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.
Q: When will "Longmire" be back?
-- Jan, California
Rob: "Longmire" was renewed by A&E, but no date has been announced for the third season premiere; my guess is it will be sometime this summer.
Q: Will "Fashion Star" be back on NBC or anywhere else? When will the new season of "Project Runway" start?
-- Betty, 64, Bethel Park
Rob: No, "Fashion Star" will not be back. It was canceled in May after two low-rated seasons.
Lifetime is busy pushing Tim Gunn's new fashion show, "Under the Gunn," so it's likely that "Project Runway" won't be back until summer.
Q: On NBC's "The Voice," sometimes a judge will tell a team member that they made a few calls or called in a favor in order to be able to use a song on the show. Do the judges have to pick from songs owned by Universal? Or do they have a specific group of songs they are allowed to pick from, regardless of who owns the rights?
-- Scott, 36, Pittsburgh
Rob: An NBC publicist for "The Voice" said songs do not have to come from the Universal catalog. "The song selection is a joint decision made by the artist and their coach," she explained. "Some songs are clearable; some are not. So once coach/artist agree to a song, the clearance process begins and [final song selection] ultimately depends on clearance."
Clearance means the ability to get the rights to use a song at a cost that is within the show's budget.
Q: Why did they kill off Carter (Taraji P. Henson) on CBS's "Person of Interest"? Did her contract end or did she want out?
-- Loretta, 57, Pittsburgh
Rob: Neither, I suspect. Oftentimes characters are killed because the writers believe it best suits their story.
Ms. Henson talked to David Letterman right after her character's death. Per CBS, she told Mr. Letterman: She was aware when she "signed on to do the project that the character would have a beginning, a middle and an end," and that she knew it would happen, "but I just didn't know when." Mr. Letterman asked if she was able to tell anybody. Ms. Henson said she "felt like I've been hiding a secret, keeping a secret from my lover for years," but that she did tell her mom and "my grandmother, because you can't shock grandma like that. She might go into cardiac arrest."
Q: Can you tell me what happened to the new series "Ironside"? It was very good, and I'd like to see more of it.
-- Nancy, Maplewood, Minn.
Rob: Unless NBC decides to burn off unaired episodes at some point, viewers won't get to see more. NBC canceled its "Ironside" remake after just a few low-rated episodes last fall.
Q: Two questions:
1. On all news programs, the "clutter" at the bottom of the screen is now taking up about a quarter of the viewing area. It's ridiculous and frustrating because it blocks the view of stories. We can see the news story -- don't need a title attached to it. Why do you think the networks believe they need that?
2. Every day, on "Good Morning America," during the weather segment at approximately 7:15 a.m. or so, while Sam Champion (or Ginger Zee) is speaking, all of a sudden you can hear a skip and the word is repeated. What's the purpose of that?
-- Jennifer, 59, Bethel Park
Rob: I've noticed the clutter, too, and it seems to violate the idea that TV is a visual medium. To show video of some event and then cover up half of it with graphics is a little bit insane. I've been frustrated by this from time to time, too. I think stations just get carried away with themselves and lose sight of one of their main purposes: To show images that are in the news.
As for the weird skip in "GMA" during the weather, it's a glitch, according to WTAE chief engineer Dave Kasperek: "The viewer is noticing a minor glitch that occurs when we switch to our production control room just prior to local weather reports that always follow the GMA weather reports. It's a limitation of the digital technology common now."
Ask TV questions at post-gazette.com/tv under TV Q&A (scroll down to find link on right side of the page).