News Column

Pop culture Q&A: 'Iron Chef' chairman has varied career

July 2, 2013

YellowBrix

Q: I enjoy "Iron Chef America" on the Food Network and was wondering how Mark Dacascos became "the Chairman." I have seen him on a few TV shows and was curious about his career.

A: Dacascos is an actor with a long resume, including playing the villain Wo Fat on the current version of "Hawaii Five-O." (Dacascos, by the way, was born in Hawaii.) He is also a martial artist, and the son of people adept in various forms. When he was contacted about "Iron Chef America," he asked if the producers "knew that I 'KICK,' not 'COOK.'?'' He told the LAist website that the makers of the original Japanese "Iron Chef" series had casting approval for the chairman on the American version _ and Dascacos was on their short list. "Two French films that I had done, 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' and 'Crying Freedom,' had done very well in Japan, and the producers of 'Iron Chef' knew me from that," he said.

Q: I was wondering what happened to the Tim Allen show "Last Man Standing" and the Reba show that was on right after it.

A: "Last Man Standing" will be back on ABC in the fall. "Malibu Country," the Reba McEntire show that you mentioned, will not.

Q: Who is the man with the beautiful voice who narrates a commercial for G.E. starting with something about a "talking car" then switches to a "talking train?" His voice is so familiar to me.

A: As well it should be. That is the voice of William Daniels, an actor who in 60 years of screen acting has included work on "St. Elsewhere" (for which he won two Emmys), "Boy Meets World," "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Graduate." But the work in the G.E. commercial is based on another Daniels role, as the voice of the car K.I.T.T. on the David Hasselhoff version of "Knight Rider," (Before you ask: Val Kilmer was the car's voice in the 2008-09 "Knight Rider" revival starring Justin Bruening.) That's the car in the G.E. ad, complete with license plate saying "Knight."

Q: I am interested in finding out if the series "Justified" is coming back on this season. It is my favorite.

A: FX has renewed the excellent drama starring Timothy Olyphant for a fifth season. Look for it in early 2014.

Q: I love the Jesse Stone movies with Tom Selleck. When will the next one be released?

A: Selleck made eight of the movies based on a character created by novelist Robert B. Parker, but "Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt in 2012" was the last one done for CBS. While the network had aired all the films, it did not have room for more in part because it does not do much at all in the way of TV movies. Although reports in 2012 said Selleck and associates were shopping the movies to other networks, there has been no news to date of a deal. But Selleck will be back on CBS this fall with a new season of "Blue Bloods."

Q: What about HBO's "Newsroom?" Will it be back?

A: The drama created by Aaron Sorkin begins its second season on HBO on July 14. The new season picks up 14 months after the first one ended, but then backtracks to follow fallout from a comment at the end of the first season by anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and a major crisis over reporting by the "News Night" program.

Q: I have been wondering for months now what happened to Jack Cafferty, who was a regular on CNN. I'm a regular watcher and sure miss him.

A: Cafferty, whose name seldom appeared in print without the word "curmudgeon" attached, left CNN in November; the TV Newser website said his contract was not renewed. I have not found any indication of what he is doing now.

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