Crikey! It’s The Ir­wins

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - CHANNELS -

Q: Has the show “Life in Pieces” been can­celed? We re­ally en­joyed it and I keep look­ing for it to reap­pear.

A: It’s un­der­stand­able you’d be wor­ried about the fate of “Life in Pieces.” Since the end of sea­son 3 in the spring, there’s been an ex­plo­sion of news about new projects the cast mem­bers and pro­duc­ers are tak­ing on. That’s usu­ally the first (and some­times only) sign of a can­cel­la­tion. But not this time.

“Life in Pieces” has been re­newed for a fourth sea­son, which will premiere some­time over the win­ter (there’s no firm date yet).

The an­nounce­ment glut can be ex­plained by the fact that the show has reached the stage where it can sur­vive without quite as much at­ten­tion from its pro­duc­ers.

It’s usu­ally around the sea­son 2 or 3 mark that pro­duc­ers start launch­ing new projects, once the show has de­vel­oped a bit of a for­mula and a solid pro­duc­tion team that knows the show well.

“Life in Pieces” direc­tor and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ja­son Winer is at that stage. Now that the se­ries has hit its stride, he can turn his at­ten­tion to new shows. But in­stead of tak­ing a one-at-a-time ap­proach, he’s tak­ing on a bunch at once. He’s co-pro­duc­ing a sit­com called “Sin­gle Par­ents,” which launched in Septem­ber on ABC, and he also has deals for two oth­ers, drama se­ries “The Fam­ily Prac­tice” and the work­ing­mom sit­com “Woman Up.”

Q: What hap­pened to Christo­pher Kim­ball on the “Cook’s Coun­try” and “Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen” pro­grams?

A: The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Christo­pher Kim­ball and the food-me­dia em­pire he helped to cre­ate went sour seem­ingly overnight, as things of­ten do when they’re left out too long.

Their re­la­tion­ship was out very long in­deed — Kim­ball hosted PBS’s “Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen” (and later its spinoff, “Cook’s Coun­try”) since its de­but in 2000. He also helped cre­ate the com­pany be­hind it, Bos­ton Com­mon Press, in the early 1990s. Kim­ball and Bos­ton Com­mon cre­ated a food­me­dia em­pire to­gether, un­til 2015 when Kim­ball was ousted from the com­pany un­der con­tentious cir­cum­stances.

He hosted one more sea­son of both shows in 2016 and main­tained a mi­nor­ity stake in the com­pany, but they were no longer on good terms.

This was proven late in 2016, when the com­pany sued Kim­ball for try­ing to “lit­er­ally and con­cep­tu­ally rip off” the “Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen” for­mat for his new project, “Milk Street.”

“Milk Street” has at least fol­lowed the same ap­proach to multi-plat­form pub­lish­ing: Kim­ball quickly launched a mag­a­zine, TV show, pod­cast, cook­ing school and even a set of cook­ware, all un­der the “Milk

Street” brand (named af­ter the com­pany’s ad­dress in Bos­ton).

Fit­tingly, the nasty breakup played out in mul­ti­me­dia as well, with each side pub­lish­ing ar­ti­cles ex­plain­ing their po­si­tions. The high­light was prob­a­bly the web­site launched by Bos­ton Com­mon Press, WhyWeAreSu­ingChristo­pherKim­, which is ex­actly what it says on the pack­age.

Have a ques­tion? Email us at ques­ Please in­clude your name and town. Per­sonal replies will not be pro­vided.

ANPL 8:00 p.m.

The Ir­win fam­ily pre­pares for a mis­sion to re­lease an en­dan­gered sea tur­tle back into the wild in this new episode. A gi­raffe named Scar­lett is re­united with her grand­mother, and a wild echidna is re­leased from the wildlife hos­pi­tal.

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