TV Q&A: Where have all the TV shows goneIJ

March 4, 2012

Q: What happened to “CSI: NY”? I can’t find it anywhere in my TV listings.

A: The series starring Gary Sinise and Sela Ward has been on a long hiatus. It is slated to return March 30.

Winter and spring are tricky times for TV shows across the network schedule. One reason is that even the most successful prime-time broadcast shows make only about 22 episodes in a season that runs more than 40 weeks. That means networks either have to air reruns — which in many cases will not hold on to a show’s audience — or try out new programs. By winter, as well, the worst performers from the previous fall are gone, so new programs have to fill the gaps. Shows from the previous fall may also be tried out in different time slots. And the winter has included the return of several shows that eat up big chunks of prime time, like “American Idol” and “The Voice,” so some programs get moved around or benched.

“CSI: NY” is not a strong show these days. At the end of its seventh season last spring, it was so uncertain of renewal that the producers reportedly made a season finale that could also serve as a conclusion to the show if it was not renewed. While it did come back for its current, eighth season, CBS put it on the bench to see how some newer shows fared on Friday. As I said, it will be back. But no one should be surprised if this season proves to be its last.

Q: What happened to Kathy Bates’ legal clinic/shoe store show? It used to be on at 9 on Wednesdays, was doing well, was switched to Saturday night and disappeared. Was it canceled?

A: “Harry’s Law,” the show you are asking about, has been on hiatus. (See above for more about midseason shuffling.) It will return on March 11 in a new time slot, 8 p.m. EST Sundays.

Q: Please tell me what happened to “Bones.” They are my very favorite. They used to be on at least three times, now they are on just once a week, and mostly reruns.

A: It looks as if you are watching the forensic-crime series both on TNT, which airs repeats of old episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (although NBA telecasts may pre-empt some showings), and on Fox, which runs new episodes. Fox has had the show on hiatus, partly because of a production break taken after co-star Emily Deschanel gave birth to a son last fall, and to open a time slot for trying out “The Finder,” a spin-off of “Bones.” Deschanel’s character, Temperance Brennan, has also been pregnant; she and partner/baby-daddy Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) will still be awaiting their child’s arrival when the series resumes on Fox on April 5.