Tuned In Journal http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com Sat, 29 Apr 2017 19:03:47 -0400 en-gb TV Q&A: 'Trial & Error,' '24: Legacy' and a KDKA-TV news anchor http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40806-tv-q-a-trial-error-24-legacy-and-a-kdka-tv-news-anchor http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40806-tv-q-a-trial-error-24-legacy-and-a-kdka-tv-news-anchor

Click here for a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by sending an email to rowen@post-gazette.com (include your first name and location) or submitting online at http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/questions/qaform.asp.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Trial & Error,” “24: Legacy” and a KDKA-TV news anchor. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: I'm thoroughly enjoying “Trial & Error.” Do you know how the ratings were for it and if they will renew it?
Also really liked “Sun Records.” Any chance there will be a season 2? Billy Gardell was excellent as Col. Tom Parker.

-- CHRIS, MCCANDLESS
Rob:
I liked “Trial & Error,” too. Its ratings were marginal, but the reviews were largely positive. NBC will announce its fall schedule May 14, so we’ll know for sure then. You can also now watch an online show about the death of Larry’s first wife, a prequel to the show’s first season. 

“Sun Records” remains in limbo

 

Q: Will “Trial & Error” be back for another season -- and if so -- will John Lithgow be back? I didn't like it at first -- but got into it. Really quirky.

-- JANET VIA FACEBOOK

Rob: In January executive producer Jeff Astrof said the plan would be to focus on a different crime – presumably the one mentioned at the end of the first-season finale -- so that would likely not involve Lithgow as a series regular. But his character could conceivably return because Larry wasn’t killed off.

 

Q: I just had a question concerning renewal of two shows: “Ice” on the Audience Network and “24: Legacy” on Fox. Any chance you might know the status of these shows?

-- RODNEY, PENN HILLS

Rob: We may not know for sure about “24” until Fox announces its 2017-18 schedule on May 15 but it seems likely to be back

It doesn’t appear AT&T’s Audience Network has made a decision on the future of “Ice.”

 

Q: Does WQED plan to broadcast the “Beatrix Potter with Patricia Routledge” documentary anytime? It has been on several public TV stations around the country since it was released in October 2016, but I haven’t seen it promoted here. 

-- ANN, MURRYSVILLE

Rob: This is an APT (American Public Television) syndication offering and WQED doesn’t subscribe to that syndication service, which comes at an extra charge. The documentary is not expected to air locally.

 

Q: Why do the news stations feel they need to exploit women with sleeveless dresses in the winter? KDKA does this the most. Susan Koeppen had a beach dress on when the outside temperature was at 10 degrees! The men are always in suits but having the women dress like its summer during the cold winter is exploiting women!
-- PAT, PENN HILLS

Rob: I’ve gotten a rash of these letters so either some viewer is apparently fond of pseudonyms or there are multiple viewers with too little else to worry about in life.

I suppose if these anchors were forced to be outside in the cold, the complaint would make sense. But the anchors are inside. On a set. Under studio lights. Not displaying goosebumps.

My understanding is Ms. Koeppen and others choose their own wardrobes, so it’s not possible for the station to exploit them if they are choosing their wardrobes. Also, where is the outrage about men wearing suits – outside, under the sun -- when it’s hot in the summer?

And finally, sleeveless dresses are a current trend, as KDKA-TV news director Anne Linaberger notes in response: “Sleeveless dresses are in fashion and a wardrobe choice of many television anchors, both local and network.”

 

Q: I am curious about some of the TV reporters on KDKA -- Marty Griffin, Jon Delano, Andy Sheehan. Their reports are very infrequent. Sometimes Andy

Sheehan only reports about once a month. Are they employed somewhere else and do subcontract work for KDKA? Do they specialize in specific subjects?

-- BERT, SCOTT

Rob: Mr. Griffin and Mr. Sheehan are investigators. Investigations take more time to produce reports because of the research involved, which might explain the perceived infrequency of their appearances. Also, Mr. Griffin hosts a radio show which probably eats into his availability to work on pieces for TV.

