Wednesday, January 05, 2011

TCA Winter 2011 Press Tour: Cable Day 1; Remembering Bill Erwin and Anne Francis

The TCA (Television Critics Association) Winter 2011 press tour begins today with the first of three days for cable networks from Jan. 5-7. The broadcast networks will start on Monday (Jan. 10) with ABC, then Fox on Jan. 11, NBC on Jan. 13 and CBS and The CW on Jan. 14. PBS is in between on Jan. 8-9, but we will not cover them here. FX ends the press tour on Jan. 15.
Up today at the TCA press tour will be MTV Networks, TV Guide Network, National Geographic Networks, TV One, Weather Channel, ESPN and Comcast Entertainment Group.
For MTV Networks, we had TV Land, CMT among the networks. Yesterday we announced the TV Land February 2011 schedule and among the highlights were a two-part Hot in Cleveland episode airing Feb. 16 and 23. It's a cross-promotion! ABC Daytime and TV Land have joined forces to create an unprecedented network event where characters from ABC Daytime's All My Children and TV Land's Hot in Cleveland cross over to continue a storyline established on last season's Hot in Cleveland. The story revolves around Wendie Malick's character, Victoria Chase, and her industry-nemesis, Susan Lucci. The two-part Hot in Cleveland episodes will air on TV Land with guest stars Susan Lucci, Michael E. Knight and Darnell Williams on February 16 and 23 at 10:00 p.m., ET/PT, and the All My Children episode will air on ABC at 1:00 p.m., ET/12:00 p.m., PT on February 24 with guest star Wendie Malick. Meanwhile, CMT promoted their upcoming original sitcom Working Class (premieres Friday, Jan. 28) starring Melissa Peterman and Ed Asner. The show will also feature multiple guest stars throughout the season, including recently-announced Reba, whose on-screen reunion with Melissa Peterman will air in February. Additional guest stars include David Faustino (Married with Children), Kathy Kinney (The Drew Carey Show), Martin Mull (Roseanne), John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), Ryan Stiles (Whose Line Is It Anyway) and Lesley Ann Warren (Desperate Housewives), as well as CMT's own Evan Farmer from CMT Top 20 Countdown.
TV One reminded everyone that their original sitcom Love That Girl premieres Monday (Jan. 10). Love That Girl! stars Tatyana Ali (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) as Tyana, a young divorcee who returns home to Southern California for a second chance in life and a career in her father's real estate business. When her unemployed brother Latrell, an aspiring stand-up comedian, unexpectedly moves in with her, the world that she was trying to create is suddenly turned upside down, and life will never be the same. Meanwhile, TV One also announced a three-week event titled "Way Black When." Way Black When is TV One's Black History Month initiative. Over the course of three weeks, five nights per week, this high-energy one-hour talk show will showcase Black pop culture icons – actors, comedians, athletes, musicians, and many more --- from Black Power through Hip Hop. Guiding a live studio audience and television viewers on their trip back through 'blackness' will be three hosts who embody each decade's essence. Sinbad will conduct a fantastic voyage through the 70's; Niecy Nash keeps it moving and groovin' through the 80's; and Chris 'Kid' Reid picks up with 90's hip hop. Each night, guests who characterize the specific week's decade will be showcased along with a musical act and a comedian who provide the tunes and the tone of the time. We will have more info on this on our monthly TV One schedule highlights when February 2011 is announced.

Character actor Bill Erwin, whose nearly seven-decade Hollywood career included his memorable role as the grumpy old man on television's Seinfeld, has died. He actually died the morning of Dec. 29, 2010 at his home in suburban Los Angeles' Studio City, according to his son Mike Erwin in Jacksonville, OR. He died of age-related causes.
Erwin's Hollywood career dates back to 1941, when he appeared in the movie You're in the Army Now. His scores of credits include guest roles on The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show, Leave it to Beaver, Bachelor Father, The Andy Griffith Show, Mister Ed, Maverick, The Fugitive, Mannix, Perry Mason, My Three Sons, The Jeffersons, Dallas, The Waltons, Eight is Enough, Here Come the Brides, Mayberry R.F.D., Get Smart, The Golden Girls, Highway to Heaven, Moonlighting, Growing Pains, Just the Ten of Us, Punky Brewster, Married with Children, Full House, E/R, The Dukes of Hazzard, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Who's the Boss?, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mad About You, Michael Richards Show, The Drew Carey Show, Grace Under Fire, Suddenly Susan, Cybill, Living Single, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The John Larroquette Show, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Quantum Leap, So Little Time, Just Shoot Me!, The West Wing, Monk, The King of Queens, Everwood and his last TV appearance in 2006 on My Name is Earl. But his old man character Sid Fields on Seinfeld, which got him an Emmy nomination in 1993, is perhaps his most memorable role.
The only series he was a regular in was the short-lived CBS 1979 sitcom Struck by Lightning with Richard Stahl. The series lasted just 3 episodes. Mr. Erwin lived a long life and will be deeply missed. Nearly everyone must have seen him in at least one role. He just turned 96 last month.

We have also lost Ann Francis. Ms. Francis died on Sunday (Jan. 2, 2011) in Santa Barbara, CA. The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, according to her daughter Jane Uemura. Ms. Francis had surgery and chemotherapy after she learned she had lung cancer in 2007. She was recurring on ABC's My Three Sons in 1971, but it was her title role on the ABC crime drama Honey West in 1965 that made her a name. She was nominated for an Emmy and won a Golden Globe for the role. She was a movie star in the '50s and '60s but when her movie career declined, Ms. Francis became active in television. She appeared in dozens of series, including Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Route 66, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Cannon, Columbo, Charlie's Angels, Riptide, Simon & Simon, Fantasy Island, Dallas, CHiPs, Quince ME, Hawaii Five-0, The Love Boat, Crazy Like a Fox, Hardcastle and McCormick, Matlock, Jake and the Fatman, The Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, Burke's Law, Wings, Home Improvement, The Drew Carey Show, Nash Bridges, Fantasy Island 99, and her last role in 2004 on Without a Trace.
She wasn't know for sitcoms, but she was quite a popular TV actor, mainly in dramas. Her TV series Honey West airs nationally on the Me-TV Network. As a tribute this Saturday (Jan. 8) at 8 PM ET/7PM CT (through 2am ET/1am CT), Me-TV Network will honor award-winning actress Anne Francis with a special tribute. Francis, whose career spanned more than 50 years, was known for her prolific work in both film and television. This tribute carries on the Me-TV tradition of paying homage to the lives and careers of classic TV stars. The Me-TV tribute begins and ends with the crime-drama Honey West, featuring Francis in the starring role as a sultry and resourceful private eye who uses James Bond-like methods to solve her cases. The show, produced by Aaron Spelling, won Francis a Golden Globe. Francis was also a frequently featured guest-star on many of Me-TV's western and crime dramas. Saturday's tribute includes several of these classic TV appearances sandwiched in between four episodes of Honey West, these classic TV appearances are from Cannon, Rawhide, Gunsmoke and The Untouchables.
Ms. Francis will be deeply missed. She was a gifted actress. Ms. Francis was 80.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.