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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January)

The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Married with Children - Seasons 7 and 8 (Mill Creek) The Facts of Life - The Complete Series Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season

01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Girls - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Seven (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Eight (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Seasons Seven and Eight (Mill Creek)
01/13 - The Big House - The Complete Series
01/13 - Episodes - The Third Season
01/13 - The Facts of Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory
01/20 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, February 1

Bob's Burgers - "Easy Commercial, Easy Gommercial" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
To compete with fellow “restaurateur,” Jimmy Pesto, and his blowout Super Bowl event, Bob is determined to create a Bob’s Burgers commercial to air during the “big game.” In an effort to outshine Pesto, the Belchers recruit Randy, a documentarian, to assist with the filmmaking and hire on former pro football star Connie Frye (guest voice Jordan Peele) to be the celebrity endorser.

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXV" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
On the annual spooktacular Halloween special, Bart and Lisa are transported to a demon-filled alternate universe after Bart reads a set of Aramaic symbols he finds on the underside of his desk; Moe’s “Clockwork Orange”-style gang is disrupted when Dum (Homer) falls for a girl (Marge) who wants him to give up the thug life; and, in an homage to “The Others,” the Simpsons are visited by their former Tracey Ullman-era versions of themselves.

The Simpsons - "Covercraft" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer has a mid-life crisis, takes up bass guitar and forms a cover band with some of the other dads in town. But the band’s modest early success is soon overwhelmed by the breakout potential of their most unlikely star, Apu.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Jimmy Jab Gabes" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The squad has time to kill when the arrival of the Serbian President’s motorcade to Brooklyn has been delayed. So, Jake launches “The Jimmy Jab Games,” an annual series of competitions in the precinct. Meanwhile, Terry and Holt take on a new drug task force approved by Holt’s nemesis, Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch (guest star Kyra Sedgwick).

Family Guy - "Turkey Guys" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
On the night before Thanksgiving, Brian and Peter drunkenly devour the holiday bird, and then must go out to find a replacement. In Peter absence, Chris attempts to step up and become the man of the house.

Bob's Burgers - "Uncle Teddy" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Bob and Linda leave town for a romantic getaway (at a Burger Convention), they ask Teddy to babysit Tina, Gene and Louise. While the ’rents are away, Teddy is eager to earn the coveted title of “Uncle Teddy” and does so by putting Tina’s crush in his rightful place after discovering that he was just using her for – gasp – free burgers! Hijinks ensue.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 2) (All times ET unless noted)

Monday, February 2

  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Seth Morris (The Hotwives of Orlando/Go On/Happy Endings) - Seth appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) - Busy chats on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/Tom/The Tom Show) - Tom is a guest on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) - Simon appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET. He also talks about his new film We'll Never Have Paris on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Amanda Peet (Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Josh Segarra (Sirens) - Josh talks about USA Network's Sirens on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Gregory Harrison (Joey/The Family Man) - Gregory gives a look at his new Hallmark Channel original movie Cloudy with a Chance of Love on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall discusses his new ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat on HuffPost Live at 4:40pm. Fresh Off the Boat premieres on ABC on February 4 at 8:30pm and 9:30pm ET/PT.
  • Michael Ian Black (Burning Love/Ed) - Michael is a guest on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea discusses the Super Bowl on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly is part of the guest panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) - Barry talks about his new show A Very Barry Branson on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings. A Very Barry Branson premieres on GAC on February 5.