By Jay Bobbin


Q: When will “The Blacklist” be returning to NBC? And when will “Elementary” be returning to CBS?

— Roger Raymond Fisher, Washington, Pennsylvania

A: The “Blacklist” question has a more definitive answer. James Spader and Megan Boone will start Season 6 of their suspense series over two nights, Jan. 3 and 4, and the show will be seen regularly on Fridays thereafter.

“Elementary” is a bit trickier to pinpoint, not only since CBS hadn’t yet announced a start date for Season 7 as of this writing, but also because that could be anytime between now and summer. This year, the Sherlock Holmes reimagining didn’t return until late April, and some people took that as a sign that the show might be ending. Instead, it will be back, and it may well be used again to help its network achieve the aim of offering fresh programming year-round.

Q: It looked (and was said to be) so cold for this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, how did Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb stay out there for several hours and get the job done?

— Cindy Wells, via email

A: They’re trained professionals. That may sound like a quip, but even though NBC’s weekday “Today” co-anchors often get to stay in their comfortable studio, they’ve worked in all sorts of conditions. That November morning in New York wasn’t the only time they had to perform in the cold … though, admittedly, that was pretty extreme cold by the standards of that date.

Also, the forecast gave the special’s crew ample warning of what to expect, so you can be sure Guthrie and Kotb had as many heaters as their broadcasting platform could permit safely. Still, for as good a time as they appeared to have (with it being the first time Kotb covered the event), they had to have been quite happy to get inside to genuine warmth once the parade had passed them by.

Q: I saw a lot of shows advertise “fall finale” episodes. Why do so many of them take breaks from new episodes during the holidays?

— Jack Klein, Port Orange, Florida

A: With seasonal matters such as holiday shopping and holiday parties, the networks know they’ll have more than usual to compete with for viewers’ attention, so they largely opt to go with repeats or temporary replacement programming (such as ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” which has come in handy for several years).

Also, drama series in particular can be serialized, so networks don’t want to risk running new episodes that many viewers might miss because of holiday-season activities. That has the added benefit for networks of letting them keep more fresh episodes to run between January and the end of the respective shows’ seasons in the spring.

Q: I read somewhere that “A Christmas Story” is 35 years old this year. How old is the actor who played Ralphie?

— Kate Best, Columbus, Ohio

A: Peter Billingsley is now 47, and he’s now primarily a producer-director. He told us several years ago that his classic yuletide movie often is on during gatherings of his family at the holidays. (The younger relatives, per him, either don’t realize that he’s Ralphie or don’t let that take them out of seeing the younger him as the principal character in the film.) Of course, TBS and TNT again will have their traditional 24-hour marathon of the picture on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Q: As I watch “Hawaii Five-0” now, I miss Grace Park as Kono. What is she doing these days?

— Ben Douglas, via email

A: She now co-stars in ABC’s “A Million Little Things” as Katherine, a Boston lawyer struggling with trying to balance her responsibilities at work and at home. That places both her and Daniel Dae Kim — who left “Five-0” at the same time — on ABC now, since he’s an executive producer of “The Good Doctor.”

Park hasn’t been very specific about the reasons she departed from the Hawaii police drama, though a contract-renegotiation snafu was cited generally at first. She has alluded to “a number of factors” and “what was best for my integrity” in comments she has made since.