Doris Day had her days as a television star


TV Pipeline

Doris Day

Q: I was sad to learn that Doris Day had passed. When was her TV series on the air? – Margaret Sands, Columbus, Ohio

A: “The Doris Day Show” had a fairly healthy run on CBS from 1968 to 1973, despite a couple of format changes along the way (but with the famous Day theme song “Que Sera, Sera” as a constant). After her widowed character spent the first season with her sons on her father’s ranch, she went to work at a San Francisco magazine, first as a secretary and then as a reporter … and interestingly, her sons simply vanished along the way.

Day might not have chosen to do the series – which began the same year as the release of her final movie, “With Six You Get Eggroll” – but before his death, her husband and business manager Martin Melcher had obligated her to it without her knowledge. As it turned out, the show proved helpful to her, since her pay from it helped to take care of debts that her spouse’s passing had left her with.

Actually, Day also had a later series, the cable talk show “Doris Day’s Best Friends.” It lasted only one season (1985-86), but it is remembered largely for an appearance by her close friend and movie co-star Rock Hudson recorded shortly before his death from AIDS-related complications.

Chris Harrison


Q: Is it true that “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has been canceled? – Joan Douglas, via e-mail

A: It is … at least for the immediate future, since ABC’s game show revivals such as “Match Game” and “To Tell the Truth” demonstrate that series in the genre aren’t necessarily gone forever. Originally an ABC primetime entry with Regis Philbin presiding, “Millionaire” went into weekday syndication with a succession of different hosts.

Meredith Vieira (who ironically returns to that market this fall with a new game, “25 Words or Less”) posed the questions on the daytime version or its first 11 seasons. She was succeeded by Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews (who’s the new host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”) and the “Bachelor” franchise’s Chris Harrison, a recipient of Daytime Emmy nominations for “Millionaire” both this year and last.


Q: Will “MacGyver” be back next season? – Jeff Harrison, Reading, Pa.

A: It will, but for the first time since the CBS reboot began, it won’t be a fall starter. Season 4 of the adventure series will be held for midseason, with its customary Friday slot going to “Hawaii Five-0” – which will move up an hour and turn over its former time period to “Magnum P.I.,” relocating from Mondays for the second season of its new version.

Thus, CBS will have a big Hawaii night on Fridays, setting up plenty of crossover potential. That’s not just because both shows are set on the islands, but also because they’re from the same production team, making it that much easier to share casts and stories. We don’t know for sure that it’s the network’s intention to build its own variation on NBC’s “Chicago” shows in that way, but it wouldn’t surprise us.


Q: I’m a fan of “Gunsmoke,” and someone told me there also was a show called “Marshal Dillon.” Was James Arness also the star of that? – Gene Taylor, Port Orange, Fla.

A: Yes, but that’s because it actually wasn’t a different series. “Marshal Dillon” was the still-sometimes-used title for reruns from the first six seasons of “Gunsmoke,” when the series was a half-hour long. It expanded to an hour and remained “Gunsmoke” after that, the “Marshal Dillon” name being used to distinguish which episodes were which length – especially when both versions were shown on CBS in the early-to-mid-1960s.


Q: When Janet Jackson thanked Questlove in her acceptance speech for her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, was that the same Questlove who’s the bandleader for Jimmy Fallon? – Tim Kelly, via e-mail

A: It was, and is, indeed. Jackson called him “my biggest champion” in her recent Rock Hall speech, likely a reference to his remark last year that it was “criminal” that she hadn’t been inducted yet … a situation that changed soon afterward.

Though he and his Grammy Award-winning group The Roots have continued their NBC association with Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that began on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” Questlove (real name: Ahmir Khalib Thompson) also is a prolific solo artist and producer who has worked with many talents in those capacities, from Elvis Costello and Jay-Z to Common and John Legend.


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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 2007 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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