Rich Heldenfels

If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag, and folks are wondering where shows have gone.

Q: A new show, “Made in Jersey,” was on CBS for two episodes and disappeared. Do you know why this happened?

A: CBS had hopes for the series, which starred Janet Montgomery as a blue-collar woman from New Jersey who worked in a fancy Manhattan firm. The network even saw some synergy in putting it on Friday nights with two other New York-connected shows, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. Even with those shows bracketing Jersey, the ratings were poor for the first telecast, then dropped for the second. So the network dropped the show before it could decline even more. The network has accordingly reconfigured the night’s lineup to include Undercover Boss (which returns this Friday), followed by CSI: NY and Blue Bloods.

Q: Do you know when “Magic City” will return?

A: The drama set in a Miami hotel in 1959 will begin its second season on Starz in 2013, although I have not seen a specific air date yet.

Q: When are “Body of Proof” and “Smash” coming back to TV? Why the late start?

A: Smash will return to NBC on Feb. 5. Body of Proof is set for “midseason” on ABC, a very flexible term where networks are concerned.

Unlike the days of long ago when networks would make 39 episodes of a show and run it for an entire season, series these days make far fewer episodes. Since that creates a possibility for lots of repeats, and relatively few shows do well in rerun, networks will put on series at the beginning, middle and even near the end of a season in order to provide fresh programming. And if one of their shows fails in the fall (like Made in Jersey), they have something to replace it with.

Q: Is Syfy bringing back “Lost Girl” for a third season? When?

A: The series will be back in January.

Q: Did John Nettles of “Midsomer Murders” play the part of the Duke of Marlborough in the early PBS series “The Churchills”?

A: If you are referring to the 1969 series The First Churchills, the Duke was played by actor John Neville, a veteran of British and American TV and movies, including in a recurring role as the Well-Manicured Man on The X-Files. He died in 2011. I cannot find any reference to John Nettles playing the role in a production.

Q: On “Nashville,” where would we know the actor who plays Deacon from?

A: Charles “Chip” Esten, who plays singer-songwriter Deacon Claybourne on the ABC series, is also known for improvisational comedy, having appeared on both the British and American versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (And when I read that in his bio, I went, “Oh, yeah! That guy!”) He has also been on Big Love, Enlightened, The Office and ER — and played the father on the Disney Channel’s Jessie, a Klingon on Star Trek: The Next Generation, a secretary on Murphy Brown and Kelly Bundy’s fiance on the series finale of Married … With Children. He was also in the movies Swing Vote, Thirteen Days, 61* and The Postman.

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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at He is also on Twitter and Facebook.