A character evidently hasn’t survived ‘Designated Survivor’


TV Pipeline

Natascha McElhone in "Designated Survivor"
Natascha McElhone in “Designated Survivor”

Q: With the way that the last episode shown of “Designated Survivor” ended, is the First Lady out of the show now? – Stan Fox, Steubenville, Ohio

A: Nothing will be definite until the ABC drama resumes on Feb. 28 – and perhaps not even then, though it would seem the show would make that situation clearer as soon as possible – but co-star Natascha McElhone wanted to move on to “The First,” a forthcoming Hulu series from Beau Willimon, who created the American version of “House of Cards.” With that exit then imminent, and “Designated Survivor” about to take a two-months-plus break, that show’s midseason finale became a suitable point for President Tom Kirkman’s (Kiefer Sutherland) wife to make her evident departure.


"American Idol"
ABC’s “American Idol” judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan

Q: I’ve been seeing ads for the return of “American Idol,” but on ABC. Why isn’t it on Fox again? – Shelley Pratt, via e-mail

A: It had the chance, but ultimately, Fox executives felt it might have been too soon to bring back the contest that ended two years ago. However, it should be noted that Fox has launched a show that could be considered a cousin of “Idol” … “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” which also gives singing newcomers their shots at fame.

NBC also was in the mix for a while, but with “The Voice” already on its schedule, it didn’t continue the pursuit. Ultimately, ABC became the new home of “Idol” and will launch it March 11 with Ryan Seacrest back as host and Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie forming the panel of judges.


Q: “Scott & Bailey” and “Foyle’s War” are our two favorite programs, but we’ve seen pretty much all of them. Will there be new episodes? – Bill Birney, Victoria, B.C.

A: Evidently not. Both series still were performing well in their native England when originating network ITV decided to end them – “Foyle’s” in 2015, and “Scott” in 2016. Some reviewers felt the “Foyle’s War” conclusion left an opening for that show to resume if the creative forces wanted to revive it (which already had been done, it first having been canceled in 2007), but as of this writing, there’s no indication that will happen.


Q: I thought I read something about an update of “Magnum, p.i.”. Is such a series happening? – Eric White, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

A: It’s in the works at the original show’s network, CBS. ABC had made a run at it in 2016, in a premise that would have cast Eva Longoria as the daughter of the original Thomas Magnum character, but that didn’t pan out.

Now, the project has been handed to the producer generally acknowledged to be CBS’ king of the series reboots, Peter M. Lenkov – who also has guided the revivals of “Hawaii Five-0” and “MacGyver.” Whether the first “Magnum” version’s Tom Selleck will be involved in some way remains to be seen, but that probably wouldn’t be difficult since he’s still in the CBS family through his ongoing run in “Blue Bloods.”


Q: When James Bond marathons are shown, rarely if ever is the 1967 version of “Casino Royale” included. Why is that? – Jim Barrett, via e-mail

A: We would speculate that it was a rights issue – but the rights to that film are handled now by MGM, which also handles all the others, so we have to move to it likely being the thought of what truly is a Bond movie. Aficionados have argued, and will continue to argue forever, whether the pull-out-all-stops satire belongs with the others in such marathons … and history has shown that most television programmers don’t think it does.

Applying the logic that the mid-’60s “Casino Royale” isn’t an “official” Bond movie, made by Eon Productions, falls apart when it’s used on the 1983 adventure “Never Say Never Again”; that also was made by other producers, and it does turn up in many of the marathons, likely because it returned Sean Connery to the role of Agent 007. With all this said, the comedic version of “Casino Royale” (featuring Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen among its stars) does get its share of TV showings, since it turns up fairly regularly on MGM HD.


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 1395 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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