Q: I love it that a lot of networks are now airing new programming over the summer. At first it was only the cable networks, but now it seems the basic cable networks are getting in on the act. Can you tell me what to expect from my favorite network of the Big Four (that being NBC)? — Fred F., Lansing, Mich.
A: NBC recently announced it does indeed have new programming planned for the summer. “America’s Got Talent” returns on Tuesday, May 31. Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan all will be back as judges, with Nick Cannon again hosting. “The Marriage Ref” returns on Sunday, June 26, while “Law and Order: Los Angeles” continues with new episodes on Mondays. Speaking of “Law and Order,” “Criminal Intent” begins its final season May 30. Also, the final season of “Friday Night Lights” continues well into the summer. New shows include a vocal talent show called “The Voice,” the game show “Still Standing” and an adventure-dating series called “Love in the Wild” — all premiere in June.
Q: I really enjoyed Jason Dohring in “Veronica Mars” and “Moonlight.” What is he up to now? — Mary A., in Oklahoma
A: Jason, 29, has been pretty busy since “Moonlight” ended, guest-starring in “Party Down,” “CSI” and “Lie to Me.” He recently completed filming on the movie “Searching for Sonny,” which also stars one of the newest “Charlie’s Angels,” Minka Kelly. The story follows three friends who return home for their high-school reunion and get sucked into a small-town murder mystery.
Q: My wife and I love “Law and Order,” and we were sad when S. Epatha Merkerson left the show last year. We know she had to leave because she had cancer, so we would like to know her condition. — Harry T., Essex Junction, Vt.
A: Don’t fret — S. Epatha does NOT have cancer; her character on the show, Lt. Van Buren, had cancer. S. Epatha has said she had a wonderful 16 years on the show, but it was time for her to move on. She recently wrapped filming on the movie “We the Peeples” with Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson.
READERS: This summer is the summer of contests! First contest: Rachel Fine (pictured, above left) is not only the gorgeous co-host of the weekly comedy news series “The Bonus Show” for Howard (Stern) TV on Demand, but she also is an accomplished singer. She recently released her first CD of original music, all of which she co-wrote with Timothy Schletter, called “Own Your Own” (left) I’ll be giving away five autographed copies of the CD — all you have to do is write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, and tell me what you like most about discovering new musical talent. I’ll pick my five favorite entries to win the CDs, and I’ll even print some of the best answers. Deadline is May 15.