Q: I have been interested in the changes at the Letterman show. No complaints really. I think Stephen will be new and fresh though I was pulling for Craig Ferguson. The rumor mill says he had first refusal and gets a chunk of money if they don't give it to him. I know he just got a new contract and big bucks. So is any of this true?
- Sharon, Greenfield
Rob: Actually, Ferguson’s contract expires in June 2015 and there’s some chatter than CBS will look for a potential bigger ratings draw. We’ll have to wait and see. But yes, he did get a nice windfall -- $5 million – for being passed over for Letterman’s chair, according to published reports.
I like Colbert but question if it’s a mistake for him not to play his conservative windbag character on the new show – Colbert has said he will not be playing that character on CBS’s “The Late Show” next year – because that’s what viewers are going to expect. And experience shows, disappointing viewers tends not to play out well.
Q: The last episode of "The Fosters" was a cliffhanger. When and will the next season return? I hope it wasn't canceled.
Rob: Nope, “The Fosters” has been a welcome ratings success of ABC Family. It has both critical acclaim and enough viewers, which situates it better for the future than the late, lamented “Bunheads.”
New episodes of “The Fosters” return at 9 p.m. June 16.
Q: Who is Chrisley and why would anyone give a damn about what he thinks or says about anything?
- Ron, Bethel Park
Rob: Good question. I’d never heard of him either until the “Chrisley Knows Best” reality show, which this week got renewed for a second season. Here’s the USA bio on him.
-Jason via Twitter
Rob: Network affiliates have the right to pre-empt network programming. This time it was for a news special on the Franklin Regional High School stabbings.
Stations can show concern for their viewers by announcing last-minute programming changes to those who can get the word out, especially about when the pre-empted program will ultimately air. Channel 11 did not do that this time so I was unable to blog/tweet or mention in Friday’s Tuned In column that “Hannibal” was to be pre-empted and aired at 3 a.m. Saturday, although program director Mark Barash said online listings were updated in time to reflect the change.
Q: What happened to “The Blacklist” last week?
- Charlotte, 75, Sewickley
Rob: It was simply pre-empted nationally by NBC. That happens to even the most popular broadcast series from time to time. “The Blacklist” was back this past Monday.
Q: Do you happen to know if the PBS series "Silk" will be returning?
- Jackie, 45, N. Versailles
Rob: According to a “Masterpiece” publicist, the second season of “Silk” was produced and broadcast in the U.K. (Actually, it was seasons two and three that have already aired over there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_(TV_series) If it airs again on “Masterpiece,” it won’t be until fall at the earliest – it’s not on the summer schedule – but the publicist did not know whether “Masterpiece” has picked up additional seasons. If not “Masterpiece,” I’m sure it will show up somewhere stateside, maybe on Acorn.tv.
Q: I very much liked the Greg Kinnear-led series "Rake." I think it's the quirkiest, most irreverent and fun lawyer series since "Boston Legal." Being that it was relegated to the hinterlands of Saturday night TV, how did it do in the ratings and might it just possibly return for a second season?
- John, 55, Green Tree
Rob: Sorry, but all hope is lost for “Rake,” which bombed in the ratings when it aired Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It won’t be back.
Q: This is probably going to sound weird, but in the past couple of years I have noticed that when people are eating or drinking something on a show, or even in movies, we hear the gulps, chews, swallows, sips when they eat/drink as if the characters had microphones down their throats. And those microphones are turned up full blast. Do the producers/directors think the audience won't believe that the characters are actually eating/drinking? So they make us listen to the internal sounds of their eating/drinking? Does listening to someone swallow their food enhance the viewing experience? It is so annoying, especially because I don't get why it is being done. Have you noticed this also? (Should I seek professional help?!)
- Sandy, Mt. Lebanon
Rob: This is not something I have noticed or heard anyone else comment about.
Q: WTAE is currently running a commercial for their news. At one point they show a camera man. He looks an awful lot like Mike Clark. Any relation?
- Dorothy, 51, Pennsylvania
Rob: No relation, according to WTAE news director Justin Antoniotti.
For Verizon FiOS customers. I wanted to pass along a tip I learned from a particularly helpful Verizon FiOS customer service representative.
When you call Verizon for help, they put you into the now inevitable computer operator telephone tree. If you want to talk to a live person, once you've selected the department you want to talk to (billing, tech support, etc.), say "AGENT" about three or four times and the computer will switch you to a live person.
I tried it out today when calling tech support with a question and it worked like a charm.
- John, 55, Green Tree
KEEP OR CANCEL?
It's time to vote in the Post-Gazette's annual Keep or Cancel poll, which ends Sunday.
Cast your vote here: http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/poll/default.asp