As for Mr. Delano, I’m not sure why Bert is not seeing him since the station’s full-time money and politics editor regularly appears daily in the 4, 5 and/or 6 p.m. newscasts and a look at the KDKA website turns up plenty of recent stories

Here’s the response from KDKA-TV news director Anne Linaberger: “All three are on the air regularly. In addition to general assignment reporting, there are areas where they have reporting specialties. They may have been on vacation or on special assignment the days that the viewer was watching. Thanks for watching!”

 

Q: Has Heather Abraham of KDKA-TV had her baby?

-- GLADYS, BALDWIN

Rob: Yes, pictures were posted on her Facebook page in March.  She’s due back to work in mid-June.



Q: I love "The Amazing Race." With a local contestant on the show (Michael Rado) will you have an article in the paper after the show is over so he can tell us about his adventures? Maybe we can submit some questions to see how things develop behind the scenes that we didn't see. I hope you can do this!

-- MARGIE, CECIL

Rob: My colleague Maria Sciullo has been following the “Race” teams with local ties, including Mr. Rado, in her Saturday Reality Check column. (http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio)

 

FEEDBACK

Just a comment regarding Wendy Bell: I had to STOP watching WTAE because of her diatribes (particularly regarding the turnpike response to the once-in-30-year blizzard, and believe me, I am no fan of the turnpike). I also am aware of quite a few other people who agree with me. Once WTAE got rid of Ms. Bell, I did return to watching the WTAE newscast

-- RICK, CRANBERRY

 

TUNED IN PODCAST

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Fri, 28 Apr 2017 23:59:01 -0400
Tuned In podcast: 'Fargo,' 'Feud,' '13 Reasons Why' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40804-tuned-in-podcast-fargo-feud-13-reasons-why http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40804-tuned-in-podcast-fargo-feud-13-reasons-why

 

tuned in podcast logo 

Post-Gazette online features editor Sharon Eberson and media writer Maria Sciullo join me to discuss "Fargo," "Feud" and "13 Reasons Why."

Find the podcast link after the jump. ...

Access the Tuned In podcast on the PG Soundcloud site  or below:

 

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:13:01 -0400
'Outsiders' season two finale http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40792-outsiders-season-two-finale http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40792-outsiders-season-two-finale

outsiders s2 finale

WGN America's filmed-in-Pittsburgh  "Outsiders" ended its second season, and probably the series, with a cliffhanger Tuesday night.

Read more, spoilers included, after the jump. ...

Although I did not love "Outsiders" from the pilot, the show did grow on me through its first season thanks in large part to the character of Sheriff Houghton, played magnificently by Thomas M. Wright. The Farrell stories were OK, but it was the humanity of the conflicted, trying-to-do-good sheriff that won me over.

I was super-annoyed with the start of season two and decision to kill off Asa (Joe Anderson) unceremoniously and murkily -- why, exactly, did the wolves who had followed him before, choose this time to kill Asa? -- after the show spent the entire first season developing that character. But as season two went on, I found myself more drawn into the drama than ever, especially with the evolution of the Haylie Grimes (Francie Swift) character.

Tuesday's swan song for the season/series ended with a failed Farrell raid, led by Big Foster (David Morse), and the deaths of several kin, leading to a Gwin (Gillian Alexy) toldja so and the attempted banishment of Big Foster, who tried to wrest control of the clan only to have Gwin pass leadership to Lil Foster who broke the ruling staff in half as Gwin appeared to go into labor and a melee broke out.

Hasil also got shot but his wounds seemed surviveable. The Farrells released a coal slurry flood on their Big Coal enemies after some supernatural encounters above a quarry that tied back to the savior notion introduced in the pilot. (And there was a cameo by WPXI news anchor David Johnson.)

