'Yellowstone's Move to the Mainstream, Recycled 'Jeopardy!,' Emmys & More

WTF? on CBS?

Question: How on earth is going to be able to air on as part of their strike-proof schedule? I know there is a lot of profanity, because you get mail on that topic from time to time. It seems to me that the episodes would need to be extremely heavily edited in order to conform to CBS broadcast network standards. I understand they’re only importing it from because the strike has limited their options, but it still seems like an odd choice to me given how much will need to be altered.

Matt Roush: Hey, a hit’s a hit, and they don’t come much bigger than — which, somewhat ironically, I have often described as what (a once-upon-a-time CBS blockbuster) would have looked like if produced for . No doubt the censors will have to work overtime to clean this up — depending on how CBS wants to present it (with adult discretion advisories) — but I fear Beth in particular (the great ) will be bleeped so frequently it will sound like she’s talking in Morse code. I’m very curious to see how this will play on TV’s most traditional network — and how many people are still left who haven’t been able to see the show on cable or streaming.

Get a Clue,

Comment: The recent about the next season of is really depressing to me. The notion that the producers would even entertain the idea of using recycled clues is just pathetic. I understand that it is executive producer ‘ job to produce the show, but still. It’s one thing to ask to tag in and host episodes with new clues that had been written before the strike and quite another to consider actually reusing previous material just to keep the show in production.  This is way below the high standards that the show has set over the years. Of course, a major part of the reason that the show has such a good reputation and high standards is because of how well-written the clues are, and that all comes back to the writers who are on strike.

My interest in new shows without new material would be extremely diminished. The show has a vault of 36 years’ worth of episodes hosted by Alex. If the strike forces them to reuse material, they should just pick some vintage episodes to re-air. The show has been on longer than I’ve been alive, so there are tons of episodes that I haven’t seen. The deep history of the show would seem to give the show an advantage in programming repeats that will seem fresh because of their vintage nature. But airing a rerun is a lot different than reusing previous clues. Apart from being generally insulting and beneath the show, there’s also the fact that so many clues and responses are cataloged online at the Jeopardy Archive website, which the producers know many contestants use to study for the show already.

They wouldn’t want the contestants to literally be able to look up old clues that they might see word-for-word again. —

Matt Roush: Apparently there is precedent for using clues from the archive. The announcement quoted in our story says this is how proceeded during the 2007-08 strike when was still at the helm. I don’t know enough about the Archive website to address that particular issue, but I agree this is not an optimum solution, and I’d bet everyone involves agrees. I’d also be happy to watch vintage Trebek episodes from the past until the show can go back into production as normal with their brilliant writers attached, but it doesn’t look like that’s what going to happen.

We’ve also that Ken Jennings is taking flak for hosting during the strike, and we’ll see how that goes. Basically, this is another messy situation the show didn’t need after the calamitous transition period following Alex’s passing. But the fallout from this strike isn’t good for anybody.


Question: I have watched from the first, and this season I can’t help but wonder why? The show has become slapstick Three Stooges nonsense. And I have to wonder just how far they will push the envelope? The total nude scene (July 16 episode) filmed in front of two little girls standing and watching the display was just too much.

I know with HBO anything goes, but I have to question did this really happen? Were those girls subjected to that display to film a scene? I’m no prude, but I have to wonder where are the censors? Who is watching out for the children? Where were their parents? Needless to say, the Gemstones have stones, but I’ll bet less viewers now. —

Matt Roush: It’s always interesting for me to discover just where people draw the line in shows like this that revel in their outrageousness. In this case, if I’m reading the reporting correctly that I’ve seen about the filming of this wild fight scene between formerly meek BJ (

) and his wife’s very naked ex-lover (Stephen Schneider), it hews to similar situations when minors are seemingly subjected to extreme profanity or sexual situations, which means the editing leads you to believe more happened than actually did. Generally, children are filmed separately from action like this and then edited in a way that makes it look like they were there. I’d be surprised if this is any different. It may be HBO, but their productions are subject to the same standards as anyone else. (A /Vulture article reports that “partitions were put up around the lawn to block onlookers, and the action was kept off the monitors so that only people absolutely needed to see Schneider’s body during filming did.

That said, the grueling and graphic sequence felt earned to me, because of how it illustrated BJ’s descent into jealous rage and madness. For me, this was ’ best season yet, dealing directly with the issue of succession after Eli’s () reign. The final scene between him and grandson Gideon () who seems ready and most able to take up the cloth, makes me think the unruly sibs will be in for an unpleasant surprise whenever Season 4 happens.

The Emmys’ Relationship with Network TV

Question: What’s in the broadcast networks’ interest to keep paying a license fee to air the

? The ratings aren’t even good anymore and all it does is highlight the shows on other platforms. And while one could make the argument that there are some shows from the networks’ own streaming platforms in the running, the biggest recipient of nominations — as has been the case the last 20 years — is HBO, whose parent company doesn’t own a broadcast network. (The nominated actors in supporting categories are all from two HBO shows.) It’s really been the HBO Awards for quite some time. Let them air it. —

Matt Roush: If anything is to change, it won’t be until after 2026, which is when the latest deal expires with the “big four” networks carrying the Emmys on a rotating basis.

(This is ’s year; lucky Fox.) It’s a fair question, and I’ve dealt with it before, but as network programming becomes increasingly invisible to the Emmy voters, this may become more of an issue in years to come. On the other hand, while ratings have slipped for the Emmys and other awards shows, they still qualify as pop-culture events, and that’s one part of the industry where the networks can still appear relevant by providing a mass platform. While it’s true that the networks may feel marginalized by the way the Emmys now operate, the TV Academy will likely push hard against the ceremony being shunted to the less available world of premium cable and/or live streaming.
But lots could change in the next few years. The expected push of this year’s show back to January (the most likely current scenario) isn’t going to help its prospects in the short term.

Say What?

Question: My husband and I have been watching the new series based on real-life first responders in L.A. It’s not as great as his other shows (the shows), but we like it. My only gripe is that you can’t hear everything that is going on, so they put captions which are so small you can’t read them. I don’t know if it’s only us, because we don’t have a flat-screen TV, but I was wondering if there was a way to let them know that they could make the captions bigger.

It’s a great show for the summer. —

Matt Roush: Well, maybe they’ll see this and adjust accordingly. All I know is that this is one of the bigger pet peeves, along with loud background music and dark cinematography. Whether it’s texts and e-mails that flit by or are too small to read, or captioning that’s too light to read or in this case too small, producers need to be aware that on-screen text has to be legible to everyone or why bother.

And Finally …

Question: This is probably an irrelevant question, but given how high the ratings for the 3-part franchise crossover were, if the budget didn’t get so big, and if the time slot had been better, do you think

could’ve been renewed for a 15th Season? It more than likely would’ve been a short final season, but it would’ve been nice to get to see a lot of the show’s loose threads be properly wrapped up, like bringing Hetty home for good, resolving Kilbride’s family issues, etc. –

Matt Roush: I’m not sure anything would have budged CBS from ending the show when it did. With the current exception of the mothership and (no end in sight for either, though financial concessions have been made), the network has a history of limiting the duration of even hit franchises and spinoffs, often somewhere around the seven-year mark (when

folded), which is when contracts and expenses tend to increase exponentially. To go 14 seasons is quite rare. But we already know LL Cool J will reprise his character of Sam on a recurring basis on , so it’s also possible other aspects of the show might continue to resonate in the universe, even if just to give fans an update on Hetty and the others should the occasion arise.

That’s all for now. We can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to  or shoot me a line on Twitter @TVGMMattRoush. (Please include a first name with your question.)

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