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Q&A: Oct. 20

Question: Do you think Southland has a chance for resurrection?
Charles Hansen; also asked by Marc Sparlin

Answer: Southland, which was scheduled to join NBC's Friday night schedule on Oct. 23rd, instead was unceremoniously dumped by the Peacock. Six episodes are in the can, and TNT reportedly has expressed an interest in picking the cop series up. The show's exec producer, John Wells, also says there's a second suitor, which he won't name.

I'd give Southland at best a 50-50 shot at landing somewhere else. But the longer this drags out, the less favorable the odds. NBC
at least should have had the good grace to burn Southland off on its sister cable network, USA. But it probably wasn't considered "breezy" enough.

Question: I'm sure you've heard the expression that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. I watch Saturday Night Live every week expecting it to be funny. Am I insane?
Andy Yazbeck

Answer: Not entirely, Andy. Although I did like guest host Gerard Butler on last Saturday's edition. Thought he brought real vigor -- and acting chops -- to some of the hit-and-miss sketches. I also continue to like Seth Meyers on the Weekend Update segment. Some of the writing is still crisp and funny, as when Meyers deadpanned, "It was revealed this week that the cast of the upcoming Celebrity Apprentice will include Sharon Osbourne, Sinbad and Rod Blagojevich. I think we've finally reached the point in our society where 'celebrity' just means 'mammal.' " Anyway, hang in there.

Question: Why do you think Channel 8 news has found itself in the ratings dump? Can it solely be blamed on lead-in programs? Or is it better newscasts elsewhere?
Dan Navarro

Answer: Hmm, very good question. Sagging ratings for The Oprah Winfrey Show, which used to be dominant at 4 p.m., aren't helping the early evening newscasts. And ABC's 9 p.m. lead-in shows for the most part are being soundly beaten every weeknight by CBS. So the 10 p.m. newscast tends to struggle as a result, particularly since the new season started in late September.

Still, WFAA8 has done some of this to itself. It has a rotating trio of anchors at 5 p.m. after laying off Macie Jepson and seeing Jeff Brady head elsewhere. The 5 p.m. newscast also has been "lightened up" to the point where animals guest on a regular basis. Don't know if that's a particularly good idea. Also, WFAA8's early morning team of Cynthia Izaguirre and Chris Flanagan just doesn't seem to to be exciting anyone.

It also should be noted that the content of CBS11's 10 p.m. news is on a par with WFAA8's on many nights. And in the early mornings, both Fox4 and NBC5 have stronger personalities in place.

Heading into the four-week November ratings "sweeps," which start on Oct. 29th, WFAA8 can't be considered a heavy favorite in any of the four major news competitions. It's likely to run third in the early mornings and will have a real fight against Fox4 and NBC5 in the early evening hours. And the 10 p.m. battle right now looks like CBS11's to lose.

But we'll see. Don't underestimate WFAA8 when its back is against the wall. Which definitely is the case right now.