Q: Will the film of “Hamilton” only be available on Disney+, or will it also be available in other places? — Elaine Broughton, via e-mail
A: Though it’s likely to remain exclusive to the relatively new streaming service for some time — thus potentially inspiring more subscribers to sign up, which certainly was part of the strategy of releasing it there instead of theatrically — you’re not an executive anywhere in the Disney kingdom without considering the maximum profit from such a coveted property (other studios definitely wanted it, too).
We’d imagine that a home-video release isn’t all that far in the distance, though Disney+ will want to get substantial solo mileage out of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly popular and successful musical first. After a period of its being in release more broadly that way, we can foresee it going to such Disney-owned outlets as Disney Channel and Freeform, then a broadcast on ABC surely wouldn’t be out of the question. However, no definite timeline can be placed on all of that; for the time being, Disney+ will remain the home of “Hamilton.”
Q: I enjoyed watching “Barkskins.” Is it coming back for another season? I have a lot of unanswered questions. — Mario Meola, Grand Junction, Colo.
A: Those questions reportedly were meant from the start to be left unanswered by the National Geographic series based on an Annie Proulx novel — which certainly can be a creative decision, but often, it’s also a ploy to try to ensure that a series gets renewed. That said, other factors were involved in “Barkskins” ending when and where it did.
Co-star Marcia Gay Harden has said that due to “weather issues” at the show’s Quebec filming location, what had been a 10-episode order was reduced by two, enhancing the sense of elements of the show being unresolved. As of this writing, the series hasn’t been renewed beyond the limited run it was originally supposed to have, but the generally positive response it received from critics and viewers alike could well change that.
Q: Someone told me that Carl Reiner was going to play Rob Petrie instead of Dick Van Dyke. Is that true? — Greg Edmonds, via e-mail
A: Yes, because Reiner actually did … but only once. What turned out to be the pilot for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” aired as a 1960 episode of the CBS anthology series “The Comedy Spot,” and in that tale (titled “Head of the Family”), Reiner played television comedy-variety writer Petrie — the role Van Dyke ultimately would fill.
Most of the other characters who would become familiar from the series also were in the pilot, though also played by different actors. For instance, veteran character actress Sylvia Miles was Rob’s friend and fellow writer Sally Rogers instead of Rose Marie. Alan Brady, later played by Reiner, also was in the pilot (but with his face unseen, the same way Reiner would play him in the first several years of “Dick Van Dyke”).
Q: For a brief time many years ago, “Good Morning America” brought in two relatively unknown anchors, Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman. What ever happened to them? — Judy Allison, Clermont, Fla.
A: Then-ABC News reporter McRee joined “GMA” first, succeeding Joan Lunden alongside Charles Gibson in 1997. Gibson then left several months later, opening the spot for Newman, who had been anchoring ABC’s overnight and early-morning newscasts after arriving from Canada’s CBC network.
That partnership lasted a little over half a year, since ratings concerns (encompassing a big rise by NBC’s “Today”) led to the return of Gibson, then paired with Diane Sawyer. McRee took on other ABC News assignments, then went on to host a regional program for California PBS affiliates, and she’s now an anchor for the Spectrum cable system’s all-news channel in Southern California. She’s married to movie producer Don Granger, who has had a hand in many Tom Cruise projects.
Newman stayed at ABC for a few more years after his “Good Morning America” stint — he was on duty the night Princess Diana died — then returned to Canada and was given a prominent news position by the Global network there. He moved back to CTV (where he had been pre-CBC) a decade later, and in recent years, he’s been the host and managing editor of that network’s long-running investigative-journalism program “W5.”
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