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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (July)

Archie Bunker's Place - Season One (Mill Creek) Married with Children - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Playing House - Season 1 Growing Pains - The Complete Fifth Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Third Season

07/07 - Archie Bunker's Place - Season One (Mill Creek)
07/07 - Barney Miller - The Final (Eighth) Season
07/07 - Married with Children - Season Eleven (Mill Creek)
07/07 - Married with Children - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
07/07 - The Michael J. Fox Show - The Complete First Season
07/07 - Playing House - Season 1
07/14 - Growing Pains - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
07/14 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Third Season
07/28 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites - Season 7
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 2


Bob's Burgers - "Friends with Burger-fits" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob becomes Teddy’s workout buddy after finding out his burgers contributed to Teddy’s bad health. The two enroll in a stuntman boot camp where their friendship is put to the test. Meanwhile, the kids make an ice rink in the freezer, with Linda running their underground ice wrestling league.

Bob's Burgers - "Best Burger" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob enters a burger-tasting contest, only to discover that his distinguishing ingredient is missing! To help out their dad, the kids go on a mission to find the ever-so-important black garlic.

The Simpsons - "The Kids Are All Fight" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Homer gets an old film roll developed, the family takes a trip down memory lane to see the origins of how Bart and Lisa first started fighting with each other.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Sabotage" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a streak of really bad luck, Jake thinks he’s being sabotaged by an enemy. Holt assigns Amy and Rosa to investigate the truth. Meanwhile, Holt hurts Gina’s feelings by calling her dance troupe a “hobby,” and Charles is stuck working a case with Scully and Hitchcock in Jake’s absence.

Family Guy - "Fighting Irish" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter claims he would beat Liam Neeson (guest-voicing as himself) in a fight, but when he is put to the test, he learns that winning is tougher than it seems. Meanwhile, Stewie becomes jealous when Lois decides to be a class mom and starts paying more attention to the other kids over him.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Do-Over" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Things haven’t exactly gone Phil’s way since he found other survivors, but his luck might be about to change.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 3) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, August 2

  • Christina Applegate (Up All Night/Samantha Who?/Jesse/Married with Children) - Catch Christina on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Mark Consuelos (Alpha House/Hope & Faith) - Mark is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, August 3
  • Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) - Watch Jerrod on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jeremy Piven (Entourage/Ellen) - Jeremy appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jessica St. Clair (Playing House/Best Friends Forever/In the Motherhood) and Lennon Parham (Playing House/Best Friends Forever/Accidentally on Purpose) - Jessica and Lennon are guests on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC and on the AOL Build Show.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Episodes/Friends) - Matt appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Al Madrigal (About a Boy/Free Agents/Gary Unmarried) - Al will be on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin James (The King of Queens) - Kevin appears on repeats of Rachael Ray and The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Eddie Kaye Thomas (Off Centre/American Dad!) - Eddie is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia joins the Chew Crew on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out) - Jill will be on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am.