NBC now has Legend-ary status

TV Pipeline

“A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy”

Q: I’ve noticed John Legend turning up on NBC a lot lately. Does he have a special deal with the network? – Tracy Frank, Providence, R.I.

A: There must be some sort of agreement there, given all the work that the recently minted EGOT – Emmy, Grammy. Oscar and Tony winner — has done for NBC in the past year, starting with his Emmy-honored work on “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” During the holiday season alone, he’s appeared on the network in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” and the special “A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy” (“Chrissy” being Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen, of course).

The connection already is set to extend into 2019, too. After being on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” (as will Teigen), Legend will join NBC’s “The Voice” for its upcoming spring season, serving as a coach and mentor alongside returnees Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.


Q: Would you know if “Suits” and “Gotham” will be returning? – Lawrence Allen, via e-mail

A: As a matter of fact, we would. “Suits“ will resume its eighth season starting Jan. 23 on USA Network, and it’s likely that at least one of the episodes will be used to set up the new, Chicago-set spinoff that will star Gina Torres in the continuing role of Jessica Pearson. (“One Tree Hill” alum Bethany Joy Lenz also will be featured in that new show, so she may pop up on “Suits” soon as well.)

“Gotham” returns to Fox even sooner – Jan. 3 – for its fifth and final season. The emphasis will be on Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) transformation into Batman, with Shane West joining the show for its last round as the villain Bane. “Gotham” recently was given an order two extra hours, which will enable it to end its run at exactly 100 episodes.

Q: I haven’t seen a Lewis Black special on Comedy Central in a long time. Does he have one coming soon? – Bill Simpson, Palm Coast, Fla.

A: Though he’s had a great relationship with the channel – extending to his placing fifth among all comedians in the 2008 “Stand-Up Showdown” – no new specials by him had been announced at the time of this writing. However, Black did a tour titled “The Joke’s on Us” this year, and it’s possible that a special could be culled from that. For now, he has new material (including, on occasion, performances shown live) available at his website, www.lewisblack.com.

Q: Back in the 1990s, when I was living in the Washington-Baltimore area, I watched the local PBS channel. There was one program with three or four older gentlemen who were always walking and talking about their “wellies.” I have not been able to find reruns, nor can I remember the name of the program. – Barbara Harkins, via e-mail

A: That would have been “Last of the Summer Wine,” which had an impressively long run on England’s BBC, the network that produced it. The sitcom about several senior citizens vying to stay youthful in spirit lasted from 1973 to 2010, and the cast changed several times (eventually including Burt Kwouk, particularly famous as martial-arts-skilled servant Cato to Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau in the “Pink Panther” movies).

Though many American public-television stations have shown “Last of the Summer Wine,” it’s never been an official full-network PBS offering. Thus, it’s up to each individual station to decide whether to run it, so you may want to inquire of the ones in your area as to whether they have any current plans for that.

Q: Is Dolly Parton still making movies for NBC? I enjoyed the “Christmas of Many Colors” movies inspired by her. – Jane Weaver, Los Alamos, N.M.

A: Though she still makes appearances on that network – as on a recent day that she began on “Today” and ended on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” – the country-music icon now has a deal with Netflix that has seen her furnish the streaming service with the movie “Dumplin’,” starring Jennifer Aniston.

Parton also will provide Netflix with an anthology series, “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” based on various inspirations for her music. That had been the idea behind her deal for NBC movies, so that effectively has transferred networks. One of the episodes will feature Brooke Elliott (“Drop Dead Diva”) and spouses Gerald McRaney (“This Is Us”) and Delta Burke (“Designing Women”).

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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 1935 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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