Television Q&A

Expect to spy FX’s ‘The Americans’ in January

'The Americans': Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as undercover Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings.
'The Americans': Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as undercover Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings.

Akron Beacon Journal

Q. What happened to The Americans on FX? It was great.

The drama about Russian spies in America in the Reagan era had a 13-episode first season that aired from January to May. A second season has been ordered, to begin in January.

Where a hit broadcast show may make 24 episodes in a season, cable series tend to have fewer episodes. Programmers may also split those episodes into smaller bites, so The Walking Dead’s fourth season on AMC consists of eight episodes now and eight more in 2014.

Broadcasters also have looked at shorter runs, as with summer-only series or when piggybacking two shows in the same time slot to minimize reruns. CBS, for example, announced Hostages as a Monday-night show for the fall, with Intelligence taking over the time slot in February.

Q. I am a big fan of court shows and wondered what happened to Judge Joe Brown?

While it was the second most popular court show in syndication (behind only Judge Judy), the Hollywood Reporter said plans for a new season ended “after negotiations on a new contract broke down, apparently over Brown’s salary.”

Brown reportedly made $20 million a year, but he told the Reporter his actual income was more like $5 million, and that “Hollywood trick economics” hurt his pay. Either way, the distributor, CBS Television, apparently wanted to pay Brown less because of declines in ratings and ad sales, and no deal was made.

Q. I used to watch a hilarious show about a sock puppet in the late hours on MTV. Can you tell me the name?

You are probably remembering Sifl and Olly, which aired on MTV in the ’90s, both in late night and in prime time. Created by Liam Lynch and Matt Crocco, it had two sock puppets in conversations derived from Lynch and Crocco’s own odd, real-life chats.

Send questions to TV Mailbag, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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