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Q&A: April 20

Question: Do you have any idea of the name of the song played on the HBO 2007 season premieres commercial? It played prior to the first of the last nine episodes of The Sopranos, and I can't seem to locate it on their site. Any ideas?
Mike Mahurin

Answer: The song is "Over My Head" by The Fray. Thanks to Ning Zhou at HBO for verifying. Here's the band's video version:

Question: I know it's horribly shallow and silly, but I'm a fan of The Dresden Files on the Sci Fi Channel. Any word on whether or not they'll rerun the episodes already shot? Also, are they going to renew the show for a second season?
Janet Jacobs

Answer: The Dresden Files had its first season finale on April 15 after a 12-episode order. Sci Fi hasn't committed to a second season yet, and doesn't have a rerun schedule in place either. There is, however, a "Save Harry Dresden!" web campaign, so you might want to add your name.

Question: OK, "The Donald" is power, and his darling kiddos, Donnie Jr. and Ivanka, sit like statues doing their command performances for Daddy. So how much of this show do you think is really scripted?
Sharon Lowery

Answer: Technically, none of it. But there definitely are suggested storylines and talking points provided by the producers. Someone might tell Ivanka, "It'd be cool if you now told him he's barely a pimple on Daddy's behind." And then she'd do just that. The real scripting is in the editing, in which contestants and the Trumps can be molded for dramatic purposes. In the end, The Apprentice and most other reality series are merely a collection of sound bites and facial reactions assembled to fit pre-hatched plots. But some of the stuff is still spontaneous.

Question: When if ever will NBC show the remaining episodes of The Black Donnellys? I really enjoyed it and hate that NBC canceled it.
Marcus Osmon

Answer: For now, The Black Donnellys is continuing with on-line episodes on nbc.com. The Peacock says they'll be "premiering" weekly on Mondays at 8 central, 9 eastern. Chances for a second season are virtually nil.

Question: How are the ratings for the Sunday night sports shows in Dallas-Fort Worth?
Thomas Hoffman

Answer: Belo8's Dale Hansen has drawn the biggest audience on the past two Sundays, with CBS11's Babe Laufenberg running second. They're generally the two biggest draws. Their stations' 10 p.m. newscasts also get the best prime-time "lead-ins" from ABC and CBS.

Q&A: April 9

Question: Saw you on The Gordon Keith Show. I love Gordo and The Ticket, but that show is simply hideous. How long does he have?
Patrick R. Richer

Answer: Belo8 made an initial 12-episode commitment to Keith's show on Ch. 52, and sources at the corporation say he has been extended beyond that. I'd still urge people to give him a little time. The show has been very rough in spots, and needs some fixing. I think he realizes that.

Question: Dirt just recently ended its first season. I watched an early episode out of curiosity and got hooked. Given its uniqueness, I'm wondering what kind of ratings it got and if it will be back for a second season.
Kevin Dearing

Answer: Ratings were so-so for the FX series, which averaged 2.1 viewers per episode and has a considerable upfront cost in star Courteney Cox's salary alone. An FX spokesman says it's "on the bubble" for a pickup, with a decision likely to be made later this spring. So in a word, its chances are iffy at best.

Question: I greatly enjoy The Unit. How is it doing ratings-wise, and will it be back next season?
Jim McNeme

Answer: This is another show that likely is on the bubble. The Unit has a substantial audience fall-off from CBS' preceding NCIS and also ranks significantly lower with advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. So I wouldn't make a major wager on its renewal, but it certainly has a shot.

Question: I just saw that the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati will be released in a 3-disc DVD set. I remember a few episodes were released on VHS years ago, but the music had been changed to dodge copyright royalty fees. Would you know if this DVD set is the real deal? The songs are a huge part of the show, and any substitution would really screw it up.
Steve Cumming

Answer: The WKRP set is due to be released on April 24, but there will be some "substitution music" included because of the continued difficulty in attaining rights. Creator Hugh Wilson supposedly has been working to make this as painless as possible, but the "real" WKRP remains elusive.

Question: Could you please give us some detail on the ratings process? I remember when we were picked as a Nielsen family for a week and filled out diaries. I doubt it works that way now. Is something attached to every set in your home? How long do they monitor each family and how many do they pick?
Lisa Bellah

Answer: It's all done electronically now. The current sampling size in D-FW is about 565 homes. Nielsen is supposed to monitor every set in a given home, but it's still up to individuals to "sign in" when they turn on the set. Under the diary system, stations had to wait about a month after a sweeps period to get demographic information on what age groups were watching, how many men vs. women, etc. Since Feb. 2006, that's all been available on the day after.

Question: I have been a fan of 24 since Day 1, but quite honestly I'm getting tired of every season having something to do with nuclear bombs/explosions/meltdowns and Muslim/eastern European terrorists. Quite honestly I think they could do a season on U.S. militias, the KKK, homegrown religious cults or something along those lines. Do you know of an address where I could address a letter to the writers of 24?
Tracy L. Cobb

Answer: I don't have a direct address where it would be guaranteed to get there. But you could go to the Fox.com 24 message board and weigh in. I'm sure the creators of the series read it from time to time to see what diehard fans are liking and not liking.