Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ENCORE Networks Acquire Classic Sitcoms: Amen, Diff'rent Strokes, What's Happening, 227, Murphy Brown, Night Court; Celebrity Name Game Cleared for Fall 2014 Syndication

Diff'rent Strokes

ENCORE networks are about to launch classic TV hits, including many sitcoms, to their networks starting Monday, Dec. 2, 2013! We already have classic westerns airing on ENCORE Western, but now two ENCORE networks will rebrand and add sitcoms as a part of their schedule. Already a favorite for consumers as the most widely subscribed premium pay TV service in the United States with 35 million subscribers, Starz has strengthened ENCORE and its family of thematic multiplex channels and service offerings. The new ENCORE pack of channels bring programming enhancements to further super-serve the nation's evolving demographics and focus on groups who over-index in viewing within the premium pay TV category. First up, ENCORE BLACK will be the new name of the current ENCORE DRAMA network. Showcasing popular programming for the African-American community, ENCORE BLACK will bring a terrific combination of commercial-free premium movie content, comedy such as Martin Lawrence's 1st Amendment Stand Up, and the introduction of TV favorites including: What's Happening!!, Diff'rent Strokes, 227, and Amen. The sitcoms will be commercial-free and unedited! ENCORE BLACK will be originated in HD and service the strong viewership from the African-American community, which has historically over-indexed on premium channel viewership. The December 2 launch will spotlight Academy Award® nominee, actor Samuel L. Jackson with films such as Unbreakable, Losing Isaiah, Freedomland, One Eight Seven, and more. Back to the sitcoms, they will launch in primetime on Monday, Dec. 2 with the premiere episode of Sony's Diff'rent Strokes at 8pm, followed by back-to-back episodes of Universal's Amen at 8:30pm and 9pm. '70s classic What's Happening!! from Sony Pictures will round out the night at 9:30pm. These sitcoms will air in primetime in these time periods every weekday, but starting Tuesday, Dec. 3 additional airings will air from 6-8pm in the same order. They will be encores of the previous night in primetime. Starting on New Year's Day (Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014), 227 will join the ENCORE BLACK line-up and will air at 8:30pm and encore the next day at 6:30pm, taking one of Amen's airings. All times are Eastern.

Murphy Brown

But wait, there's more! Another ENCORE network will add sitcoms starting Dec. 2. ENCORE CLASSIC will be the new name for the current ENCORE LOVE. It is a new addition to the ENCORE HD channel portfolio, ENCORE CLASSIC will be a favorite for the Baby Boomer set, with a mix of generational evergreen movie favorites and classic TV series. Leveraging the deep and broad ENCORE movie library of new release and favorite hits, ENCORE CLASSIC will add TV hits, Murphy Brown, Magnum, P.I., and Night Court to its programming slate. The TV hits will be commercial-free and unedited! Classic movie titles will air every night with a new favorite every day of the month at 9PM ET/PT. Films include Kramer vs. Kramer, American Graffiti, Independence Day, Breaking Away, Stand By Me, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Good Will Hunting, Tootsie, Basic Instinct, The Notebook, and more. Back to the sitcoms, they will launch with in primetime on Monday, Dec. 2 with the premiere episode of Murphy Brown at 7pm, followed by Night Court at 7:30pm. Then Universal-owned drama Magnum, P.I. will round out the night at 8pm leading into the movies at 9pm. These classic TV hits will air in primetime in these time periods every weekday, but starting Tuesday, Dec. 3 additional airings will air from 5-7pm in the same order. They will be encores of the previous night in primetime. And finally on New Year's Day (Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014), Magnum P.I. will have a New Year's marathon on ENCORE CLASSIC starting at 2am on the night of New Year's Eve and will last until 12:20am on New Year's Day. Also on the night of New Year's Eve, the pilot episodes of Murphy Brown and Night Court will air in the 1am hour leading into the Magnum P.I. marathon. All times are Eastern.


This is certainly great news for classic TV fans. Fans can watch their favorite series without commercial interruption and even more importantly, unedited! ENCORE told SitcomsOnline that they "anticipate acquiring more sitcom titles in the future." We are not sure if these are exclusive deals, but 227 is starting a month later. ENCORE says that they "cannot shed any additional light on the contractual specifics for each series including terms of exclusivity." Currently, 227 is airing on GMC on basic cable. As for the other series, only What's Happening!! is on basic cable on TV One. Diff'rent Strokes is airing on digital broadcast on Antenna TV, as is Magnum P.I. on COZI TV. Warner Bros.-owned Night Court and Murphy Brown are not airing anywhere else. In addition, the December 2 roll-out will also feature brand new channel logos, graphics and audio package as part of a fresh, new on-air style representative of the newly improved and fortified ENCORE channels and services. Stay with us for continued updates on ENCORE's new networks and series. For now, find out where these networks on your service by visiting their website.

Craig Ferguson

Moving on, Debmar-Mercury has sold Celebrity Name Game, a nationally syndicated pop culture game show hosted by The Late, Late Show's Craig Ferguson from co-producers FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury, to Tribune Broadcasting stations covering 40% of the U.S., including seven of the top-10 markets. U.S. distributor Debmar-Mercury has provided a firm fall 2014 launch for the half-hour strip, which will air on Tribune stations including WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago. We first announced this new series a few weeks ago, but now clearances have been already been made. Courteney Cox and David Arquette's Coquette Productions (Cougar Town) teamed with veteran showrunner Scott St. John (Deal or No Deal), as well as Laura Robinson and Richard Gerrits of North 44 Productions, to develop the fast-paced game show in which celebrities team with contestants to identify famous names, including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters. Stay with us for continued updates, especially in January at NATPE and as we get closer to next Fall.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 25

The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.

American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.

Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.

Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Tuesday, October 25

  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.