Q: When will "Bates Motel" return to TV, or has it been canceled?
- Rose, Shadyside
Rob: “Bates Motel” is back for its second season on A&E at 9 p.m. March 3.
Q: Is there any information on a DVD release of "The Phil Silvers Show" season 2? I have not been able to find anything at Tvshowsondvd.com. I hope a season 2 will be released. That show is one of the funniest sitcoms of all time and certainly ranks as a classic, great writing and a great cast.
- Scott, Bellevue
Rob: Scott looked at the correct site for DVD information but according to a publicist for CBS/Paramount Home Video, there is no information available. That could mean they are not ready to announce plans or it could mean the first season didn’t sell enough and there are no plans for subsequent releases.
Q: Seems like new programs are starting all the time. I'm thankful for your dates and times of programs in new fall seasons. Seems like now we need a schedule for all seasons. Will you be doing one for this spring and summer. I and my DVR thank you more than I can tell you!!
- Robert, 63, Harwick
Rob: It’s a gushing river of new programming that never runs dry.
I ran a midseason (winter/spring) list of new/returning shows in December and I’ll have a summer preview in late May or early June as I’ve had in years past.
A few program premiere dates were not announced in time for the midseason preview, but I’ve included updates regularly in the Tuned In column when premiere dates have been announced.
Q: Being originally from the Midwest, I have enjoyed watching Chicago news (News at Nine) received here over WGN-TV through my Comcast provider; it also featured one of the greatest of weathermen, Tom Skillings. His forecast would be relevant to Pittsburgh 36 hours out. The last two weeks has found that this News at Nine is no longer received at the10 p.m.hour over WGN-TV; could you research this omission?
- Charles, 76, Harmar
Rob: WGN is in the process of making over its network with plans for a new, scripted one-hour drama to debut in April. As part of that makeover from regional to national network, the 9 p.m. local, Chicago news is no longer airing on WGN’s national feed although it is still broadcast in Chicago where WGN is based and online at WGNTV.com.
Q: “The Young & the Restless” looks like it is using local outdoor photos - Allegheny General Hospital & County Jail - as intros to some scenes. Is this a local affiliate option or is there some Pittsburgh connection?
-Tom, 67, South Hills
Has anyone else noticed that on Y&R this week that the hospital they show is AGH and the jail is none other than the one on Second Ave.? Both were featured on Monday's episode.
- Claudia, Baldwin
Rob: Back in the late 1980s-to-mid-1990s, “Y&R” routinely came to Pittsburgh to film exterior scenes with the city playing the role of the show’s fictional Genoa City.
“For the next 10 years we mixed it up; some scenes with actors and some with just location shots,” explained Pittsburgher Jerry Hughes, who served as location production manager for the show. “At the time Pittsburgh's skyline was great because it didn't have all the signage it has now.
“We used Allegheny General Hospital, the prison on the Ohio, One Oxford Center and the Duquesne Club. We shot in Hampton Township often. Phillip Chancellor died in a car accident at Hardies Lake. (No one informed the Richland Chief of Police and he thought it was real.)”
When the executive producer who hired Hughes left in the late ‘90s, the new folks didn’t want to spend money on location shoots so “Y&R” hasn’t been back since. The footage viewers saw recently was from back in the ‘90s.
Q: Over the past couple of weeks or so I have seen former KDKA-TV news anchor Patrice King Brown on TV more. I always liked her, her reporting, her presence, her on-air demeanor etc. Lately it's been Allegheny Valley, UPMC, infomercials etc. and follow-ups/rebuttals of that ilk. Too numerous to name all.
My question is: What else has Ms Brown been doing lately and her plans moving forward?
Any tidbits would be greatly appreciated.
- John, 57, Pittsburgh
Rob: Once she left KDKA-TV and moved to California, her work has mostly been limited to just what John mentioned: infomercials and UPMC ads.
I chatted with Brown this week to see what else she’s been doing and she said her life is mostly family-focused.
“I am in the throes of planning my daughter’s wedding,” she said. “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve had in quite a long time. I can’t believe my baby girl is going to be getting married.”
“My mom had some illness but she’s doing very, very well now and I’m spending a lot more time with family who are here in Southern California,” she said. “It’s not as exciting a retirement as people might think.”
But recently she did get together with old friend and fellow Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller in Las Vegas.
As far work goes, Brown said she keeps up with “just a few of those kind of projects that allow me to share a message – I continue to keep my hand in it a little bit – because 33 years on the air is a long time to completely walk away.”
As for some viewer complaints about those UPMC ads Brown has worked on in recent years -- including in letters to the editor, editorials , tweets and blog posts, Brown said she doesn’t think of the spots as advocacy.
“I think of it as a spokesperson job,” she said. The most recent ads focus on the changes looming, reported by the Post-Gazette, as UPMC, the region's dominant health care provider, plans to end its contract with Highmark, the region's dominant health insurer, on Dec. 31, 2014, now that Highmark has acquired the West Penn Allegheny Health System and is building its own integrated delivery network, Allegheny Health Network, to compete with UPMC. “I’m not advocating one or the other at all. It’s an opportunity for a job and gets me occasionally back to a place I love. The unfortunate thing is change is always hard and I know that change is coming. If I can help people understand the change that is coming or help them deal with it, I’m happy to do that, but it’s not an advocacy role on any level.”
Brown has also done voiceover work for TV ads for Goodwill of Southern California.
“It’s a nice job and it’s not like I’m looking for full-time work on any level,” she said. “With so much of my family nearby, I’m catching up and spending time with them.”
But she does miss Pittsburgh.
“I really, truly do miss Pittsburgh,” she said. “My hometown will always be Pittsburgh. I’ll be a ‘Burgh girl forever. I get so excited when people mention Pittsburgh. I miss it and get back at every opportunity.”