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 (Wednesday, April 23)

The Middle - "The Wind Chimes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Frankie pleads with a mean and unyielding Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) to take down her wind chimes, whose noise is driving the Heck family crazy. Meanwhile, Axl and Hutch find a ratty, old couch abandoned on the street and try to figure out a way to retrieve it, instead of complaining to a pretzel manufacturer for skimping on the salt, Brick instead commits himself to coming up with a new pretzel snack idea for the company, and Sue informs the family that she and Darrin are dating again.

Suburgatory - "No, You Can't Sit With Us" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Tessa takes a young social outcast under her wing, she decides to mentor her protégée for the Miss Chatswin pageant to make a statement to Chatswin society. The pageant rivalry between Tessa and Dalia comes to a head and Tessa finds herself stooping to Dalia’s level to win. Meanwhile, George, Noah, Fred and Victor go on a boy’s weekend camping trip where Fred accidently loses Victor in the wilderness.

Modern Family - "Australia" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The entire family tags along as Phil fulfills his mom’s wish for him to return to his roots and visit the country where he was conceived, Australia. Unfortunately, Phil’s attempts to embrace his native land are met by a lot of rejection, while Jay and Claire let work eat into vacation time, and Mitch and Cam get reacquainted with an old friend (guest star Rhys Darby) they can’t stand but is now a big-time celebrity in Australia.

Mixology - "Dominic & Kacey" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After countless meaningless hookups, Kacey confronts Dominic about their relationship status and is taken aback by his response. Dominic then finds himself in unfamiliar territory and turns to Tom of all people for advice. Meanwhile, Maya and Fab try to help a drunken Liv, who has been knocking back drinks all night, after they spot a flock of bar vultures eyeing her. And the chance of hooking up with someone is being hampered for Bruce and Cal as they fend off a table interloper.

Melissa & Joey - "More Than Roommates" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mel wants to get rid of the ugly chair that Joe inherited from his late grandmother.

Baby Daddy - "Livin' on a Prom" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben tries to score Bon Jovi tickets for Bonnie; Riley and Danny act as prom chaperones.

Hot in Cleveland - "Elka Takes a Lover" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
On the eve of Victoria's big movie premiere, Emmy (Jennifer Love Hewitt) visits with some surprising news while Elka announces she'staken a younger lover (Chris Elliott).

The Soul Man - "Back in the Day" (TV Land, 11:00PM ET/PT)
A disagreement between Stamps and Kim causes Boyce and Lolli to reminisce about the early days of their relationship. Deion Sanders guest stars.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "A Stalker for Hire" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jennifer and the guys think Joseph hired Leslie's stalker.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Being Responsible" (OWN, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jennifer's fearful of getting tested for HIV.

Complete TV Listings


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

Wednesday, April 23

  • Sally Field (Gidget/The Flying Nun) - Watch Sally on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Timothy Simons (Veep) - Timothy drops by The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jim Gaffigan (My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim appears on on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tim Allen (Last Man Standing/Home Improvement) - Tim visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
  • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. He will also be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) - Chris will be on Pop Sugar Now on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • David Alan Grier (Bad Teacher/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David appears on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William will be on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher) - Ari is a guest on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
  • Max Charles (The Neighbors) - Max will be on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
  • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.