TV Q&A: 'The Crown,' 'Hotel Impossible' and sleeveless local news anchors

Friday, 02 February 2018 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: A question about “The Crown”:  My wife and I really enjoy the series, but wonder frequently if the royal family has had any input in its production, or if not, have they received it favorably or unfavorably?

Rob: Princess Eugenie went on record as a fan. Supposedly Queen Elizabeth liked the first season, too. 

The royal family was not at all involved in the show’s production, but they were aware of it in advance.

At a July 2016 press conference I attended, “The Crown” writer Peter Morgan said: “They're very, very aware of it and are there through untraceable back channels -- countless approaches have been made. And in a way that protects both sides, I want my independence and I'm sure they want their independence. I don't want to be in any way affiliated with the palace. There is a sense that they are both very, very nervous and very, very excited. I think they don't like not having control, but I think they also understand that dealing with this subject matter with some degree of respect, you know, even objective scrutiny is a rare thing. These are people who are used to slander, cartoons, satire. These are not people who are used to being taken seriously. And whilst that might be a terrifying prospect, I think it is also the only worthwhile way of looking at our recent history.”

Q: Where can I find a full list of the prime-time network TV ratings from week to week? Google searches take me to supposed sources that turn out not to be. Just a simple text list from #1 to the bottom, current and season-long. Thanks.


Rob: offers the Top 25. But TVSeriesFinale seems to go deeper. also offers some interesting charts. TVaholics also offers Nielsen data.


Q: What happened to “Hotel Impossible”? There were a few episodes aired at the beginning of 2017 and a few in October if I remember correctly. Has it been canceled and they were burning off the remaining unaired episodes or will it return?

Rob: According to a Travel Channel spokesperson, “After nine seasons on Travel Channel, ‘Hotel Impossible’ is no longer in active production, but fans of Anthony Melchiorri can continue to watch him in encore airings of the series and in new episodes of ‘Extreme Hotels,’ which will premiere on Tuesday, January 30 from 9:00 a.m.-12 p.m.


Q: In the last two weeks I've noticed the KDKA women anchors and others in the newsroom are wearing long sleeves. In the past they've always worn sleeveless dresses and tops -- even a month ago when we were having frigid, subfreezing weather. Any idea why? Is it suddenly colder in the newsroom? Were they given a directive to do so? It just seems odd that they're all doing this.  


Rob: Given the near-obsession among some local TV news viewers over this scourge of our time (sarcasm heavily intended), I wouldn’t be surprised if local newswomen started dressing differently just to shut down the irrational rage on the part of some viewers. But in this case it seems to be more of a coincidence.

Our anchors and reporters make their own wardrobe decisions, but we do ask them to dress professionally and appropriately and if they wear something we don’t like I mention it,” said news director Anne Linaberger, who added there was no specific discussion about short sleeves in winter.


Q: What is the policy of TV stations regarding the blurring of automobile license plates during a possible crime? There was a road rage incident in Pittsburgh recently. From a phone video from a witness, one station blurred the suspect's license plate while another station showed the suspect's plate number. Channel 2 showed the license plate (perhaps by mistake) and Channel 11 blurred out the plate in news shows on Jan. 26 at 5 and 6 p.m.


Rob: Different stations took different approaches in this particular case.

“Here’s why we blurred it: The driver had not been arrested or charged with any crime,” explained WPXI news director Suzanne Nadell. “Since no one had been arrested, we didn’t really have any way of knowing if the driver was the owner of the car.”

KDKA-TV news director Anne Linaberger offered this response: “We evaluate each circumstance on a case by case basis to make sure we’re doing no harm. The shot was brief, we already knew that police had the plate number for their investigation, and members of the general public cannot legally ‘run’ a plate to find out someone’s identity. By the way, all the papers including the Post-Gazette posted a link to the raw video on their websites without blurring the plate number.”


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