Q: Why are some series, like “Designated Survivor,” taking long breaks in the middle of their seasons?
— Peter Hart, Newport News, Virginia
A: That’s an excellent example to cite, since the Kiefer Sutherland-starring ABC drama is an example of a show that’s so serialized, its network wants to avoid repeating episodes to keep the narrative flow moving forward — even if that means the series being off the air for nearly three months. (It’s scheduled to return March 8.)
It’s also a way to store the remaining new episodes for a program’s season, which can be big ratings factors in the spring … particularly in the ratings-important “sweeps” month of May. Additionally, a new series gets the apparent advantage of occupying a proven show’s time slot for a while (and, the network hopes, inheriting the audience that’s used to tuning in then) during the other one’s hiatus.
Q: I’ve seen ads for “Chicago Justice” and some of the characters on the other “Chicago” shows. When does it actually premiere?
— Heather Schuyler, via email
A: The NBC drama’s official debut is set for March 5 — and yes, you have seen such “Justice” stars as Philip Winchester and Carl Weathers on the other Windy City-based series executive-produced by Dick Wolf.
One actor is going in the other direction, leaving one of the older shows to join the new one, since Jon Seda is departing “Chicago P.D.” to bring his Antonio Dawson character to “Chicago Justice” (a development that was set up in the fall “P.D.” stories).
Q: Is it actually the last season of “Bones” that’s getting started? Or are they just saying that to try to boost the ratings?
— Tom Parks, Providence, Rhode Island
A: No, it seems pretty definite the 12th season of the Fox mystery series that’s just begun is the last one. In fact, the episode subtitles are preceded by the phrase “The Final Chapter,” which hammers in the point.
One nice touch is that David Boreanaz — alias Booth on the show — has gotten to direct the final episode, which completed filming in December. He had called the shots on 10 previous stories, and it had to be special for Emily Deschanel and the other regular cast members for him to be guiding the series’ swan song.
Q: How many awards has Allison Janney won for “Mom”?
— Grace Taylor, Grand Junction, Colorado
A: The actress has done quite well in terms of honors for her portrayal of Bonnie on the seriocomic CBS show, winning two Emmy Awards, two Critics Choice Television Awards, a Gracie Allen Award, a Prism Award and three Online Film & Television Association Awards.
Janney has been able to add those to the trophies she’s received for a number of her other projects, certainly including “The West Wing” but also such other series as “Masters of Sex” and several movies … among them, “The Help,” “The Hours,” “Juno” and “Hairspray.”
Q: I enjoyed seeing Missy Peregrym on “Hawaii Five-0” recently. Will she play Danny’s sister on a regular basis?
— Pat Flanders, via email
A: As of this writing, that was a one-shot guest appearance, as the “Rookie Blue” alum told us at the time that CBS episode aired. However, a couple of factors suggest that Danny (Scott Caan) and his sibling could reunite again.
The airing drew very solid ratings, tying with that night’s “Blue Bloods,” which typically is the highest-rated Friday show on CBS (and on any network, for that matter). Also, it’s not unknown for “Five-0” to bring back “guest relatives” multiple ties, as demonstrated in the past by Taryn Manning as McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) sister and Carol Burnett as their aunt. Bottom line? Stay tuned.
Q: I saw “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on Turner Classic Movies recently. I know Sissy Spacek played Loretta Lynn, but who played Patsy Cline?
— Ruth Davis, Delaware, Ohio
A: That was Beverly D’Angelo, well-known for her role as Ellen Griswold, Clark’s (Chevy Chase) wife in the “Vacation” movie comedies. Lynn’s fellow country-music icon Cline would get her own screen biography a few years later, “Sweet Dreams” (1985), in which she was portrayed by Jessica Lange. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was produced by Bernard Schwartz, who also produced “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
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