Television Q&A: Where are the dance shows?

Rich Heldenfels, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: What happened to “So You Think You Can Dance” for this summer? Also, Jennifer Lopez’s dance show.

A: A profile of “SYTYCD’s” Nigel Lythgoe in Variety earlier this summer said the show’s “highly anticipated” return “is still to be determined; (but) the last season wrapped up with a live finale in September 2019, almost two years ago.” While that long delay could be blamed on the pandemic, which scuttled a 17th season originally planned for 2020, I have not seen anything from Fox about the show coming back. “World of Dance,” NBC’s competition series with Lopez, did manage a COVID-protected fourth season in 2020, but the network decided not to order a fifth run.

Q: I enjoy “Vera” on PBS. Is David Leon being replaced?

A: You may be seeing older episodes of the British mystery series starring Brenda Blethyn as police detective Vera Stanhope. David Leon left the show in 2014 after four seasons as Joe Ashworth, with Kenny Doughty replacing him as a new character, Aiden Healy. Blethyn reportedly said that Leon’s leaving was a “low point” for her during the show. Still, she praised Doughty’s work, saying there’s “a great camaraderie among the whole cast and crew, but especially between Kenny and me.” David Leon, who is also a director, did return to helm an episode in 2018.

Q: What has happened to Frank on “American Pickers”?

A: The History series announced Frank Fritz’s departure in late July after more than a decade on the show, although he had reportedly not been in a new episode since early 2020. Fritz in a recent interview with the U.S. edition of Britain’s Sun publication, discussed his battle with Crohn’s disease, a back problem that required surgery, and a drinking problem he blamed on his breakup with a girlfriend (adding he now has not had a drink in almost a year). He also underscored a feud with “Pickers” star Mike Wolfe, saying he had not talked with Wolfe in almost two years. Fritz has speculated that Wolfe disliked Fritz’s stardom being on a par with his own. But in a statement Wolfe reportedly said, “I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey.”

Q: “Midnight, Texas,” was a show I enjoyed. Any news about a possible revival?


A: No. After NBC canceled the series in 2018, the studio was said to be shopping it to other programmers. But so far no one has decided to bring back the drama based on the books by Charlaine Harris.

Q: Do you know where to find an episode of a “Twilight Zone” type show (i.e., “Outer Limits,” “Night Gallery,” “Tales from the Darkside,” etc.) that featured a magician who transplanted a gland from a cat that gave him nine lives? He used the nine lives to perform death-defying stunts in his magic act. Can you tell me the show it was on and the episode title?

A: That was a 1989 episode of “Tales from the Crypt” called “Dig That Cat … He’s Real Gone.” It was written by Terry Black and Steven Dodd and directed by Richard Donner (who passed away in early July). The cast included Joe Pantoliano and Robert Wuhl. The series has been released on DVD, with this episode in the first season package.

Q: I am wondering if one of my favorite shows, “Bless This Mess,” is returning. I laughed so hard at EVERY episode. I LOVED the quirky characters.

A: Unfortunately, not enough people shared your enthusiasm. ABC canceled the series after two seasons.


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