Q: On “Blue Bloods,” now that the Reagans have another family member they didn’t know about before, will he continue to be a character on the show? — Sue Ashland, via e-mail
A: Actually, the son who was found by New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) to have been fathered by the late Joe Reagan — a young police detective also named Joe, and played by Will Hochman — was scheduled to be in at least one more episode of the CBS drama in its 10th season that recently ended, but like so many shows, the series had to halt production because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reportedly, the newly discovered relative will be brought back for at least some future episodes, which isn’t at all surprising. “Blue Bloods” is such a thoughtfully plotted program that builds upon of the regular’s lives, it wouldn’t be like the show to drop that bombshell and then do nothing else with it. Moreover, Joe has sat at the Reagan family dinner table, and you don’t do that and then just disappear.
Q: I was sorry to see “God Friended Me” end. Since the show wrapped up all the stories, did they know about the cancellation before the news was made public? — Virginia Lewis, Norman, Okla.
A: Only with very little advance notice. Creators and executive producers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt have said they suspected the writing was on the wall while they were filming what became the CBS drama’s last episode, which they hadn’t fully finished because of being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic … so they had to get creative, and fast, to come up with a satisfying conclusion.
They did that largely by drawing upon footage that either had been seen in earlier episodes or not used at all, and linking that to a newly recorded voiceover narration by series star Brandon Micheal Hall, whose alter ego Miles revealed vocally what happened to all the major characters. In the case of Miles and Cara (Violett Beane), they stayed “just friends” for a while, but eventually revived their romance.
Q: I heard that TBS is bringing back “Wipeout.” Will Jill Wagner still be on it? — Keith Drahan, via e-mail
A: Casting for the revival of the obstacle-course game hadn’t been announced at this writing, but we’d suspect that is very unlikely. Wagner has told us that while her co-host role worked well for her at that point in her career, when the show was a summer staple on ABC, her focus now is on acting and producing …. much of which she’s done for Hallmark Channel, for which she’s made so many movies in recent years, you can catch one of them almost any day. (That’s no exaggeration.)
Also, Wagner added another role recently that’s occupying much of her time: real-life mom. She has a stepdaughter, but she and her husband — former pro hockey player David Lemanowicz, with whom she’d also had a relationship at an earlier point in her life — welcomed their first child together, a daughter, last month.
Q: I know Buddy Ebsen was on “The Beverly Hillbillies” on television. Why did he play Barnaby Jones in the movie version? — Robert Fields, DeLand, Fla.
A: It was meant as an inside joke for fans of the sitcom that was so popular on CBS from the 1960s into the early 1970s. Ebsen was the first actor to play Jed Clampett, the hillbilly who became vastly wealthy via a valuable oil strike, then “loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly” along with the rest of his immediate family.
Jim Varney played Jed in the 1993 movie, so to facilitate Ebsen’s cameo in the film, its makers decided to incorporate his later TV role as private eye Barnaby Jones — who was approached to find the missing Granny (Cloris Leachman in the film, succeeding the TV show’s Irene Ryan). The movie turned out to be the last big-screen project for Ebsen, who died in 2003, though he did so an episode of the revival of “Burke’s Law” and a voice role on “King of the Hill” afterward.