By Rich Heldenfels
Tribune News Service
You have questions. I have some answers.
Q: I was wondering if “The Middle” is coming back this fall. I heard them say, “Stay tuned for the farewell.” This is my favorite program and I hope it is not ending.
A: The family comedy starring Patricia Heaton will be back for its ninth season on Oct. 3. But that will be its last. Series creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline said in a statement that “Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close. It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye.”
Also on “The Middle” ground …
Q: Why is “The Middle” so overlooked for Emmy nominations? It has great comedic writing, memorable and unique characters with talented actors. Story lines really speak to the commonplace, family dynamics that are fairly universal for the USA.
A: What, you don’t think that 2012 nomination for “outstanding makeup for a single-camera series” was enough praise? As I have said before, the Emmys and many other awards don’t always honor solid, unpretentious work (which “The Middle” is), or widely popular productions; they instead try to make themselves look good by praising the deep, edgy, innovative and unconventional. (This year’s nominees for best comedy are “Atlanta,” “black-ish,” “Master of None,” “Modern Family,” “Silicon Valley,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Veep.”) Also, the people who pick the Emmys often claim they don’t watch much TV, and what they watch does not necessarily include shows like “The Middle.” Instead, this year, you have as many comedy nominees from Netflix as you do from all the broadcast networks – and, in comedy, a very crowded category.
Q: Is the same actor playing the attorney Trevor Langan on “Law & Order: SVU,” attorney Jack Boyle on “Blue Bloods” and the tuxedoed fellow who advertises Persil detergent? Is his name Peter Hermann? Is he related to the late Edward Herrmann?
A: The man playing all those roles is indeed Peter Hermann. He is not related to Edward Herrmann (“Gilmore Girls” and many other credits). But Peter is the husband of “SVU’s” Mariska Hargitay; they met while working on the show.
Q: Will Amazon produce a fourth series of “Bosch” with Titus Welliver as Det. Harry Bosch? I found the first three to be very entertaining and extremely well-acted by all involved.
A: Amazon has indeed ordered a fourth season, which will arrive in spring 2018.
Q: Many years ago, Mark Harmon played against type in (I believe) a made-for-TV mini-series about serial killer Ted Bundy called “The Deliberate Stranger.” I have never seen it televised again, although I seem to remember his performance was lauded. Any thoughts on why?
A: A ratings hit during its first airing in 1986, it did get repeated; Gregg Olsen’s Bundy-connected novel “The Fear Collector” refers to a character seeing “the umpteenth rerun” of the miniseries. It has also been on home video for about 25 years and can be found on DVD. Reviews were somewhat mixed (I wasn’t crazy about it). Harmon was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance but did not win.
Q: What year did Sheila MacRae die?
A: The likable stage and screen actress died in 2014 at the age of 92. For those of you tuning in late, her best-known TV credit was probably playing Alice Kramden opposite Jackie Gleason’s Ralph in the “Honeymooners” musicals done for Gleason’s variety show from 1966 to 1971. (She was the third Alice Kramden, following Pert Kelton and the greatest Alice, Audrey Meadows.) Offscreen she had a tumultuous marriage to singer-actor Gordon MacRae from 1941 until their divorce in 1967. Their four children included two actresses, Meredith (“Petticoat Junction”) and Heather (“Bang the Drum Slowly”). Gordon died in 1986, Meredith in 2000.