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 know...so stay with us. Barbara lived a long life and was 94.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April)

Barney Miller - The Complete Seventh Season Frasier - The Complete Series What's Happening!! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - Season Seven Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Second Season

04/07 - Barney Miller - The Complete Seventh Season
04/07 - The Brady Bunch - The Complete Series
04/07 - The Crazy Ones - The Complete First Season
04/07 - Frasier - The Complete Series
04/07 - King of the Hill - The Complete 9th Season
04/07 - King of the Hill - The Complete 10th Season
04/07 - 1600 Penn - The Complete Season 1
04/07 - Wanda at Large - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
04/07 - Wilfred - The Complete Season 4
04/14 - Growing Pains - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
04/21 - What's Happening!! - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
04/28 - I Love Lucy - I Love Mom Edition
04/28 - The Jeffersons - Season Seven
04/28 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites: Season 5
04/28 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, April 18

Henry Danger - "The Bucket Trap" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Henry and Charlotte want to tell Jasper that Henry is really Kid Danger. They decide to give Jasper a test secret to prove he's ready.

Bella and the Bulldogs - "Bulldog Buddies" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Troy's feelings get hurt when his younger brother chooses Bella, instead of him, as his football mentor. Pepper worries about her future with Sawyer when her parents forbid her from having a boyfriend. Guest Star: Damarr Calhoun.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, April 19

  • Brandy Norwood (The Game/Moesha/Thea) - Catch Brandy on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, April 20
  • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Watch John on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • John Stamos (Jake in Progress/Full House/You Again?) - John drops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ron Funches (Undateable) - Ron is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show/The New Dick Van Dyke Show) - Dick is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Josh Gad (The Comedians/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Felicity Huffman (Sports Night) - Felicity stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 1am on BET.
  • Michael Rapaport (The War at Home) - Michael joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. He will also be on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:15am.
  • Suzanne Cryer (Silicon Valley/Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place) - Suzanne talks about what to expect on the second season of Silicon Valley on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick discusses his new film Adult Beginners and talks about saying goodbye to his sketch comedy series Kroll Show on HuffPost Live at 12pm.
  • Lily Tomlin (Malibu Country) - Lily discusses her new comedy Grandma and shares details on reuniting with Jane Fonda in the upcoming Netflix series Grace and Frankie (premiering May 8) on HuffPost Live at 12:30pm.
  • Kathryn Hahn (Happyish/Parks and Recreation/Free Agents) - Kathryn talks about Happyish on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister/Roommates) - Tamera will be on People Now.
  • Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game/The Steve Harvey Show/Minor Adjustments) - Wendy is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.