Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TV Land Moves Retired at 35 to Wednesdays; Remembering William Asher, Director of Classic TV Series Like I Love Lucy and Bewitched

Retired at 35

TV Land premiered the second season of sophomore sitcom Retired at 35 three weeks ago (June 26), but on Tuesday nights instead of the normal Wednesday original night. As a result, the sitcom has not done well in the ratings for its first three episodes of the season. In its defense, the series has been airing on an island surrounded by repeats. It makes it look like a burn-off, as the series was also delayed a few times in premiering its second season. TV Land will give it a better chance starting this week. It will not air tonight (Tuesday at 10), but instead will move to Wednesdays following new episodes of The Soul Man and The Exes. Now because of that move, Retired at 35 is no longer in primetime, since it will be airing Wednesdays at 11pm.
The new season brought a new cast member as Marissa Jaret Winokur joined the show. In Retired at 35, after 37 years of marriage, Alan Robbins (George Segal) and his wife Elaine (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development) are expected to cruise into retirement and live out their days happily ever after. However, they get an unexpected surprise when their uptight and overworked son David (Johnathan McClain), sick of the NYC rat race, decides to move in with them in their active-adult community. David finds himself dealing with his overzealous parents as well as his sister Amy (Marissa Jaret Winokur), who, while successful in business, has made less than impressive choices in her love life. Among the guest stars this season include Robin Givens (Head of the Class), John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory), Melissa Peterman (Baby Daddy) and Daneel Ackles.
After these three very low rated airings (all at a series low 0.1 adults 18-49 rating), perhaps a third season is not in the cards unless it does pretty well on Wednesdays at 11. That might be a tough task as The Soul Man and The Exes slipped in week two: The Soul Man from a 0.6 to a 0.3 adults 18-49 rating and The Exes from a 0.4 to a 0.2 adults 18-49 rating. However, there was a week off in between for the 4th of July, but TV Land should have premiered both sitcoms a week or two earlier when they had repeats on June 13 and June 20.

In related news, Nick at Nite has pulled the airings of All That and Kenan & Kel after only three weeks. They both started airing Mon-Thurs in the 8pm hour on June 25, but Nickelodeon has now replaced them with back-to-back episodes of the original series VICTORiOUS as of last night. There will be no other schedule changes on Nick at Nite, which means VICTORiOUS is being brought in to help out struggling Nick at Nite original drama Hollywood Heights, which has only mustered a 0.1 adults 18-49 rating in recent airings in its 9pm time period. The series was ordered for 80 episodes, and they are about only a little over 25% done with that.


We now have some sad news. Todd will report on the passing of TV director and producer William Asher.

William Asher

Legendary director and producer William Asher, best known for his work on I Love Lucy and Bewitched, has died. Asher died July 16 at a board and care facility in Palm Desert, California, of complications from Alzheimer's disease. Mr. Asher was 90.

Asher's career in television began as a writer and director for a filmed anthology series called Invitation Playhouse. He later started working for CBS Studios. His first directed TV pilot became Our Miss Brooks, which starred Eve Arden and aired on CBS from 1952-1956. In 1952, he was asked by Desi Arnaz to direct a few episodes of the second season of I Love Lucy. Asher went on to direct over 100 episodes of the series, including the classic Job Switching episode where Lucy and Ethel work at a candy factory. In 1955, he was nominated for the DGA award for the Lucy's Mother-in-Law episode. His other early directing credits included Racquet Squad, Big Town, The Danny Thomas Show, General Electic Theater, The Colgate Comedy Hour, December Bride, Sally, The Thin Man, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Twilight Zone, and The Patty Duke Show, which he co-created with writer Sidney Sheldon.

His best known work was as a producer and director of Bewitched. Asher produced the 1964-1972 ABC sitcom, starring his then-wife, Elizabeth Montgomery. He directed over 130 episodes of the series. Asher received four Emmy nominations for his work on the show, winning once in 1966 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. Some of his other sitcom directing credits included Gidget, The Paul Lynde Show, The New Temperatures Rising, Operation Petticoat, Tabitha, Alice, The Bad News Bears, Private Benjamin, and Harper Valley. He also directed a couple of TV reunion movies - I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later in 1985 and Return to Green Acres in 1990. His film credits as a director and writer included three popular beach-blanket movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello - Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, and Beach Blanket Bingo.

The Archive of American Television conducted an extensive interview with him on March 31 and April 26, 2000. His survivors include his wife, Meredith, daughters Liane Sears and Rebecca Asher, sons Brian, Bill Jr., Robert and John, four step-children, nine grandchildren and eight step-grandchildren. Asher was married to actress Elizabeth Montgomery from 1963-1973. They had three children. He was married to actress Joyce Bulifant from 1976-1993. Mr. Asher was a true pioneer in the industry. He's considered the man who invented the sitcom. He was one of the most proflific directors in the early days of television. We thank him for bringing us sitcom classics like I Love Lucy and Bewitched. He will be deeply missed.

Post your condolences on our Bewitched message board.


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

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 20

Last Man Standing - "A House Divided" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Mike and Vanessa ask newlyweds Mandy and Kyle to tone down their constant displays of affection, Mandy agrees but only if her parents become more discreet in the way they express their feelings to each other. Meanwhile, Kristen gets Eve a gig playing at the Grill, but Ed wants to fire her after a lackluster performance.

Dr. Ken - "A Day in the Life" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Amy (guest star Yvette Nicole Brown), the producer of a documentary health series, follows Ken around to record a typical day at an HMO, giving Ken his big moment in the limelight.  But much to Ken’s chagrin, a series of the less than thrilling day-to-day parts of the job at Welltopia leads Ken to doubt his own career choice.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 16)

Friday, January 20

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.