Q: On the previews of "The Millers," the set looks like the same one used by "Two and a Half Men." Are they using the same set for both of these sitcoms?
- Stephanie,63, Cranberry
Rob: The layout of the set is similar – the position of the staircase was what I noticed most – but a CBS publicist for “The Millers” said the two shows are not sharing a set. Sometimes for a pilot a set from an existing series will be recycled but that did not happen in this case.
Q: Do you know if “Magic City” on STARZ, “The Killing” on AMC and the animated “Ricky Gervais Show” on HBO will be returning?
- Karl, Shorewood, Minn.
Rob: “The Killing” was canceled (again!) this week. “Magic City” got the boot last month. And Ricky Gervais has moved on to other projects so “The Ricky Gervais Show” will not be back on HBO either.
Q: I bought a Blu-ray DVD player a couple of years back. It's Wi-Fi-enabled and plays standard DVDs as well.
In the last year or so I've been passing on renting or buying Blu-ray discs, because they put so much garbage (previews, etc) on them and won't let you skip directly to the menu and play the disc. The picture and sound quality are wonderful, but it's really not worth the hassle of getting to the movie in the first place.
Why do the DVD manufacturers do this? Are they trying to kill off the physical-disc market?
- Steve, Anoka, Minn.
Rob: I’m not sure this practice is particular to Blu-ray. With regular DVDs it doesn’t work to hit the menu button during previews either – but it does work to hit the skip forward button. I find I have to push that a number of times to advance through all the previews to get to the menu.
Manufacturers know they have a captive audience and they put on the previews to try to inspire more DVD or Blu-ray purchases. If this practice is making you buy less, then that’s an unintended consequence.
Q: Why do British TV shows like "Downton Abbey" air at one time in the UK and months later in the US? With today's technology, why don't they air at the same time?
- Diane, 59, Arlington, Va.
Rob: You would think that but it turns out it’s not always possible. The window between UK and U.S. air dates is shrinking, as evidenced by the “Call the Midwife” Christmas special, which aired on PBS last December just a few days after its UK premiere and by some “Dr. Who” programs that air on or around the same date on BBC America and on the BBC.
But here’s the deal with “Downton”: Episodes have to be re-edited for PBS’s format and that has to be done by the British editors, who only move on to working on the American edit after they have completed work on the British version of the show. I suspect PBS could get “Downton” on in December if it really wanted to but people are busy with the holidays then, which is why they hold the show another month until January.
Q: What is your opinion of “Low Winter Sun” on AMC? I was a huge fan of “The Shield,” and when I saw the previews for “Low Winter Sun,” I thought that perhaps it would have a similar feel. After four episodes, I'm done watching. This show seems to be dark for being dark's sake. Is this show doing well in the ratings?
- Jeff, 51, Forward Township
Rob: I gave “Low Winter Sun” a mixed review when it debuted last month but the truth is I haven’t stuck with it and watched more episodes.
“LWS” launched with a relatively healthy 2.5 million viewers but then in week two dropped to 1.5 million viewers, not great for the show’s future prospects.
Q: I sure hope you can answer this question since I have been watching "Hell on Wheel" for several weeks and I cannot figure it out: One of the ladies in this program has some markings on her chin just below her lower lip. Can you tell me what the markings are for and what they stand for?
- F.W., 87, Anderson, S.C.
Rob: According to “HOW” writer/producer Jami O’Brien, the character Eva is inspired by the real-life Olive Oatman.
“The Mojave gave her the facial tattoo,” O’Brien said. “The reasons for it are mixed. Some accounts say it was the mark of a slave; others say it was to allow her into their afterlife. The Mojave were super into tattoos. The mark shows she's ‘theirs’ whether the connotation is positive (family/clan) or negative (slave) is the interesting question. I think it's both, but the fun of it is the ambiguity.”
Q: Wanted to know where Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck have gone since leaving “The View”? Haven't heard anything about them lately. Also, are they going to replace Barbara Walters?
Also why did Michael Kors leave Project Runway as a regular judge? Really miss his great critical comments.
- Rita, 68, Brookline
Rob: Hasselback is joining “Fox & Friends” (6 a.m. weekdays). Her first day on that show is Monday.
Behar has not announced her plans for the future, although she has been having meetings with CNN. No word on when Walters will depart “The View” but it certainly seems inevitable; I’m not sure ABC will rush to replace her, though rumors to that effects are already swirling.
Kors left “Project Runway,” although he recently returned for an episode, due to “massive scheduling conflicts” with his day job.
Q: In the Tuned In section where you talked about the new fall shows, it doesn't mention where “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons” and “American Dad” on My Pittsburgh TV are going once “Community,” “Modern Family” and “The Middle” debut. Do you know if they are staying put at My Pittsburgh TV or are they just moving off the network altogether?
-Aaron, 24, Murrysville
Rob: These programs move to late night on WPGH with “The Simpsons” at midnight, “Family Guy” at 12:30 a.m., “The Cleveland Show” at 1 a.m. and “American Dad” at 1:30 a.m.
Q: When will Darieth Chisolm's last broadcast be on WPXI? I thought it was the end of August and I noticed she wason Tuesday night.
- Bill, Wheeling, W.Va.
Rob: Darieth's last day on air will be Sept. 26, according to WPXI news director Mike Oliveira.
Q: Seems like I haven't seen Kimberly Gill for a while. Is she still with KDKA?
- Jim, 60, Pittsburgh
Rob: V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. She returns to work next Wednesday, according to news director Anne Linaberger.
In response to a previous TV Q&A question about where to find a specific show: “‘Lou Grant’ seasons are available for streaming from HuluPlus.”
- Jon Miners, Crystal, Minn.
VOICE MAIL OF THE WEEK
“My name is Dave … Id like to make a comment. Your headline article in today’s paper on page B7 says, ‘There will be a lot of talk in this fall’s new TV crop.’ I think you misspelled the last word crop and it should be c-r-a-p.”