Q: What happened to the Western series "Hell on Wheels"?
A: Nothing happened to it; "Hell on Wheels" is simply between seasons. The show returns for a new season on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Q: What has happened to "Sullivan & Son," set in Pittsburgh? It was supposed to return for a second season.
A: And it will, on June 13. Nine months between seasons is not unusual for a cable show.
Q: When will "Will & Grace" be shown on commercial (reception) TV again? They were the funniest comedies ever, so well done.
A: Typically, shows air in reruns on broadcast, then move on to cable and now they move on again to nostalgia channels like MeTV before disappearing altogether. "Will & Grace" is on Lifetime, but will likely move on to a channel like MeTV at some point, but I don't know when that will be.
Q: I've noticed that NBC's comedies often have the actors say what appears to be a curse word, with a bleeping of the dialogue and pixels over their face. I've seen it on "Harry's Law," "Go On" and "1600 Penn." Have you noticed it? Is it done to make the shows edgier? What's your opinion?
A: I have noticed it some, but haven't really given it much thought. It probably is a way to try to compete with the more permissive atmosphere of cable, but I think it can also be a comedic device: Sometimes not knowing exactly what curse words are being said -- allowing your brain to fill in the blank, perhaps more outrageously -- is funnier than actually hearing the word.
Q: What's up with the History Channel? I once checked out its many offerings on historical moments and enjoyed most of them. Recently it has been feeding us little more than a series of "Pawn Stars" stuff. It has become unwatchable.
A: First the network changed its name -- now it's just History (no Channel) -- and has begun to branch out into non-history programming like "Pawn Stars" and scripted shows such as "The Bible" and "Vikings." This tends to happen to all cable networks as they mature, they move away from their original, more-narrow, niche programming in favor of broader offerings.
Q: I was under the impression that the networks were supposed to begin controlling the audio volume of commercials this year. It doesn't seem that anything has changed, as the commercials are just as loud as they have been -- or louder. Is there legislation or Federal Communications Commission rules that are in effect to combat the commercial noise?
A: The CALM Act went into effect in December, but I still hear many complaints from viewers about sound volume on TV ads. But here's the problem: Unless viewers at home have equipment to measure sound level, then it's just in the ear of the individual listener and not a complaint that can be quantified.