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 3

Fresh Off the Boat - "Rent Day" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The flip house is finally finished, and Jessica convinces Honey and Grandma that they would make more money if they rent it out instead. Honey and Grandma are reluctant to get into the landlord business, but Jessica assures them that she will take care of everything. However, when the perfect renters become more of a nuisance, Jessica fears that she might be in over her head. Meanwhile, amateur detectives Emery and Evan, better known as “The Huang Boys,” take on the mystery of Louis’ missing watch.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Retreat" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Jimmy is unexpectedly named Faith Leader for the weekend at the Catholic Youth Retreat, a jealous Kenny decides to take on his older brother’s role as ring leader of the bad kids. Home alone without the kids, Pat invites a new lady friend over, and Eileen can’t help but enlist Jodi to spy on them, with surprising results.

New Girl - "Dress" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jess races to make alterations to Cece’s bridal dress, while Schmidt tries to keep his “wedding workshop” a secret at work, and Nick struggles to ask Reagan to be his date to the nuptials. Meanwhile, Winston and Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad) try to keep their relationship on the down-low at work.

Grandfathered - "The Memorial" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy plans an emotional memorial service while processing a painful loss. Meanwhile, Sara is faced with a difficult decision after Craig asks her to take the next step in their relationship.

New Girl - "Return to Sender" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
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.

The Grinder - "Divergence" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After finding out Dean Sr. is guilty, Stew thinks they should settle the case. Dean, of course, believes they should try to win, and wants to use one of his old “Grinder” tricks, by throwing himself into an unrelated sub plot that will lead him to what he needs to solve the case. Meanwhile, Stew is concerned that he is now “infected”.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 2)

Tuesday, May 3

  • Marc Maron (Maron) - Catch Marc on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town) - Josh appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Matt Walsh (Veep/Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zoey Deutch (The Suite Lofe on Deck) - Zoey appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/Scrubs) - Kate visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about Rosewood on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Jane stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran appears on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on People Now.