Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seven Questions with Jaleel White of Family Matters; Centric Pulls What's Happening Now!! Marathon

Today, we've got another one of our recurring Seven Questions interviews featuring Jaleel White, who was best known of course for playing TV's Urkel on the series Family Matters (a role so popular that some people simply refer to the show as Urkel even). Despite playing that breakout character, though, he is much more than just Urkel, and we are interviewing him in advance of the movie The Wrong Woman, which stars Danica McKellar (another favorite from sitcoms past, previously playing Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years). The movie, based upon the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Wrong Man, follows McKellar's character, a wife and mother who is accused of attempted murder and is forced to go to trial to prove that she is innocent. White plays Detective Hamer, who is a detective with a definite bias.

The Wrong Woman debuts Saturday, December 28 at 8 PM ET/PT on Lifetime. It isn't the first time that White and McKellar have worked together, though, and we discuss this and more (including a little about Family Matters, naturally) in our latest "Seven Questions."

"Seven Questions with Jaleel White of Family Matters"

SitcomsOnline: Tell us a little about your character Detective Hamer. Does he actually think Ellen is the woman who committed the murder?
Jaleel White: Detective Hamer is very straightforward. He is definitely approaching this case from an immediate bias and it's written right on his face that he believes Ellen is definitely guilty, in how he talks to her and how he deals with her. It's always designed to unnerve her.

SitcomsOnline: What was it like teaming up with Fred Dryer, who was famous for playing a detective before in Hunter?
Jaleel White: Great! I'm getting a chance to do these things now that people wouldn't necessarily expect of me, and we're definitely on paper an unlikely detective team. But anytime I get place beside a veteran, it's just a great experience. We feed off of each other and I can't really say enough about the guy.

SitcomsOnline: You and Danica McKellar both were sitcom stars from the same era, and you've even appeared in a made-for-TV movie, Camp Cucamonga, around the same era. Were you two friends and how was it like working on this project with her?
Jaleel White: Oh man, Danica is cool! I've known Danica my entire life, though. I've known her since we were kids, and this whole business can be really full circle at times. So when I saw her on the set, she was just like "Jaleel!" The first time we worked together, I was probably like 13 pushing 14, and she was about 14 pushing 15. It was nice nostalgia. For Camp Cucamonga, if anything, it just reaffirms the fact that this is a community, and you should feel lucky to be part of it. There are so many people from even that cast, such as Jennifer Aniston, John Ratzenberger, to Danica, who I just continue to cross paths with, and I hope I will continue to cross paths with.

SitcomsOnline: Family Matters is turning 25 next fall. Do you think that will there be some sort of TV reunion you think? Maybe a sit-down retrospective or better yet, an actual reunion movie? Also, what was it like being the breakout character in the series that many people simply just refer to as "Urkel?"
Jaleel White: Oh, no, I don't think there will ever be any sort of reunion. Some things, they should stay in their pure raw form. I don't think it has to do with the cast not wanting to get back together. I continue to talk to some of the cast members through Facebook and whatever. The business of what TGIF was, well Warner Brothers has moved well beyond, and so has ABC, and those are really the players that decide whether or not reunions are talked about and possibly executed. You know, breakout characters don't happen anymore due to the nature in which deals occur in Hollywood, a star would have the autonomy to squash that. We should almost enjoy the fact that they did occur. I definitely enjoyed being part of that era.

SitcomsOnline: You started off so great on Dancing with the Stars on week one. We think you were eliminated way too soon. How was the experience like and was it a positive one? Do you keep in touch with your partner Kym? And do you think that we would have seen an appearance from Urkel had your run continued?
Jaleel White: Well, I don't keep up with Kym anymore, only because she is in Australia, I did before she moved to Australia. She is on that version. It is a tough show. I have so much respect for the dancing that goes on there. You know, I lost 16 pounds on that show. There's a lot more to the show than the fluff and tabloid crap that comes with it. It's an artistry, and I feel really blessed to have survived it, because they try to throw you off your game a bit and you have to step up when you have to dance in front of that many people on a Monday live. As for Urkel, you just never know. It's one of those things you could just guess about now, but you never really know.

