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 TVShowsonDVD.com 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.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, July 23

The Middle - "Change in the Air" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she’s never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won’t do the same for her; and Sue’s feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.

The Goldbergs - "Kara-Te" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barry decides to sign up for the school’s holiday talent show but is bummed when the school doesn’t approve karate as a talent. Beverly is livid and brow beats the teacher in charge to change his mind. After the family watches Barry’s routine, everyone wonders whether he will be able to pull off the performance… or crack under pressure. Meanwhile, Erica gets coerced from Pops to also perform in the talent show, but will she?

Modern Family - "iSpy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Claire and Phil decide to spy on Luke and Manny as they’re hanging out with one of their more questionable friends. Meanwhile, Gloria is furious with Jay because she thinks he had a dream about another woman, but Jay misinterprets her anger for another offense he committed. And, Cam secretly uses Mitch as a scapegoat to get out of attending a party, while Haley tries to keep her photography exhibit a secret from her family.

The Middle - "The Potato" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it’s discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue – who has been driving the other car – begins to freak out because she’ll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick’s principal’s (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes – and much to the family’s dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.

Young & Hungry - "Pilot" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sofia encourages Gabi to start dating again; Josh discovers surprising news about Cam.

Mystery Girls - "Death Becomes Her" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The girls go under cover at Holly's old high school in order to prevent a senior prank.

Hot in Cleveland - "Straight Outta Cleveland" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Victoria gets a visit from the son she always forgets (Chris Colfer) and Joy and Mitch (Tim Daly) debate their compatibility.

Jennifer Falls - "Three Dates With My Mother" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Jennifer starts seeing a psychiatrist to help her deal with her mother, but even he might not be enough to break through to Maggie.

Wilfred - "Patterns" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ryan gets sucked into the "End Game."

Love Thy Neighbor - "Lucky Socks" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Danny, Floyd, Sam and Drew have been temporarily evicted; Danny asks Hattie if they can crash with her.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 21) (All times ET unless noted)

Wednesday, July 23

  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Watch Eric on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will be on SI Now at 1pm. He stops by PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
  • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank talks about the Showtime series Ray Donovan on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.