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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January)

The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Married with Children - Seasons 7 and 8 (Mill Creek) The Facts of Life - The Complete Series Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season

01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Girls - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Seven (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Eight (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Seasons Seven and Eight (Mill Creek)
01/13 - The Big House - The Complete Series
01/13 - Episodes - The Third Season
01/13 - The Facts of Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory
01/20 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 27

New Girl - "Landline" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Coach's liaison with the school nurse (guest star Erinn Hayes) gets messy, vice principal Jess must enforce a new, “no fraternization” policy among the teachers. But the tables soon get turned when she finds herself attracted to the hot new science teacher (guest star Julian Morris). Meanwhile, Nick is enjoying being Schmidt and Winston’s secretary, after the loft gets a new home phone.

The Mindy Project - "The Devil Wears Lands' End" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mindy gets herself and Danny into trouble when she tries to fix the practice’s image in the eyes of the hospital’s new head of obstetrics. Meanwhile, Peter puts his grudge against Jeremy aside when he discovers that his colleague’s beer pong skills could help him beat TV creator Shonda Rhimes (guest-starring as herself), the reigning Dartmouth Alumni Match champion.

Parks and Recreation - "Gryzzlbox" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Leslie and Ben suspect that Gryzzl is invading the privacy of Pawnee residents. April addresses the new Parks and Rec interns, while Tom helps Andy renegotiate a contract.

Parks and Recreation - "Save J.J's" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Leslie holds a rally in an attempt to keep JJ’s Diner from closing. Tom surprises Donna with the ultimate pre-wedding gift.

Marry Me - "Friend Me" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
While preparing for the wedding, Annie (Casey Wilson) realizes that Jake (Ken Marino) needs more groomsmen to match her nine bridesmaids and makes a concerted effort to reunite Jake with his long lost friends. Once “The Boyz” are back in their lives however, Annie finds herself competing with them over who knows Jake the best. She also learns that Daniel (guest star Jerry O’Connell, “The League”) may be the real reason behind Jake’s falling out with his friends. Meanwhile, Gil (John Gemberling) persuades Dennah (Sarah Wright Olsen) to join him in his newest business venture - diet shakes.

About a Boy - "About a Hook" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
With the help of Andy (Al Madrigal), Will (David Walton) gets music mogul Johnny Idalis (guest star Greg Germann) to listen to a new song he wrote, however Johnny isn’t impressed with the hook. Meanwhile, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) grows upset and frustrated with Chris (guest star Chris Diamantopoulos) and Fiona’s (Minnie Driver) growing relationship and flees to crash with Will, who is left struggling to juggle writing a catchy hook and the complications of his new roommate.

Ground Floor - "The Mansfield Who Came to Dinner" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Brody panics when Jenny invites the cultured and sophisticated Mansfield over to their zero bedroom, half bathroom 'palace' for dinner to thank him for paying for college. Harvard and Lindsay are the perfect couple who never, ever fight. That is until all their pent up tension explodes in the middle of Jenny's dinner party. When Threepeat gets his 15 minutes of fame as a financial correspondent, he freezes up until he gets a little on camera help from former childstar Derrick.

Cougar Town - "Waiting for Tonight" TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Grayson makes a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town, and he and Jules are determined to make it despite constant obstacles. Andy rents a special costume for Stan's birthday, but he has trouble getting it off. And Ellie starts ghost tweeting for Laurie, eventually getting lost in her new character.

Sirens - "Superdick" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After saving a landlord with a nut allergy, Johnny finds the perfect apartment to share with Theresa; Brian tries to understand his relationship with Voodoo.

Sirens - "Johnny Nightingale" (USA Network, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Johnny has an encounter with an overly grateful patient; Brian agrees to escort an injured girl to her prom.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 26) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, January 27

  • Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Catch Patton on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tony Danza (Who's the Boss?/Taxi) - Tony stops by The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jim Norton (Louie) - Jim appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Rainn Wilson (The Office) - Rainn visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin talks about It's Only a Play on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife) - Michaela guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne is a guest on Tavis Smiley on PBS, so check your local listings.
  • Steve Carell (The Office) - Steve visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.