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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.