You have questions. I have some answers — but I'm giving Tyra Banks a break this week.
Q: Can you provide any more information about the cancellation of "Stumptown"? It was renewed, then suddenly canceled. All I can find is it was about scheduling issues. I enjoyed the show and thought the ratings were good.
Answer: Several shows that were expected back this season were canceled as a result of the pandemic, and this ABC series with Cobie Smulders was one of them. According to Lesley Goldberg of the Hollywood Reporter, the series was getting an overhaul for its second season, but that was not going as well as the network and studio had hoped. In addition, new episodes would not have been available until April, later than the network wanted, especially with a show as expensive as this one.
"All told ... a lack of creative steam, late delivery and high price tag were all factors that ultimately led to the drama's cancellation," Goldberg said.
Q: I have been a fan of the NBC series "Manifest" but have grown increasingly frustrated with the extended time lapse between each new "season." It almost seems that NBC is being intentionally negligent by keeping the show away for such long periods of time. I still do not know for sure if the show is returning. I have concluded that NBC is trying to kill it. Can you provide any update or reason for this situation?
Answer: First, "Manifest" will be back for a third season sometime after Jan. 1, 2021. And there is nothing unusual about the way it is scheduled. Its first season began in fall 2018 and went into early 2019. But, for a second season, NBC decided the show would be more useful as a midseason replacement and launched the second run in January. The third season probably would have been in January 2021 or later as well, but that became more certain as the pandemic caused production delays for shows all over television. (See "Stumptown," above, for another example.)
At the same time, many shows do relatively few episodes in a season compared to TV's past, so time between seasons can stretch longer. As I have said before, because of the variations in schedules we viewers need to be more diligent about tracking when shows arrive.
Q: Do you have any information why CBS decided to cancel "Man with a Plan"? I always thought it was a steady performer for the network. I still thought it was good and deserved another year.
Answer: Speaking again about scheduling, CBS apparently thought this show worked best as a late-spring addition to its schedule but found that the numbers did not add up. Even with high-profile star Matt LeBlanc, the show was far from the most popular comedy on the network and saw a significant decline in its young-adult audience in its most recent season, TVLine reported. The New York Daily News thought that "pricey production costs" were also a factor.
Q: Back in the day there was a strange show hosted by Ben Stein. Jimmy Kimmel was on the show, as was Colin Quinn and if memory serves, Adam Sandler. I don't recall if there was a musical regular. What was the show, when was it on, and is it available in the digital world?
Answer: As happens to most of us when we think about old TV, I suspect you are mixing two shows. One is "Win Ben Stein's Money," a game show he hosted on Comedy Central from 1997 to 2003. The show pitted Stein against regular contestants, and Jimmy Kimmel was the co-host for most of the series. As far as I can determine, Quinn and Sandler were not part of the show — but they did appear on "Remote Control," a game show hosted by Ken Ober, which aired on MTV in 1987-90 and in syndication for the last part of that time. Episodes of both shows are on YouTube.
Q: "The Donna Reed Show" in the late 1950s was a wholesome and enjoyable show. Her husband in the show was very good-looking. I had such a crush on him. What was his name and is he still alive?
Answer: Carl Betz played Dr. Alex Stone on the 1958-66 comedy. He followed that series with the title role in legal drama "Judd for the Defense" in 1967-69, winning an Emmy for his performance. Betz worked often in guest-starring roles on TV series in the following years. He died in 1978 of lung cancer.
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