Q. Why is Shirley Mac- Laine joining the cast of “Downton Abbey”? Is she taking the place of Maggie Smith? – Eileen Behrends, Rake, Iowa
A. If you’ve watched the current Season 3, you’ve seen that the much-lauded PBS series has delighted in putting the two veteran actresses together. Especially since they are playing very separate characters meant to delineate American and English differences of the era, no one is taking anyone else’s place in that case. Mac- Laine told us not long ago that one of the biggest appeals for her in signing up was the opportunity to work with Smith.
Q. Is Ted Allen of the Food Network series “Chopped” related to former “Tonight Show” host Steve Allen? – Larry Weisman, Milwaukee
A. Steve Allen had four sons from his two marriages, but we can find no evidence that he was any relation to Ted.
Q. I have enjoyed the episodes of “Made in Jersey” that have been shown so far. Will there be more forthcoming? – Terry Dean, Buffalo, N.Y.
A. In a word, no. The CBS law drama was the first of the season’s new series to be canceled, and the back-to-back repeats that recently ran were “burnoffs” of episodes that had been produced.
Q. I am curious to know what happened to two shows, “Terra Nova” and “Ringer.” – Sue Bradshaw, Boynton Beach, Fla.
A. As so often is the explanation, especially with series that don’t make it past their first seasons, the reason in both cases was low ratings. In the case of “Terra Nova,” a big budget – as indicated by the special effects – compounded the ratings problem. Fox considered doing original episodes through Netflix but that proved too cost-prohibitive.