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.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, October 22

Superstore - "Guns, Pills and Birds" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy (America Ferrera) assigns an uncomfortable Jonah (Ben Feldman) to the gun section of Cloud 9, Jonah abuses his right-to-refuse sale to anyone that causes concern, causing an open-carry protest to gather in the store. On principle, Glenn (Mark McKinney) attempts to purchase all of the store's morning-after pills, but finds himself in a moral dilemma when he can't afford them. Dina (Lauren Ash), Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Mateo (Nico Santos) hunt down a crow that has flown into the store.

The Thundermans - "Happy Heroween" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It's a major Halloween storm outside, but inside Colosso keeps the family spooked by telling three scary stories that are sure to terrify even the bravest of superheroes.

School of Rock - "Welcome to My Nightmare" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mr. Finn's class decides to celebrate Halloween in school after Principal Mullins, who hates the holiday, goes home sick. When she returns sooner than expected, they have to scramble to keep her from finding out the truth.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Saturday, October 22

  • Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort) - Jim talks about touring the U.S. in Kinky Boots on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Sunday, October 23
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.