Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lifetime Networks 2009 Upfront; Network Notes; Remembering Wendy Blair

Lifetime Networks unveiled its 2009-10 program slate that encompasses the most powerful line-up of original series and movies in Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network's history, headlined by the sixth season of cable's hottest unscripted competition series, Project Runway.
Project Runway, featuring host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn and judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, is set to make its long-awaited return to television on Thursday, August 20, at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) with 14 hour-long episodes. The series, the highest-rated unscripted competition show on all of cable, will seamlessly lead into Models of the Runway at 11:00PM (ET/PT), beginning August 20, an all-new, half-hour companion series will center around the drama, anxiety, tears and joys of Project Runway's models as they compete for money and a major magazine cover shoot. In other unscripted news, new shows Cook Yourself Thin debuts on May 4 at 5:00 PM (ET/PT), and DietTribe is scheduled to return for its second season later this year.
As we mentioned, Lifetime's hit drama series Army Wives returns for its third season at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) on Sunday, June 7. Joining Army Wives this summer will be Drop Dead Diva, the spirited new comedic drama, starring newcomer Brooke Elliott (Hairspray, Wicked) and Margaret Cho (17 Again). It will air at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) starting Sunday, July 12. Lifetime has many original dramas in development. However, they have not been picked-up as series just yet. In development are: Mona Lisa Smile, based on the feature film of the same name; Mystic Pizza: Another Slice, a two-hour, back-door pilot based on the hit film; Marry Me, a limited-run anthology series that starts with a couple who meets in the pilot and concludes with a wedding in Episode 13; Queens of the Rodeo, a comedic drama with the exciting and dangerous rodeo circuit as the backdrop; The Fallen (working title), based on T. Jefferson Parker's novel of the same name; and Murder in Suburbia, formatted from the popular British series.
Rita Rocks, its first original comedy in a decade, stars Nicole Sullivan as an overworked wife and mother trying to find time for herself, will return for its second season in the Fall. Lifetime has three other original comedies in the works, but have not been picked-up as a series yet. In production for pilots are Sherri, loosely based on Sherri Shepherd's (The View) personal family experiences; The Valerie Bertinelli Project (working title) is about a newly divorced mother (Bertinelli) who must maintain a balance between her family and running her ex-husband's struggling hardware business; Alligator Point, is from Kelsey Grammar and stars Cybill Shepherd following the life and times of an eccentric group of Floridians whose lives change when a "Yankee" becomes part of their disjointed family. We will let you know if any of these three gets picked-up as a series joining Rita Rocks.
As for daily strip schedule, this fall Lifetime will begin airing two high-profile, off-net properties nightly, the popular dramas Grey's Anatomy and Medium. Currently, they both air once a week. They join a strong schedule that already features such top acquired product as Wife Swap, Desperate Housewives, Reba, Will & Grace and Frasier. Cybill joins the daytime line-up on May 4. Finally, in September 2010, Lifetime will also begin stripping the hit off-net comedy How I Met Your Mother, which currently fills one hour of the network's schedule per week on Mondays.
View more on Lifetime and LMN's upfront, which includes all the original movies they have in the works for 2009 and 2010.

