TV Q&A: 'Madam Secretary,' 'Mindhunter' and 'reporting live'

Friday, 03 November 2017 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: What happened to Wednesday  TV?  I tuned to CBS last night to watch "SEAL Team" and it was a repeat.  At 10:00 , I started to watch "Chicago PD" on NBC and it was also a repeat.  Just out of curiosity, I checked CBS again for "Criminal Minds" and the network was airing another "SEAL Team" repeat.
Was something going on?  Was it because the World Series was being played?  It is far, far to early for series to go on the holiday hiatus.

-Paul, West Mifflin

Rob: Yes, both NBC and CBS changed their Wednesday night linesup to repeat to avoid using originals episodes against the World Series

But turns out it’s actually not too early for a holiday hiatus: NBC advertised Thursday’s “Chicago Fire” as a fall finale.


Q: After watching on Oct. 22, it seems apparent that Bebe Neuwirth is leaving “Madam Secretary.” Has she decided to move on to other things?

Rob: Yes. Around that time she tweeted, “So grateful to @CBS for accepting my request to depart @MadamSecretary and writing a beautiful exit for me.”

If I have to guess, I imagine she’ll return to her Broadway roots.


Q: I’m from McKeesport (class of ’71). Hope you can satisfy my curiosity. The front of the elementary school that is shown in episode No. 8 (at 36:37) sure looked familiar to me. I think it was Francis McClure Jr. High in White Oak, or maybe it was the front of the high school in McKeesport? I’d look myself but I live in Chicago.
Do you happen to know if it was either of these?

Rob: Thank goodness for Google. Comparing the school on “Mindhunter” to the fronts of the school David suggests, it doesn’t appear to be either of the ones David suggests. But maybe another reader will recognize the school in “Mindhunter” and be able to say what the actual location is:




Q: We record a couple of things on DVR to watch the next evening (we are old). I have the shows set up to record and they do, but frequently the recording ends before the show. “The Daily Show” recording frequently ends before “the moment of zen” and most recently the “Good Behavior” recording ended even before the show did! I have Verizon FiOS. Any suggestions?

Rob: Yes, follow Verizon’s directions for setting your DVR to record beyond the scheduled show time.


Q: While closed caption works fine for scripted shows on TV, live broadcasts are very different. Sports are a nightmare and live TV news can be hilarious. Every time one forecaster says “breezy” it comes out “greasy.” And the recent hurricane problems have been a circus for the closed caption people. Is closed caption a computer device or are real people doing the interpreting?


Rob: Closed captioning in newscasts can be done in real time by a human or they can be run off a script by a computer.


Q: Why do local TV reporters always say "Reporting live,” their name and 

then the channel? I know what channel I'm watching and I could care

less if they are live! If the anchor goes back to them several times, they

repeat the same stupid remark every time! Would it be too much to ask

them to act like network reporters who simply at the end of the segment

simply say back to you?   


Rob: What Andy describes has been a convention of local news for decades. I suppose they could change it, but I don’t see any harm in the contrivance.


Q: I am a regular viewer of the KDKA morning news but missed any announcement of Sarah Arbogast's departure. Do you know why she left?


Rob: As my colleague Maria Sciullo reported, Arbogast took another job. The North Versailles native now works as director of communications for Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport.



For the grandmother seeking suggestions for streaming services for her grandkids from New Zealand: She might consider using the free PBS streaming app. They post currently airing shows one day after they air on PBS, which usually remain available for a couple of weeks. If she contributes to PBS she could become a Passport member. "WQED Passport is a benefit for eligible members ($60+ annual)." That opens up a library of many shows, with full seasons available.  PBS: PassportVideos

Beyond that there are streaming services Acorn TV ($5/month) and BritBox ($7/month). Each features a number of shows from Britain, both old and new. Acorn also has content from Australia, Ireland, etc. 

Acorn TV – New & Featured | The best British TV streaming on demand, commercial free.

BritBox - Home

Of course, there are some shows on any of these that may not be appropriate for their age (including TV-MA content), so supervision would be necessary.







Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.