Sheriff Houghton got suspended after Matt Meyers, who probably murdered Haylie, found Wade's fingerprints on a map, inplicating him in Lil Foster's escape from prison earlier in the season.

And that's probably the end of the show.

Maybe the series will get revived on another network but the more time passes before a savior network is announced, the better the odds are "Outsiders" is over and out.

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:37:01 -0400
Nat Geo scripted series explores Einstein's 'Genius' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40748-nat-geo-scripted-series-explores-einstein-s-genius http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40748-nat-geo-scripted-series-explores-einstein-s-genius

genius

Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in National Geographic Channel’s first purely scripted series, “Genius” (9 p.m. Tuesday). 

The 10-episode series, which has already been renewed for a second season, also features actor Johnny Flynn as young Einstein.

Read more after the jump. ...

Executive producer Gigi Pritzker said the initial plan had been to make a movie about Einstein based on Walter Isaacson’s biography.

It became very clear that that just wasn't doable, that the man had such an enormous scope of a life, not just over the amount of time, but also the things that he did,” she said. “The biggest thing that has been so well done … is to understand that he is not just about the math and the physics.”

Executive producer Ron Howard, who directed the series’ first hour, said he appreciated getting to know more about the famed scientist.

“It was very exciting to learn more about the complexity of the man because I'm like most people in that I sort of thought of the brilliant old guy sticking his tongue out and the theory of relativity and that was about it,” Mr. Howard said during a National Geographic Channel press conference at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January. “And what Walter Isaacson's book gives us, what Noah Pink's first draft of the opening episode gave us, and what we continued to develop with [producer] Ken Biller and the team offered so much dimension and so many surprises, and a kind of complexity not only in the character but the times in which he was living.”

This post originally appeared in the print edition of Sunday’s Post-Gazette.

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:01:01 -0400
TV Q&A: 'Outsiders' cancellation, 'hit' TV shows and a local news anchor pregnancy http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40788-tv-q-a-outsiders-cancellation-hit-tv-shows-and-a-local-news-anchor-pregnancy http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40788-tv-q-a-outsiders-cancellation-hit-tv-shows-and-a-local-news-anchor-pregnancy

Click here for a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by sending an email to rowen@post-gazette.com (include your first name and location) or submitting online at http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/questions/qaform.asp.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Outsiders,” “hit” shows and a local TV news anchor pregnancy. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: I just read in the PG that WGN America has canceled "Outsiders." They're nuts and I told them so in a "Contact Us " link. Maybe everyone who watches the series should contact them at WGNAmerica@tribunemedia.com and express their displeasure.

-- PAT, WEST MIFFLIN

Rob: I was shocked, too. As a rule, networks do not cancel their most-watched series in its second season.

Here’s my purely speculative analysis: WGN America would not have put out a press release one week earlier touting “Outsiders” as its most-watched show if WGN America executives planned to cancel it. I’m confident this was a decision made at WGN America parent company Tribune, which also killed a digital news site that was less than two weeks from its debut the day before canceling “Outsiders.”

There have been rumors that Tribune and Sinclair Broadcast Group may be looking to merge and if that’s the case, Tribune would probably look to sell off non-core assets, which includes WGN America, and in the meantime try to cut costs. Canceling a show that cost roughly $60 million to produce per season is a pretty efficient way to accomplish that.

Another reason this came as such a shock was that although “Outsiders” had not officially been renewed by WGN America, if network executives planned to kill the show, they would not have authorized the writers’ room to reopen in Los Angeles or the production office to reopen in Pittsburgh, both of which had happened.

There are already fan campaign efforts afoot to resurrect “Outsiders,” including #ShayMustStay, a reference to the show’s fictional Shay Mountain, and a Change.org petition encouraging Netflix, TNT, Hulu and, most intriguingly, CMT, to pick up the series.