We have a lot of network notes for you today. First off, ABC will air a repeat of Grey's Anatomy this Thursday (April 23) at 8pm leading into the return of all-new episodes at 9pm. The repeat will be the last original episode that aired, so fans can remember what happened, if they need refreshing. This means In the Motherhood and Samantha Who? will not return to the slot now since yesterday we announced Ugly Betty was coming back a week earlier than planned (April 30). So updating my story from yesterday, Motherhood will now have three episodes still remaining to air, as it will have 4 of its 7 aired (though they had only planned to air 6 anyway). Samantha Who? looks like will only air 13 of its 20, with seven still left in the can, but ABC could certainly use those next season, which is more than likely to happen despite the ratings falter on Thursdays.
In other ABC notes, ABC has announced the celebs and athletes for the new summer series The Superstars! The eight athletes are Jennifer Capriati (tennis), Brandi Chastain (soccer), Robert Horry (basketball), Jeff Kent (baseball), Kristi Leskinen (X Games), Lisa Leslie (basketball), Bode Miller (skiing) and Terrell Owens (football). The eight celebrities are David Charvet (actor), Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Dancing with the Stars), Dan Cortese (host/actor), Paige Hemmis (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Julio Iglesias, Jr. (singer), Joanna Krupa (model), Ali Landry (model/actress) and Estella Warren (actress). The series is based on ABC's classic Wide World of Sports, which pitted athletes from all different sports against each other to determine the best athlete in the world. The Superstars pairs the celebrities with the athletes to compete in varying sporting events. Participants found out who their selected partners were only when they met for the first time at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The six-episode series premieres Tuesday, June 23 at 8:00PM on ABC. The team pairings for The Superstars will be Terrell Owens & Joanna Krupa; Jeff Kent & Ali Landry; Robert Horry & Estella Warren: Bode Miller & Paige Hemmis; Kristi Leskinen & Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Lisa Leslie & Dan Cortese; Jennifer Capriati & David Charvet; and Brandi Chastain & Julio Iglesias, Jr. Every week a team will be eliminated until one team is ultimately crowned the winner. Competitors' athletic prowess and strategy will be put to the test to excel in events including swimming, biking, running and kayaking, in addition to other head-to-head athletic challenges everyone must try to conquer. Find out more on the celebs and athletes.

Moving on to NBC, they have pulled drama Kings from Saturdays even after just one airing. Repeats of Law & Order: SVU will air instead at 8pm (it was at 9pm), with Southland encores moving to 9pm (from 10pm), and now Law & Order repeats will close out the night at 10pm. Then after May sweeps ends, Law & Order: Criminal Intent repeats will air for a few weeks at 8pm before Kings returns. 7 episodes of Kings remain and NBC promises to return the series on Saturday, June 13 at 8pm to finish them off. That date was originally the plan to end the series, now that will be the return date. The series will last through July 25, bearing any more changes of course.
Finally Fox has changed its summer schedule a bit again. New series Mental will now air Tuesdays at 9PM starting May 26 following summer repeats of House. Mental was previously scheduled to launch on Friday, May 29 at 9PM. It will still air Fridays, but now they will be encores of the Tuesday episodes. However, the Tuesday airings will only last through June 23. The Friday encores will become the new night for new episodes for Mental starting July 3 through August 14. Fox has also announced that it will return reality show The Moment of Truth on Wednesday, July 29 airing Wednesdays at 9PM, following So You Think You Can Dance. Dance ends its season in early August (Aug. 5 & 6), though, so Truth will then have repeats of Bones as its lead-in starting Aug. 19. August 12 will see two episodes of Moment of Truth from 8-10pm. View the complete Fox summer schedule.

Finally, we leave you today with some sad news. Wendy Blair died of cancer on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 in North Hollywood. Blair enjoyed a long career in the entertainment industry, having served as the first female junior executive at CBS Television City in the mid-1950s. Known for being analytical and extremely organized, she worked as an associate producer and producer on a number of popular television series. Among the series she worked on as an associate producer are Three's Company, and both of its spin-off series The Ropers and Three's a Crowd, as well as several variety shows and specials for companies including Dick Clark Productions and Sid and Marty Krofft Enterprises, such as Dr. Shrinker.
Her other producer credits include pilots and series such as What a Country! in 1986, I Married Dora in 1987, Mutts in 1988, and Where's Rodney? in 1990. She later segued from working in production to serving as the manager of business operations for The Smothers Brothers and was active in this role until the beginning of 2009. Now, Joanne McCracken has taken over. Blair was a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and was a founding member of the Association of Associate Producers (which later merged with the PGA). Blair was devoted to her family and family traditions. She will be deeply missed, especially by Three's Company fans and The Smothers Brothers followers. She was only 70.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest