If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.
Q: Is “CSI: Miami” going to come back on the air?
A: I have received several questions lately about the fate of the CBS drama starring David Caruso. This may tell you something about how we view the TV season — waiting until as late as November before we think a network schedule is finally set (and then bracing for more changes in the new year).
But to answer the question, the series has been canceled, without hope for reprieve, The DVD set of the 10th-season episodes from 2011-12 proclaims it’s “the final season.” When the show’s demise was announced in May, the Los Angeles Times noted the show “had dealt with depressed ratings and sharply increased production costs in recent seasons.” CBS moved The Mentalist into Miami’s Sunday slot with the hope that the younger series could draw and keep an audience.
Fans of Miami noted that its ratings were about the same as companion show CSI: NY, which was renewed, and a top CBS executive said that when it came time to decide which of those CSIs to keep, “it was almost a jump ball.” NY got the nod because it fit well with another Friday show, the New York-set Blue Bloods, and CBS had hopes for a geographically themed night on Fridays by adding Made in Jersey to the mix. But as I noted in a previous mailbag, Made in Jersey proved unsuccessful.
Q: Why does the second “Atlas Shrugged” movie have a different cast from the first?
A: Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged was long considered to be so long and complicated that it could not be made into a movie. Producer John Aglialoro decided to adapt it into three movies. The Atlas Society — an organization supporting Rand’s philosophy, and one where Aglialoro is a trustee — says that proved no easy task for the producer.
“After a long series of unsuccessful efforts in partnership with studios like Lionsgate, his option (on the novel) was about to expire,” the site said. “In early April, 2010, after the last Lionsgate effort collapsed, he took the plunge” into making the film independently. With a deadline looming, he did not have the time to negotiate deals with the actors for the sequels — or the budget to make all three films at once.
When it came time to make the second film, the site says, “re-assembling the cast for all the speaking roles would have been a near-impossible task, especially since the producers were committed — in early 2012 — to have Part 2 in theaters by October.” The original actors had moved on, so new performers were brought in, as were “additional writers, a new director (and) new people in the other key (production) roles.”
The first film is now on DVD and Blu-ray. The second is still in some theaters, including the Regal Independence 10.
Q: Colby Donaldson hosts “Top Shot” on the History channel. What is his own experience with guns?
A: In the series’ companion book, also called Top Shot, Donaldson says this of his shooting experience:
“I learned to shoot when I was 6 years old and that experience is one of my best childhood memories. My father taught me on a Winchester single-shot .22 rifle that was the first gun that he bought when he was a kid. … I’ve been into guns ever since.”
The marksmanship series has done well for History, and Donaldson tweeted recently that a fifth season has completed production for an air date to be determined.
People who do not watch Top Shot may remember Donaldson as a contestant on Survivor, where he was the runner-up in the second season and returned for the All Stars and Heroes Vs. Villains seasons.
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Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter and Facebook.