Monday, April 27, 2009

Remembering Bea Arthur, Kim Weiskopf; Hallmark Channel, WE tv, TV Land, Me-Too All To Air Tributes for Bea

Today we will cover everything Bea Arthur (with a tribute to Kim Weiskopf as well). As you all I'm sure know by now, Bea Arthur has died. Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows Maude and The Golden Girls and who won a Tony Award for the musical Mame, died Saturday (April 25). Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side. She had cancer but that is the only detail we know. Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series All in the Family as Edith Bunker's outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear fashioned Arthur's own series, known of course as Maude. Maude scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977. The show ended in 1978, as Bea thought it was time for the show to end after six seasons. Then came The Golden Girls from 1985-1992, and it was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience. She played Dorothy Zbornak, one of four older friends living in Miami. The show moved to CBS in 1992-93 and was titled The Golden Palace, but Bea didn't sign on for it. Bea did guest star in a two-part episode. In 2003, Lifetime reunited the cast for the special The Golden Girls: Their Greatest Memories. And in 2008, the cast reunited again on the 2008 TV Land Awards accepting the Pop Culture Award.
Even before television, Bea had a major career in plays on Broadway. Arthur's biggest Broadway triumph came in 1966 as Vera Charles, Angela Lansbury's acerbic friend in the musical "Mame," directed by Tony-winning director Gene Saks, who was also her husband of 28 years. They divorced in 1978. During 2001 and 2002 she toured the country in a one-woman show of songs and stories, ... And Then There's Bea.
In between Maude and The Golden Girls, Bea had a failed sitcom. In 1983, she starred in the ABC sitcom Amanda's, an Americanized version of John Cleese's hilarious Fawlty Towers. She was cast as owner of a small seaside hotel with a staff of eccentrics. It lasted a mere 10 episodes, with three episodes unaired.
She was also in films. Among the movies she graced were That Kind of Woman (1959), Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), Mel Brooks' The History of the World: Part I (1981), For Better or Worse (1995). Her TV movies include the ABC TV movie My First Love in 1988 and the NBC TV movie P.O.P. in 1984.
Among her guest appearances on television are the The Golden Girls spin-off Empty Nest, Ellen, Beggars & Choosers, Dave's World, a.k.a. Pablo, Laugh-In, and she appeared on a rare special recap episode of Soap as an "angel." In recent years, Arthur made guest appearances on shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Futurama and Malcolm in the Middle. The latter was very popular.
Bea will certainly be missed by millions and millions fans around the world. TV Land has created a 30-second on-air and online promo remembering her. TV Land will air both of her appearances on All in the Family on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9am, the episodes "Cousin Maude's Visit" on Tuesday and the back-door "Maude" pilot that aired as an All in the Family episode on Wednesday. Too bad TV Land isn't airing regular Maude episodes as a tribute. Me-Too in Chicago will air Maude, though! All this week in the 9-10pm CT hour, Me-Too Chicago airs "Remembering Maude: A Tribute to Bea Arthur." View the episode schedule. Lucky fans in Chi-town.
Hallmark and WE tv air The Golden Girls regularly multiple times a day. Hallmark will pay tribute to Bea with a Memorial Day marathon and WE tv pays tribute to Bea tonight and Thursday, see below for more details on both. Watch a video celebration of her life and career. Bea lived a long life and was 86.

Hallmark Channel has announced it will pay tribute to legendary star Bea Arthur with an all-day Golden Girls "Memorial Day Marathon" on Monday, May 25 from 6:30am-2:30am, featuring episodes focusing on Arthur's character Dorothy Zbornak, a gruff, wise-cracking divorcée who shared her Miami home with her mother and two loopy friends. Golden Girls plays daily on Hallmark Channel: Monday-Friday, 8-10 a.m., 7-9 p.m., 12-2 a.m., Saturdays 6-9 a.m., and Sundays 8:30-10 a.m. View their press release. UPDATE: We get marathons SOONER now on Hallmark! At the Studio City, CA home of Hallmark Channel, fans of the classic comedy Golden Girls flooded the network's Viewer Services department today with parenthetical appreciation for the channel's announcement of a Memorial Day Tribute to Bea Arthur. The qualifier to the announcement included these sentiments: more, sooner, please. And now Hallmark has listened! Hallmark Channel responded by hand-selecting the "Best of the Dorothy Zbornak Episodes" which begin running Tuesday, April 28 (7-9pm) and continue, Wednesday, April 29 (7-9pm), and Thursday, April 30 (7-9pm) in the normal Golden Girls timeslots, but also on Sunday, May 3 (8:30am-3am) a full day event is planned! This is all in addition to the previously announced Memorial Day marathon on, Monday, May 25 (6:30am-2:30am.). We don't have episode info yet for the Memorial Day stunt, but Hallmark has released the 5 day stunt episodes for this week! Thank you for being a friend, Hallmark!
WE tv airs the show weeknights from 5-7pm ET, with primetime marathons from 6pm-12am on Monday nights, so that includes tonight. They also air the show sometimes on Thursday late nights. WE tv announced today two special nights of programming to honor Bea Arthur. "WE Remember Bea" will feature a marathon of favorite The Golden Girls episodes both Monday, April 27 from 5pm-12am ET and Thursday, April 30 from 9:30pm-1am ET. The acclaimed actress, known for her quick wit and willingness to embrace controversial issues was the centerpiece of the comedic series, which won more than 38 awards during its run. "WE Remember Bea" will be comprised of episodes which center on Bea Arthur's colorful character Dorothy Zbornak and key related storylines from the series. See the episode info for tonight's marathon.
WE tv already had a scheduled Golden Girls Memorial Day marathon from 10am-6am, so we have two networks airing a marathon on The Golden Girls on May 25.

We also have lost Kim Weiskopf, a TV comedy writer whose credits included Three's Company and Married...with Children, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday (April 22) at his home in Encino. He launched his career in the early 1970s, with longtime writing partner Michael S. Baser, he wrote for series such as One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Melba, Carter Country, We Got It Made, and Good Times, the latter show leading to their first staff-writing position.
The writing duo went on to write and produce three seasons of ABC's Three's Company before being hired to create the TV series 9 to 5 for ABC, which was based on the movie. They then developed an updated, syndicated version of the '70s series What's Happening!! called What's Happening Now!!, though he had never worked with the original series.
Weiskopf's also wrote and produced for Rachel Gunn, R.N., Full House and Married...with Children, without Baser. Kim appeared in interviews for the E! True Hollywood Story episodes of both Three's Company and Married...with Children. He had an uncredited appearance on Married...with Children on an episode playing Lucky the Dog in a 1996 episode.
He is going to be missed, especially by fans of Three's Company and Married...with Children. Kim was 62.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, August 30

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 1) (All times ET unless noted)

Monday, September 1

  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Watch Jennifer on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. There's a Friends reunion with Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Derek Waters (Married to the Kellys) - Derek appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Judy Greer (Mad Love/Arrested Development/Miss Guided) - Tune in to see Judy on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) - Kym is a guest on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) - Yvette guest co-hosts a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond - Patricia sells a treasure from The Middle on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Debi Mazar (Entourage/Working) - Debi and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, share their passion for Tuscan food and each other on a repeat of Katie, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland/Frasier/Throb) - Jane appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.