Q: I haven't seen a new show of "Bones" in a long time. Please don't tell me that my favorite show is being dropped.
A: It will be back. The series did have an abbreviated seventh-season run in 2011-12 in order to fit in maternity leave for star Emily Deschanel. It started airing late in the fall, then took a break from January until April before concluding its season in April and May. It will begin a new season on Sept. 17. "The Finder," a "Bones" spin-off, was not renewed.
Q: I was shocked when Fox opted to not bring back "Alcatraz." I realize that viewership from season start to end declined by roughly half yet it still averaged 5 million viewers or so. Similar shows (ratings wise at least) on both Fox and other networks were renewed without hesitation ("New Girl," "Up All Night"), so what gives? Do you see Fox reconsidering or perhaps another network picking the show up? The finale left many questions unanswered.
A: Sadly, serialized shows (or ones that simply end a season on a cliffhanger) tend to leave viewers unsatisfied when they are canceled. A big problem for "Alcatraz" was that it steadily lost audience over the season, indicating declining interest in the show's concept and presentation. As the Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker blog noted, the Sam Neill drama "struggled to sustain its solid launch numbers -- 10 million viewers, with a 3.3 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. Its finale drew just 4.7 million viewers and a 1.5." So don't look for its return.
Q: Have we seen the end of "Revenge" or is one of my favorite shows returning after a hiatus?
A: The series will return in the fall. (At this writing, ABC has not announced specific dates for its shows.) And, as the previous question about "Bones" indicated, it can be tough to keep track of when shows are on and off. The major, commercial-broadcast-network shows still tend to air roughly from September to May, but there may be periods of reruns and hiatuses in that span. "Revenge," for example, was off the air for about six weeks in March and April last season. While cable series run on an array of cycles throughout the broadcast year, some series on broadcast are summer only, and a number of series will take a season's worth of episodes and run them in two or more clusters. So you have to keep a close eye on the listings -- or keep those questions coming to the mailbag.
Q: Could you please tell me what happened to some of the cast of the old "Rawhide" series? Of course, with the exception of Clint Eastwood; we know about him! What about Eric Fleming, who played Gil Favor; Paul Brinegar (Wishbone); James Murdock (Mushy) and Steve Raines (Quince)?
A: All of those actors from the Western drama, which originally aired from 1959 to 1966, have passed away. The most astonishing was that of Fleming, who played the Rawhide trail boss (with Eastwood as his ramrod, Rowdy Yates). About a year after he was dropped from "Rawhide" in 1965, he was working in Peru on a movie called "Selva Alta," or "High Jungle," and drowned. He was 41 years old.
Brinegar died in 1995, Raines in 1996 and Murdoch in 1981. Eastwood, by the way, is due back on the big screen later this year in "Trouble With the Curve," also starring Amy Adams. This is the first movie-acting work for Eastwood, often busy as a director, since "Gran Torino" - and the first time he has worked for another movie director since 1993's "In the Line of Fire."
Q: I am trying to find an old comedy routine with a man reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and saying the phrase "It's in the book!" over and over. Can you help me?
A: You remember a famous routine, but the wrong nursery rhyme. "It's in the Book," a comedy bit by Johnny Standley, was a monologue built around "Little Bo Peep." You can hear it (and even see Standley performing it) on YouTube, and I have seen it for sale as a digital download. The routine was released on a record in 1953 and sold more than a million copies, according to the Los Angeles Times' obituary for Standley, who died in 1992. (Some sources say it sold two million.) The Milwaukee native was an actor and comic. During World War II, the Times said, he served in the Army and entertained troops with Red Skelton and Dave Brubeck for the USO. He later toured with bandleader Horace Heidt.