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, June 21

The Big Bang Theory - "The Tesla Recoil" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Leonard and Wolowitz are furious after they learn Sheldon went to work with the military behind their backs. Also, while Bernadette is on bed rest, she asks Raj to do some digging when she suspects Ruchi is trying to steal her job.

Young Sheldon - "Killer Asteroids, Oklahoma, and a Frizzy Hair Machine" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A disappointing loss at the science fair sends Sheldon’s life in a new direction. Jason Alexander guest stars as Sheldon’s drama teacher, Mr. Lundy.

Mom - "Esta Loca and a Little Klingon" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy and Bonnie help Jill get sober again, and Christy’s boyfriend, Patrick (Steven Weber), is less than understanding when it ruins his birthday weekend.

Life in Pieces - "Meal Potty Cart Middle" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tim and Heather go to an expensive dinner to celebrate their anniversary, they are determined to finish every bite of their pricey 20-course meal. Also, Jen and Greg try to quickly potty-train Lark before her first day of preschool; Tyler gets jealous of the attention Clementine is getting at work; and Matt and Samantha team up for a “Middle Child Day” and go to a trapeze school. Emmy Award-winning food expert Padma Lakshmi guest stars as Stephanie, Heather and Tim’s server at an upscale restaurant.

Marlon - "Sisters" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Marlon’s (Marlon Wayans) sisters come to town, he convinces Ashley (Essence Atkins) to pretend they are still married to keep them from being disappointed. As the weekend goes on, the charade gets harder to keep up and Marlon finally confronts them in an epic confession. After receiving a psychic reading from Lenora (guest star Sherri Shepherd), Stevie (Diallo Riddle) tries to woo Yvette (Bresha Webb) as he thinks they are destined to be together.

Marlon - "Divorce Counseling" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Marlon (Marlon Wayans) and Ashley (Essence Atkins) go to see Kamala Shabazz (Kim Wayans), a strong-willed relationship therapist, to help stabilize their rocky divorce. When Marlon exposes Kamala as a fraud, he experiences a breakthrough and realizes he should change his ways. Stevie (Diallo Riddle) gives Yvette (Bresha Webb) an intense massage.

American Woman - "The Party" (Paramount Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Desperate to connect with her role model, Lori, Kathleen drags Bonnie and Diana to a party in the hills; when Diana tries to cut loose, things get out of hand; Bonnie finds herself in an exciting new position.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 18)

Thursday, June 21

  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Catch Drew on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife) - Cameron visits The Opposition with Jordan Klepper at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Community) - Alison stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) - Cynthia chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Craig T. Nelson (Coach) - Craig drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Billy Bob Thornton (Hearts Afire) - Billy Bob appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey) - Debra talks about the launch of The Maxx You Project on People Now at 12pm.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced/Living with Fran) - Fran talks about Hotel Transylvania 3 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris talks about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June)

Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season Step by Step - The Complete First Season Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest