TV Q&A: 'Succession,' 'Doc Martin,' 'Roseanne' and TCM's move on Comcast

Thursday, 30 January 2020 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: Did you attend the Showtime event at the recent TV critics press tour? Wondering if you heard or saw anything about “The Good Lord Bird” miniseries. I worked all summer and fall on it in Richmond, Va. Amazing time and amazing show and performances from Ethan Hawke and the whole cast. Plus a few Pittsburgh folks, besides me, worked on it


Rob: Yes, Showtime previewed “The Good Lord Bird” at the Television Critics Association winter 2020 press tour earlier this month in Pasadena, Calif., holding a press conference with Hawke and actor Joshua Caleb Johnson and author/executive producer James McBride. Showtime also announced the miniseries has been moved from its February premiere date to later this year, exact date TBD. I haven’t seen a full episode yet but the clips look promising with Hawke giving an all-in performance as abolitionist John Brown.


Q: Do ratings drop when stars are removed from a show? Specifically did the “Today” show suffer without Matt Lauer, “Roseanne” without Roseanne, and Hallmark without their lead actresses?


Rob: When there are cast changes on a show – or a newscast – it tends to impact ratings at least temporarily. The question is always, how much and for how long?

“Today” did go through a ratings doldrums post-Lauer but then bounced back. “CBS This Morning” still hasn’t recovered from the dismissal of Charlie Rose.

Ratings for “The Conners” are lower than the initial “Roseanne” revival but even if “Roseanne” hadn’t been fired the ratings for that show would likely have fallen. And “The Conners” has settled into a comfortable ratings zone and has actually benefitted creatively from Roseanne’s departure.

As for Hallmark, Joy must be referring to “When Calls the Heart,” which was forced to drop Lori Loughlin from its cast when she got embroiled in a college admissions scandal. That was an aging series anyway but the show’s number of viewers rose in 2019. The season six finale was the most-watched episode in the show’s history and the series returns for a seventh season on Feb. 23.



Q: Where was Hallmark’s Channel’s “A Beautiful Place to Die: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery” filmed? Are all the Hallmark movies filmed in Canada?


Rob: Once upon a time Hallmark Channel did film pretty much all their movies in Canada. That’s no longer the case but Hallmark does still film many movies in Canada.

“A Beautiful Place to Die” shot in September in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.



Q: When will PBS show new seasons of “Doc Martin” and “Call the Midwife”? Presently WQED is on their third reruns of the most recent season


Rob: We listed “Midwife’s” March 29 return date in our midseason TV preview and I reported the ninth season of “Doc Martin” is now on streamer and won’t be available to PBS stations until January 2021. 



Q: Noticed recently popular movies like “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” show up on one cable network one day (AMC) and the next day or so on another (BBC or IFC).  Do networks not have exclusive rights to show these popular movies?


Rob: AMC, BBC America and IFC are all part of the same company, AMC Networks, so AMC can easily move the movies around from one network to another.



Q: Why is it on television anymore, be it a scripted TV show, a reality show, a documentary, etc., they make it a point to block out the license plates of vehicles that appear?  They never used to do this to my knowledge.


Rob: And identity theft didn’t used to be a big deal but now it is. I suspect the two go hand in hand.



Q: I know that “Succession” won’t begin filming its third season until sometime this spring; do they expect to start airing it in August like this past season or later in the year? And when is HBO going to start putting “Succession” merchandise in their network store? And get an official Twitter account? 

Rob: An HBO publicist said no decision on an airdate has been reached and she did not respond to Linda’s other questions.



Q: Brought to mind by your PCNC questions last week, why did Comcast move the one really good movie channel, TCM, to a more expensive tier?  Looking for an answer from them that is more than “because we can.” I’ve essentially gotten that answer already and with retirement looming am really pretty sure that this is the reason why I cut out cable for good.

Rob: We reported on this back in October and Comcast said, “We regularly evaluate our channel lineups and sometimes make changes to ensure we’re offering customers a variety of content, even as programming costs continue to increase significantly.Effective Oct. 10, Turner Classic Movies will move to the Sports Entertainment Package, a subscription-based service. As a result, customers who want to watch this channel can continue to do so if they subscribe to that package.”

Clearly this was a business decision. Businesses like to maximize profit. Moving TCM to a more expensive tier seems to fit that bill.




Why are the Channel 2 women anchors and meteorologists dressed seductively? Since they are professionals they should dress accordingly. If this is the case the men should dress accordingly. I started watching Channel 11.




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