TV Q&A: 'The Rookie,' 'Sweet Magnolias' and a WTAE meteorologist

Thursday, 18 June 2020 12:00 AM Written by 

Q: We just completed viewing the first season of “Sweet Magnolias” on Netflix.  Do you have any idea when season two may be aired?


Rob: Unlike the last under-the-radar Netflix series, “Virgin River,” “Sweet Magnolias” is not a Canadian import but Netflix did little to promote it, never sending out a press release about its existence or screeners for review. But at least it has a page on the Netflix press site with a publicist attached. Still, if Netflix does renew it, who’s to say they’ll bother announcing it?

“Sweet Magnolias” does seem to have generated some social media buzz so maybe it will be back. Only Netflix’s algorithm knows for sure.

A Netflix publicist said there’s no word yet if the show will get a second season.



Q: Can you tell me if Netflix’s "Reckoning" will have another season?  We just finished watching, and there seemed to be quite a few things left hanging.  Thought it was a good series to watch while we're nesting.


Rob: This is another show Netflix bought and tossed on with little or no advance publicity, the latest in what is becoming a disappointing tradition – no premiere date announcement, no trailer release, no screeners, it just suddenly shows up. This one seems less likely to be renewed with some articles describing it as a miniseries that generally wraps up its story. “Reckoning” has no page on the Netflix media site.



Q: I’ve really enjoyed the two seasons of “The Rookie” but I’m wondering if they will address some of the current police controversy next season? Thoughts?


Rob: That would certainly make sense but after asking an ABC publicist to pass the question on to “Rookie” showrunner Alexi Hawley, the response was, “It is too early for anyone to speak to this just yet” even though I would think writers’ rooms should be in full swing.

Then a day or two later the head of ABC Entertainment, Karey Burke, addressed the question in an interview with, saying, “Alexi Hawley is a really thoughtful ally and partner and has been in the writers’ room for some time, already planning to address the current conversation going on around police work. I’m impressed with his thoughtfulness and leadership about hearing and adapting the current conversations to the storylines. It’s a diverse writers room and I’m hearing that the conversations going on in that room are inspired and give me hope that that show will address and not ignore the conversations around policing.”

If past is precedent, I expect “The Rookie” will address recent events in some way but as an ABC series I’m not convinced it will dwell on those events or thread such plots into episodes in an ongoing basis.



Q: Was PBS’s “Vienna Blood” a one-time, six-part series or is there more to come?


Rob: So far the show remains in limbo. A PBS representative said they hope to have a definitive answer on its fate “relatively soon.”



Q: When a program from the ‘50s or ‘60s is shown on TV today, do they edit the show to fit the time slot? Programs from 1960 were about 26 minutes in length, leaving 4 minutes for credits and commercials.  A one-hour show, then, would have been about 52 minutes in length, with eight minutes for ads.  “Perry Mason” on Channel 11.2 has about 13 minutes of ads/credits. It appears that some scenes when returning from a break are already in progress, and I see names of characters in the cast credits that I don’t remember seeing in the show.  What’s going on? 


Rob: Yes, older shows that initially had fewer commercials definitely see their running time cut down to fit today’s commercial load, about 18 minutes per hour. Now, on some channels, like the digital subchannel Dan cites, the commercial load may be a little smaller – by about five minutes going by the number Dan provides -- but the result is the same: Scenes get cut or truncated.



Q: I realize that soaps can't film ahead and stockpile. Why don't shows like Jimmy Kimmel do it? A nightly talk show could film two shows on a Tuesday and Thursday.


Rob: Actually soaps do film ahead and stockpile episodes, which is why NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” won’t run out of episodes for several more months. “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which exhausted its stockpile of episodes in late April, resumed production this week.

Late-night comedy shows don’t often stockpile episodes because they are based in part (during the monologue most often) on comedy related to current events.



Q: DirecTV dropped WPCW-TV, Pittsburgh CW, in October.  I assume this is a contract dispute.  Any chance it will come back?

Rob: Elk County is not part of the Pittsburgh DMA. Cable and satellite companies outside the Pittsburgh Designated Market Area are not required to carry WPCW. Elk County is served by a CW affiliate in Johnstown. DirecTV’s apparent decision to drop the channel was not part of a contract dispute.



Q: What has happened to Ashley Dougherty? I haven't seen her on WTAE-TV for several weeks. I have always enjoyed the way she presents the weather


Rob: She’s been working weekday mornings the past two months as usual. Maybe Ken is looking for her on the noon news, which she has not been doing as often since the pandemic began. To avoid overlapping shifts the midday meteorologist has been handling the noon news.



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