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TV Q&A: 'Blue Bloods,' 'Designated Survivor,' TV producers and 'Pittsburgh Today Live'

Friday, 06 October 2017 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: Just wondering why I didn't have the faintest idea what happened to Linda (Amy Carlson) on the new season of “Blue Bloods.” Halfway through the show they mentioned that she died in a helicopter crash. Was that in a previous episode?

-- Phil via Facebook

Q: Just finished watching Friday's “Blue Bloods”! What a shock! Had you heard anything about Amy Carlson's departure? Also, if I remember correctly, she was also killed off in “Third Watch”! Inquiring minds want to know!!!!

-- Bob via Facebook

Q: Why did Amy Carlson leave “Blue Bloods”? Was it her choice? Another role? Lack of airtime? Or did “Blue Bloods” kick her off?


Rob: Evidently her departure was kept pretty quiet given the level of shock among fans of the CBS police drama.

According to Deadline.comCarlson has a seven-season contract that was up and she chose to move on.


Q: I was anxious to see season two of “Designated Survivor,” but found it too difficult to follow the story that finished from last season. Why don't they play the last episode before starting season two? And the FBI agent (woman) is so unbelievable, I just couldn't watch. Completely lost interest. Very disappointing. 


Rob: Dramas often get terrible ratings in repeats, especially serialized dramas with ongoing stories. That’s why shows like “Designated Survivor” don’t get as many repeat airings as they once did. But often the most recent episode is available online on a network’s website.


Q: Can you tell me what a TV producer does? I trust that it is an extremely difficult job. After noticing "producer" so many times during the credits, I counted and found that on a recent episode of a CBS drama, there were 16 people with "producer," of one sort or another, attached to their names. I know that it happens on other networks as well, I just happened to be watching CBS that day.


Rob: In prime-time television, writers often receive a producer credit so my guess is many of those names are the show’s writers. More senior writers get a “producer” (or executive producer) credit. “Producer” can also refer to someone who is not a writer but involved in the physical production of the show. And then there are vanity credits that sometimes go to a show’s star or the manager of a show’s star.


Q: Do commercials get ratings like TV shows do? The Amazon commercial with the little girl that's afraid of her dog until her dad buys a lion's mane from Amazon is on CONSTANTLY. Sometimes it is even on twice within the same commercial break. Do they have proof this commercial is increasing business. It is a really good ad, just on more than any others.


Rob: Interesting question. I’ve never heard of Nielsen offering ratings for TV commercials, but a Google check finds there was an attempt to do that back in 2006 and 2007 but it doesn’t look like it went over that well.


Q: I saw an announcement on Cozi TV (Channel 59 using a converter box and rabbit ears) that they will stop broadcasting on 10/25.

I looked online and couldn't find any additional info (other than the same info shown on the station website).

Have you heard/read anything about this? 

-Lin via e-mail

Rob: We reported earlier this year on the FCC spectrum auction that netted Over the Air Broadcasting $73 million for WEPA (Channel 59) and four other local low-power stations. 

In April OTA chief operating officer Carol LaFever said the company would continue to broadcast on its other local low-power stations, which also carry digital channels Cozi, Movies! and Retro TV. But that may no longer be the case.

Cozi, Movies and Retro will go off the air on stations that OTA Broadcasting surrendered in the spectrum auction: WEPA Channel 59, WNNB Channel 66 and WPCP Channel 56,” said Matthew Davis, station manager for OTA Broadcasting Pittsburgh. “The few remaining stations, which retransmit the programming from WEPA and WNNB, will immediately lose their signals and have no incoming content to retransmit. That affects stations Butler WJMB Channel 60, Charleroi WMVH Channel 26, Kittanning WKHU Channel 60, Uniontown WWKH Channel 35, Washington WWLM Channel 20 and Weirton WJPW Channel 18. 

“We continue to seek an alternative delivery platform and are in discussions for several options,” Davis continued, “but in a worst-case scenario, that being that we cannot craft a deal in the next few weeks, the remaining stations -- Butler WJMB Channel 60, Charleroi WMVH Channel 26, Kittanning WKHU Channel 60, Uniontown WWKH Channel 35, Washington WWLM Channel 20 and Weirton WJPW Channel 18 -- will have to file to go dark, hopefully temporarily, on Oct. 25, when the surrendered stations sign off.”


Q: I enjoy watching WPXI and PCNC. Why isn't PCNC available in high definition like all the other local channels? It seems odd that Channel 11 is in high def, but PCNC is not. I am a Comcast customer. Is it just me?


Rob: I tried to get WPXI general manager Ray Carter to answer this question with no success. My guess is WPXI has a deal with Comcast to carry WPXI in high def but no such deal for PCNC.

“Although we carry the vast majority of channels in HD, there are some that are only carried in SD, especially when much of their programming is duplicative with other content carried in HD,” said Comcast spokesman Bob Grove.


Q: Why is “Pittsburgh Today Live” not live on Fridays? 


Rob: Short answer: It usually is live Monday through Friday.

On rare occasions individual segments are pre-taped,” said KDKA-TV general manager Chris Pike. “This occurs when we have guests scheduled and the show gets pre-empted for breaking news like the recent hurricane coverage. Since the guests have made the effort to be here we usually try to tape their segments and run them in future shows, if at all possible, as opposed to asking them to return on a different day. Other exceptions might be major holidays like Christmas day. ’Pittsburgh Today Live’ does on occasion get pre-empted by other local programs and those are generally pre-taped.” 


Q: What’s with the Pittsburgh TV stations’ fascination with the Steelers? From the excitement at the arrivals at training camp, to the disappointment while cleaning out lockers in January, it’s All Steelers-All The Time. A car pileup on NASCAR? Nothing. Big win in the golf tournament — so what?

There’s a rumor that Pittsburgh has a baseball team, but I suspect more people have seen Bigfoot than have seen Pirates highlights on local TV. Now with hockey season coming up, we get the one-two punch and are treated to the excitement and speculation of the (meaningless) exhibition games. It’s a shame that I have to watch Youngstown sports coverage to find out what happened in the world of SPORTS, not the world of the Steelers.


Rob: Steelers coverage drives ratings on TV and page views on websites. That’s why the team gets such a high level of coverage. That’s where the interest is and the feeling is that if people want other sports news they will watch ESPN or read it online.


Q: Will Comcast pick up GET TV? They always show old an Christmas show when in season. 


Rob: Get TV is a digital network that once aired on a WPNT digital subchannel but no longer does. Comcast typically doesn’t pick up digital subchannels that are not associated with an over-the-air broadcast channel, so it seems unlikely they will carry Get TV.

But a search of the Get TV website  shows the channel is available locally but only on DISH Network at Channel 373.



Why do our local weather forecasters and anchor people become so "giddy" when we are going through a very warm, BUT very bad dry spell? This has been the case again during these past few weeks when we've had far above average temperatures for the fall and very dry conditions. I know we all like the sun and warm weather, but when the weather has been so dry for so long, this shouldn't be a time to cherish the weather.  This happens throughout the year when we have a period of warm, dry weather. Every once in a while, we need rain!!  Thank you!






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