Monday, November 18, 2013

FXX Acquires The Simpsons Cable Rights Beginning in Aug. 2014; Remembering Shirley Mitchell, Last Surviving Recurring Adult Cast Member of I Love Lucy

The Simpsons

After a vigorous bidding war which resulted in what is believed to be the biggest off-network deal ever, FXX has secured the exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to The Simpsons, the longest-running comedy series in television history. Beginning in August 2014, through its landmark deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television, FXX will become the cable network home for all seasons of The Simpsons, excluding seasons airing in their first run on Fox. FXNOW, the soon-to-be-launched mobile viewing app of FX Networks for its authenticated subscribers, will be the exclusive non-linear home for all seasons of The Simpsons, excluding seasons airing in their first run on Fox. FXX and FXNOW will get subsequent seasons of The Simpsons as new seasons begin their first run on Fox. For example, beginning in August 2014 FXX will have access to 24 seasons (530 episodes) of the series. Beginning in September of 2014, FXX will have access to the 25th season of The Simpsons, when season 26 debuts on Fox.

Terms were not disclosed, but it is expected FXX paid $1.5 million per episodes. That's well over $800 million for the current library of episodes. FXX will likely air 18 episodes a week, similar to Modern Family on USA Network and The Big Bang Theory on TBS. We're not sure how many years the contract will go for, but obviously it is multi-year deal for at least four years (probably much more). This will be the first EVER cable home for The Simpsons. It entered broadcast syndication over 19 years ago (in 1994) and still is going strong. Stay with us for continued updates as we get closer to August 2014. We'll have the complete information then!


Shirley Mitchell

Actress Shirley Mitchell, who appeared in many 1950s and 1960s sitcoms, has died. She died of heart failure on November 11 in Westwood, California. Ms. Mitchell was 94.

Mitchell appeared in three episodes of the third season of I Love Lucy in 1953-1954. She played Marion Strong, a friend of Lucy Ricardo who had a funny laugh. She was the last surviving recurring adult cast member of the series. She was interviewed in the 2003 documentary The Desilu Story and the E! True Hollywood Story for I Love Lucy in 2005.

Shirley Mitchell

She appeared as Kitty Devereaux, a secretary for Bentley Gregg (John Forsythe), in Bachelor Father in 1958-1959. In 1960-1962, she appeared in thirteen episodes of Pete and Gladys as Janet Colton, the wife of George Colton (Peter Leeds). She played Opal Clampett, the wife of Jake Clampett, in two episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962. She appeared as the next-door neighbor Marge Thornton in Please Don't Eat the Daisies on NBC from 1965-1967. She portrayed Kate Bradley's cousin, Mae Belle Jennings, on Petticoat Junction in four episodes in 1967-1968. She made four guest appearances as a nurse and as Oliver's old friend Wanda in Green Acres from 1967-1971.

Her other sitcom credits included I Married Joan, Where's Raymond?, It's a Great Life, The Real McCoys, Leave it to Beaver, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Angel, Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Make Room for Daddy, My Three Sons, The Mothers-in-Law, and The Doris Day Show. In the 1970s, she appeared in The Odd Couple, Apple's Way, Chico and the Man, Three's Company and Alice. In 1990, she made her final sitcom guest appearance in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Her television drama credits included Dragnet and Perry Mason. She voiced Laurie Holiday in the 1972 Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Roman Holidays.

Survivors include her two children, Scott and Brooke, and sister-in-law, the Oscar-nominated Sunset Blvd. actress Nancy Olson. Her children were with her husband from 1946-1974, Dr. Julian Frieden. She was later married to composer Jay Livingston from 1992 until his death in 2001. She was a talented and funny character actress. Her Marion Strong character with the cackling laugh was very memorable on I Love Lucy. She was also great as the neighbor in Please Don't Eat the Daisies, which will hopefully be available on DVD someday. Ms. Mitchell will be greatly missed.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.