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

Thursday, December 13

The Big Bang Theory - "The Procreation Calculation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Wolowitzes’ life gets complicated when Stuart starts bringing his new girlfriend home. Also, Penny and Leonard talk about starting a family while Koothrappali explores an arranged marriage. Keith Carradine returns as Penny’s father, Wyatt.

Young Sheldon - "Gluons, Guacamole, and the Color Purple" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon is no longer academically challenged at Medford High, he audits a college class taught by Dr. John Sturgis (Wallace Shawn).

Mom - "Foot Powder and Five Feet of Vodka" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy’s search for the perfect Secret Santa gift leads her to discover Adam has been hiding something from Bonnie. Also, Tammy looks for a job in order to avoid being sent back to prison.

Murphy Brown - "AWOL" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A disillusioned Avery seeks career inspiration from his extended family at “Murphy in the Morning,” as the team tries to salvage a major story that hinges on a source in the Middle East who has gone silent. Series star Joe Regalbuto directed the episode.

Superstore - "Shadowing Glenn" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Glenn (Mark McKinney) drives Amy (America Ferrera) crazy with a new, over the top training system. Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Mateo (Nico Santos) brainstorm a new business, while Dina (Lauren Ash) recruits Jonah (Ben Feldman) to help her when she starts second-guessing her own future.

I Feel Bad - "We're Not Fun Anymore" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Emet grows tired of her and David's life being overrun by kid-centric events, she contrives a weekend without the kids to rekindle the fun in their relationship - only to find out his idea of fun isn't the same as hers anymore. Chewey and Norman are stuck caring for Griff after he injures himself.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

Thursday, December 13

  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Catch Miley on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Regina King (227) - Regina appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam Pally (Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also talks about Champaign ILL on the BUILD Series at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Ron Funches (Powerless/Undateable) - Ron visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. She also talks about Hallmark Channel's Entertaining Christmas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT and on KTLA in Los Angeles.
  • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Sam is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy talks about E!'s Busy Tonight on Access Live (check your local listings) and on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) and Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years/Sullivan & Son) - Danica and Dan talk about Hallmark Channel's Christmas at Grand Valley on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Karen talks about The Party's Just Beginning on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Ashley Williams (The Jim Gaffigan Show/How I Met Your Mother/Good Morning, Miami) - Ashley talks about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Northern Christmas Lights on People Now at 12pm.


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
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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