While serialized shows are the bread-and-butter of Netflix, the streaming service has also shied away from picking up existing series in recent years unless they have a larger audience (“Longmire” averaged almost twice as many viewers in its last season on A&E as “Outsiders” gets currently on WGN America) or nostalgia factor (“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”).

And it probably doesn't help that ratings for this week's episode were down 18 percent among viewers compared to the week prior and 38 percent in the key demo. Whether that is related to viewers giving up knowing the show is canceled or due to competition is unclear.

Another hurdle facing an “Outsiders” revival is that they’d have to make a deal lickety-split given that production on season three was already gearing up. Actors’ deals expire at some point and the show is sitting on promised Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit program money that could go to other productions that actually intend to film locally.

Earlier this week, “Outsiders” star Gillian Alexy tweeted, “Last two eps are so hot networks be fighting it out Hasil style to have us! Don't loose hope peeps. #OutsidersWGN ” Whether networks actually are vying to pick up the series or if that tweet was just wishful thinking remains to be seen.

 

Q: If some shows are touted as being a "new hit series," how come, after only a few episodes, they're canceled (e.g.., "Time After Time")? Shouldn't a "hit" be a show people WANT to watch? Who, then, determines if a show's a "hit" or not, since it doesn't seem to be the audience?

-- PAUL, SOUTH FAYETTE

Rob: I never saw “Time After Time” called a hit series, but if it was, I’m sure it was ABC’s internal promotions that called it that. Anyone can call a show a hit, of course, but if it’s in a network promo, take it with a grain of salt. If you read an independent, trustworthy authority -- like your friendly TV critic -- calling a show a hit, then you can believe it.

 

Q: BBC America ran the first series of “The Musketeers” about two years ago.

The second and third series were not aired here. Would you know why? And could this show possibly return?

--SUSAN, PLUM

Rob: BBC America debuted season two of “The Musketeers” on Jan. 17, 2015. The third season debuted in May 2016 on Hulu, which has rights to the entire, three-season series.

 

Q: Early this morning I was watching USA network and at the end of a “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” repeat, USA did their usual credit crunch. I have never noticed this before, but the crunch box displaying the credits was so small that unless you had a large TV, there is no way you could even try to make out reading names.

Channels are making their credit crunch boxes smaller and smaller as well as different variations of airing them and even the breakneck speed of airing them. With the broadcast unions, I thought there were guidelines in place of what channels can do with the credit crunching? It's getting to the point of why even bother with credit crunching. Credit crunching sure has come a long way in 25 years.

-- JIM, BROOKVILLE

Rob: It is true that the major guilds have rules about the display of credits, but members of those guilds (writers, producers, directors) are usually in a TV show’s opening credits. There are probably not protections for other so-called “below the line” personnel such as set decorators, lead gaffer, etc., which is why networks can get away with crunched, light speed credits at the end of shows and movies on TV.

 

Q: Is the actress on the medicine ad called Trulicity the grown-up child actor who played the second daughter on “The Cosby Show”?
-- SUSANNA, HARMAR 

Rob: No, it is not Tempestt Bledsoe. The person in the Trulicity TV spot is actress Enga Davis

 

Q: Do the people of the TV shows like “Mountain Men,” “Last Alaskans,” “Alaska the last Frontier,” “Alaskan Bush People” and so on get paid for their shows.

-- CHUCK, WASHINGTON, PA.

Rob: I tried to get an official answer to this question and was met with silence after emailing a Discovery publicist.

A recent article in The Hollywood Reporter notes that paying subjects in docuseries is pretty standard. Odds are it’s not a lot, but generally they do get paid for the time they spend making the TV show to compensate for the time they are not spending earning a paycheck.

 

Q: How much longer do you think the Dish Network/WTAE standoff will last?  WTAE lost many viewers after they booted Wendy Bell. I would think they would try to hold on to what they have, not lose more. The few shows I do watch are online, so I catch them on delay -- no commercials! We are in the Pittsburgh market, otherwise, I could get the ABC station in Clarksburg. I'm from the 'Burgh so prefer WTAE where others down here would rather have the Clarksburg stations.

