Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Remembering Sherman Hemsley, The Jeffersons Marathons on TV Land and TV One; TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour: NBC Day 2

Sherman Hemsley

Actor Sherman Hemsley, best known for his role as the cranky George Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on Amen, has died. He died on July 24 at his home in El Paso, Texas, apparently of natural causes. Mr. Hemsley was 74.

Hemsley's professional acting career began as a stage actor in New York. He made his Broadway debut in Purlie in 1970 and toured with the show for a year. In 1971, Norman Lear called him and offered him the role of George Jefferson, a neighbor of the Bunkers, on All in the Family. Hemsley declined the offer because of his theatre work, but he joined the cast two years later. He made his debut as the character on October 25, 1973, in the episode "Henry's Farewell." From 1973-1975 he appeared in a total of thirteen episodes of the series, plus two additional episodes after he left for the spinoff. The Jeffersons premiered on CBS on January 18, 1975. The show became an immediate ratings hit and was one of the most successful and longest-running spinoffs in history. It ran for 11 seasons and 253 episodes. At the time of its cancellation in 1985, it was the longest-running primetime scripted series on the air. Hemsley received an Emmy nomination in 1984 and Golden Globe Award nomination in 1985. The actors on the show were nominated for Emmys a total of 13 times. His television wife, Isabel Sanford, was nominated seven times from 1979-1985 and won in 1981. Although they were twenty years apart in real life, Hemsley and Sanford had great chemistry together. They also appeared together in two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1995 and 1996. In the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, they appeared in a series of commercials for The Gap, Old Navy and Denny's. The cast also reunited for a Jeffersons stage-play. Hemsley and Sanford appeared at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards in 2004. Hemsley's final credited acting appearance was as George Jefferson in a 2011 episode of Tyler Perry's House of Payne. His Jeffersons co-star Marla Gibbs also appeared in the episode as Florence Johnston.

Sherman Hemsley Sherman Hemsley

Hemsley's second major role was on the 1986-1991 NBC sitcom Amen. He starred as the fiery Deacon Ernest Frye for five seasons. The series, which co-starred Clifton Davis, Anna Maria Horsford, Roz Ryan, Barbara Montgomery and Jester Hairston, ran for 110 episodes. Hemsley next voiced the character of B.P. Richfield, Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, on the live-action 1991-1994 ABC sitcom Dinosaurs for four seasons. In 1996-1997, he co-starred with Dorien Wilson on the UPN sitcom Goode Behavior. Hemsley played the role of Willie Goode, a newly paroled con artist, for one season. In 2006, he was a cast member on the celebrity reality series The Surreal Life. His other television guest appearances include The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, E/R (1984 CBS sitcom as George Jefferson), The Twilight Zone (1985), 227, What a Dummy, Designing Women, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Burke's Law, Thunder in Paradise, Lois & Clark: The New Adventure of Superman, Me and the Boys, Family Matters, The Wayans Bros., In the House, Martin, Clueless, Sister, Sister, City Guys, The Hughleys, and Family Guy (voice). Hemsley's film credits include Love at First Bite, Stewardess School, Mr. Nanny, Senseless, and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.

The Archive of American Television conducted an interview with him on August 17, 2003. No information on any survivors has been released. He never married and had no children. Mr. Hemsley was a very talented and funny actor. George Jefferson was one of the most memorable and iconic characters in the history of television. George wasn't the the most likable character, but Hemsley made him enjoyable and beloved. He's movin' on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky. He will be greatly missed.

Share your Sherman Hemsley memories on our The Jeffersons or Amen message boards. View Sherman Hemsley photos in our The Jeffersons and Amen photo galleries.

The Jeffersons

Many networks will honor Sherman Hemsley as a tribute to him. First up, Centric will air his episodes of 227 ("The Big Deal") and The Wayans Bros. ("It's Shawn, It's Marlon, It's Super Boys") today (Wednesday, July 25) at 12 noon and 5pm ET. The Wayans Bros. episode will also encore at 9pm ET tonight. On Friday, July 27, TV One will replace this Friday's scheduled Good Times marathon with The Jeffersons from 8pm-12am and 1-2am (Good Times airs 12-1am still, though). This marathon will feature episodes centered around Sherman Hemsley's Emmy-nominated performance of George Jefferson. Episodes airing are: the series premiere "A Friend in Need," "George's First Vacation," "Movin' on Down," "Louise Suspects," "George the Philanthropist," "Once a Friend," "The Ones You Love," and "The List." An hour later from 1-2am, The Jeffersons was already scheduled to air, as was Amen from 2-3am, so the Sherman Hemsley marathon sort of continues in the late night as well! If you want more Amen, the following Friday (Aug. 3), will have Amen (which was already scheduled) from 8-11pm. Both The Jeffersons and Amen airs weekday mornings on TV One in a block from 7-9am.

