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Q&A: Oct. 31

Question: I had a meltdown the other night when I saw CBS promoting the upcoming "Battle of the Century" -- the Pats vs. the Colts with a tease that the Houston-Raiders game may be regionally subbed for the New England-Indianapolis war. Promise me that will not happen in our market.
David Berk

Answer: CBS11 spokeswoman Lori Conrad promises you that will not happen. Pats-Colts will air at 3:15 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 4) in D-FW following the relatively meaningless San Diego-Minnesota tilt.

Question: What's up with Ebert & Roeper on Ch. 8? I set my TIVO to catch it every Saturday night, and inevitably it starts in the middle, or never runs at all due to some second-rate crime drama or infomercial. I want my movie previews. Any idea what's up with that?
Reenie Rousseau

Answer: Basically, the problem is with ABC's Saturday night college football runovers, which push everything back, says station spokesman Dave Muscari. Ebert & Roeper, which lately has featured Dallas' own Robert Wilonsky subbing for the still recovering Roger Ebert, is supposed to air at 12:30 a.m. following a repeat of The Gordon Keith Show. But that time rarely if ever holds up during football season. So it'd be best to give yourself some padding beyond the 12:30 a.m. start time.

Q&A: Oct. 30

Question: We have watched the Friday evening show Women's Murder Club. It seems horrible at first look, but we have not seen any ratings. Will it survive?
Tim Mooney

Answer: ABC's Women's Murder Club, starring Dallas native Angie Harmon and based on the string of James Patterson novels, so far is doing well in the overall Nielsen ratings. It currently ranks 35th among all prime-time series, averaging 10.1 million viewers per episode.

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, though, Murder Club sags to 75th place, narrowly trailing CBS' competing new series Moonlight and ranking just a few rungs ahead of NBC's exemplary Friday Night Lights. ABC is in no hurry to drop the series, but eventually will do so if it continues to "skew old." It's a great example of the tyranny of the demographic.

Question: Good Morning America is running promos on MSNBC that it's adding a third hour. What if anything does this mean for the future of Good Morning Texas (locally produced by Belo8)? What's the scoop?

Answer: For now, don't worry. The extra hour of GMA, launched in September, airs only on ABC News NOW, the network's broadband, mobile and cable network. It's anchored by Chris Cuomo and is available on some North Texas cable systems, including Verizon Fios and Charter.

Question: I was watching Curb Your Enthusiasm a few weeks ago. Larry was speaking with a bartender hired for a party at Ted Danson's house. The bartender looked a lot like Tom Cruise. He even had some of the same mannerisms. I know Cruise has a cousin in the business and uses him in some of his movies, and this wasn't him. Does Cruise have a brother in the business? The resemblance was uncanny.
Ed Coffey

Answer: Hmm. I can't find any evidence that Cruise has a brother, but he does have three sisters. The cousin you refer to, William Mapother, has played a prominent member of "The Others" on Lost and also guested this season on the first episode of the new Fox series K-Ville. Cruise's full name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.

Question: Will Battlestar Galactica on Sci Fi rerun episodes and/or show new episodes? Where can I catch up with the latest episodes?
Michael Buss

Answer: The fourth and concluding season of Battlestar Galactica is due in April of next year. However, a new, two hour "extended episode," Battlestar Galactica: Razor will be shown on big screens in select cities on Nov. 12 before making its Sci Fi Channel debut on Nov. 24th. Dallas is one of those cities, and you can go here for more information on tickets, theaters and times.

Hulu.com, a new Web site jointly run by NBC Universal and Fox, soon will be providing past episodes of Battlestar Galactica and many other series. You can register now. Repeats of Battlestar Galactica episodes currently aren't running on the old school tube, but you should be able to find used DVD collections on amazon.com, etc.

Q&A: Oct. 11

Question: When will Dancing with the Stars' Seasons 1-4 be available on DVD?

Answer: So far there's no announcement on that. But you could bide your time with Dancing with the Stars -- Cardio Dance or Dance with Len Goodman, featuring the show's veteran persnickety judge. Both are available on DVD.

Question: Can you inform me when The Amazing Race will return?