-- MARCIA, MORGANTOWN, W.VA.

Rob: This is not a local WTAE issue, but a fight between WTAE’s parent company, Hearst, and DISH Network. Hearst stations are off DISH in 26 cities.

Neither Hearst nor DISH Network has issued dueling press releases since mid-March. Maybe that means nothing has changed and they’re still not talking or maybe it portends something better.

I’m surprised the dispute has gone on this long. As this point, it’s hard to predict when it might end.

 

Q: Is Janelle Hall on WTAE pregnant?

-- JEANNE VIA TWITTER

Rob: Turns out, she is. Hall is eight months pregnant and due to give birth in May. 

 

Q: Is Kristin Emery (KDKA-TV weather lady) related to Stu Emery who used to be on WTAE years ago? Thank you!

-- NANCY, PITTSBURGH

Rob:I was asked this question a lot when I first moved home, but the answer is no, no relation to Stu Emery!” Kristin writes. “Being a Washington native, I also am frequently asked if I am related to Judge Katherine Emery and the answer there is also no.”

 

FEEDBACK

I've noticed that you receive many inquiries about where to find older TV series, either on streaming or on DVD. I just wanted to remind your readers that many seasons of TV series can be found at Carnegie Library and the associated Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA). One can set up an online account and search their vast online catalog for older series. There are no fees, and one would be surprised at what is available. It is a tremendous resource. 

I do not subscribe to premium cable channels and don't get Sundance, IFC or BBC, for instance, and am able to watch my favorite shows on DVD. You may have to wait a while for your turn to watch newer releases, but the wait can be lessened by reserving a copy early. This is preferable to paying a higher cable bill, which is already high enough!

-- FARA, BRENTWOOD

 

TUNED IN PODCAST

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:59:01 -0400
Tuned In podcast: 'Outsiders' cancellation, 'Girls' and 'Class' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40787-tuned-in-podcast-outsiders-cancellation-girls-and-class http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40787-tuned-in-podcast-outsiders-cancellation-girls-and-class
 

tuned in podcast logo 

Post-Gazette online features editor Sharon Eberson and media writer Maria Sciullo join me to discuss the cancellation of "Outsiders," the end of "Girls" and the debut of "Class."

Find the podcast link after the jump. ...

Access the Tuned In podcast on the PG Soundcloud site  or below:

 

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:40:01 -0400
'Bill Nye Saves the World' debuts on Netflix http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40785-bill-nye-saves-the-world-debuts-on-netflix http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40785-bill-nye-saves-the-world-debuts-on-netflix

BNSTW 103 Unit 00173 R

Who doesn't want to see Bill Nye succeed with another show? A whole generation grew up on the educational TV series "Bill Nye, the Science Guy" (1993-98), so you want to see him have another bite at the apple.

But, boy, does Netflix's "Bill Nye Saves the World," debuting on the streaming service Friday, disappoint.

Read more after the jump. ...

Instead of another kids show, "Bill Nye Saves the World" is styled like a talk show somewhat similar to the Neil deGrasse Tyson "Star Talk" on Nat Geo -- only on a bigger set.

But "Bill Nye Saves the World" looks like it's trying to be sophisticated but failing on an overbuilt set and with writing that flops more often then it hits the bullseye.

In the premier episode on climate change -- "You thought I was going to get a new TV show and not talk about climate change?" Nye says -- Nye delivers a monologue excoriating the U.S. fr not taking a lead on climate change, hosts a panel discussion on climate change that doesn't really go anywhere, does some experiments and allows towering contributor model Karlie Kloss to report a field piece that tries to make a point but isn't that entertaining.

And that's the things, "Bill Nye Saves the World" is just not that entertaining a show all-around. While the format is geared to adults, the content is too simple to be of interest to them. For kids who might try to watch, all the talking heads will be a bore. One wants to cheer Nye on but there's no way this particulr venture can live up to its title.

