Q: I would like to know what happened to Shepard Smith on the Fox network.
A: Smith, one of the original hires at Fox News, departed the network in October after 23 years as a reporter and anchor. As he left, he called it “an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor,” according to thehill.com.
But he had clashed with some commentators at the network, as well as with the White House, over coverage of President Trump. As he left Fox News, Smith said, “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, and that journalism and journalists will thrive.” In November he donated a reported $500,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Q: Is “The Magicians” coming back?
A: The Syfy series based on novels by Lev Grossman begins its fifth season Jan. 15. According to the network, “Last season, magic was saved, but at a terrible cost: the life of Quentin Coldwater, who died heroically to save his friends — and the world. Julia, Alice, Eliot, Margo, Penny and their friends (and frenemies) must learn to navigate a world without him. Now, a new threat has arisen: In freeing magic, the balance tipped the other way and there’s too damn much of it, and as the excess builds, an apocalypse looms.”
NBC calls its ‘Bluff’
Q: What is NBC thinking in canceling “Bluff City Law,” arguably the best new drama of last fall’s crop of new shows, especially after only airing five episodes? Is there a chance that NBC will re-air it? Could another network pick it up?
A: I wasn’t impressed by the legal drama starring Jimmy Smits and stopped watching after a couple of episodes. Other viewers apparently felt the same way. As TVLine reported, the show had lost more than one-fourth of its viewers after four airings. And that was even with a big lead-in from “The Voice.” TVLine also noted that “Bluff City” kept just 36% of the music competition’s audience, “whereas ‘Manifest’ last fall at this point was enjoying 79%.” “Bluff City” is not officially canceled, but its chances of returning — on NBC or anywhere — look bad.
‘Silverado’ sequel never materialized
Q: At the end of my favorite movie, “Silverado,” Kevin Costner says, “We’ll be back.” Has another “Silverado” been made? If not, why not?
A: “Silverado” (1985) was director Lawrence Kasdan’s epic Western, co-written with his brother Mark, with stars including Costner, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover. In a making-of segment on the DVD, Lawrence Kasdan said a script was developed but “I never had my heart in it.”
Credits where credit is due
Q: Why do a lot of the network dramas drag out the opening credits for so long? Some are still running 20 minutes into a one-hour show.
A: If you start a show with a bunch of credits instead of diving right into the story, people have an excuse to switch to another show. Putting the credits in the shows’ scenes gets the story moving, and it’s no more distracting than those irritating on-screen graphics promoting hashtags and later shows. (Other recent tactics to reduce channel flipping include the on-air promise that a break will be short, starting shows at odd times and the coy placement of program “previews” in the middle of commercial breaks.)
Still, spreading out the credits means that you can put them in milder portions of a show, rather than have them disrupt a big dramatic moment. And with a limited amount of content time available, sticking the credits within the show gives a program more storytelling time by taking away moments the free-standing credits could have consumed.