Q: Is it true that Ruby Rose won’t be back on “Batwoman” next season? — Craig Gray, via e-mail
A: Evidently, since the actress announced her exit from The CW show last month. No definitive reason was given at the time, though it was said to be a mutual decision between her and the producers. Planning is moving ahead for Season 2, including the decision that a new character will become Batwoman — one Ryan Wilder, who will replace Rose’s Kate Kane.
Executive producer and showrunner Caroline Dries said during a session at the recent ATX Festival (done “virtually” this year) that there had been a brief moment of thought about recasting the Kane role, but fellow executive producer Greg Berlanti pointed out potential benefits of rebooting the series with a completely new Batwoman. That will mean either retooling or scrapping a couple of scripts that had been written to finish the first season, which (as with so many shows) was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
Q: I was a fan of Gregory Hines, and I understand he once had a TV series. What was it called, and when was it on? – Albert Fryer, Buffalo, N.Y.
A: It was called — of all things — “The Gregory Hines Show,” and it aired on CBS during the 1997-98 season. The star played a widower and father trying to get back into the social scene, with advice from his brother (Wendell Pierce, who went on to much other series work including “The Wire,” “Treme” and “Suits”) and father (Bill Cobbs).
Though it didn’t make it all the way through its lone season (broadcasting only 15 of the 22 episodes produced), the series was notable for its stable of recurring players, several of whom would go on to many other things and bigger names for themselves … namely, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac and Alan Cumming. Will Smith also appeared on Hines’ show, but by then, he had established his own stardom.
As fate had it, “The Gregory Hines Show” came five years before Hines’ passing — he died in 2003 — and while he was particularly celebrated for his tap dancing, the multiple Tony Award winner did enough TV work to win several Emmys. He earned one for each of the specials “I Love Liberty,” “Motown Returns to the Apollo” and “Tap Dance in America,” he won a fourth for the Showtime movie “Bojangles,” and he was given two more posthumously for directing and acting in Showtime’s “The Red Sneakers.”
Q: I heard that Patrick Dempsey has a new series. What is it? — Cheryl Barnes, via e-mail
A: It’s an internationally funded adventure-drama called “Devils” that The CW has acquired for its fall schedule, which also will contain such other shows originally made for other outlets as “Tell Me a Story”and “Swamp Thing.” Principally, “Devils” is an Italian production that casts television’s former “McDreamy” — that’s Dempsey, for those not versed in “Grey’s Anatomy” — as an investment-bank chief who makes a potential enemy of his protege (Alessandro Borghi) by declining to support his promotion. Things then go from bad to worse for the rejected candidate when he becomes a murder suspect while a financial battle is waged across continents.
“Devils” will be paired on Wednesdays with another CW pickup, the Canadian-made “Coroner.” For those keeping track, it’s the first series in which Dempsey will be seen in America since “Grey’s,” though he did make another television project first; directed by moviemaker Jean-Jacques Annaud (“Quest for Fire”), “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” is a mystery miniseries that has been shown in several other countries, and it’s slated to have its yet-unscheduled U.S. premiere on EPIX.
Q: I see Jack Hanna on television a lot, and there’s usually a mention that he is with the Columbus Zoo. What exactly is his connection to it? — Brian Frame, Cranston, R.I.
A: Having recently announced that he is retiring at the end of the year, animal expert Hanna is director emeritus of the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium, of which he was the active director from 1978 to 1992. During that time, he also hosted a local TV program (“Hanna’s Ark”) that started him on a side career leading him to many appearances on “Good Morning America” and David Letterman’s talk shows, among other programs.
Hanna had a long run with the syndicated series “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures,” and he currently has weekend-morning shows on two networks, “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown” (ABC) and “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” (The CW).
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