TV Q&A

'Dancing' stars who stay get better pay day


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Post-Gazette TV writer Rob Owen answers reader questions online every Friday in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Here's a selection of recent queries.

Q: Do the stars on "Dancing With the Stars" get paid for every week they survive on the show?

-- LOUIS, 81, MORNINGSIDE

Rob: Pretty much, yes. In 2010, The Hollywood Reporter offered a breakdown of the pay scale for the fall 2010 season of the show: "With a $345,000 pot up for grabs during the 10 weeks of airtime, the source said each star makes an initial $125,000 for signing, three weeks of rehearsal before the premiere and competing in the first two episodes, even if the cast member is cut after the first dance.

"The breakdown for the remaining weeks is $10,000 an episode for Weeks 3 and 4, $20,000 an episode for Weeks 5 and 6, $30,000 an episode for Weeks 7 and 8, and $50,000 an episode for the final two weeks."

Q: The DVDs of "Mad Men" seasons one through five arrived replete with classy packaging and special features, including detailed commentaries by the writers, actors and producer Matthew Weiner. Some sets offered two commentaries per episode. Not so with the season six DVDs. Aside from a few special features, commentaries are absent. Given the show's prestige and popularity of the commentaries, Lionsgate owes fans some sort of explanation.

-- RICH, 62, HEMPFIELD

Rob: It is curious because past DVD "Mad Men" releases were always more robust with special features, including commentaries.

The best I could get from a Lionsgate spokesperson was that "due to shooting schedules, the timing could not be worked out [to record commentaries] for this release."

Q: Will PBS's "Call the Midwife" and Bio's "The Ghost Inside My Child" and "The Unexplained" be returning or have they been canceled?

-- MARY-ANN, 50, PITTSBURGH

Rob: "Call the Midwife" will return for a new season on March 30.

"The Unexplained" won't be back and with Bio going away (it becomes a lifestyle channel called FYI sometime this year), "Ghost Inside My Child" will return for new episodes on Lifetime Movie Network.

Q: Is "Happy Endings" dead? There was some talk about USA or FX picking it up but I would think that with a year gap it is dead now. Was there ever a "finale"? I thought it was a good show with lots of promise.

-- MIKE, 40, PITTSBURGH

Rob: Sadly, "Happy Endings" did die without any sort of series finale. There was talk of a cable network picking it up but nothing ever came of that.

The stars of "Happy Endings" have moved on: Adam Pally is now on "The Mindy Project" and Damon Wayans Jr. is on "New Girl."

Q: With all the retro stations showing classic television shows now, I can't seem to find the older comedies like "NewsRadio," "Dave's World," "Murphy Brown" or "Night Court." Are they out there somewhere or is it a contractual reason why they aren't in reruns on TV?

-- MARGARET, WEST ST. PAUL, MINN.

Rob: A search of online TV listings (available at http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/) shows "NewsRadio" airing at various wee morning hours on Logo (3 a.m. and the like), "Night Court" is on Encore Classic at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. weekdays, and "Murphy Brown" is on Encore Classic at 5 and 7 p.m. weekdays. There are no listings for "Dave's World" popping up.

Usually shows air in syndication for a time and then get retired and then sometimes pop back up again. Last fall, none of these shows was airing; now they are.

Q: Why does Guy Fieri get so much television time? He is on two or three times a week all evening long. He has a cooking show, a show with Rachael Ray a game show. It's like he owns part of the network. What gives? He has more time than any other chef on TV.

-- MARY, 83, PITTSBURGH

Rob: He's a popular guy, at least in some circles. He's building his brand and it must be popular, otherwise Food Network wouldn't put him on the air so much.

Q: Is a movie going to be made for either Starz's "Boss" or HBO's "The Sopranos" to tie up loose ends?

-- TOM, 51, OCALA, FLA.

Rob: There was never going to be a "Sopranos" movie and with star James Gandolfini's death, there certainly won't be now. There was some talk of a "Boss" movie, but nothing came of it.


Ask TV questions at post-gazette.com/tv under TV Q&A (scroll down to find link on right side of the page).

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