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

Monday, December 18

Kevin Can Wait - "The Might've Before Christmas" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While Vanessa and the Gable family gather around the Christmas tree, Vanessa and Kevin reminisce about their first patrol together.

Man with a Plan - "Adam Gets Neighborly" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Adam and Andi try to get back in their neighbors’ good graces after no one shows up to their potluck. Sherri Shepherd and Tim Meadows guest star as Joy and Rudy Randall, the Burns’ new neighbors.

Superior Donuts - "Electile Dysfunction" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Arthur suddenly decides to run against Fawz in a local election, his campaign manager, Franco, tries to help his boss bring home a win. Also, Tush and Randy realize they crossed paths long before the donut shop, and the encounter was hardly sweet.

9JKL - "It Happened One Night" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Josh and Nick coach their friend Luke (Tone Bell) on how to amicably break up with his girlfriend, Sydney (Ginger Gonzaga), so that it won’t jeopardize Josh’s spot in her coveted spin class. Also, Judy and Harry invite their rivals, Dick (Fred Willard) and Lenore (Christina Pickles) Stevenson, over to play bridge, and Andrew and Eve celebrate their anniversary with their own gift-giving tradition.

Tarantula - "Pajattery" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Echo discovers Paja's secret and decides to share it with the rest of the Tarantula residents, with unforeseen consequences.

Tarantula - "Frog Flog" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
A rift develops in their friendship when Echo and Booty build their own hot springs.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 18)

Monday, December 18

  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Watch Jim on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Laura Dern (F Is for Family/Enlightened) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti performs the holiday classic Don't Save It All For Christmas Day on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Monty/Out of Practice) - Henry drops by Access Hollywood Live and Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Leslie Odom Jr. (Big Day) - Leslie is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish) - Jenifer chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad!/The Cleveland Show) - Seth appears on the BUILD Series at 5pm.


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

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
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