TV Q&A: Why was there an exclamation mark on the door of 'The … – TribLIVE

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Trib Total Media TV writer Rob Owen answers reader questions every Wednesday at TribLIVE.com in a column that also appears in the Sunday Tribune-Review.
Q: I’ve been watching reruns of “The Golden Girls” and noticed on the inside of the front door there is an exclamation point. Does this mean anything to the show?
— Deb, via Facebook
Rob: Sometimes I get questions and know exactly the right source to consult. In this case, it’s my Television Critics Association colleague Jim Colucci who wrote the book “Golden Girls Forever.” He did not disappoint and said it’s a question he had heard before writing his book, so he sought out an answer from the show’s set designers.
“The show’s original production designer, Ed Stephenson, had spent a lot of time working in theater in Florida, and so he fell in love with a particular Florida look, the wood called pecky cypress. He wanted to replicate that with the ‘Golden Girls’ set,” Colucci said. “But often sets are constructed of plywood and then painted with trompe-l’oeil designs to trick the camera into thinking they are other — and often, more expensive — materials. Sometimes, a countertop that looks like tile is really just plywood with a tile-patterned applique stuck on it.
“Pecky cypress is particularly expensive, so the set was constructed with other wood and then decorative painters came in to add faux wood grains. In the case of the door, the wood grain they painted inadvertently looked like an exclamation point, which no one seemed to notice at the time — only the fans have as the show has been repeated so often.
“So the answer is — it was an accident!” Colucci concluded. “Means nothing, although I kinda wish it did have some secret meaning!”
Q: Is “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens” coming back?
— Beth, McCandless
Rob: The show was renewed for a third season in May 2022 and as far as I know, Comedy Central has not pulled back that renewal. No premiere date for season three has been announced.
Q: My question is regarding the ethics of KDKA-TV’s reporting on the tragic loss of the Brackenridge police chief earlier this month. While the tragedy was just beginning to unfold, KDKA began tweeting the name and title of the fallen officer, citing “sources.” Shortly thereafter, KDKA began using his name and title on-air, again citing “sources.” This all while WPXI and WTAE had continued to not name him. But what was really concerning was KDKA aired a live press conference with the Allegheny County police superintendent. Toward the end of that coverage, a reporter asked the superintendent to name the injured officers and he stated that the proper family notifications had not been made and declined to provide their names. Immediately following this, KDKA continued to name the fallen officer on-air and online.
Is it really that important to KDKA to “be first” instead of waiting for official word from authorities? What if, let’s say, KDKA had the name wrong and was incorrectly reporting the chief as deceased — or if his family really wasn’t notified yet? How awful that would be.
— Tyler, via email
Rob: That would be awful. I have no inside knowledge of what KDKA knew and when they knew it or why they went with the name before public officials released it.
In some cases, it’s a reporter’s job to report what they know when they know it, particularly when it involves a public figure. The biggest journalism scoops of all time came from reporting that did not rely on official public statements. But other times, particularly when it’s something as sensitive as the identity of a murder victim, it behooves reporters to wait so those next-of-kin notifications can take place. This particular example falls in between the public’s right to know about the killing of a public figure and the need to allow time for a private family to be notified.
Tyler’s inference is the family had not been told. Another possibility: KDKA knew the family had been notified even though public officials were not naming the deceased.
I shared Tyler’s question with KDKA news director Shawn Hoder, but he declined to answer directly, stating, “KDKA’s focus is being right and being a committed member of this community. We work on being a stronger community partner and a source for accurate information every day.”

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at rowen@triblive.com or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.
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