Answer: CBS has ordered a 12th edition for sometime later this season. There's no air date or night yet. Amazing Race recently won its fifth consecutive Emmy as prime-time's best "Reality-Competition" series. It hasn't lost since the category was created. (Note: CBS since has announced that Amazing Race will return on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. (central), in place of the canceled Viva Laughlin).

Question: I heard some scuttle that Journeyman was going to be canceled pretty quick by NBC. I like the show and was wondering if it's going to make a full run.
Jason Hutto

Answer: Ratings haven't been great so far, but NBC has ordered additional scripts. Looking into the future, I doubt that Journeyman will be a long distance runner. But it should be good to go at least through the November "sweeps" unless ratings really start plummeting. NBC's press site so far has episodes scheduled through Nov. 5.

Question: How much wiggle room do you think Bionic Woman has. I saw your note that the ratings had dipped. I'm a fan, mainly because I enjoy looking at Michelle Ryan.
Derrick Dennis

Answer: Although ratings have calmed down, Bionic Woman is still NBC's most-watched new series. As with Journeyman, the Peacock has ordered additional scripts. It's probably the best bet to go a full season among the network's four newcomers.

Question: I complete agree with your review of (NBC's) Life. I think it's the best show of the new season. What's your take on these shows -- Dirty Sexy Money (ABC), K-Ville (Fox), Big Shots (ABC) -- and whether they'll make it?
Jason Mathis

Answer: I didn't think much of K-Ville, although the second episode was better than the first. I doubt it will last past midseason. It's in a no-win time slot on Mondays against Dancing with the Stars, Heroes and Two and a Half Men.

Dirty Sexy Money is well-acted, fun to watch and likely to get a full season run with decent ratings so far opposite CSI: NY.

Didn't like Big Shots, although it does have some OK moments. It's definitely a long shot to make it for a full season.

Q&A: Oct. 8

Question: I heard a lot of hoopla that Jericho was being picked back up, but I haven't seen when. Do you have any idea when it will be back?
Ken Pittman

Answer: CBS has ordered seven new episodes of Jericho, and they're scheduled to run sometime in midseason. The network still hasn't announced a date, night or time, but January likely would be the earliest relaunch.

Question: What's happening with NBC5 news? On a recent 10 p.m. broadcast, they had a lead-in to a "heartwarming" story of a young girl, but the clip was for another story. Graphics are late, misplaced and the audio is up and down. It seems like it all started right about the time they got their new set. It's really getting bad. It's like the wheels are falling off, and I noticed the reporters and anchors seem a little annoyed with it, too.
Shannon Richardson

Answer: NBC5's Sept. 7th conversion to high-definition ranks as one of the clumsiest in the country. And unlike HD rivals Belo8 and CBS11, none of the Peacock's field reports are convertible to the HD format. Ergo, the shimmering blue curtains on the side instead of a full wide shot. It's at the point where the station may be turning viewers away rather than attracting them with supposedly sharper pictures. Any "How Not To" manuals on HD could begin and end with NBC5. Audio and various other technical problems persist a month after the switch.

Question: What is Fox4 saying about when they'll catchup with the (HD) times? Does (news director) Maria Barrs give you the typical company line?

Answer: Actually, Fox4 general manager Kathy Saunders gave me the typical company line, although with a smile on her face. Asked about when Fox4 will join NBC5, Belo8 and CBS11 in the HD firmament, she said, "When we do it, we'll do it right." Read between the lines and you can't miss the slap at NBC5.

Question: 30 Rock is beyond wonderful. However, I usually watch it on NBC.com. Does the network measure viewers from the Web site, and will that ever be any factor in assessing the ratings?
Mickey Champione

Answer: NBC definitely measures how many people are watching 30 Rock on the network's Web site. Those audiences aren't reflected yet in the weekly Nielsen ratings, but it seems inevitable that someday they will be.

Meanwhile, major traffic on a Web site in fact can save a show. ABC initially canceled the summer series Nation Bingo Night before belatedly deducing that millions of viewers were downloading bingo cards via ABC.com. Happy with that particular traffic jam, the network reprieved Bingo and plans to air at least five more hours of it sometime later this season.