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.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, November 24

Andi Mack - "The Snorpion" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi invites Amber over for a sleepover; Buffy becomes frustrated when the basketball team captain TJ excludes her from gameplay.

K.C. Undercover - "Deleted!" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Judy's new virus comes up, Judy threatens to send to The Organization there whole secret in the past, so its up to the Coopers to stop Judy and delete the camera footage from telling their secret.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 20)

Friday, November 24

  • Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - Watch Woody on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul is a musical guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) - Billy is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Reba performs on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi stops by The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.


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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest