Monday, October 18, 2010

GMC Acquires 227; Remembering Barbara Billingsley, A TV Legend

The Gospel Music Channel (GMC) never changed their schedule in fall 2010, so we didn't report anything for them this fall. However, we knew of a sitcom they acquired, but they never actually put it on the schedule, so we couldn't tell you about it. We can now reveal what that sitcom is! GMC has acquired the rights to the '80s sitcom 227 from The Program Exchange! The Marla Gibbs sitcom will not join the regular schedule just yet, though, but it will get a mini-marathon this coming Saturday (Oct. 23) from 2pm-6pm on GMC. We have their schedule through the end of the month and this is the only sighting for the Jenkins family. The block of eight episodes will air after the regularly scheduled Sister, Sister Saturday block. The 227 episodes airing are: "Honesty," "Mary's Brother," "Family Hero," "The Refidgerator," "Do You Love Me?," "Pilot," "The Sidewalk Sale," and "A Letter to the President." Yes, that's the first 8 episodes in original airdate order. The pilot didn't originally air on NBC until episode 6, even though it was produced first. Let's hope 227 gets added to the regular schedule very soon, because "there's no place like a cable home, child, and I mean no place!"
As for the rest of the GMC schedule, there is nothing different to report. No sitcoms except Amen are airing on weekdays and Sister, Sister is airing on Saturdays. The weekday schedule remains as this: Highway to Heaven at 10am, GMC Movie at 11am, more Highway to Heaven at 1pm, Promised Land at 2pm, Sue Thomas F.B.eye at 3pm, Doc at 4pm, Dr. Quinn Medicine Women at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm & 8pm. From 9pm-11pm, Movies air Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays two episodes of Doc air and on Thursdays we get two episodes of Early Edition. Late nights from Mon-Thurs have back-to-back Amen episode at 11pm then a Gospel Music break at 12am, with more Amen in the 1am hour. 227 would sure fit in well with Amen! Saturdays have a Sister, Sister block starting at 10am usually running into various times in the late afternoon. Movies air on Sundays. Still no word on if and when Joan of Arcadia, Cosby, and Christy will return.

We leave you with some sad news. Barbara Billingsley, who of course played June Cleaver in the 1950s-1960s sitcom Leave it to Beaver, died Saturday (Oct. 16) after a long illness at her home in Santa Monica. When the show debuted in 1957 on CBS, Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver, was 9, and Tony Dow, who portrayed Wally, was 12. Billingsley's character, the perfect stay-at-home mom, was always there to gently but firmly nurture both through the ups and downs of childhood. The show moved to ABC for its remaining seasons. Barbara's TV husband Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward Cleaver, died in 1982.
After Leave it to Beaver left the air in 1963 on ABC, Billingsley largely disappeared from public view for several years. She resurfaced in 1980 in a hilarious cameo in the big screen movie Airplane! playing a demure elderly passenger not unlike June Cleaver. She returned as June Cleaver in a 1983 TV movie, Still the Beaver, that costarred Mathers and Dow and portrayed a much darker side of Beaver's life. In his mid-30s, Beaver was unemployed, unable to communicate with his own sons and going through a divorce. Wally, a successful lawyer, was handling the divorce, and June was at a loss to help her son through the transition. "Ward, what would you do?" she asked at the site of her husband's grave.
The movie revived interest in the Cleaver family, and the Disney Channel launched The New Leave It to Beaver as a series in 1985. That series took a more hopeful view of the Cleavers than the TV movie, with Beaver winning custody of his two sons and all three moving in with June. Years later in 1997, Universal made a Leave it to Beaver theatrical film with a new generation of actors. Billingsley returned for a cameo, however, as Aunt Martha.
She has guest starred on many series over the years as well. She has appeared on The Abbott & Costello Show, The Danny Thomas Show, Mork & Mindy, Silver Spoons, Murphy Brown, The Love Boat, Empty Nest, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Hi Honey I'm Home, Amazing Stories, Baby Boom and had a memorable comic turn opposite fellow TV moms June Lockhart of Lassie and Isabel Sanford of The Jeffersons on Roseanne in 1995. Her last role was on an episode of My Name is Earl in 2007.
Besides Leave it to Beaver and The New Leave it to Beaver, she was a regular on a few other series as well. Many remember her as the voice of the nanny on the '80s animated series The Muppet Babies, as we never saw the face of the nanny (or her name). Before she was June Cleaver, she had two short-lived sitcoms. The CBS sitcom in 1955 titled Professional Father and the 1956-57 CBS sitcom The Brothers.
Barbara will be DEEPLY missed. She was a TV icon for her role of June Cleaver. We will let you know of any on-air tributes to her. Hopefully TV Land or RTN air a Leave it to Beaver marathon. It would be nice if someone aired Still the Beaver/The New Leave it to Beaver as well, as that hasn't been seen anywhere in YEARS. And for those fans of her as the nanny on Muppet Babies, maybe The Hub or some network will air that? We will definitely let you stay with us. Barbara lived a long life and was 94.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Goldbergs - The Complete Second Season The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eighth Season black-ish - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Complete Sixth Season Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete First Season

