Q: On court shows like “Judge Judy” and “Hot Bench,” when there is a monetary decision, does the show pay it … or does the defendant or plaintiff need to make the payment? – Sharon Minnick, via e-mail
A: In the cases you cited (no pun intended), the show pays, with the cap set at $5,000. The individuals on both sides of the given matter also receive an appearance fee and, if long-distance travel to the tapings is involved, have their airfare and hotel fees covered. Judge Judy Sheindlin happens to be the creator of “Hot Bench,” so what applies to her own eponymous program generally applies to the other one as well.
Q: Has TNT canceled the series “Proof”? – Gary Pompeo, Wheeling, W. Va.
A: It has, but it didn’t take star Jennifer Beals long to pick up other television work. This summer, the “Flashdance” alum has appeared on the NBC medical drama “The Night Shift,” and she’ll also be on that network during the upcoming season in the series version of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” movies.
Q: Where has Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne been lately? – Doug Butler, Buffalo, N.Y.
A: The channel hasn’t been more specific than to say that he’s taking time off to deal with “health matters.” That also caused him to miss the TCM Classic Film Festival in April, but fellow host Ben Mankiewicz has said he’s looking forward to Osborne being on the annual TCM Classic Cruise later in the year. (Osborne’s recent “Guest Programmer” sessions with Matthew Broderick and Candice Bergen were filmed much earlier.)
Though others such as former “Revenge” co-star Madeline Stowe have filled in, Mankiewicz has been doing a lot of the hosting on the channel in the meantime. Possibly in response to that, to relieve him of some of his weekend duties, TCM recently added another host: Tiffany Vazquez, who won the “Ultimate Fan Contest” that it staged as part of its 20th anniversary a couple of years ago.
Q: Why isn’t Howard Stern back on “America’s Got Talent” this season? – Eric Davis, via e-mail
A: He had considered leaving the NBC contest’s judges’ panel earlier, but upon announcing the decision last summer, he reasoned that he’d been “working a long time” and wanted to give himself some more free time. As it happened, the show needed to look no further than its creator to fill the vacancy, since “American Idol” alum Simon Cowell (who also has judged “Britain’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor”) is in that seat for the show’s current round.
Q: Will “Wipeout” be back this summer? – Jeff Crane, Bexley, Ohio
A: For those who miss seeing contestants thrust into pools of mud, or miss seeing co-host Jill Wagner humor and encourage the often offbeat players, it’s unfortunately another season without the ABC competition. Last summer, the same producers were occupied with the somewhat similarly themed (if less comedic) Fox show “Bullseye” … but “Wipeout” was so popular for so long, we wouldn’t rule out its possibly making a reappearance in some summer to come.
Q: I enjoyed seeing Richard Dreyfuss in “Madoff.” Has he done much television? – Liz Ware, Palm Coast, Fla.
A: Back in the 1960s and early 1970s, the home screen was responsible for much of the work that got the eventual Oscar winner’s career launched. “Ben Casey,” “Gidget,” “That Girl,” “Room 222,” “The Mod Squad” and “Gunsmoke” were among the shows he appeared on … and in 1973, he had the role played on the big screen by Alan Arkin in a TV-movie version of “Catch-22.”
Dreyfuss would become a series star himself in the CBS drama “The Education of Max Bickford” during the 2001-02 season, and he told us in an interview for ABC’s ”Madoff” that he wouldn’t have minded doing that show longer. However, he later would land guest arcs on “Weeds” and “Parenthood,” and he also starred in last year’s TBS sitcom “Your Family or Mine.” Next season, he’ll be a cast regular in “Shots Fired,” a Fox “event series.”