One peril ‘MacGyver’ may not get out of? Cancellation


Lucas Till

Q: I was sorry to hear that “MacGyver” is ending. Why is that? — Dan Perry, via e-mail

A: While the adventure reboot’s ratings have held steady for CBS, it’s never been a blockbuster … so at the end of five seasons (two shorter than that of the original version), which is a pretty healthy run for any show these days, the network likely weighed the upside of going farther with it against what the cost would be. Ironically, though, the series’ viewership got an upward bump the same week its cancellation was announced. In fact, a grassroots movement to save the show is under way, including the purchase and mounting of “Save MacGyver” billboards in some locales.

There’s also the consideration of CBS needing room on its schedule for new dramas next season, since it’s been doing quite a bit of ordering before the 2021-22 lineup is fully set. Among series already firmed up are extensions of some established franchises: “CSI: Vegas,” which will return several of the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” cast members to their roles; “NCIS: Hawaii,” expanding the concept to a location that CBS just loves to use; and “FBI: International,” intended to give (just as the title infers) the “FBI” premise a more global scope.

Kevin Costner

Q: I cannot wait until “Yellowstone” comes back with a new season. Any idea when it will be back? — Sue Lane, Elyria, Ohio

A: Paramount Network hadn’t specified an exact date as of this writing, but it was looking at June for the start of Season 4 of the Kevin Costner-starring modern Western. Filming for it has been finished for a while; it was completed last November.

In the meantime, repeats of the first three rounds are available on Peacock, which has exclusive streaming rights to the show. That might be irksome to those who run Paramount Plus, but that outlet will be getting two “Yellowstone” spinoffs, the first of which is expected to debut later this year.

Q: I know someone asked recently about “The $100,000 Pyramid.” Now that it’s almost summer, when ABC usually runs a lot of game shows, is there any more word on when it might return? — Sam Ward, Grand Junction, Colo.

A: As a matter of fact, there is. The Michael Strahan-hosted version will air on Wednesdays starting June 9, the centerpiece of a night that will start with “Press Your Luck” and end with “Card Sharks.” As we’ve said before, it will be interesting to see how the program is set up physically in this age of social distancing, since the celebrity guests and the players usually are seated in close proximity as they exchange clues.

Q: In the “Perry Mason” TV-movies, was William Katt cast as Paul Drake Jr. because Barbara Hale, who played Della Street, was his mother? — Tony Barnes, Greenville, Mich.

A: Rarely is anyone given a major role simply as a matter of nepotism, but it’s safe to say that family connection didn’t hurt. Katt had built up a substantial number of credits by the time he landed that part, in such movies as “Carrie” and “Butch and Sundance: The Early Years” — not to mention his starring role in the series “The Greatest American Hero” — so he brought a good amount of experience when his “Mason” job began in the mid-1980s.

Of course, the mother-and-son subtext with Hale (who reprised her role from the original television series) gave NBC and the producers something extra to work with. Beyond the initial “Perry Mason Returns” sequel, Hale and Katt didn’t have sizable scenes together very often, but it likely was fun for them (and for viewers who were in the know) whenever they did.

Q: In watching the special evening editions of “The Price Is Right,” it has struck me that the show used to be on at night as a regular series. Am I right? — Tom Dillon, via e-mail

A: After the original, Bill Cullen-hosted version started in daytime on NBC in the mid-1950s, a primetime edition was added (becoming the first game show to be broadcast in color) and later moved to ABC. It returned in syndication in 1972, with Dennis James hosting a nighttime version at the same time Bob Barker was presiding over the daytime show on CBS. Barker then handled the evening program as well for three seasons (1977-80).

A nighttime revival with host Tom Kennedy lasted only one season in the mid-1980s, and a mid-1990s attempt with “The Young and the Restless” veteran Doug Davidson ran even shorter than that (slightly over four months). Since taking over CBS’ daytime “Price Is Right” in 2007, Drew Carey also has hosted any evening airings of the show.

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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.

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