Friday, November 25, 2005

Breaking News: Pat Morita Passes Away at 73; Network Holiday Programming: NBC

Before we continue to our holiday programming feature, we have some bad news to report. Actor Pat Morita passed away yesterday from natural causes. Morita was best known for his role of Arnold on the sitcom Happy Days and Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid films. Morita was a well known fixture on many sitcoms as a guest star, too. He made his start on sitcoms on an episode of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in 1967. Some of the other sitcoms he guest starred on are The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Love American Style, Green Acres, The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H, Welcome Back Kotter, Chico and the Man, The Love Boat, Laverne & Shirley, Fresh Prince, Family Matters, The Hughleys, Yes Dear, and as Ah Chew on Sanford & Son. He was everywhere and was a very funny man. He recently appeared on ABC's 30th Anniversary Reunion for Happy Days back in February. He still has a few independent movie roles still to be released. He will for sure be missed. Pat Morita was 73 years old. Click here to read the AP story.

Today we will move on to NBC. NBC will kick their holiday season off with the annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center on Wednesday, November 30, the last day of November sweeps.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center is a star-studded, one-hour special broadcast live from Rockefeller Center in New York City and celebrates the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree. The popular musical lineup for the special will include a mix of current hits and favorite holiday music. Airs Wednesday, November 30 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET/PT

The Happy Elf -- NBC makes this Christmas memorable by celebrating the holiday season with Grammy-winning performer Harry Connick Jr. (NBC’s Will & Grace), starring in his first ever CGI-animated family holiday special, The Happy Elf. Connick provides the voice for the animated narrator who tells the story of Eubie the Elf, one of Santa’s helpers whose overly enthusiastic, rose-colored view of the holiday season is put to the test when he sets out to bring Christmas joy to a dreary town called Bluesville. The Happy Elf also stars the talented voice cast of Carol Kane, Lewis Black, Mickey Rooney and Rob Paulsen. This holiday event also includes all new original holiday songs written and composed by Connick. Airs Friday, December 2 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET/PT followed by a Christmas themed episode of Three Wishes from 9 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Sitcom Christmas Episodes of My Name is Earl and The Office. For Earl, “White Lie Christmas” -- As the holiday season nears, a few secrets are exposed when Earl (Jason Lee) attempts to cross number 74 off of his list: "always ruined Joy's Christmas." Earl, Randy (Ethan Suplee), and Catalina (Nadine Velazquez) enter a radio contest to win a brand-new car for Joy (Jaime Pressly) to make up for all of the thoughtless Christmas presents Earl gave her while they were married. While Randy and Catalina vie over the car, Earl finds out that Joy's parents believe that he's still their son-in-law -- and that he's just returned from the war in Iraq. Joy is afraid to tell her father, an alleged racist, that she is now married to Darnell (Eddie Steeples), prompting Earl to play the part. For The Office, “The Christmas Party” -- Morale at the office Christmas party hits an all-time low after Michael (Steve Carell) suggests a game of “Yankee Swap” with the $20 secret Santa gifts -- and everyone vies for the iPod he bought for Ryan (B.J. Novak). In an effort to raise his staff’s sagging spirits, Michael introduces vodka shots and things liven up while Jim (John Krasinski) worries that the sentimental gift he got for Pam (Jenna Fischer) will end up in Dwight’s (Rainn Wilson) hands. The hour airs on Tuesday, December 6 from 9 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.

E-Ring Christmas: "Christmas Story" -- On Christmas Eve, JT (Benjamin Bratt) works in Special Ops on a humanitarian relief mission to help an Afghan village that helped Delta several years ago and now finds itself confronting bad weather and an advancing Taliban force – and help must come from unusual places to make the mission work. Meanwhile, Samantha (Kelly Rutherford) meets JT's father who needs a favor, much to JT's dismay. Dennis Hopper and Aunjanue Ellis also star. Airs Wednesday, December 7 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Will & Grace and ER Holiday Episodes: For Will & Grace, “A Little Christmas Queer” -- The gang spends the holidays at the house of Marilyn Truman (guest star Blythe Danner) while Grace (Debra Messing) and Will's (Eric McCormack) brother share some holiday romance. In addition, Will's 10-year-old nephew is clearly gay -- and it bothers Will that his mother Marilyn is more tolerant towards the boy than she was of her son. Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally also star. For ER, “All About Christmas Eve” -- After a little girl is mistakenly shot, Drs. Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) and Weaver (Laura Innes) desperately try to bring her back to life while Nurse Haleh (Yvette Freeman) holds her annual choir tryouts and everyone is surprised at who is chosen to sing the solo. In addition, Eve (Kristen Johnston) crosses the line with a patient and causes management to get involved. Abby (Maura Tierney) and Dr. Kovac (Goran Visnjic) exchange Christmas gifts but, Abby's gift for him is bigger than expected. Shane West, Parminder Nagra, John Leguizamo and Linda Cardellini also star.
Will & Grace airs at a special time at 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday, December 8. ER airs from 10 to 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Holiday Classic Movie -- It's a Wonderful Life: NBC marks a milestone for the nation's visually impaired as the network presents this exclusive and special telecast of Frank Capra's 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. Through a process of Descriptive TheatreVision, the special presentation will be described for the blind and visually impaired by former President George Bush. Bush's description will inform the viewer of what is occurring on the screen, filling the blanks where no dialogue or other sounds tell a visually impaired person what is happening during a television presentation. The film follows the life of George Bailey (Stewart) from childhood to maturity in the town of Bedford Falls. On what might be his last Christmas Eve, a discouraged Bailey wants to throw his life away. Fortunately, Clarence (Henry Travers), a second-class angel, is sent to show him the value of life. After Clarence gives Bailey a view of Bedford Falls without him, Bailey realizes how precious his life is and gets a second chance. He comes to learn that Clarence was right when he said, "No man is a failure who has friends." The film, which earned Oscar nominations for best picture, director, actor and film editing, was produced and directed by Capra. Airs Saturday, December 10 and Saturday, December 24 from 8 to 11 p.m. ET/PT both nights.

Joey Christmas: In a special one-hour episode, as the holidays near, Alex' (Andrea Anders) is moved to express to Joey (Matt LeBlanc) her true feelings for him. Airs for a full-hour on Thursday, December 15 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET/PT.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: – The hit theatrical film returns and it's Christmas time again as the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark (Chevy Chase), his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon. Airs Sunday, December 18 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.

2005 Radio Music Awards -- The biggest names in music will celebrate the holiday season live from Las Vegas at the 2005 Radio Music Awards (RMAs). Considered by the music industry as the “Golden Globes of music award shows” because of its casual party-style, this year promises to be even bigger than last with its move to December and inclusion of holiday songs. The 2005 RMA nominees include 50 Cent, Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Destiny’s Child, Nelly, Gwen Stefani and many more. The “2005 Radio Music Awards” is executive-produced by David Broome, Anthony Eaton, Von Freeman and Paul Joseph. Airs Monday, December 19 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET/PT.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest