TV Q&A: 'Bones,' 'GMA' and various local news anchors who dared to take vacation time.

Friday, 04 April 2014 02:04 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 “Bones,” HLN and various local news anchors who dared to take vacation time.

As always, thanks for reading and please keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: I am a big fan of “Bones.” However, something is driving me crazy!

What actor or country-western entertainer plays Angela's father?

- Theresa, Ross

Rob: Angela’s father is played by Billy Gibbons from the band ZZ Top. According to a show publicist, Gibbons plays a fictionalized version of himself on the show.


Q: I could use some reassurance that “Copper” will be back and a hint as to when.  Also, “Sullivan &Son.”
- Mia, 65, Greensburg
Sorry, we reported “Copper” was canceled in September

But Pittsburgh-set TBS comedy “Sullivan & Son” will return sometime this summer; no air date has been announced.

Q: Can you find out why PBS has removed the "This Old House Hour" from its HD feed, split the shows up and put them on its SD channel? I didn't see any  announcement of this or I missed it if there was one.
- Bob, 67, South Side

Rob: This is a confusing one because there are so many iterations of “This Old House” airing. WQED-TV spokesman George Hazimanolis said WQED airs “This Old House Hour” at 1 a.m. Friday in HD, which is how it is fed from PBS.

The regular “This Old House” airs Saturday afternoon, 3:30-4:30 p.m., on WQED-TV and it’s also in HD.

But “Ask This Old House” and other episodes of “This Old House” also air on WQED’s Create Channel, a digital subchannel that is not in HD. Maybe that’s where Bob was watching.


Q: Consumer expert Clark Howard made appearances on HLN including hosting the “Afternoon Express” show. The show was canceled but is he still a part of the network?

- Mike, 50, Beaver County

Rob: It doesn’t sound like it. Here’s the response from an HLN publicist: “Clark Howard, who had been a co-host of the former HLN weekday program ‘Evening Express,’ and contributed reports to ‘Morning Express with Robin Meade,’ completed his contract on HLN, after five years, in November 2013. HLN recently rebranded as the first TV home for the social media generation (millennials and millennial-minded) and has made alterations to its program lineup as a result.”

Q: Last Thursday on WTAE's early morning news there was a several-minute segment masquerading as news about the new Taco Bell breakfast item!! Are you kidding me? Is Taco Bell so in WTAE's bed that they get this segment that is so obviously an advertisement? I have lost A LOT of respect for the WTAE news division.

- Susan, 54, Swissvale
When public, consumer-driven companies make big changes, it is news. There is nothing wrong with TV stations reporting on this news. Do a Google search and you’ll see other coverage of the same topic in dozens of print publications and even from NPR.

Now, if WTAE had Taco Bell ads during the news and was sending local reporters out, then it might be more questionable. But a search of the WTAE website suggests it was a story from a satellite service, which is where stations draw feature stories from to fill time.

Q: Has Ashley Dougherty departed WTAE? 

- Debi, North Versailles

Rob: V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. She was back this past weekend.


Q: What happened to Josh Elliott on “Good Morning America”?  He just sort of disappeared and there was no hoopla as when Sam Champion left the show.

Ashley Dougherty of WTAE weather seems to be wearing some sort of brace on her right leg. Anything serious?

- Mike, 64, Munhall

Rob: Josh Elliott’s contract was up with ABC and it went down to the wire with Elliott making a late decision to jump to NBC Sports and wait in the wings as possible heir to the Matt Lauer seat on “Today.” Amy Robach replaces him on “GMA.” (The show did air a belated farewell video to Elliott in absentia on Thursday.)

As for Dougherty, she has no injury.

My little behind the scenes secret is coming into the light!” she wrote in an email. “It must have popped up in one of the shots. When I wear dresses, I have nowhere to clip my mic or IFB pack! So I got a little creative and put on a knee brace to hold them. I am fine and injuries to report!”

Q: What happened to Kimberly Gill @ KDKA News?  She hasn't been on in a couple of weeks. Last I heard anyone even mention her, they said she was "on assignment."  I am so tired of seeing Kristine Sorensen on every newscast!  Kimberly seems so much more friendly & genuine. Kristine has an obviously phony laugh that makes me want to scream!

- Mary, 56, Pittsburgh

Just a reminder: People who work for TV stations get vacation time, too, and they are likely to use it in non-sweeps months, like March and April. A news personality should be MIA for at least three weeks before anyone starts fretting that they have been replaced.

Q: I have been reading many articles (here and here) that state Verizon is no longer expanding their FiOS networks, and that if you can't get FIOS now, you'll never get it. In parts of the City of Pittsburgh, FiOS is not available. I have been waiting patiently for FiOS competition in Lawrenceville to compete with the expensive Comcast monopoly.  What Pittsburgh neighborhoods have FiOS?

 What are the best or most popular ways to obtain TV programming without buying Comcast content?

- Rob, 52, Lawrenceville

Rob: The articles refer to FiOS no longer expanding into new markets; FiOS TV is already in Pittsburgh. When FiOS made its deal with the city in 2009, part of the agreement was that FiOS has until 2015 to complete wiring the entire city.

Here’s a response from Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski: “The city of Pittsburgh approved a 10-year cable franchise for Verizon in September 2009, running through September 2019.

“As part of the franchise agreement, Verizon would bring FiOS to all city households in six years.  Currently, Verizon is on track to wire the city by the 2015 deadline.

“There’s no specific timeframe for Lawrenceville, but it is part of the overall build planned for the next two years.”


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