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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, November 13

The Conners - "The Separation of Church and Dan" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Geena learns that D.J. hasn’t been taking Mary to church while she’s been away, she insists they go as a family to uphold her traditional values. To make matters worse, Mary refuses to attend without her cousins Harris and Mark, leaving D.J. in the last situation he wants to be in – at the mercy of Darlene. Meanwhile, Mark’s attempt to conduct an unbiased survey on the upcoming election for his school project goes south when Jackie volunteers to help.

The Kids Are Alright - "Peggy's Day Out" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog.

black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

Splitting Up Together - "War of the Wagners" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin’s escalating battle for control of the house is put on hold when Milo announces he wants to go to a school for the gifted – to which they think he will not be accepted. Meanwhile, they both meet a contractor for the house, Vlad, but Lena undermines him and scares Vlad away. Things get uglier between Lena and Oliver after she introduces a new member to the family as payback for all the back-and-forth about the house. Elsewhere, Lena and Martin give conflicting advice to Mason on how to deal with his recent breakup.

The Guest Book - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Mike and his family hate spending every summer in a subpar vacation home far from the beach; in order to afford paying a booking fee for their dream house, the Barefeet Retreat, Mike pulls double shifts and ends up paying more than he bargained for.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Tuesday, November 13

  • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Taran Killam (Single Parents) - Taran visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul stops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • The Cast of The Conners - Michael Fishman, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf and Maya Lynne Robinson are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie previews the film Robin Hood on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Love That Girl!) - Tatyana talks about her upcoming two Holiday movies for Lifetime and Hallmark on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together/Happy Endings/New Girl) - Damon is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about The Upside Down and Network on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Clipped) - Ashley appears on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest