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Q&A: May 28

Question: I was gobsmacked when I read that Lost had been extended for three more years. I didn't know that the writers could hang in there for that long, although a fantasy is a fantasy is . . . and money is such a great motivator. Are you surprised the series was renewed for three more years? Maybe for you as a journalist there are no surprises.
Linda Lee

Answer: First off, "gobsmacked" is a four-star word, and you are to be commended. I thought that Lost would go maybe two more seasons before the creators and ABC put an end to it. Basically, that's what's happened, since ABC has ordered just 16 episodes for each of the last three seasons. A typical full season order is 22-24 episodes.

ABC now plans to start Lost in midseason and run it straight through, a la 24. Having been gobsmacked by the futuristic third season finale, I'm back on board.

Question: Do you know what happened to the syndication of Six Feet Under on Bravo? After about six episodes, poof!!!! It vanished from the Bravo schedule. I inquired on the Bravo web site, but to no avail.
Michael Buss

Answer: You've come to the right place. Bravo launched the full 63-episode run of Six Feet Under back on Oct. 2 of last year, with the finale, "Everyone's Waiting," airing on March 26th. Two-to-four "new" hours aired each week. Bravo then started repeating a handful of episodes before calling it quits on May 14th. So far there are no firm plans to do it all over again.

Question: Sons of Hollywood -- was it taken off the air? Will October Road be back next year?
Andy Clyce

Answer: Savaged by the few critics who bothered to review it, Sons of Hollywood had its full 12-episode run on A&E, but the final six were burned off on one night, April 29th. It's very unlikely to be back, but the first season DVD is due on July 31st. October Road for now isn't a part of ABC's recently announced fall schedule, but the network has picked it up as a midseason replacement.

Question: Is the really good show Raines canceled for good or do you think they'll bring it back? It did get good reviews, didn't it? I like Jeff Goldblum so much and thought he did such a good job.
Renee Riggs

Answer: Raines received mixed reviews, but more negative than positive ones. NBC definitely has canceled it, and it's very doubtful any one else will want a piece of it.

Question: As a big Law & Order: SVU fan, where in the world is the show going? The season finale left me wondering if they're doing a wholesale housecleaning for next year.
Barry Wolf

Answer: Dick Wolf, the show's creator, has never been reluctant to juggle casts with any of his three Law & Order shows. But SVU is now his only legitimate hit, so definitely expect mainstays Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay to be back. Meanwhile, the original Law & Order barely survived cancellation, but won't show up until midseason on Sundays. And Law & Order: Criminal Intent's new episodes will air first next season on the NBC Universal-owned USA cable network.

Question: I was wondering what your thoughts were on the "Save Jericho" campaign that has erupted since this show was canceled. In the last two days they have had 4,000 pounds of nuts sent to CBS headquarters in New York in reference to a line in the final show.
Phil English

Answer: I hope that food will go to people who can use it. Jericho is definitely a goner as far as CBS is concerned. ScI Fi Channel would seem to be the only other potential customer, but its owner, NBC Universal, is very unlikely to pick up a rival network's reject. So it's almost certainly the end of the world for a show that started with fairly strong ratings but then lost its momentum during a long midseason layoff. It just wasn't a good year for new serial dramas, with NBC's Heroes the only one to pack any real ratings punch.

Question: When a newscaster tells me they'll be back with more news in 30 seconds, do they think I'm more likely to stick around if it's a short time vs. the normal commercial break of 3-4 minutes? And what is CBS11 doing with its "First Five Minutes" thing. Like I give a (*&%#@) about that. That tells me that the rest of the newscast will suck, so go to another station.
Melvin Thomas

Answer: The first gambit is used nightly by NBC5, which loads its first 15-17 minutes with news and then loads up with commercials down the stretch. It's a fairly effective way to keep viewers from sampling the competition.

CBS11's "First Five Minutes" ploy was imported from his old Kansas City station by new news director Regent Ducas. He figures that viewers want some snap-pop "urgency" at the top of a newscast. It's supposedly a way to get people in the tent, but CBS11 fell farther behind at 10 p.m. in the just-concluded May "sweeps."

Q&A: May 3

Question: I can't believe I'm asking this, but just how did American Idol do the Elvis/Celine Dion duet with the dead? I've heard holograms. I've heard stunt doubles, etc. Enlightenment, please.
Chris Tucker

Answer: It was a combination of Celine singing "If I Can Dream" by herself, an Elvis stunt double and "rotoscoping" to fill in an image of the King from his 1968 NBC "Comeback" special. ABCNews.com has as good an explanation as anybody, and you can find it here.

Question: Where can I find a complete listing of the weekly Nielsen ratings? I've found the top 10 and top 20, but never the complete listing.
Scott A. Cole

Answer: Nielsen prohibits Web sites from printing the complete weekly list. That's why you won't even find it on the USA Today web site. My best advice is buy a copy of that paper on Wednesdays, where the complete weekly ratings are usually in the Life section. They're broken down by night, and are as comprehensive as you'll find anywhere.

Question: Do you have any news on the supposed launch of the Fox Business Channel? It has been rumored for some time, and last I heard it was to launch in mid-to-late 2007. Do you know anything?
Greg Duval

Answer: The latest projection is late in 2007. Bossman Roger Ailes says Fox Business Channel won't become a reality until it can launch with at least 30 million viewers capable of receiving it. They're still working on that.

Question: I know this show was borderline awful the first few episodes. But I've stuck with it (only because I've been able to view the show online) and been rewarded. It has gotten dramatically better as the storyline grows. Has your opinion changed on this show? And I've heard it looks good for a 2nd season. Is this true?

Answer: Must admit I haven't kept up with Jericho. Its chances for a second season look dim at best, though. It currently ranks 56th in total viewers, but just 77th with advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds. And those numbers have been downtrending since the series returned.

Question: One of the hottest females on the Fox News Channel lineup is Megyn Kelly, formerly Megan Kendall. Was this the result of divorce, marriage or what? Also, a little bio, please, and picture.
Jack Dowdell

Answer: Oh, all right. You'll find a picture below. And the name change is the result of a divorce. Kelly joined FNC in 2004 after working as a legal and general assignments reporter for ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. She used to be a corporate litigator and has a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, where she was editor of the Albany Law Review.