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News / Life / Entertainment

TV Questions: Will ‘Schmigadoon!’ have encore season?

By Rich Heldenfels, Tribune News Service
Published: April 13, 2024, 5:59am

You have questions. I have some answers.

It was such a disappointment to all of us musical theater fans that the wonderful “Schmigadoon!” was canceled by Apple TV+ before Season 3 (which had all of its songs already written!) could be filmed. Any chance it will be picked up by another network? It’s truly a theatrical treasure.

It was indeed a treasure as it built its stories around classic Broadway musical styles for two seasons, with an array of musical pros (Ariana DeBose, Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth among them) joining stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key. Could it come back sometime? These days it seems any series has a chance of eventual revival. But I’m not optimistic about this one.

What’s with the five-minute period (from 10:30 to 10:35 p.m. CT) when local stations stretch their news before the network late-night shows begin? Why don’t they begin and end at the half-hour like most scheduled programs?

It’s a way for local newscasts to get in a few more minutes of commercials before the late shows begin, much the way some current hit shows add a minute to their running time to make room for more ads. But that’s not the only occasion for odd start times for TV shows. When Ted Turner was trying to bring viewers to TBS and TNT, he observed that starting on the hour and half-hour meant his networks’ TV listings were jammed in with other programs at those times; for years he put the start times at five minutes past the hour or half-hour so the shows had their own, solo spot in the listings. And NBC at one time aired its hit comedies in “supersized” form running a little more than 30 minutes to deter viewers from switching to other networks.

Between 1973 and 1975, three TV movies were released on the broadcast networks: “Genesis II,” “Planet Earth” and “Strange New World.” They were pilots based on concepts by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, but never sold as series. Are they available for viewing anywhere?

According to Lee Goldberg’s book “Unsold Television Pilots,” “Genesis II” aired in 1973 on CBS and focused on a scientist who was awakened 150 years after going into suspended animation. Alex Cord starred. After it did not sell, a script for the series became the pilot “Planet Earth” for ABC in 1974, with John Saxon as the star. When that did not sell, the studio tried “Strange New World” for ABC in 1975, with Saxon as the leader of a team of astronauts who wind up in the future. It didn’t sell either.

As for your question, here are some answers: all three films have been released on DVD and are for sale on Amazon. “Genesis II” and “Planet Earth” are also available as digital rentals and purchases on Prime Video, Vudu and elsewhere. “Strange New World” is on YouTube.

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