Question: I've heard that Sunday has the largest TV audience, but that Thursday is the second-most important night for advertisers, especially movie studios. There are a large number of movies released during the summer, but original cable programming seems to be missing on Thursdays. Is that because cable networks don't get the movie ads, or is there some other reason? On Sunday, we have The Dead Zone and The 4400. On Monday, we have The Closer. On Tuesday, we have Rescue Me, on Wednesday we have Over There and on Friday we have Sci Fi Friday. FX recently put two comedies on Thursday, but why is that not a bigger night for summer series?
Answer: That's an interesting question, and I wish I had a good answer. My guess is that because CBS in particular has such a powerful lineup on Thursdays, with shows that tend to repeat very well in the off-season (CSI and Without a Trace), cable networks generally prefer to stay away from launching new shows on the night. (Still, Bravo did OK with
Question: I read that Without a Trace is adding a new female agent, to be played by Roselyn Sanchez, to the cast to fill in for the "crisis-plagued" team. My concern is why would the producers mess with one of the best ensembles on television? As it is, the five characters don't get enough airtime (especially Danny) because they deal with a case each week. Why would CBS make changes to a show that is more successful than it has ever been? It doesn't make sense. Casting sexy new "stunt" characters is usually for shows that are in trouble.
Answer: This year many of CBS' procedurals are adding new cast members, including a new female detective on the Cold Case team, and the way the producers have explained it to me is that it gives them more, not fewer, opportunities for stories and for ensemble interaction. I've seen a lot of mail from Trace fans in particular who get frustrated that the characters don't get more opportunity for juicy stories. That, in part, is why Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Question: Is it just me or was there more killing off of central/recurring characters this past season then ever before? In season finales alone, there was Rex (Desperate Housewives), Trip (Enterprise), Kate (NCIS), possibly Danny and/or Martin (Without a Trace), maybe Vaughn (Alias) — and Stokes (CSI) was nearly killed. And earlier in the season there were the deaths of Boone (Lost), Dina (24), Speedle (CSI: Miami), Judith (Joan of Arcadia) and I'm sure I've forgotten a few. Now I expect some of these shows to kill off characters (especially 24 and Alias), and then there are shows that shockingly didn't kill off anyone, like The Shield, but it seems like this is the latest dramatic trend among writers. It became so commonplace I was half expecting something like "and someone won't see tomorrow, tonight on the season finale of Gilmore Girls"! So did this seem excessive, or was the body count on par with previous seasons?
Answer: Put like this, that's a pretty impressive body count. I'm
The crack FBI missing-persons team on Without a Trace may soon be missing one of their own. Vivian Johnson, the no-nonsense investigator played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, might be killed off by season's end.
Earlier this year, Vivian was diagnosed with a serious heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes a thickening of the heart muscle and can lead to sudden death. The problem becomes critical when Vivian collapses on the side of the road in tonight's episode (10 pm/ET on CBS).
From then on, says series creator Hank Steinberg, "she will be home-ridden and coping with her future while [the squad] copes with the idea of not having her around." They may have to get used to that idea permanently.
"By the end of the season, she'll be angling toward surgery," hints Steinberg, "and potentially a life-and-death situation."
The story arc came about after Jean-Baptiste met w