Pop culture Q&A

By Rich Heldenfels

McClatchy Newspapers

Q. What happened to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?” At first my family thought the “replacement” show was just temporary but it’s been several weeks now. What’s up with Ty and the gang?

A. As has been noted here before, the broadcast network television season runs more than 40 weeks, from September into May, and most of those networks’ shows make around 22 episodes. As a result, the broadcasters either have to air a lot of reruns or fill time slots with substitute programs. “Secret Millionaire” has been filling the “Home Edition” time slot since March 6 and had its season finale April 10. “Home Edition” will return with new episodes tonight. Both those moves were announced before “Secret Millionaire” even premiered on ABC.

Q. Do you know who plays Howard’s overly open, dare I say, loud-mouthed, yet unseen mother on the CBS show “Big Bang Theory?”

A. That’s Carol Ann Susi, an actress who has a lot of TV credits where she is also seen. You may recall her — or her voice — from “The Boyfriend,” a 1992 episode of “Seinfeld” where she plays a woman George Costanza dates unsuccessfully. (The episode, by the way, is the first hourlong “Seinfeld” and also features baseball star Keith Hernandez.)

Q. I love to watch “Mad Men” and “Dexter” but have no idea when the next season of each starts. Do you know?

A. Here’s what I know: “Dexter” goes into production of its sixth season in June and it looks as if it will be back on the air in the fall. And “Mad Men” will be back in 2012.

Production on “Mad Men” was delayed while a new deal was worked out with series creator Matthew Weiner. Negotiations reportedly involved not only his compensation but other issues including how long the episodes would run (in other words, how many commercials AMC could squeeze in) and whether the cast could be trimmed.

The cast will be intact, apparently. The running time may vary; Hitfix.com reports that Weiner will have an option of delivering a somewhat shorter episode for telecast and a longer cut of the same episode for showing on other platforms, such as iTunes and maybe On Demand. The good news for fans is that the new deal calls for three more seasons.

Q. What happened to “The Starter Wife” starring Debra Messing?

A. The comedy-drama originally aired as a miniseries in 2007, and did so well it was picked up for a regular-series run the following year. The regular run lasted just one season. Both the miniseries and the regular series have been released on DVD.

Q. When I was a little girl in the ’60s, there was a movie made for TV called “The Chiefs” (I think). It was set in a small town and was about the 30 or more years of the police chiefs in this town. The plot was how the chiefs worked on a case of victims murdered over the years. I was wondering if the movie is still available to see.

A. I think you are remembering “Chiefs,” a TV miniseries based on a Stuart Woods novel, starring Charlton Heston, Keith Carradine and others. It first aired in 1983, although part of it was set in the ’60s. It was released on VHS in edited form, and I’ve seen those for sale, including on Amazon.com. I don’t know of an authorized American release on DVD. I have seen an imported version for sale but its format may not be compatible with your DVD player, nor can I vouch for the quality.

Do you have a question or comment about movies, TV and other popular culture? Write to rheldenfelsthebeaconjournal.com or the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, Ohio 44309. Please mark the note for Mailbag and do not phone in questions. Letters may be edited. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

2011, Akron Beacon Journal

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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