You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: On NCIS, they did a story about Jimmy Palmer's wife dying. What did she die of? She was only in one or two episodes of "NCIS" and it seems strange that they would write her off the show.
Answer: Palmer’s wife, Breena (played by Michelle Pierce), died of COVID-19. It is implied in several places in the show, including when Palmer has trouble saying COVID-19 while talking about new bodies in the lab. And Brian Dietzen, who plays Palmer, confirmed it in an interview with ETOnline.com.
“The producers let me know that we want the advent of COVID to hit our team. And yet, we don't want to lose a team member,” Dietzen said. (Jack Sloane, played by Maria Bello, announced she was leaving in the same episode, but Bello's departure has been known about for some time. And as engaging as Sloane was, it's fair to say she was not part of the central team on the show.)
Getting back to Dietzen: “The prospect of having … the most optimistic team member lose someone, came to the table and they thought it would be a great storytelling mechanic — albeit very, very sad.”
And it will come up again on the show, Dietzen said.
“Moving forward, we're going to definitely see Jimmy Palmer process this more. And I've already certainly shot other episodes where he's had to have moments of reflection upon what's happened.”
Q: Anchorman Tom Llamas on ABC News said a recent broadcast was his last, without explanation. Do you know why he left?
Answer: Although it has not been officially announced at this writing, several reports say Llamas has taken a new job with NBC News. The New York Post said Llamas “is being lined up for a wide-ranging role across NBC News that involves work across the network’s news shows, streaming services and MSNBC.”
Q: On PBS’s “Washington Week,” host Robert Costa has not been on the show for several weeks, with guest-hosts substituting. Has Costa left “Washington Week in Review” or is this a temporary situation?
Answer: Costa, whose official title was moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week,” did his last broadcast on Jan. 1. He will focus instead on co-writing a book with Washington Post legend Bob Woodward; Costa is also a reporter for that newspaper.
Costa had been with the program for three years. In a statement, he said, “While stepping away to co-author a book isn’t easy, I do it with a deep sense of appreciation for (producing station) WETA and ‘Washington Week.’ This experience, from working with the wonderful crew on Friday night to engaging with the devoted audience, has lifted me as a reporter and been a joy.”
Q: They say “The Price is Right” is done at the Bob Barker theater. Does he own it?
Answer: No. It’s actually Studio 33 in the Television City complex where “Price” and other shows are made. It was named the “Bob Barker Studio” in 1998 to celebrate Barker’s long “Price” tenure, which at that time included more than 5,000 telecasts. (Barker ended up hosting the show from 1972-2007.)
Q: Could you please tell me when Newsmax signed on? I enjoy it.
Answer: Newsmax began as a multimedia company in 1998. Its Newsmax TV launched in 2014. Unabashedly conservative, it gained considerable attention and more viewers in 2020 after its presentation was more supportive of then-President Donald Trump than even Fox News.
Show searches: Following up on a recent question, a reader pointed out that the classic “Mary Tyler Moore Show” is also available on the Decades channel. You can find out more, including where to watch the channel, at decades.com.
Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or firstname.lastname@example.org.