Q: How come “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” was on ABC, while the regular game show is on CBS? – Susan Frenger, Columbiana, Ohio
A: That might be the case with the weeknight “Jeopardy!” in your area, but because it’s syndicated to separate stations with different network affiliations across the country, that’s not the situation everywhere. (For instance, in our own area, it’s on the ABC station … as it is in such major markets as New York and Los Angeles.)
What’s even more interesting is that the Alex Trebek-hosted “Greatest” competition was on ABC when CBS Television Distribution is among the production entities on the nightly version of the game show. However, Sony Pictures Television took the lead on selling the multi-part special, so it presumably went for the network it felt could make the best deal for it.
Q: Is it true that Ricky Gervais won’t ever be back as the host of the Golden Globe Awards? – Jeff Marx, via e-mail
A: Well, he certainly got comedic mileage out of that notion at last month’s edition of the annual event, but the fact is that he’s made that claim before and … he came back. It really depends on what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which stages the ceremony, wants. Even that organization’s president joked on the show that Gervais should “put it in writing” that his time with the Globes broadcast is done.
Anyone who hires the intentionally outrageous Gervais knows what they’re getting, and that includes NBC, whose censors had to “bleep” a couple of his Globes comments this most recent time … one of which, in regard to Dame Judi Dench, drew a very visible look of “Did he really say that?” shock from attendee Gwyneth Paltrow.
Q: I saw a repeat of “The Brady Bunch” in which E.G. Marshall was a guest star. Didn’t he also work with Robert Reed on “The Defenders”? – Peter Ryan, Buffalo, N.Y.
A: He certainly did. The two actors formed one of TV’s most legendary father-son duos as defense attorneys who specialized in tackling socially relevant cases of the day, that “day” being the early 1960s. In the “Brady” episode, “The Slumber Caper,” Marshall played the school principal … the subject of some unfortunate drawings attributed to Marcia (Maureen McCormick).
Q: I’m always interested by Eddie Muller’s approach to introducing film-noir titles on Turner Classic Movies. What’s his background? – Lee Elliott, Providence, R.I.
A: The San Francisco-based writer actually has much experience with the genre, having founded The Film Noir Foundation and written several books on the subject. Before he started his association with TCM, where he’s the host of “Noir Alley” each weekend, he did audio commentaries for relevant video releases by a studio notable for its many ventures into noir cinema … 20th Century Fox. The son of a same-named boxing writer, Muller has written fictional mystery novels as well.
Q: What happened to the talk show “Pickler & Ben”? I haven’t seen it lately. – Cindy Ames, via e-mail
A: Made in Nashville, the program had a two-season run that ended last year, but its hosts are remaining active. “American Idol” alum Kellie Pickler (who, incidentally, won Season 16 of “Dancing With the Stars”) continues her music career, and she’s also branched into acting, starring recently in Hallmark Channel’s holiday-season movie “The Mistletoe Secret.”
As for Ben Aaron — whose wife is ABC News’ chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, with whom he has two sons – he has returned to New York news reporting, now contributing features to WPIX-TV. That station is now owned by Scripps, which also produced “Pickler & Ben.”
Q: I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Philip McKeon. Did he do anything professionally after “Alice”? – Lisa Barnes, Reading, Pa.
A: Though his role as Linda Lavin’s son on that CBS sitcom certainly was his best-known credit, the brother of fellow performer Nancy McKeon (“The Facts of Life”) continued to act on occasion, but he also took up jobs behind the cameras as a producer and director. In his later years, he also worked in radio, in Los Angeles news and as a co-host of a Texas morning show.