Saturday, June 24, 2006

SitcomsOnline Remembers TV Legend Aaron Spelling; DVD News Regarding Sony and VEI

Mr. Aaron Spelling, the amazing producer, passed away yesterday at his home after suffering a stroke on Sunday. Mr. Spelling has produced over 200 movies and TV shows. He is probably one of the greatest TV producers of all time, if not the greatest. He got his first major hit in 1963 for the ABC crime drama Burke's Law. Then the hits kept rolling with Daniel Boone and The Mod Squad. The Mod Squad was the first series in the Danny Thomas/Aaron Spelling umbrella. Unfortuantely they didn't have another hit in that production company. They made some TV movies, though. Then the '70s began and Aaron Spelling was just about to become a giant. He signed an exclusive contract with ABC. He joined Leonard Goldberg to form Spelling-Goldberg Productions. They produced a lot of TV movies for ABC. Hit shows they produced were The Rookies, SWAT, Starsky & Hutch and Family. In 1976 they made two big hits, the TV series Charlie's Angels and the big TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring John Travolta. Then more ABC hit TV shows came a long such as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. By then it was like whatever they produced was a hit. Next came Vega$. They finally found two series that didn't work Friends (no, not that one!) in 1979 and The San Pedro Beach Bums in 1978. But they quickly rebounded with a hit called Hart to Hart. His ABC success continued in 1981 with the primetime soap Dynasty. More hits rolled-in as T.J. Hooker with William Shatner and Heather Locklear came along, along with Matt Houston. He tried to produce their first sitcom in 1983 called At Ease, but it didn't work. But he produced another hit drama that year for ABC called Hotel. In 1984 he didn't find success with Glitter and Finders of Lost Love--both lasted one season. Dynasty continued to do well and 1985 they spun-off The Colbys. In 1986 he tried again to do a sitcom and brought in TV legend Lucille Ball to star in Life with Lucy. It also didn't last. With Dynasty ending and Spelling couldn't find any more hits, as Nightingales failed in 1989, he tried movies, such as Soapdish. Then he found success on another network, Fox, in Beverly Hills, 90210...a teen drama. At the same an era of his hits for ABC ended, a new one was born with teen dramas. In 1992 he found another hit for Fox called Melrose Place. That same year he launched three other dramas, but they all didn't last. In 1994, he tried to relaunch Burke's Law on CBS, but it only lasted a season. That same year he launched two other dramas, such as Models Inc., but they didn't last. With Melrose and 90210 still going strong, Spelling still had two hits at least. University Hospital also didn't work. In 1996 he pitched two dramas for the new WB network. Savannah and 7th Heaven. 7th Heaven became a hit, while Savannah was gone. Also that year he launched a drama for NBC called Malibu Shores and Kindred for Fox but they didn't last. It seemed like he was having a lot of failed dramas...something unheard of for him, but at least a lot of his shows made it on the air! He tried his game on an NBC daytime soap next called Sunset Beach. It was pretty popular and lasted 2 years. He tried to launch other hits such as a revival of The Love Boat, this time on UPN, but it lasted just a season. Pacific Palisades, Buddy Faro, Rescue 77 and Safe Harbor didn't work either. Over the years he produced big screen movies for his past shows such as Charlie's Angels and The Mod Squad. He procuded many reunion movies for Hart to Hart. He found his next hit in 1998 with Charmed. After that he tried a lot of series that didn't work in the ratings: Titans, All Souls, Deep Cover, Kingpin, 10-8, Summerland, Queens Supreme, and Clubhouse. Yes, the man was made of magic. It is unheard of to have all these shows even make it on the air. It seemed in the the 70s and 80s all his shows that made it on the air were hits. In the 90s and now he had his fair share of hits, too. He still has 7th Heaven on the air, but Charmed ended its run this past season.
Let's hope TV Land pays tribute to him in someway. He even guest starred on an episode of Burke's Law back in 1964 on the episode "Who Killed Julian Buck?" That would be nice to see. He was also on a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy, so TV Land could air that, too. He wrote the episode of The Rookies titled "Blue Christmas." TV Land should air that, too. So, if I were them I'd air that episode of Burke's Law, I Love Lucy, The Rookies...along with his major hits that are not on TV: Starsky & Hutch, The Mod Squad, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vega$, Hart to Hart, Matt Houston, Hotel, SWAT, TJ Hooker, Family...maybe an episode of the short-lived Life with Lucy to go along with I Love Lucy. And maybe throw in the TV-movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. They should do a nice 24-hour tribute at least. I think I came up with 18 hours right there. I will certainly let you know if TV Land or any other network do tributes.
Mr. Spelling will certainly be missed and his shows will live on forever on TV and DVD. He was 83.

