TV Q&A: What shows are 'On Demand' is a sensitive subject


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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: Why isn’t “The Amazing Race” one of the programs on “On Demand”? 

 Stephen, 72, Bellevue

Rob: For some reason it’s always considered “a touchy subject” when this question comes up because it has to do with whatever deal has been hatched by a show distributor (the network, CBS) and the company responsible for making the show (ABC Studios in this instance).

In this particular case I suspect there is no deal for on demand rights.

“We make as many series as we can, licensing agreements permitting, available on VOD,” according to a CBS publicist.

Q: I could use some reassurance that “Copper” will be back.

 Mia, 65, Greensburg

Rob: Sorry, we reported “Copper” was canceled last September.

Q: I used to enjoy the 1980s series “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” with Stacy Keach, but I can’t find it on DVD. Also, I can’t seem to find the Lee Horsley Western series “Paradise.” Are either of these available or going to be available? I would love to see them again. The late ’90s Mike Hammer with Mr. Keach is available, but it wasn’t very good.

 Charlie, Clymer

Rob: According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, “Paradise” is not on DVD, nor is “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.” We can only conjecture that whoever owns the rights to these series does not think there is much of a market for them on DVD (and I would tend to agree).

Q: What happened to Josh Elliott on “Good Morning America”? He just sort of disappeared, and there was no hoopla as when Sam Champion left the show.

 Mike, 64, Munhall

Rob: Josh Elliott’s contract was up with ABC, and it went down to the wire with Elliott making a late decision to jump to NBC Sports. Amy Robach replaced him on “GMA.”

Q: I wanted to know why there are no “CSI: NY” reruns being shown. Loved that series as well as all the other “CSI” shows. The other shows are always being shown. TNT had it listed once, but it was on at 1 a.m.

Also, is there a reason that Verizon doesn’t show on their TV listings when a season finale or series finale is coming up? I know they do a lot of ads for them, but I switch channels when a commercial break comes up.

— Rita, Brookline

Rob: “CSI: NY” continues to air on TNT, including showings in the wee hours of Friday morning at 3 and 4 a.m. Episodes also air on cable’s Centric weekday mornings.

There’s always a reason for programming decisions such as this. Usually when a series is floated to late night, it’s because when the program aired at a more reasonable hour the ratings were disappointing.

As for Verizon’s FiOS TV listings, it sounds like their guide does not label season/series finales. With the help of Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski, I checked this against the DirecTV guide, which accurately labeled the May 1 episode of IFC’s “Portlandia” a “season finale.”

“The episode is labeled new, but nothing indicates that it is the season finale,” Mr. Gierczynski said. “The guide, overall, does not include labels for season finales unless they are included in the program descriptions.”

Q: I have been reading many articles that state Verizon is no longer expanding its FiOS networks, and that if you can’t get FiOS now, you'll never get it. In parts of the city of Pittsburgh, FiOS is not available. I have been waiting patiently for FiOS competition in Lawrenceville to compete with the expensive Comcast monopoly. What Pittsburgh neighborhoods have FiOS?

What are the best or most popular ways to obtain TV programming without buying Comcast content?

 Rob, 52, Lawrenceville

Rob: The articles refer to FiOS no longer expanding into new markets; FiOS TV is already in Pittsburgh. When FiOS made its deal with the city in 2009, part of the agreement was that FiOS has until 2015 to complete wiring the entire city.

Here’s a response from Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski: “The city of Pittsburgh approved a 10-year cable franchise for Verizon in September 2009, running through September 2019.

“As part of the franchise agreement, Verizon would bring FiOS to all city households in six years. Currently, Verizon is on track to wire the city by the 2015 deadline.

“There’s no specific time frame for Lawrenceville, but it is part of the overall build planned for the next two years.”


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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