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

Saturday, July 26

Bad Teacher - "The Bottle" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Meredith’s venue for her 30th birthday party falls through, she plots a takeover of Kim’s student teacher exam celebration. However, once the party is underway, her lies start to unravel as she tries to keep her rich friends from her old life separate from her new co-workers.

Bad Teacher - "What's Old Is New" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Staff and students are all focused on standardized test day when Meredith and Principal Carl’s attentions are diverted by the arrival of their ex-spouses, making them question whether they want second chances with their former loves. Steven Weber Guest Stars as Meredith’s Ex-Husband Ray; Niecy Nash Guest Stars as Principal Carl’s Ex-Wife Carla.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 28) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, July 27

  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran talks about her battle with cancer, meeting the love of her life, and her latest role on Broadway on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm on OWN.
Monday, July 28
  • Will Arnett (The Millers/Up All Night/Arrested Development) - Watch Will on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Rachelle Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachelle visits on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/Carpoolers) - T.J. is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke interviews Queen on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly/Love, Sidney) - Swoosie is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Mr. Warmth appears on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony joins the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.