Q: In an earlier season of "Two and a Half Men," Judy Greer (currently Ashton Kutcher's estranged wife on the show) plays Aunt Myra. How do the producers resolve having the same actor play two roles?
A: This is not even the first time that has happened on "Two and a Half Men." Jennifer Bini Taylor, who played Charlie's girlfriend Chelsea, had several other roles on the show before becoming Chelsea. Nor is this the only show to have the same actor in different roles. "Hill Street Blues" famously killed off one character played by the actor Dennis Franz, then brought him back as a different character. "Law & Order" and its kin often drew on the same New York actors -- so much that, according to the New York Times, the various shows were told to wait 60 days before casting the same actor twice in prominent roles.
As for Greer, she is one of the most likable comedic performers around. And, besides having appeared on "Men" before, she starred in the sitcom "Miss Guided," which had Kutcher as an executive producer.
Q: I noticed that NBC's "Up All Night" went from being set in a PR firm to a talk show. It seems along the way the guy who played Christina Applegate's assistant -- James Pumphrey -- went missing during the retooling. What happened to him and his character, and will he resurface? Thank you.
A: From what I have seen, his character was cut from the show during the retooling (which, among other things, gave Maya Rudolph a bigger role in the show). Nor have I seen any indication that he will reappear.
Q: Will we ever see "Memphis Beat" again? We miss Jason Lee.
A: I mentioned in a mailbag in mid-September that things looked shaky for the TNT series, and the situation has not improved since then. About two weeks ago Entertainment Weekly reported that "Memphis Beat" will not get a third season because "the cable network is doing a little housecleaning in preparation for the arrival of its 'Dallas' reboot next year."
The network also axed "HawthoRNe" and "Men of a Certain Age," but it has ordered more of "Falling Skies," "Franklin & Bash" and "Rizzoli & Isles." "Skies" and "Bash" are due back in 2012. "Rizzoli & Isles" will air some new episodes beginning Nov. 28, as will "The Closer" as it works its way through its final season.