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Q&A: Dec. 5

Question: Why do you use Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11, but not ABC8? Does this have something to do with your feeling about Belo?
Kristine Hughes

Answer: The first three stations all are owned from afar by those respective networks. And that's the way they identify themselves both on the air and on their web sites. Channel 8, on the other hand, is an ABC affiliate station, but is owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp. So it's Belo8, for uniformity's sake. I admit it may sound a little snippy, but those are the breaks. I'm sure that Belo considers itself a proud owner of both Channel 8 and The Dallas Morning News.

Question: Did you see Studio 60 Monday night? A group of New Orleans jazz musicians performed an amazing arrangement of "O Holy Night," and I'm trying to figure out if there's a recording of it out there . . . Do you have ways to find out whether this song is available?
Douglas Barricklow

Answer: I did see the episode and share your enthusiasm. NBC supposedly will be making the song available for a free itunes download. In the meantime, you can see and hear it again here. The featured musicians, all of whom have benefited from Tipitina's Foundation to save New Orleans music, are: Troy Andrews, trumpet; Kirk Joseph, sousaphone; Roderick Paulin, saxophone; Stephen Walker, trombone; Mervin "Kid Merv" Campbell, trumpet; and Bob French, drums.

Question: I love your new website and have recommended it to a couple of friend already. Congrats! Anyway, I am interested in knowing if you are still watching Studio 60. And if so what are your thoughts on the evolution of the show? I thought the first few episodes were very smart, but moved a little too slowly. The last few weeks, however, it has really picked up and I feel more invested in what's happening. Any word on the ratings? And do you still like it, or do I have absolutely no taste when it comes to television programming?
Meggan C. Burchfield

Answer: Hey, thanks for the very kind words. Episodes such as Monday's Christmas show demonstrate what Studio 60 can be at its best. Aaron Sorkin's rat-a-tat patter is still more than a bit too pat for me at times. Too much sausage-making, too. But he's aspiring to do something very different here. And when Studio 60 is very good, it's far more than that. It's great.
Sorkin lately is trying to open things up, no doubt at NBC's urging. Romances and other intrigues are fighting for center stage along with whatever material makes it on Studio 60's weekly show within a show. And the acting is uniformly terrific, with Matt Perry and Sarah Paulson in particular looking like locks for Emmy nominations.
Ratings remain problematic, but NBC so far is showing admirable patience. Right now Studio 60 is probably a long shot to return for a second season. But I'm still pulling for it and still watching.