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 (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.