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 (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, May 24

Fresh Off the Boat - "Bring the Pain" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Louis’ estranged brother, Gene (Ken Jeong), comes to visit, and he has big news to share with the family. And Eddie tries to find creative ways to watch the latest Chris Rock age-inappropriate stand-up comedy special despite his parents’ and brothers’ disapproval.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Prom" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As the school prom approaches, Kenny tries to think of who the best guy would be to ask as his date. With time running out, Kenny and Jimmy try to come up with the perfect “prom-posal” for the classmates they each have set their sights on. Shannon thinks the idea behind prom is a scam and would rather stay at home, but once Pat discovers she was asked to attend, he tries to convince her to go. Meanwhile, Eileen tries to keep VP Murray’s romantic attention at bay but struggles to resist.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Tuesday, May 24

  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Catch Dave on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Fozzie Bear (The Muppets) - Fozzie Bear appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Hodgman (Married) - John is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth/Bob's Burgers/30 Rock) - Kristen appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Eugene and Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) - Eugene and Dan are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Meredith's favorite reality stars are featured on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie/Players) - June is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • G Hannelius (Dog with a Blog/Good Luck Charlie) - G discusses her role in History Channel's adaption of Roots on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin dishes on his new movie Central Intelligence on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/The Millers/Up All Night) - Will talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.