Q: When is "Combat" coming back on MeTV?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

The unfortunate answer is no one knows, except maybe the programming execs at MeTV, and they're not saying.

Readers of this column have heard me complain about how un-transparent networks are about the cancellations and renewals of the first-run shows they air. But I don't often get to complain about the fact that the situation is worse with reruns. 

First-run shows have production lead times in the months, at least -- they have to write scripts, scout locations, shoot the footage, edit the video and so on, before they can air a single episode. That means the news generally leaks out somewhere along the way when a new show is coming down the pike.

With reruns, though, and stations that lean on them heavily (or in MeTV's case, entirely), there's potentially no lead time. A station can swap out a "Golden Girls" episode for a "M*A*S*H" episode with very short notice. There are no actors or directors or set designers to leak the news that a shoot is underway (that's usually the leakiest point) because the shoots wrapped years ago. 

MeTV announces changes to its schedule a few weeks before they happen, but that's it. And at the moment, the schedule is completely lacking in the action-packed World War II drama "Combat!" And there's no word that's going to change.

"Combat" held up the late shift on MeTV for a while, but that ceased a few years ago. Lately its time-slot has been held by a combination of "77 Sunset Strip" and "Swamp Thing." But that could change (again, on a moment's notice) -- "Swamp Thing," for example, is a recent addition, subbing in for "Land of the Giants" just a few months ago.


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