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.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, July 26

Bad Teacher - "The Bottle" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Meredith’s venue for her 30th birthday party falls through, she plots a takeover of Kim’s student teacher exam celebration. However, once the party is underway, her lies start to unravel as she tries to keep her rich friends from her old life separate from her new co-workers.

Bad Teacher - "What's Old Is New" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Staff and students are all focused on standardized test day when Meredith and Principal Carl’s attentions are diverted by the arrival of their ex-spouses, making them question whether they want second chances with their former loves. Steven Weber Guest Stars as Meredith’s Ex-Husband Ray; Niecy Nash Guest Stars as Principal Carl’s Ex-Wife Carla.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 28) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, July 27

  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran talks about her battle with cancer, meeting the love of her life, and her latest role on Broadway on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm on OWN.
Monday, July 28
  • Will Arnett (The Millers/Up All Night/Arrested Development) - Watch Will on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Rachelle Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachelle visits on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/Carpoolers) - T.J. is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke interviews Queen on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly/Love, Sidney) - Swoosie is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Mr. Warmth appears on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony joins the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.