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Q&A: Dec. 20

Question: I've been a fan of A&E's The First 48 since its inception. For my money it's one of the best shows on television. The detectives are oddly compelling, the editing is superb and it holds my attention from start to finish. I worry, however, that each show I see may be the last. Do you know anything about the show's ratings or its future?
Allan Koenig

Answer: The First 48, currently in its fourth season, already has been renewed for a fifth, says A&E. It begins on Jan. 11. And Season 6 already is in production, the network confirms. So there's nothing to worry about for at least another year.

Question: When will Close Encounters of the Third Kind with all the extras ever be released? Any word on if one of my favorite movies, The Seven Percent Solution, will ever be released on DVD? And is it me or is this one of the best seasons in a long time for ER? Wow, I am so hooked on this year's storyline and cast.
Bobby Sorrell

Answer: Remember now, Uncle Barky is but a mere TV critic, not a movie expert. However, here goes:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind currently has a two-disc edition out. So there should be some "Extras" beyond all the extras director Steven Spielberg hired for the 1977 film.

DVDs of Seven Percent Solution (1976) do exist, but they must not have made many of 'em. Prices for even a previously used copy start at $78.99 on amazon.com.

And ER indeed is having a resurgent year, both quality-wise and in the ratings, where it still wins with advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds despite being in its 13th season. NBC's previously announced plans to rest ER in January -- in favor of a new mob series The Black Donnellys -- have been rescinded. So the medical drama will stay put -- at 9 p.m. central time Thursdays -- for the rest of this season.