dates. This week a publicist did not respond to the question. I still think this will happen. If we count back eight weeks from the Aug. 11 premiere date for new episodes, it suggests the first eight episodes of the final season will likely air weekly beginning around June 16. (Reruns are airing on Sundance at 8 and 9 p.m. Mondays and the show is currently at the end of season two.)
Q: Why aren't there more episodes of “Ghost Whisperer”? It is the BEST. I'm a huge Jennifer Love Hewitt fan and she is great in this series along with her supporting cast.
- Cheri, Forest Lake, Minn.
Rob: “Ghost Whisperer” was canceled in May 2010 due to low ratings. Not enough advertiser-coveted viewers (re: young viewers) were watching it.
Q: Will Style Network’s “Made in Chelsea” be returning for a second season?
- Denise, McKeesport
Rob: According to a Style publicist, the show will be back but a date has not been announced.
Q: I read your column last week concerning Keep or Cancel? Two new series this year which had Tim Allen and Reba McEntire -- can't remember the titles -- have not been on for several weeks and I am wondering whether they have been discontinued. I enjoyed both of them.
- Peg, Plum
Rob: Allen’s “Last Man Standing” and McEntire’s “Malibu Country” remain in limbo. We’ll know their fates by May 14 when the network announces its fall schedule.
Q: I am convinced that the "foul" language gaffe on the Dakota TV station was no accident and was a contrived effort by those involved to get cheap publicity and a spot on the Letterman show! Just a plain scam -- why are the media falling for such tripe -- the media are being scammed by one of their own!
- Tom, 65, Mt. Lebanon
Rob: Ah, the old conspiracy theory. I tend not to buy into conspiracy theories because they require so much organization and most people are not that organized and/or disciplined.
Q: Are the singers, in WPXI's commercial for their “High School Shows" website, cast members from current, local high productions?
- John, 54, Green Tree
Rob: According to WPXI general manager Ray Carter, “We hired a singer to write the song and sing it (it was actually one of our employees), but the spot is packed with singers from local high school shows. They not only appear on camera, but their voices are also heard. Pretty cool.”