Moving on to DVD news. Sony Pictures Home Enterainment will release two shows starring Meredith Baxter on Sept. 5. The one year wonder Bridget Loves Bernie. The sitcom starred Meredith Baxter, David Birney and Audra Lindley. Also, they will release the first two seasons of the family drama Family, which of course was produced by Aaron Spelling. Full details will be out on on Monday when Sony officially announces it.
Also, VEI, the Canadian home entertainment company, has told us they have delayed The Stockard Channing Show set to the fall at the earliest. Why? Because they are working on bringing us better masters. That is a good reason and should be worth the wait. They have also let me know they are working on season 2 of the sitcom Gimme a Break! It should be out before year's end! And maybe shortly after that they will bring us season 3 of Kate & Allie! No idea if Universal will release these before VEI, but VEI seems like they will release them. Stay tuned for further updates.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (November)

The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD) Maude - The Complete Third Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season McHale's Navy - The Complete Series Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season

11/03 - Californication - The Complete Series
11/03 - Getting On - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
11/03 - Hank (1965-66) - The Complete Series
11/03 - I Love Lucy - The Complete Series
11/03 - Men at Work - The Complete Second Season
11/03 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/03 - 'Til Death - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD)
11/10 - Maude - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season
11/17 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
11/17 - McHale's Navy - The Complete Series
11/17 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season
11/24 - George Lopez - The Complete Sixth Seaon
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, November 25

The Middle - "Thanksgiving VI" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Hecks agree to forgo Thanksgiving after Frankie finds out that she’s out of a job until January and must pick up a holiday position, which requires her to work on Thanksgiving in order to make ends meet. Much to her dismay, she ends up once again having to portray an overworked 19th century woman back at Heritage Village during the Harvest Feast and finds herself going face-to-face with Sheila (Faith Ford), a woman who definitely takes her job too seriously. Meanwhile, Sue goes back to work at Spudsy’s over her holiday break in the hopes that she’ll once again run into Logan – the dreamy Abercrombie guy, Axl finds himself in foreign territory when he starts becoming emotional over how his life has turned out, and Mike and Brick find themselves needing to find a bonding experience when the electricity goes out at the house and they are forced to interact with each other.

The Goldbergs - "A Goldberg Thanksgiving" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As a bet, Beverly challenges Erica to participate in Jazzercise after she thinks her mom’s obsession is lame. When she wins, Erica decides to opt out of celebrating Thanksgiving, so Beverly must find a way to win her daughter back to celebrate the holiday with the family. Meanwhile, uncle Marvin shows up for his annual visit to the Goldberg home and unexpectedly bonds with Adam, which annoys Murray.

Modern Family - "Three Turkeys" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year with Luke as his sous chef, and Claire has no confidence in them and prepares a secret turkey of her own as backup. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria had plans to spend the holiday away, but when the trip gets canceled last minute, they decide not to tell anyone, which quickly becomes the worst idea ever since the family dinner gets suddenly moved to their house, and it turns into a mad scramble to cover their tracks. And Mitch is tired of always being the bad cop, so when Lily refuses to wear a nice dress to dinner, he forces Cameron to deal with it, and he comes up with a very unconventional approach.

black-ish - "30 Something" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Things begin to fall apart, in more ways than one, when Dre hurts himself playing basketball right before his 40th birthday. He hands the planning of his big party over to his much younger, hipper assistant, fearing he really is getting too old to be cool. Bow and Ruby face off over who can get Dre the best gift, and the kids try to figure out what to give their dad for his special day.

Talia in the Kitchen - "After the Storm" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Will steals Talia's spices, she hides from the hurricane.until a mysterious boy discovers her.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 23)

Wednesday, November 25

  • Nathan Lane (Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Watch Nathan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • James Van Der Beek (Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jay Duplass (Togetherness/Transparent) - Jay appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Vanessa Lachey (Truth Be Told/Dads) - Vanessa and FABLife stylists put audience members to the test with a Thanksgiving preparation trivia challenge and turkey bowling competition for prizes on FABLife, so check your local listings.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo talks about the fight against cancer in children and her Thanksgiving tribute to her dear friend Robin Williams on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Greg Evigan (My Two Dads) - Greg and his daughter Briana talk about the new Hallmark Channel original movie Once Upon a Holiday on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John O'Hurley (Seinfeld/The Mullets) - John talks about The National Dog Show on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo appears on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly talk about starring in the upcoming holiday movie Angel of Christmas on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) - Candace is tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.