Elsewhere, TV Land will have a 4-hour marathon of The Jeffersons this Saturday starting at noon ET through 4pm ET. Episode information will be released shortly. The TV Land Facebook page will also pay tribute to Hemsley, celebrating some of his greatest moments on television.

Antenna TV will commemorate the life of Sherman Hemsley this Sunday, July 29 with "All in the Family - Tribute to Sherman Hemsley." The three hour marathon will begin at 9pm ET/6pm PT and feature six George Jefferson themed episodes of All in the Family. They will include his first appearance ever as that character and The Jeffersons backdoor pilot episode that aired as an All in the Family episode.

9:00pm All in the Family "Henry's Farewell"
9:30pm All in the Family "Lionel's Engagement"
10:00pm All in the Family "Pay the Twenty Dollars"
10:30pm All in the Family "Lionel, the Live-In"
11:00pm All in the Family "George and Archie Make a Deal"
11:30pm All in the Family "The Jeffersons Move Up"

MeToo in Chicago, IL honors the life and career of Sherman Hemsley, best known as George Jefferson on the iconic television series The Jeffersons. On Saturday, July 28, beginning at 11 AM CT, tune in to MeToo for episodes of Amen, All in the Family and The Jeffersons. MeToo is available over the air on 26.4, XFINITY 247/358, RCN 22, WOW 171 and U-VERSE 48. The Jeffersons airs regularly on MeToo Monday through Saturday at 5:00 pm with All in the Family following at 5:30 pm CT. Amen airs on sister station The U Too weekdays at 12 noon CT.

Stay with us as we receive any further TV tribute news. Other possible networks include GMC TV (they also air Amen). We will post it right here, so come on back! Mmm hmm mmm!


Today it is day two for the NBC portion of the TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour. However, NBC will be showcasing their cable networks today, so we won't cover in detail. The day will start out with breakfast with the cable network mun2. Oxygen and Style will showcase some series after that, including reality series Tia & Tamera. Then it will be time for lunch and E! will be showcasing their series. Panels will follow, like for the upcoming talk show Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings. E! will have all sessions after lunch. So not much to report, but we do have some NBC updates from yesterday that we will cover now.
NBC will air two live half-hour Saturday Night Live Election Specials on Thursday, Sept. 20 and Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8pm ET. These were pretty popular in 2008 when Sarah Palin was in the limelight, but will it be as popular this time? As previously announced, 30 Rock will premiere on Oct. 4 in the time period. Also, NBC and Sky Living announced the co-production of Dracula, a provocative new drama series version of the classic Bram Stoker novel starring Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Dracula is from the producers behind the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning hit Downton Abbey, Carnival Films & Television, along with Flame Ventures and Playground, and will begin production later this year. The 10-episode series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There's only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

Stay tuned tomorrow for TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour: ABC Day 1!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, May 24

Hollywood Darlings - "She's Not All That" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After years of pretending to be her own assistant to avoid saying ``no'' to people, a non-confrontational Beverley finally hires former child star Lori Beth Denberg to be her assistant; Jodie asks a stranger to pretend to be a fan of Christine's.

Return of the Mac - "An Offer Joe Can't Refuse" (Pop, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Joe is forced to book his own celebrity guests, he finds out there's a daytime mafia controlling the booking of celebrities.

Bunk'd - "Girl Meets World" (Disney Channel, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Xander and Emma learn two of their campers have a crush on one another.

Nobodies - "Devil in a Red Dress" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Larry, Rachel and Hugh, at their most fractured, turn to another writing team for help: fellow Groundlings alums Jim Rash and Nat Faxon.

Lopez - "Cuck You George Lopez" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
George’s friends have him worried that Lori wears the pants in their relationship. Pfeiffer complicates Olly’s work life, and Manolo gets laser eye surgery to please Wendy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 22)

Wednesday, May 24

  • Zoe Lister-Jones (Life in Pieces/Friends with Better Lives/Whitney) - Watch Zoe on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Hannibal Buress (Broad City) - Hannibal appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Topher Grace (That '70s Show) - Topher stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Gabourey is a guest on a repeat of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Andree Vermeulen (Angie Tribeca) - Andree appears on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • T. J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T. J. appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Lennon Parham (Playing House/Best Friends Forever/Accidentally on Purpose) - Lennon appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Eric Stonesteet (Modern Family) - Eric drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens) - Abigail is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jake Smollett (On Our Own) - Jake throws down spicy honey chicken on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about Wakefield on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris and trainer Obi Obadike have tips to lose ten pounds in ten days on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank talks about his new hit, Brockmire, with Clinton Kelly on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie talks about Beat Shazam on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.