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

Friday, February 22

Fresh Off the Boat - "Be a Man" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica drives Principal Hunter crazy at Evan’s school when she declares that she’s “shadow principal” and follows him around for a day to learn about his job. When she finds out perfect son Evan has been caught acting out, she immediately blames Eddie’s bad influence, but there’s more to it than that. Louis, having watched one too many episodes of “The Sopranos” with Honey, is convinced that Marvin and Grandma are gossiping about him behind his back after Marvin offers to trap the rat that has invaded Grandma’s apartment.

Speechless - "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Maya insists that it’s time to meet Izzy, a reluctant JJ arranges a game night for his family and new girlfriend. Ray tries to help on the big night, but his attention to detail puts a major crimp in JJ’s evening. Meanwhile, Dylan and Kenneth let their appetites get the better of them.

Last Man Standing - "Arrest Her Development" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa "helps" Mandy and Kyle look for an apartment; Mike is thrilled by Ryan's decisions.

The Cool Kids - "Sid's First Relationship" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The gang comes together around Sid in order to help him overcome the commitment issues he struggles with his new beau, John; Margaret decides to become an airport volunteer in the hopes of conquering her strong fear of flying.

Andi Mack - "The Ex Factor" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi, Buffy and Cyrus worry about Jonah's unusual behavior; Miranda tries to cause problems for Bowie and Bex.

Sydney to the Max - "Adventures in Babe-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney and Olive struggle with their baby-sitting business when the child they are hired to watch happens to be the brother of one of the most popular kids in their class.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Friday, February 22

  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Watch Don on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World) - Thomas is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time/Happily Divorced/9 to 5) - Rita stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about When Calls the Heart on People Now at 12pm.
  • Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman/Undeclared) - Jay is a guest on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken talks about You Complete Me, Ho on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For your Love) - Holly appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages) - Autumn drops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest