Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Network Fall Preview Specials; Remembering Uncle Frank from Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Pretty soon it will be that time of year again...the start of the new TV season. So let's get ready for that with annual network preview specials to inform us on what is new and returning! See our Fall 2010 preview from last year.

First up we will look at ABC. ABC's Fall 2011 preview special is titled The ABC Fall Preview Special. It starts airing on local ABC affiliates this coming weekend (Aug. 27-28). It can be aired between August 27-Sept. 18, 2011 on local stations, so check your local listings (WABC in NYC hasn't scheduled it yet). No word yet if ABC will air these specials nationally, as they did last year on Sunday afternoon. The preview spotlights ABC's four new one hour fall dramas: Charlie's Angels, Once Upon A Time, and two 10PM dramas Pan Am and Revenge. Also, the special features a preview of ABC's returning Fall dramas, direct from beautiful Miami, FL, home to ABC's Charlie's Angels and the host, Ramon Rodriquez, also known as "Bosley." I'm sure they will highlight the new comedies as well like Last Man Standing, Suburgatory and Man Up! The special usually airs on ABC-owned cable networks as well, but as of now networks like ABC Family have not scheduled it. And also as of now, it isn't on abc.com like it was last year...but it is still early.

Next is CBS. The CBS Fall 2011 preview special, simply titled again CBS Fall Preview will be a primetime special previewing CBS's new fall lineup, to be hosted by the stars of The Big Bang Theory - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar - will be broadcast on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT nationally on the CBS Television Network following an encore of The Big Bang Theory. The preview will feature sneak peeks of the five new additions to CBS's primetime schedule this fall: the drama series Unforgettable, Person Of Interest, and A Gifted Man, and the comedy series 2 Broke Girls and How To Be A Gentleman. The hosts, appearing as themselves, will introduce the video previews for each new series while interjecting some fun, character-related jokes about one-another. CBS.com doesn't usually post the preview, so you'll have to watch it on-air or if you miss that, your local CBS might air it on a weekend in the daytime.

Moving on to NBC, the NBC Fall 2011 preview special (titled once again The NBC Primetime Preview) has started airing on their cable owned networks & local NBC affiliates (such as USA, Syfy, Bravo, UniHD, Chiller, mun2, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Sleuth, Xfinity, E! Entertainment Television, mun2, NBC2Go, on-demand and broadband) since Aug. 8 and will continue to run through Sept. 25 (in NYC it is on next on WNBC Sun Sept. 4 at 1pm). Whitney Cummings - star of the upcoming NBC comedy Whitney -- hosts the fast-paced program. Joining Cummings as co-host of the preview will be Chris D'Elia, her Whitney co-star. It will spotlight exclusive views of various series to be delivered across a wide horizon of NBC Universal media platforms. The program is estimated to be transmitted more than 500 times over broadcast, digital and cable entities. The entertainment special will focus on NBC's new shows for the fall, including the dramas The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect and Grimm, while the new comedies are Up All Night, Free Agents and Whitney. Viewers will also get a first look at Smash, the musical drama set for mid-season that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire -- to be a "Smash." In addition, returning favorites to be included are Parenthood, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Harry's Law, Chuck (for its fifth and final season of 13 episodes), Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock. Among next season's returning alternative series are The Voice, The Sing-Off and The Biggest Loser. Sunday Night Football also will be included in the show.
Watch the special right now.

Onto Fox, the Fox Fall 2011 preview special starts airing on local Fox affiliates this weekend (in NY WNYW Sun Aug. 28 at 4:30pm) and is simply titled Fox Fall Preview Special. It will only run on local Fox affiliates again and not on Fox in primetime. No information is available as of this writing on who is hosting and what the special features, but it will of course feature their new programs: The X Factor, Terra Nova, New Girl, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter. No idea yet also if it will be on fox.com, but check your local Fox listings for on-air showtimes.

And finally we conclude with The CW. The CW's Fall 2011 TV preview special called The 2011 CW Fall Preview Special is airing on local CW affiliates (such as NY's WPIX on this Sunday, Aug. 28 at 4:30pm)! It will also air nationally on The CW on Monday, September 12 from 9:15–10:00pm ET. Series featured will be Ringer, The Secret Circle, Hart of Dixie, and H8er. The affiliate special is a half-hour, so we have fifteen more minutes in primetime. The special will be hosted by Nikita star Maggie Q and Ringer star Kristoffer Polaha. Watch the special right now.

Uncle Frank

We have some sad news to report. Although he wasn't involved with sitcoms, we here at Sitcoms Online were big fans of him and his comedy. Frank Potenza, known as Uncle Frank on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, died Tuesday morning (August 23) at the age of 77. Jimmy Kimmel's real-life uncle worked as a security guard and was a cast member on the show since the show debuted in 2003. ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! said in a statement that Potenza was "beloved by his co-workers and considered an uncle to all." It also said that "his kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched." Uncle Frank is the second member of the security guard staff and "The Worst Team on Television" to die. Veatrice Rice (Miss V), who played the quiet but foul-mouthed on-air security guard, died on January 21, 2009, after a battle with cancer.

Uncle Frank was a Brooklyn, NY native and Korean War veteran. He worked as a New York City police officer for twenty years, ten years as a private security guard in Las Vegas, and seven years as an usher at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. When his nephew Jimmy Kimmel got his own show in 2003, he was asked to move to Los Angeles to work with him. He appeared in many comedy bits and was a regular sidekick over the years. His ex-wife, Conchetta "Chippy" Potenza, appears semi-regularly on the show and did a series of segments with him called "Uncle Frank and Aunt Chippy's Adventures." In late 2009, he suffered a stroke and didn't appear on the show from December 2009 through March 2010 (except for the seventh anniversary show on January 26, 2010). He would appear less frequently when he returned.

You can tell he loved being part of the show and the crew enjoyed having him around. He always had a smile on his face and made us smile with the humor he brought in his appearances. Mr. Potenza is survived by his three daughters and a newborn granddaughter. The show is in repeats for the next couple weeks. I'm sure they will have an on-air tribute when they return on September 6. He will be deeply missed on the show.
Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Thursday, April 17)

The Big Bang Theory - "The Itchy Brain Simulation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Leonard tries to keep Sheldon from overreacting when a past mistake comes to light, but Sheldon punishes Leonard by making him walk a mile in his shoes. Meanwhile, Penny confronts Raj’s ex-girlfriend, Lucy.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Scavenger Vortex" (CBS, 8:30PM T/PT) (Repeat)
When the entire gang competes in a scavenger hunt designed by Raj, it brings out the best – and worst – in everyone.

The Crazy Ones - "The Monster" / "The Lighthouse" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Season Finale)
"The Monster" - Simon and the team try an out-of-the-box idea in order to save a library from being shut down, and Gordon literally becomes the unwilling poster boy for the campaign. Brad Garrett returns as Gordon Lewis, Gayle King guest stars as herself and Melody Thomas Scott guest stars as Flora, the librarian.

"The Lighthouse" - When a corporation wants to buy out Lewis, Roberts+Roberts, Gordon calls in the board to vote, and Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mom has the final say. Brad Garrett returns as Gordon Lewis and Marilu Henner guest stars as Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mother.

Surviving Jack - "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
It's homecoming night, but Frankie is bummed that his crush, Heather (guest star Lili Reinhart), is promised to another date and Rachel is protesting the school's "No Grinding" policy. Meanwhile, with the kids out of the house, Jack and Joanne (Rachael Harris) are planning a passionate night to themselves.

Community - "Basic Sandwich" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Season Finale)
The group learns the history of Greendale’s first Dean, Russell Borchert (guest star Chris Elliott, “Eagleheart”), a reclusive, wealthy genius who disappeared amid a personal scandal in the 1970s. Once Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Hickey (Jonathan Banks) locate the school’s blueprints, Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed (Danny Pudi) lead the search for Borchert’s old computer lab, which was sealed off years ago. Subway returns to Greendale with plans to take over the campus for a Subway University and they enlist Chang (Ken Jeong) to secretly keep tabs on the study group. Meanwhile, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) make a grown-up decision about their futures.

Parks and Recreation - "One in 8,000" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) run a charity auction to raise funds for the unity concert. April (Aubrey Plaza) steps in to manage Andy’s (Chris Pratt) schedule, while Donna (Retta) asks Ron (Nick Offerman) for help with her ex-boyfriend (Special Guest Star KEEGAN MICHAEL-KEY).

Sirens - "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Hank fears spiders; Brian encounters his suicidal doppelganger; Johnny gets payback.

Saint George - "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (FX, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Hit Me with Your Best Shot - George kicks Alma out of his house and discovers he misses fighting with her.

Anger Management - "Charlie Catches Jordan in the Act" (FX, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Charlie goes ballistic when a drunk Jordan makes out with a prisoner.

Instant Mom
- "Buy Any Jeans Necessary" (Nick at Nite, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Gabby is held for shoplifting for returning a pair of jeans with the sensor still on, Stephanie and Charlie take sides. Meanwhile, James is selling their unopened wedding presents to make extra cash.

See Dad Run - "See Dad Teach Emily to Drive" (Nick at Nite, 8:30PM ET/PT)
David takes Emily out driving, but his "coaching" makes her nervous, and he insists Emily's not ready for the responsibility. Later, Janie discovers Dr. Monkey Chunks was run over in the driveway, and now everyone is a suspect.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 14) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Thursday, April 17

  • Billy Crystal (Soap) - Catch Billy on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony appears on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Tracy visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Judy Greer (Mad Love/Arrested Development/Miss Guided) - Judy drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • David Duchovny (Californication) - David talks about the new season of Californication on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl) - Max speaks about the new film About Alex on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea chats on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about her new Lifetime movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) - Edie talks about Nurse Jackie on NBC's Today between 7-9am.
  • Heather Graham (Californication) - Heather talks about Californication on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jeremy Piven (Entourage/Ellen) - Jeremy is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
  • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new role on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Itch on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
  • Jason Alexander (Seinfeld/Listen Up) - Jason is a guest on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Valerie Harper (Rhoda/The Mary Tyler Moore Show/Valerie) - Valerie talks about Signed, Sealed, Delivered on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel. She will be on Fox News Radio at 8:45am. She takes a SiriusXM Radio tour with Perri Peltz Shade 45 with SWAY, Morrning Jolt with Larry Flick, Entertainment Weekly Radio between 9:35-11:20am.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo will be on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York at 9:20am.
  • Ana Ortiz (A.U.S.A./Kristin) - Ana chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She also talks about the new season of Devious Maids (premieres April 20 at 10pm on Lifetime) on Arise TV.