TV Q&A with Rob Owen

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This week's TV Q&A responds to questions about "Entourage," "Dinner: Impossible" and split-shift anchors. As always, thanks for reading, and keep those questions coming.

-- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor

Q: Do you know when "Entourage" will start up again on HBO?

-- Mike, 46, Whitehall

Rob: HBO has not announced an exact date, but it's expected to be sometime this summer.

Q: Is there any chance that "Guiding Light" will turn up on Lifetime or another network? There is an Internet rumor to that effect. It would make my 80-year-old mom very happy if it were true.

-- LuAnn, 55, Pittsburgh

Rob: The company that produces "GL" for CBS is shopping the soap to other networks, but I wouldn't hold your breath hoping they find a taker.

Q: I had heard that Robert Irvine who does "Dinner: Impossible" on the Food Network was no longer there due to the fact that he "embellished" his resume. I see now that the Food Network is saying all new episodes of "Dinner: Impossible" are with Robert Irvine. Is he back on the Food Network? Were the rumors not true? Anything you can do to shed light on this is appreciated.

-- Margie, 49, Cecil

Rob: From the sound of a Food Network statement, the rumors were true, but a successful show, in this case, trumps those "embellishments."

The Food Network statement: "The revelations earlier this year about Robert Irvine's record created some communication and trust issues between the network and Robert, and we took a mutually agreed upon 'time out' on producing new Robert-hosted 'Dinner: Impossible' episodes.

"Existing Robert-hosted episodes have continued to air during his production hiatus, and our audience has continued to demonstrate its interest in and support for Robert. He has taken responsibility and made a conscious effort to clear the air, rebuild the relationship with Food Network, and apologize for the earlier inaccuracies. Because of this, we have decided to resume production of new episodes of 'Dinner: Impossible' with Robert. We look forward to the upcoming production cycle and to working with Robert again."

Q: Have there been any reports of Turner Classic Movies going to high definition? I had heard rumors a couple years ago, but nothing came of it.

-- Jeff, 43, Scott

Rob: I'm sure it will happen eventually, but per a TCM spokeswoman, "There are no current plans to announce a TCM HD channel at this time."

Q: On April 4, WQED "went dark" for more than five hours. During that time, the final episode of the Weston Timberframe project for "This Old House" did not air at 4 p.m. When does WQED plan to re-air this final episode? I have invested much time in watching all the prior episodes as it began in mid-December 2008. Can WQED keep us hanging? Any help would be appreciated.

-- John, 50, Mt. Lebanon

Rob: WQED was off the air -- over-the-air and cable -- after a fiber line that sends the station's signal to its transmitter was cut on Craft Avenue in Oakland.

"It took Comcast nearly six hours to locate where the fiber bundle was broken and then splice it back together again," explained WQED spokeswoman Rosemary Martinelli. "Know that we're currently working with Comcast to provide us with a redundant path in case this happens again, which we hope it doesn't."

WQED program director Chris Fennimore doesn't want to interrupt the new "This Old House" project that began Aug. 11, so he's slotted the finale of the Weston Timberframe project for 4 p.m. July 25.

Q: I follow with former WTAE anchor Scott Baker and Liz Stephans. Did they get married? She's identified online as: "Liz Stephans Baker is Co-Founder of and CEO of Hot Metal Media LLC."

-- Allison, 41, Pittsburgh

Rob: I couldn't find that reference online, but it may well be true. Baker, however, refused to answer the question -- a turnabout from discussing his impending second marriage, which ended in divorce a couple of years ago.

"I don't respond to any question about my personal life other than what I talk about on the show," he said by phone this week. "If she wants to write into the show, that's where I interact with [viewers]."

I considered trying to find the marriage license but given the state of Allegheny County's cumbersome marriage records system, I decided my time and Post-Gazette money would be better served in other ways. If anyone can confirm a Baker-Stephans marriage (an invitation or photos, perhaps?), let me know.

Q: Does WPXI have any plan to add Universal Sports to its digital tier?

-- Lee, 29, Whitehall

Rob: Not at this time, according to program director Mark Barash.

Q: Why has it become so popular now for local TV stations to work their staff on split shifts? This past week while watching KDKA, I've felt like I was watching the Stephanie Watson channel. She was on in the morning and then back in the afternoon and evening. The same with Sonni Abatta. I know sitting there and reading the news isn't the most strenuous job, but come on, don't these people wake up around 3 a.m. for work? I'm sure there are other people they could use in the anchor spot, like Brenda Waters or even Jim Lokay. They also could use just one anchor in the mornings; they really don't need two people. I know I wouldn't want to come to work for a few hours, leave for a few hours, and then come back again later. If they are so short on staff, why do they let Kristine Sorensen take time off with Patrice King Brown still out on disability? What do you think about these split shifts on the news?

-- Don, East McKeesport

Rob: I can't say I'm bothered by them as much as Don and, presumably, the people who have to work the shifts.

I can't explain why WTAE has taken this approach with Demetrius Ivory -- who works in the morning and then comes back at 5 p.m. -- when there seems to be no reason Stephen Cropper couldn't handle 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weather duties.

As for KDKA, the station is under-staffed due to the prolonged recovery period of Patrice King Brown, who's been out following surgery, and the departure of Keith Jones. I would imagine Sorensen scheduled her vacation time in advance of either of those events. Would you like to have your scheduled vacation time revoked?

That said, I agree that the station would be wise to let folks like Lokay and Waters handle more anchoring duties, particularly in the morning.


Once again on the noon news on KDKA I heard the word "busted." This time windows were "busted" at a pizza shop. By the time a reporter gets a job on local TV, you would think he would know that windows were "broken." I think too many local tv and radio people must have been asleep during all of their English classes.

-- Ed, Coraopolis


hey cutie, are you stilll single? this is sheila from the other night...

sorry but, i lost your number the other night and the only way i know how to get back in touch with you is through this email....

catch ya later bby



Rob: You've got to love spam e-mail.


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