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 (Saturday, April 19)

Mike & Molly - "Molly Unleashed" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Molly finds herself at a crossroads with her career, she makes a huge decision. Brian Baumgartner guest stars as Molly’s union rep, James.

The Millers - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Nathan and his sister, Debbie, are upset when their parents announce they’re divorcing after 43 years of marriage. However, that’s nothing compared to the panic they feel when Carol, their intrusive mother, announces that she’s moving in with Nathan, while Tom, their easily distracted father, is moving in with Debbie.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 21) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Monday, April 21

  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends) - Watch Courteney The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jimmie "J.J." Walker (Good Times) - Jimmie appears on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Billy Bob Thornton (Hears Afire) - Billy Bob is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • George Lopez (Saint George/George Lopez) - George stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher) - Ari visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
  • Bob Saget (How I Met Your Mother/Full House) - Bob is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Community) - Tune in to see Gillian on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul is a guest on a repeat of The Pete Holmes Show at midnight on TBS.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brooklyn Decker, Majandra Delfino and Zoe Lister-Jones (Friends with Better Lives) - The women of Friends with Better Lives are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Zoe will also be on Pop Sugar Now on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andre will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie throws down a figure-friendly chicken dinner on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Ted Lange (The Love Boat) - Ted is a guest on a repeat of The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Brittany Daniel (The Game/That '80s Show) - Brittany shares her story of triumph over non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Beau Bridges (The Millers) - Beau appears on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Toni Colette (United States of Tara) - Toni will be on HuffPost Live.
  • Thomas Haden Church (Wings) - Thomas is a guest on HuffPost Live.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Hot Properties/The Knights of Prosperity) - Sofia visits ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
  • James Van Der Beek (Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly hosts the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.