Out of ‘Order’: Kelli Giddish will exit ‘SVU’ soon


Kelli Giddish

Q: Is Kelli Giddish really leaving “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”? Is there any chance she’ll change her mind? — Sandy Young, via email

A: Well, people can always change their minds … but as of the time this column was written, and with some reports suggesting that her exit wasn’t her idea, she was set to depart from the role of Detective Amanda Rollins by the time the NBC police drama reached the midpoint of its 24th season (which begins Thursday, Sept. 22).

Some characters leave the “Law & Order” universe forever, while others have an opportunity to return later. It’ll be interesting to see which end of that scale Rollins lands on, though producers are promising a “happy ending” for her. In any event, she’ll certainly live on through the bountiful repeats of the series seen on multiple networks and the Peacock streaming service.

Q: I remember the series finale of “M*A*S*H” being unusually long. Were many episodes of the show done that way? — Dan Coffey, Shadyside, Ohio

A: With the series marking its 50th anniversary this month, there were some hourlong shows — typically season premieres — that are split into two episodes when repeated now, but the great bulk of the acclaimed military comedy’s stories over 11 years were half-hours to begin with.

That being said, the much-watched finale (subtitled “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen”) was a huge exception for series television in general, running 2-1/2 hours (with commercials). Directed and co-written by series star Alan Alda, it bundled multiple stories that gave each of the regular players his or her moments. The climactic portion, which sees the characters dismantle the 4077th and go off in individual directions, remains one of the most memorable and emotional sequences of TV to date.

Alan Alda

Q: I was surprised that Turner Classic Movies didn’t do an all-day tribute to Gene Kelly on his birthday, Aug. 23. Why? — Nick Cowan, via email

A: Because it already had done one earlier that month, giving Kelly a “Summer Under the Stars” day on Aug. 7. That expectedly included such standards as “An American in Paris,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “On the Town,” and it wasn’t the first time the song-and-dance master had a day in that annual festival (2017 being another example).

TCM tries to match stars to their August birthdays when possible, as was done last summer with Robert Redford’s “day.” It’s a nice extra touch for what is a celebration of the given talent anyway, giving dual reasons to fete that performer.

Q: Will new “Press Your Luck” episodes continue through the fall? — Amy Sherman, Fruita, Colo.

A: No. The ABC game-show revival had quite a substantial summer run, with repeats on Wednesdays and new episodes on Thursdays, but those slots are being given up for the fall season. That isn’t to say the Elizabeth Banks-hosted contest (she’s also a producer of it) couldn’t return along the way, especially since its hours are self-contained and very repeatable, but it’s basically designed as a summer show. We’d have to think things look good for a fifth season for it next year, as long as all the parties involved are amenable to that.

Q: When is “Billions” coming back? — Lee Holland, Wheeling, W. Va.

A: No date had been announced yet for the start of the Showtime drama’s forthcoming Season 7 when this column was written, but the drama’s scheduling history suggests it will return early in the new year. Marathons of the earlier seasons of the show — which now has Corey Stoll, who succeeded original cast staple Damian Lewis, starring along with Paul Giamatti — have been running on Saturdays lately.

Q: It seems that fewer movies meant for theaters are premiering at the same time on cable and streaming services now. Is that true? — Gary Matthews, via email

A: Pretty much. In the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic, it was more of a common practice for studios — Warner Bros. and Universal being two particular examples — to debut their new movies both in theaters and via streaming simultaneously, but it’s become much more a one-or-the-other situation lately.

There still are exceptions, however. For instance, Universal is planning to debut the horror picture “Halloween Ends” via both methods (with Peacock as the streaming avenue) on Oct. 14. Also, situations remain where a movie intended for theaters ultimately has gotten its release only via streaming, as with Sylvester Stallone’s “Samaritan” premiering on Prime Video after having its theatrical release postponed several times.

Send questions of general interest via email to tvpipeline@gracenote.com. Writers must include their names, cities and states. Personal replies cannot be sent.

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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