If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.
Q: Is “Hell on Wheels” coming back?
A: Yes, though not without some off-camera drama. In November, Deadline.com reported that AMC was set to renew the show for a third season, without series creators Joe and Tony Gayton but with Josh Shiban continuing as show runner — the person most responsible for getting the show made day-to-day. Then Shiban announced he was leaving. That delayed a full announcement of a third season until a new show runner was found.
That show runner is now John Wirth, whose background includes work on V, Falling Skies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And a third season of 10 episodes is slated for the third quarter of 2013.
By the way, Deadline notes that Hell on Wheels “is the latest AMC series hit by major creator/show runner departures. The Walking Dead‘s Frank Darabont left in Season 2, And Rubicon creator/exec producer Jason Horwitch exited during production on its first and only season.”
Also, Mad Men creator Matt Weiner quit the show during negotiations for a fifth season (which aired in 2012) when AMC asked him to cut the running time of each episode to make room for more commercials. A deal was finally made for a fifth and sixth season, and Weiner stayed.
Q: Can you PLEASE tell me what happened to Paget Brewster from “Criminal Minds”? I love that show, but really miss her.
A: Brewster left the series at the end of the seventh, 2011-12 season (and had nearly left the season before during budget cuts which also led to the departure of A.J. Cook from the show).
“I really didn’t feel challenged anymore and I wanted to learn something and be excited again,” the actress said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I was getting cranky on Criminal Minds and we’d gone through some unnecessary cast changes — if that is as diplomatic as I can be about it — and I never got over it.” And, she said, “At a certain point you’re so familiar with the rhythms that you can reach a point where you get lazy. I’m afraid I did that.”
As if to underscore her unhappiness with Minds, she guest-starred on the season premiere of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs opposite the CBS show, and said that work was more challenging. She is also a voice on the animated series Dan Vs., airing on the Hub channel.
Q: Is the movie “The Man Who Fell to Earth” available on DVD?
A: With the 1976 film starring David Bowie and directed by Nicolas Roeg, the answer is yes and no. It has been released on DVD several times, and on a Criterion edition Blu-ray in 2008. However, neither the Blu-ray nor the DVDs are in current release. So Amazon.com lists it for sale from various vendors but at often high prices. (An unused Blu-ray can run you about $130, for example.) The movie is easily available as streaming video on Amazon and Netflix.
Q: I want to know if the program “Unforgettable” is going to be on the later schedule for CBS.
A: It appears so. When CBS announced its 2012-13 schedule in May, it did not include the drama starring Poppy Montgomery, which had aired in 2011-12. Then, the following August, it announced that the show would be back for 13 episodes in summer 2013.
“I don’t understand what makes a show stay on or what makes it go away,” Montgomery told the Give Me My Remote website, “but I sort of accept that it’s right if they make that decision. And so when it was gone, I was sad, I will always love that character and the people I work with, so I understood. And I’ve worked with CBS for so long that I was like, ‘They’re family. We’ll do something together again.’ And when it came back, I was genuinely flabbergasted and thrilled.”
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter and Facebook.