09/01 - The League - The Complete Season Six
09/01 - New Girl - The Complete Fourth Season
09/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Two
09/08 - The Goldbergs - The Complete Second Season
09/08 - Mr. Belvedere - Season Four
09/15 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eighth Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Family Guy - Season 13
09/18 - black-ish - The Complete First Season
09/22 - The Cosby Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/22 - C.P.O. Sharkey - The Complete Season 2
09/22 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
09/22 - Good Times - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/22 - King of the Hill - The Complete 12th Season
09/22 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete First Season
09/22 - Modern Family - The Complete Sixth Season
09/22 - The Nanny - Season Four
09/22 - The Partridge Family - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
09/29 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete First Season
09/29 - Mom - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, October 4

The Muppets - "Pig Girls Don't Cry (Pilot)" (ABC, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Miss Piggy is furious that Kermit booked Elizabeth Banks as a guest on her late night talk show Up Late with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear meets his girlfriend’s parents, and Grammy Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons performs their new single “Roots”.

The Muppets - "Hostile Makeover" (ABC, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an attempt to make Miss Piggy happy, Kermit sets her up with Josh Groban who fills her head with ideas on how to make Up Late with Miss Piggy better. Meanwhile, Fozzie is invited to a party at Jay Leno’s house and everyone is annoyed that Bobo is selling cookies for his daughter’s troop.

The Simpsons - "Cue Detective" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Funeral" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Family Guy - "Papa Has a Rollin' Son" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The Last Man on Earth - "The Boo" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)

K.C. Undercover - "All Howls Eve" (Disney Channel, 7:00PM ET/PT)
Ernie and Judy travel to New York during the Central Park Spooktacular to catch an evil wolf serum; K.C. and Marisa throw a party back home.

Best Friends Whenever - "Cyd and Shelby's Haunted Escape" (Disney Channel, 7:30PM ET/PT)
Cyd and Shelby teleport to New York for the Central Park Spooktacular and end up trapped in a haunted house with some familiar faces.

Austin & Ally - "Scary Spirits & Spooky Stories" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The group is inspired to tell their own scary stories after attending the Central Park Spooktacular in New York.

Liv and Maddie - "Haunt-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Maddie and Willow join in on the Senior Scare, in which high school seniors scare middle school students; Liv and Joey head to New York.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 5) (All times ET unless noted)

Monday, October 5

  • John Stamos (Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House) - Watch John on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He also discusses Grandfathered on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community), Dave Foley (Dr. Ken/How to Be a Gentleman/NewsRadio) and Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken/Help Me Help You) - Ken, Dave and Suzy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • David Krumholtz (Partners/The Trouble with Normal) - David is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Nathan Lane (Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!) - Nathan stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex) - Jenna talks about her new movie Big Stone Gap on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kelly Jenrette (Grandfathered) - Kelly discusses her new series Grandfathered on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James talks about Life in Pieces on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran talks about her role in the animated movie Hotel Transylvania 2 on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura is a guest on People Now.
  • Christina Milian (Grandfathered) - Christina appears on The Real, so check your local listings.