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 (Monday, April 21)

2 Broke Girls - "And the New Lease on Life" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Max and Caroline find out the lease is up on their apartment, they’re forced to find the original tenant and have him re-sign, claiming he still lives there, or risk being evicted. Hal Linden guest stars as the original tenant.

Friends with Better Lives - "Game Sext Match" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Will tries to be more adventurous by sexting with his new date, and Kate catches Jules and Andi planning Jules’ wedding without her.

Mike & Molly - "Mike's Manifold Destiny" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mike learns a lesson after his car breaks down and he’s forced to decide whether or not to accept a loan from Carl to fix it.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Raiders Minimization" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Sheldon seeks revenge after Amy ruins one of his favorite movies. Meanwhile, Leonard discovers a way to get Penny to do anything, and Raj and Stuart create online dating profiles. Christine Baranski ("The Good Wife") returns as Leonard's mother.

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 Collette (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.
  • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.