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 (July/August)

Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three Superstore - Season One

07/08 - The Monkees - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/12 - Grady - The Best of Grady
07/20 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 5th Season
07/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/26 - Where's Huddles? - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
08/02 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
08/09 - Maude - The Complete Final (Sixth) Season
08/23 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Three
08/23 - Superstore - Season One
08/23 - The Wonder Years - Complete Series (New Slipcase Version)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 30

The Middle - "The Man Hunt" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Brick attends a Bar Mitzvah and questions when he’ll officially become a man, Mike attempts to help him become more responsible in his quest to manhood. Meanwhile, Sue exudes a little too much enthusiasm as she tries to flirt and find herself a boyfriend, and Axl and Hutch find themselves a new home in the form of a Winnebago.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Family Business Trip" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Louis is forced to bring his family on a business trip to Gator World, Jessica learns the art of relaxation and Eddie takes on the “Death Roll.” Meanwhile, Evan loses his last baby tooth but isn’t ready to join the big kid club.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Maximum Security" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an attempt to get information on a criminal operation, Amy has to go undercover at a women’s prison and befriend one of the prisoners (guest star Aida Turturro). Meanwhile back at the precinct, Holt and the team plan a fake funeral in an attempt to catch a hitman.

New Girl - "Return to Sender" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jess meets Sam’s (guest star David Walton) female best friend, Diane (guest star Caitlin Fitzgerald). Meanwhile, Nick is worried Gavin (guest star Peter Gallagher) will disappoint Schmidt (Max Greenfield) again and Winston is offended by a reaction to a birthday gift.

In the Cut - "Best Foot Forward" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Kenny's new girlfriend's flaw; Jay embellishes his past gang affiliations and almost gets a Thug Lives Matter Award.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 29)

Tuesday, August 30

  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Catch Zooey on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • John Krasinski (The Office) - John is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Justin Bartha (Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life/The New Normal) - Justin stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • David Cross (Arrested Development/Running Wilde) - David drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Kirstie Alley (Flaked/Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie talks about Flaked on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He also guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) - Mario chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/One Day at a Time/The Jeffersons/Good Times/Maude) - Norman is a guest on a repeat of Tavis Smiley on PBS, so check your local listings.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • George Clooney (The Facts of Life/Roseanne) - George is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12:03am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Jeremy Miller (Growing Pains) and Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) - You grew up watching your favorite sitcom kids, but what happened behind the scenes when the cameras stopped rolling? The stars of Growing Pains, Everybody Loves Raymond and Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family break their silence. They reveal how they got hooked on drugs and alcohol and eventually overcame their battles with addiction on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on a repeat of Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.