Q: When is "This Old House" going to have new episodes?

A: They will begin airing on Sept. 30, although the exact date on your PBS station may vary. As the show notes on its website, "New episodes generally premiere on Thursday evenings or Saturdays, but local programmers can schedule episodes throughout the week." This is another time to check your listings.

The latest old house, by the way, is an 1880 New England Cape in Concord, Mass.

To everything, a TV season

Q: How are TV seasons determined? I see some shows say it's Season 34 and I know they haven't been on that long.

A: It used to be that the calendar determined a prime-time TV show's season in the U.S. — that it consisted of episodes airing from September to May, when most people were watching TV and the broadcast networks calculated their seasonal results; in the early days of TV that meant 39 episodes.

But these days, with viewing habits fragmented and shows spread across platforms, a season is whatever a show says it is. Depending on variables such as budget and the availability of actors, the number of prime-time episodes can vary from as few as four to about 24, with reruns and hiatuses along the way. (Of course, the numbers are much higher for series running five days a week.)

A long break between telecasts set up by a "midseason finale" might make it feel like two seasons, but the show will say the episodes before and after the break still make up one season. On the other hand, reality shows may do two competitions during that period and call each competition a season. Thus "Survivor" will start its 41st season on Sept. 22 even though it has been on the air for 21 years.

For real, will it be back?

Q: Will "The Real" be returning?

A: The show kicks off a new season on Sept. 20 with hosts Garcelle Beauvais, Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai Jenkins. Unlike "The Talk," which is a network show, "The Real" is in broadcast syndication, which gives stations far more flexibility about what time slot to put it in. In Ohio, where I live, it airs at five different times, depending on which station you are watching. You may want to use the "when it's on" key on thereal.com to see what's going on in your area, or consult your local listings.

Write to brenfels@gmail.com.