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:11:01 -0400
'NOVA' chronicles Holocaust tunnel discovery http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40747-nova-chronicles-holocaust-tunnel-discovery http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40747-nova-chronicles-holocaust-tunnel-discovery

holocaust escape tunnel

This week’s “NOVA,” “Holocaust Escape Tunnel” (9 p.m. Wednesday, WQED-TV), features an expedition to locate traces of the Jews of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. There an archeology team finds a hidden escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners of the Nazis during World War II.

Read more after the jump. ...

Cartographer Philip Reeder, dean and professor of the Bayer School of Natural Environmental Sciences at Duquesne University, was part of that June 2016 expedition that discovered the long-rumored tunnel. But finding it hadn’t been part of the initial plan.

“We were focusing on the uncovering of the Great Synagogue in Vilnius,” said producer/director Kirk Wolfinger. “We knew we were going to go to the killing fields of Ponar. We knew that the tunnel was rumored to have been there. As the film depicts, it was almost by accident, just doing a couple of tests, transects of the technology, that we found it.”

The tunnel, measuring 100 feet long, took prisoners 76 days to dig -- by hand.

Richard Freund, professor of Jewish history at the University of Hartford and leader of the expedition, said testimonies about the tunnel are plentiful but many of the eyewitnesses are aging and won’t be alive much longer.

“One of the things I tell my students ‑‑ and it's a very important part of listening to these people ‑‑ archeology is not about architecture or artifacts,” he said. “Archeology is about people.”

This post originally appeared in the print edition of Sunday’s Post-Gazette.

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:39:01 -0400
TV Q&A: 'Elementary,' 'The Good Witch,' 'The Expanse' and a WPXI alum http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40783-tv-q-a-elementary-the-good-witch-the-expanse-and-a-wpxi-alum http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40783-tv-q-a-elementary-the-good-witch-the-expanse-and-a-wpxi-alum

Click here for a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by sending an email to rowen@post-gazette.com (include your first name and location) or submitting online at http://old.post-gazette.com/tv/questions/qaform.asp.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Elementary,” “The Good Witch,” “The Expanse” and a WPXI alum. As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

Q: Did "Elementary" air at an odd time last night? A viewer says his DVR picked up a newscast instead of "Elementary." Will the episode be shown again if it did not air or air in its usual time slot locally? Please advise. Thanks.

-- PAUL VIA PHONE

Rob: Due to the runover of “The Masters,” “Elementary” did not air Sunday night. That “Elementary” episode will now air at 10 p.m. Sunday in place of “NCIS: LA.”

 

Q: Can you tell me if there will be other episodes of “The Good Witch” on Hallmark Channel? They left us in a lurch with the last one at Halloween.

-- SUZANNE, OAKMONT

Rob: A new season of “The Good Witch” debuts at 9 p.m. April 30 on Hallmark Channel.

 

Q: Am I nuts, or is it a recent development that FiOS is charging for TV episodes on demand that used to be free? This is rather infuriating, considering how much we are already paying them! Can you illuminate the situation for me? I checked out “Mom” today, and it is charging $2.99 per half-hour episode except for recent episodes. Used to be, when you pulled up a series On Demand, it would say “available till 4/12” let's say, and then it would just disappear. Now it's still there, but you have to pay to watch it. Do you know who is doing this? Is it the channels or the cable companies?

-- MARY, STANTON HEIGHTS

Rob: This is not a decision by the cable company. This is a decision by either the network or the studio (and in many cases those are one and the same).

Content has to be paid for and I’m not sure there’s much difference between an older episode disappearing or becoming something one has to pay for other than now it’s available (for a price) and before it wasn’t available at all.

Making these older, “library” episodes available on a pay-per-view basis is another way for the companies that make the shows to recoup their cost. The programs are still available for free during a window (the duration often varies by network/studio) after they first air. 

