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/August)

Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three Superstore - Season One

07/08 - The Monkees - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/12 - Grady - The Best of Grady
07/20 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 5th Season
07/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/26 - Where's Huddles? - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
08/02 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
08/09 - Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season
08/23 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three
08/23 - Superstore - Season One
08/23 - The Wonder Years - Complete Series (New Slipcase Version)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, August 23

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Paranoia" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Rosa enlists Jake to help change Terry’s disapproving opinion about her fast-moving relationship with Adrian Pimento (guest star Jason Mantzoukas). But their love for each other is put on hold when Pimento thinks someone from his past is trying to kill him.

New Girl - "Dress" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jess races to make alterations to Cece’s bridal dress, while Schmidt tries to keep his “wedding workshop” a secret at work, and Nick struggles to ask Reagan to be his date to the nuptials. Meanwhile, Winston and Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad) try to keep their relationship on the down-low at work.

Bunk'd - "Griff Is in the House!" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The Ross kids trade their penthouse for Camp Kikiwaka for the summer only to to find a new counselor in the Woodchuck cabin.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 22)

Tuesday, August 23

  • Donald Glover (Atlanta/Community) - Catch Donald on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tika Sumpter (The Game) - Tika is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also talks about Southside with You on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) - Ben visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Riki Lindhome (Another Period) and Natasha Leggero (Another Period/Free Agents) - Riki and Natasha are guests on a repeat of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • John Krasinski (The Office) - John appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Judy Greer (Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jaime King (Gary Unmarried/The Class/Kitchen Confidential) - Jaime is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette guest co-hosts a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti appears on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Dave Coulier (Fuller House/Full House) - Dave co-hosts Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry talks about Better Late Than Never on NBC's Today in the 10am hour, on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET, and on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Casey Wilson (Happy Endings/Marry Me) - Casey discusses Amazon's One Mississippi on the AOL Build Show at 3:15am.