Trib Total Media TV writer Rob Owen answers reader questions every Wednesday at TribLive.com in a column that also appears in the Sunday Tribune-Review.
Q: Where has Paul Martino been? He’s no longer anchoring the weekend evening news on KDKA-TV. For at least the last three weekends they have been rotating between Bryant Reed and Royce Jones anchoring. They do not mention they are filling in for Martino. Is he possibly heading towards retirement? Before Brenda Waters retired last year she left the anchor desk weekend mornings to report during the work week and was retired months later. Just wonder if this is the direction Paul Martino is heading. Or am I just reading too much into this and it’s built-up vacation time?
— Ryan, Braddock Hills
Rob: Ryan is not reading too much into this. Martino has been re-assigned to Monday-Friday general assignment reporting and is no longer anchoring weekend evening newscasts.
KDKA-TV news director Kathy Hostetter and general manager Chris Cotugno did not respond to emails/calls seeking a response to Ryan’s question.
Given the turmoil at CBS corporate – L.A. Times articles chronicled accusations of bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists by two top CBS executives who have since been dismissed – one could imagine a scenario where interim CBS execs wanted to see more diversity in the anchor ranks of CBS-owned stations, which include KDKA.
Then again, diminishing the roles of station veterans Waters and Martino also provides fodder for KDKA features reporter Dave Crawley’s age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against CBS.
Q: We have watched “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” “Mountain Men” and “Life Below Zero” for many years. Are the people that appear in them paid for their appearances?
— Colleen, Mt. Pleasant
Rob: Yes, participants in this type of docu-series are compensated for their time for filming these shows.
New episodes of “Mountain Men” will return this summer on History. “Life Below Zero” returns this fall on National Geographic Channel. No word yet if “Alaska: The Last Frontier” will produce more episodes for Discovery.
Q: Will all the former TV programming that Travel Channel and its co-channels moved to streaming ever return to cable TV? I have absolutely no intention of buying their streaming service.
I am a fan of some of the well done cryptozoology programs like “Expedition Bigfoot” but after two episodes of the second season it left the Travel Channel for streaming. I hope ratings for their cable channels and their streaming crash and burn — it would serve their greedy owners right.
— Louise via email
Rob: Discovery is doing a lot of experimenting right now with their programs so what they do with one show may not be what they do with another series.
For instance, starting April 20, “Deadliest Catch” episodes are premiering on streamer discovery+ a week before they air on cable’s Discovery Channel.
As for “Expedition Bigfoot,” the show’s second season, which already released on discovery+, will air on Travel Channel at 9 p.m. Sundays April 18 to June 20.
Q: I’ve noticed that Nathanial Arcand hasn’t been in “FBI: Most Wanted.” Is he done with the show or is it another commitment?
— Sheila, New Castle
Rob: Hmm, he was part of and tweeted out this season two promo back in November so he’s definitely worked on season two (IMDB.com suggests he was in the first three episodes). As far as where he’s been, I don’t know, but my understanding is his character, special agent Clinton Skye, will be back soon.
— FBI: Most Wanted (@MostWantedCBS) November 10, 2020
Q: I watched the excellent Ken Burns/Lynn Novick “Hemmingway” series on WQED-TV last week. Do you know why Tuesday and Wednesday night’s episodes were preceded by five minutes of a totally blank screen? Was that a local or network problem?
— Mark, Squirrel Hill
Rob: It was a WQED issue emblematic of the problem with an automated control room.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” said WQED spokesman George Hazimanolis. “The automation system did not start the show at 8 p.m. as scheduled on Tuesday or Wednesday. The error was corrected, but there was a three-minute delay on Tuesday and a four-minute delay on Wednesday. The programs repeated at 10 p.m. each night and there were no issues with the repeats.”