 

Q: Are all the weightless scenes in "The Expanse" CGI? On a recent episode they showed a ring spinning in weightlessness; pretty cool for a cable show. Was that CGI or green screen on the "vomit comet?"  

-- JOHN, NORTH HUNTINGDON TOWNSHIP

Rob: After being disappointed with the discombobulated start of season two, “The Expanse” has settled in nicely and is more streamlined and coherent.

“Expanse” visual effects supervisor Bob Munroe explained how the weightless scenes are achieved.

“The weightless scenes with actors are predominantly done with wire rigs (which are removed in VFX), but anything prop-like (guns, coffee bulbs, beer cans, etc.) are added in CG. We sometimes try practical items on wires, but they tend to wobble, so we often remove them and use CG items instead,” Munroe explained via email. “Any time the ring is in zero-G, it’s floating (or “felota” as known by Belters) and done by CG. When Alex is holding it, it’s real.”

 

Q: Will “American Ninja Warrior” ever be back on? They interrupted the finals for the political debate. The regular “America Ninja Warrior,” it was during the finals and then it never resumed, so we don't know who won. When I look on demand, it’s not there either. I believe the last listed show was in September.

-- PEGGY, GLENSHAW

Rob: Peggy is mistaken. The last round of “American Ninja Warrior” did air on Sept. 16, 2016. The new season begins at 8 p.m. June 12 with a one-time-only celebrity edition scheduled for 8 p.m. May 15.

 

Q: Do you have any idea when "Bloodline" will be back on Netflix as well as "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Also, has Bravo renewed "Imposters"?

-- SHEILA, NEW CASTLE

Rob: “Kimmy Schmidt” returns on Netflix on May 19. No premiere date for the third and final season of “Bloodline” has been announced.

Bravo has not yet announced the fate of “Imposters.”

 

Q: At your recommendation, I finally decided to give the show “American Crime” a look. While I find the story lines most intriguing, after a couple episodes, I find the show almost unwatchable because of how it is filmed. Almost every minute of the show is nothing but extreme close-ups of the actors’ faces. How many minutes of the great actor Benito Martinez's pockmarked face in my face in high definition can a person be expected to endure? If they don't start including more medium or long shots soon, I'm afraid I'll be tuning out.

-- BOB VIA EMAIL

Rob: The “American Crime” cinematography style doesn’t bother me. I think they are just trying to explore the show’s emotional terrain on the faces of the characters.

Q: I thought that Bill Phillips was going to Channel 9 in Steubenville -- but he is still doing sports at Channel 11. What's the word?

-- TOM, MT. LEBANON

Rob: Phillips was just filling in, according to WPXI news director Suzanne Nadell, and will continue to do so when the need arises.

“He started in Steubenville in January,” Nadell said. “We’re glad we have a good relationship so we can still work with him as needed, and our viewers can still see him.”

 

FEEDBACK

I was watching a rerun of a Perry Mason episode the other day. I had the sound on and also the subtitles engaged. 

A character named Dick Jones was in the script. The subtitle read XXXXJones. Another reference was made to cocktails. The subtitle read XXXXtails. Here's another one - the word conspicuous was used the subtitle read conxxxxuoulous.

The person in charge of posting the subtitles must either be a puritanical zealot or is hung up on being PC correct.

-- Dick, Bethel Park

 

TUNED IN PODCAST

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:59:01 -0400
Tuned In podcast: 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Amazing Race' http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40780-tuned-in-podcast-better-call-saul-the-amazing-race http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/tuned-in/item/40780-tuned-in-podcast-better-call-saul-the-amazing-race
 

tuned in podcast logo 

Post-Gazette media writer Maria Sciullo joins me to discuss "Better Call Saul" and "The Amazing Race."

Find the podcast link after the jump. ...

Access the Tuned In podcast on the PG Soundcloud site  or below:

 

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rowen@post-gazette.com (Rob Owen) Tuned In Journal Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:23:01 -0400