TV Q&A: 'Seal Team,' 'NCIS: New Orleans' and 'Gilligan's Island'

Thursday, 13 February 2020 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: What happened to “60 Minutes”? We used to tune in for interesting and new programs. Now every week it seems to air old episodes from the past. The opening comments are, "we brought you this story on..." but there does not seem to be much updating so we end up watching the same material over again. The old material every week is going to result in lost viewers (if it hasn't already)


Rob: Pretty simple, really. “60 Minutes” was pre-empted for the Grammys and then aired what amounts to reruns opposite the Super Bowl and Oscars because why waste an original when you know viewership will be down due to the once-a-year competition from special events?

So it wasn’t “every week,” just three consecutive weeks. “60 Minutes” returns with new material this weekend.



Q: Please tell me where Netflix’s “Anne with an E” and “Virgin River” are filmed.  Such beautiful scenery for both series!


Rob: Oh, Canada!

“Anne” is shot on Prince Edward Island, in Toronto and in other Ontario locations

“Virgin River” films in Vancouver, British Columbia.



Q: Out of desperation one night we figured why not give “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” a try on Amazon’s Prime Video. Turned out that we really like it. But it contains two anachronisms. 

The time period is 1958-1960 but they use a whole bunch of songs from “Roar of the Greasepaint - Smell of the Crowd,” which was 1965. Which is not a biggie. But...I grew up in an Italian household in an Italian neighborhood...big families with mothers who lost it all...the...time. They would cuss. “Hell” and “dammit” were very large. But in all that time I never heard any of them use the s-word or f-word. But in “Maisel,” Midge and Susie use those words often. The show is period in the other respects but that language is not late 50's, especially from women. Has anybody involved with the show been asked about that?


Rob: “People I know” is anecdotal and doesn’t prove anything. Other people may behave differently, especially, perhaps, people who live in New York.

I have found no coverage of this but the rise in profanity makes some sense as the series has advanced to 1960 and the characters are now more frequently hanging out with mobsters and beatniks.



Q: Generally speaking, do midseason replacement shows on network television have a better or worse chance of getting picked up for a second season today vs. 20-30 years ago?  


Rob: Everything has a better chance of getting renewed today because the bar for what’s considered acceptable ratings has dropped so dramatically. crunched the numbers last year and found that it varied by year just how doomed midseason shows were with failure rates ranging from 72 percent of midseason shows getting canceled in the 2013-14 TV season to just 47 percent in 2014-15. 

How does this compare to fall? Again, it varies by the network and the year. While conventional wisdom says you put your best shows on in the fall, sometimes a show is different enough that it makes more sense to wait until midseason when network execs hope there might be less competition, although these days there’s competition all the time. My sense is fall shows on broadcast TV usually have a better shot at long-term success but that’s not rooted in data because I couldn't find any longintudinal data involving such a comparison.



Q: Did CBS cancel “Seal Team”?  I haven’t seen an episode since before Christmas.

Rob: Just an extended holiday hiatus. “Seal Team” returns with a two-hour episode Feb. 26.



Q: Why aren't people in beer commercials permitted to drink their beers, yet they are allowed in a show? 


Rob: Drinking in a beer ad is not banned by the government but networks have traditionally frowned on it. 


Q: Why is WGN America airing their original series, "Carter," on Mondays at midnight instead of prime-time? I have never even heard of premium cable networks putting one of their shows on that late.


Rob: I suspect “Carter” was moved after WGN America announced it’s dropping scripted programming in prime-time in favor of an all-news lineup this summer. Publicists for the show’s studio claimed not to have any information on the time slot change.

WGN America didn’t even send out a press release on the show’s Jan. 20th return – instead it was sent by the studio, which is not the way things usually work in TV publicity – so I suspect WGN America has written off “Carter” and all of its scripted shows due to its upcoming change in format.



Q: Are “Bluff City Law” and “NCIS: New Orleans” returning to their various stations?

Rob: “NCIS: New Orleans” returns in its new time period, 10 p.m. Sunday on CBS, this weekend. “Bluff City Law” won’t be back.



Q: I watch “Gilligan’s Island” reruns and I’m wondering if they ever got off the island. If so, I haven’t yet seen the episode where that happens.


Rob: OK, so, 41-year-old SPOILER ALERT: They never made it off the island in the 1964-67 series.

But they did escape in the made-for-TV reunion movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” (1978) but then wound up marooned there again! In “The Castaways on Gillligan’s Island” (1979) they escaped again and then returned to the island to open a resort, castaways no more.


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