TV Q&A: Waiting for more classic Phil Silvers


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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: Is there any information on a DVD release of "The Phil Silvers Show" season two? I have not been able to find anything at Tvshowsondvd.com. I hope a season two will be released. That show is one of the funniest sitcoms of all time and certainly ranks as a classic, with great writing and a great cast.

-- Scott, Bellevue

Rob: Scott looked at the correct site for DVD information but according to a publicist for CBS/Paramount Home Video, there is no information available. That could mean it is not ready to announce plans or it could mean the first season didn't sell enough and there are no plans for subsequent releases.

 

Q: Maybe you mentioned it in one of your articles that I may have missed. What happened to Peggy Finnegan? I've been watching Channel 11 recently, and there are two other female anchors substituting for her with David Johnson.

-- Jon, Lower Burrell

Rob: The confusion is understandable. Finnegan's bio at WPXI.com still lists her as anchoring at 5 and 6 p.m. and doesn't mention the noon news, which she has anchored since April 2011.

When Channel 11 hired Lisa Sylvester last fall, she was put in the 6 p.m. slot after the noon news expanded to an hour.

"With the noon expanding to an hour, we gave Peggy a half-hour off on the back of the early evening," explained WPXI news director Mike Oliveira. "So Peggy does the hour at noon and 5 p.m. Lisa handles the 6, 10 and 11."

Of course, moving anchors to noon is also often the first step in phasing out an anchor -- by making room in more prominent time periods for someone new -- something Pittsburgh viewers have seen happen before.

 

Q: Recently on Comcast cable I noticed a disturbing change on the banner and station logo position. The station logos on all channels have moved more to the middle of the screen as compared to the bottom corner. The banners are now elevated from the bottom of the screen. This is very annoying and decreases the actual picture. This new configuration is more prominent on all local news broadcasts. Comcast cannot give me any satisfactory answers. Is this change permanent? Who do I complain to? I think FiOS also has the same format. If you could get some answers for me I will be forever in your debt because it almost makes TV unwatchable. This new format is throughout the area.

-- David, Baldwin

Rob: Comcast spokesman Bob Grove said the cable systems have made no changes in delivery of local programming. This is originating at the local stations. And it seems pretty clear why: Watch the same program on an HD set and on an SD set. On SD, you'll see the logo is only half on screen; my guess is if they didn't move the logo closer to center on HD, you wouldn't see it at all in HD.

I asked WTAE director of engineering Dave Kasperek about this, and he had a similar take: "Ever since the introduction of 16x9 TVs, program producers have had to carefully compose graphics and camera shots to respect 'safe title area' of all the legacy 4x3 TVs still in use while creating a compatible pleasing 16x9 image. Think about it -- we don't know what a given viewer is watching on so we have to compose for two dissimilar display devices. The end result by definition is a compromise and clearly some viewers will take note. When you see graphics cut off at the edges of a 4x3 TV, the safe title area was not considered carefully enough or that TV is really out of standard."

 

Q: I thought the FCC had in place a rule involving the volume of commercials (supposed to be same as show playing). That doesn't seem to be happening.

Frederick, Franklin Park

Rob: The CALM Act went into effect in 2012.

For viewers who remain unsatisfied or skeptical of local stations' efforts, The FCC outlines how to complain about the CALM Act on its website: www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/loud-commercials.

There's also a link to file complaints there: www.fcc.gov/complaints.

 

Q: I'm wondering if any word has come out of AMC in regards to a second season of "Low Winter Sun." I really enjoyed it, especially Lennie James. I'm sure it's a long shot to be back, but I haven't seen a definitive yes or no from the network.

-- Dan, Lewiston, NY

Rob: "Low Winter Sun" was canceled, a rare misfire for AMC.

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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