Thursday, January 15, 2009

TCA Winter 2009 Press Tour: NBC; Remembering Ricardo Montalban and Steven Gilborn

Today it is NBC's turn at the TCA Winter 2009 Press Tour. You know network TCA tours usually start in the morning (8 or 9am PT) and run through the evening with dinner/party, but as usual, the lately strange NBC has to mess with that. They are skipping the morning (no breakfast or lunch!) and starting at 2pm PT. Cost cutting NBC, indeed. Cheap...they will have a cocktail reception though tonight. Up first is the executive session. Among the items announced are: ER has been ordered for 3 more episodes, giving it a total of 23 episodes for its last season. The two-hour series finale will now be on Thursday, April 2 from 9-11pm instead of March 12. Earlier on that night, a one-hour retrospective will air from 8-9pm ET leading into the two-hour send-off. The following week, April 9, new police drama Southland takes over the ER slot now for 6 episodes. The series comes from ER showrunner John Wells. Previously NBC had slotted Kings to air after ER ends, but now Kings is going to be moved to Sundays at 8PM leading into Celebrity Apprentice starting March 15. On March 1, NBC will air a new special called SNL Short Films (wt) from 7-9pm leading into the Celebrity Apprentice premiere. The untitled Amy Poehler comedy will also launch April 9, airing at 8:30pm replacing Kath & Kim, which has been cut to only 17 episodes and likely will be done for good. New cooking reality series Chopping Block is the series that will air Wednesdays at 8pm starting March 11 (through April 29), following the conclusion of Knight Rider on Feb. 25. Celebrated chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White (UK's Hell's Kitchen) serves up in this new original cooking competition series, in which the British Michelin star chef offers 16 neophyte hopeful chefs/restaurateurs working in pairs a chance to compete in America's greatest restaurant challenge for their chance to open their own Manhattan restaurant. Howdie Do It will air Fridays at 8pm through March 27 now instead of Feb. 20. And a Kung Fu Panda special called Secrets of the Furious Five will air on Thursday, Feb. 26 in the 8pm half-hour.
NBC also announced that 30 Rock, The Office and The Biggest Loser are all safe for next season (2009-10).
Panels followed with the cast and crew of The Untitled Amy Poehler Comedy, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, The Last Templar, Southland, and Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
The Amy Poehler comedy stars Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones and comes from Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The Last Templar is an NBC miniseries airing Jan. 25-26 starring Mira Sorvino, Scott Foley and Victor Garber and comes from Robert Halmi, Sr. And as mentioned above, Southland is the series from ER's John Wells that will air Thursdays at 10pm after ER ends April 2. Among the stars are Tom Everett Scott, Regina King, Ben McKenzie, and Kevin Alejandro. It will be a police show set in Los Angeles.

Today we will also remember two stars who have passed on...Ricardo Montalban and Steven Gilborn. Ricardo Montalban, the suave leading man who was one of the first Mexican-born actors to make it big in Hollywood and who was best known for his role as Mr. Roarke on ABC's Fantasy Island, has died. Montalban died Wednesday (Jan. 14) morning at his Los Angeles home of complications related to old age. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he made the first of many TV appearances. In addition to his role as Chief Satangkai in the 1978 ABC miniseries How the West Was Won, he appeared in the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys on ABC in the late 1980s. More recently, he did a voice on the Disney Channel's animated series Kim Possible. He has also appeared on an episode or two of Family Guy, The Brothers Garcia, The Golden Palace, Chicago Hope, Dream On, Murder She Wrote, Police Story, Hawaii Five-0, Here's Lucy, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and many more! He was also a fixture on the game show Win, Lose or Draw in the late '80s. But it was Fantasy Island that created his lasting image in front of the Hollywood cameras. Elegantly attired in a white suit and black tie, Montalban created such an iconic -- albeit somewhat kitschy -- figure that he often reprised the character insubsequent films and television shows.
While making Fantasy Island" Montalban also gave one of his best movie performances -- as Khan Noonian Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), a follow-up to a beloved 1967 Star Trek television episode, "Space Seed," that also featured Montalban. Among his other movie credits include Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, and Cannonball Run II.
So, Montalban will be deply missed and we will always remember him saying "Welcome to Fantasy Island." Mr. Montalban was 88.
We have also lost Steven Gilborn. Gilborn is a great character actor that has appeared on many sitcoms and TV series. He is best known for playing the father of Ellen DeGeneres' character on Ellen. He died of cancer in North Chatham, N.Y., on Jan. 2. Gilborn also played the math teacher on The Wonder Years and appeared on MANY sitcoms and TV shows including Rodney, According to Jim, Out of Practice, Complete Savages, 8 Simple Rules, Damages, The Bernie Mac Show, Still Standing, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Malcolm in the Middle, Two Guys and a Girl, NYPD Blue, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Get Real, Action, Maggie Winters, The West Wing, The Practice, Living Single, Boy Meets World, NewsRadio, Mad About You, ER, Empty Nest, Coach, Lois & Clark, Hearts Afire, Dream On, Blossom, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Vegas, L.A. Law, The Torkelsons, The Golden Girls, Matlock, Knots Landing, Perfect Strangers, Who's the Boss?, Kate & Allie, Columbo and Law & Order. Since 1983 he has been on about everything as you can see. His film credits include Nurse Betty, Doctor Doolittle, The Brady Bunch Movie, The Night Shift and the TV movie The Dreamer of Oz. He has been on so many TV series and movies, that nearly everyone saw him in something at one point. He will be deeply missed. Mr. Gilborn was 72.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, March 23

Stuck in the Middle - "Stuck in a Mysterious Robbery" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the Bait N' Bite is robbed, the Diaz children use their resources to track down the culprit.

Bizaardvark - "Amelia's Perfectly Imperfect Volleyball Adventure" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Paige convinces the volleyball coach to put Amelia on the team, the DIY diva's ego lands the volleyball team in a match against the state champions.

The Paynes - "Payneful Repairs" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Curtis and Ella learn some troubling news about Nyla.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Friday, March 23

  • Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Watch Jim on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) and Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Jenna and Oliver chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. They will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and the BUILd Series at 2:30pm.
  • Jamie Lee (Crashing) - Jamie appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Boris Kodjoe (The Last Man on Earth/Second Time Around) and Nicole Ari Parker (Second Time Around) - Boris and Nicole are guests on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani stops by Access Live, so check your local listings. She shares her recipe for spiked hot chocolate on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Zach Braff (Alex, Inc./Scrubs) - Zach appears on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay creates something delicious with Carla Hall on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella talks about Midnight Sun on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.