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 (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 22

The Mick - "The Mess" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Mickey’s attempts at disciplining the kids are ignored, she decides to shed her “cool aunt” persona and lay down the law.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Monster in the Closet" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Pimento and Rosa decide to pick up where they left off and get married, so the whole squad preps a perfect wedding under Amy’s careful direction. Pimento enlists Jake and Gina to hunt for his grandmother’s ruby earrings for Rosa to wear in the ceremony, but the universe has other plans for them.

Wrecked - "Nerd Speak" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
As the ship sinks, the survivors try to escape.

Still the King - "Vernon's Single" (CMT, 1:00AM ET/PT)
Vernon discovers his manager has given his new single to another recording artist to perform.

Still the King - "Who's Your Daddy?" (CMT, 1:30AM ET/PT)
It's Debbie and Ronnie's big wedding day, but when Debbie's water breaks on the altar, Vernon races against the clock to be there for the birth.

In The Cut - "Party Things" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay and Smitty see dollar signs when an enthusiastic lawyer convinces them their complaints can result in big cash settlements; Kenny reconnects with Angelique, but it's her new boyfriend, Conrad, that is interested in a relationship with Kenny.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 21)

Tuesday, August 22

  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Catch Jim on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Maya Rudolph (Up All Night) - Maya is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Topher Grace (That '70s Show) - Topher appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jake Smollett (On Our Own) - Jake takes store-bought ramen to the next level on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Spencer Sutherland (Still the King) - Spencer dishes on playing a young Billy Ray Cyrus on Still the King on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Mindy Sterling (Con Man/A.N.T. Farm) - Mindy talks about Syfy's Con Man on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky) - John talks about All Saints on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 11am.