Q: Which show got the most Emmy nominations this year? — Liz Pratt, via e-mail
A: “The Crown” (Netflix) and “The Mandalorian” (Disney+) share the position of being the most-nominated program, with those shows scoring 24 Primetime Emmy bids each. Another Disney+ series, “WandaVision,” follows those with 23. The 73rd annual honors for excellence in television will be handed out Sunday, Sept. 19, in a ceremony to be broadcast by CBS and streamed by Paramount+; Cedric the Entertainer will serve as host, and the plan is for there to be a limited on-site audience on hand at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.
Q: It’s been interesting to see Eric Roberts keep popping up in the TV-movies Vivica A. Fox makes for Lifetime and LMN. Why does he do them? — Al Burke, Columbus, Ohio
A: Without being able to jump into his head and get a direct answer, we’d surmise that he enjoys the juicy roles the films typically give him … plus, he clearly likes being part of the creative “family” that Fox has built for the cable dramas she frequently produces and stars in, including the recent “Keeping Up With the Joneses” trilogy. She told us not long ago that she appreciates being to call upon colleagues she can count on to deliver time and again, and she evidently counts Roberts among them.
Q: I was watching “Sands of Iwo Jima,” and I could swear I saw John Astin. In searching the cast list I have not seen him mentioned. Was I wrong? — William Travers, Weirton, W. Va.
A: Formal cast lists also would be our means of verifying this, and in all the ones we’ve checked, we can find no mention of him being in that John Wayne-starring 1949 classic. Even if Astin was uncredited in the picture, he’s so well-known, it seems likely that it still would be noted somewhere if that was the fact.
Astin would have been in his late teens when “Sands of Iwo Jima” was filmed. As it stands, “The Addams Family” legend’s first known screen credits came in 1960, in an episode of “Maverick” and a movie called “The Pusher” — but the next year’s film of “West Side Story” was what first really got him noticed. Martin Milner and Richard Jaeckel were among those who had early supporting roles in “Sands of Iwo Jima,” along with William Self … whose name would become familiar from his being an executive at 20th Century Fox Television from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, with “Batman,” “Lost in Space” and “M*A*S*H” among the shows that bore his credit.
Q: I’m wondering why Frank hasn’t returned to “American Pickers” since his back surgery. — Dian Diaz, via e-mail
A: It recently was revealed that Frank Fritz won’t be returning to the History Channel series. He had made it known earlier that he has Crohn’s disease and had adapted his health patterns to deal with it … resulting in a significant weight loss. The coronavirus pandemic also would have had something to do with his on-air absence that preceded his formal exit from the show, given his pre-existing medical condition. It’s also been reported that Fritz recently sold the Iowa home that he bought with his former fiancee several years ago.
Q: I understand that there will be a new “Law & Order” series next season. What will it be about? — Phil Cain, Stuart, Fla.
A: Oh, about an hour … sorry, we couldn’t resist. In fact, that stab at humor isn’t even valid anymore, since NBC abandoned its plans for that show when its fall-premiere dates were announced in July. “Law & Order: For the Defense” was to focus on a criminal-defense law firm, and even though it was ordered directly to series without a pilot, the project was scuttled while the casting process for it was under way.
That doesn’t mean the “Law & Order” banner won’t be expanding again, though. With “Law & Order: Organized Crime” — which returned Christopher Meloni to his “Special Victims Unit” Elliot Stabler role — having debuted strongly last season, executive producer Dick Wolf is said to be developing another show in the franchise.