SitcomsOnline: Obviously the movie premieres on December 28 on Lifetime, but what other projects do you have going on?
Jaleel White: I constantly stay working! I've got CSI coming up in January, I think the second week of January. There's a movie I did called Dumbells that's coming out. I always stay busy, but it is just one of those things that these things come out when they come out, and they seem to come out in clusters. I love doing these interviews, but it is more important for me for my daughter to see me work. I like sneaking up on people!

SitcomsOnline: Would you like to work in a sitcom again?
Jaleel White: Definitely! For me, it's just about doing work that people would watch, something I would watch. Even when I was hosting Total Blackout, it was something I would watch. It was something I'd enjoy going to work to everyday. There's just so much out there in the media today, you almost feel guilty telling people to watch things you wouldn't watch yourself. So whenever I get a chance to be part of something that feels like artistry, or just something I would watch myself, then I get excited.

We appreciate Jaleel taking the time to talk with us! We're hopeful that we do see him on a sitcom again in the future, and considering that he is still very young, we're mostly just wondering when and where it will happen. In the meantime, we encourage fans to check out the movie The Wrong Woman on Saturday, December 28 at 8 PM ET/PT on Lifetime.

Two weeks ago we told you about the What's Happening Now!! marathon on Centric on New Year's Day, but now they have pulled the stunt. Instead, we will get another marathon of Girlfriends instead on January 1 from 9am-8pm. No word on if and when What's Happening Now!! marathon will be rescheduled. We will certainly let you know, though if they do decide to reschedule. Perhaps they will add What's Happening Now!! to the regular schedule soon? We hope so at least, stay with us for further updates.

With the success of middle-class African American shows of the 1980's, Bud Yorkin made an attempt to resurrect What's Happening!! with the majority of the original cast. What's Happening Now!! debuted in first-run syndication in 1985. This time around, Raj (Ernest Thomas) and best friends Rerun (Fred Berry) and Dwayne (Haywood Nelson) have matured and were trying to juggle the pressures of their personal and professional lives. Like its original predecessor, What's Happening Now!! was well received in the first couple of seasons. But by the third year, audiences had faltered and the production company pulled it from the air at the end of the season.

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

Sunday, October 23

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an encore of last season’s Halloween episode, Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart, only to reanimate him; Homer wakes up with short-term memory loss; and Lisa, Bart, and Milhouse get super powers from radiation.

Bob's Burgers - "Teen-a-Witch" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
With Halloween quickly approaching, Tina reveals her brilliant idea that will finally win her first place in the annual costume contest. When Tammy steals her idea, Tina is forced to seek the help of Mr. Ambrose, who leads her to alternate and other-worldly methods of winning. Meanwhile, Bob is on a mission to figure out who is stealing his perfectly crafted pumpkins.

The Simpsons - "Trust But Clarify" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lisa and Bart investigate Krusty’s suspicious new “Krustaceans” candy. Meanwhile, Homer wants a promotion at the nuclear plant and asks Marge to help him dress the part, and news anchor Kent Brockman struggles to find his feet in the changing media world.

Son of Zorn - "A Taste of Zephyria" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After learning how Zephyria is depicted in the media, Zorn attempts to teach Alan about his culture. Meanwhile, Edie wages war with her new neighbors over their talking garden gnome.

Family Guy - "Inside Family Guy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
FAMILY GUY takes viewers behind the scenes of a regular “FAMILY GUY” production week, with James Woods as the guide. See the ins-and-outs of what goes into the making of a “FAMILY GUY” episode and watch the drama unfold as Peter is replaced and ends up in the office of Fox Television Group Chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman to pitch his very own new series.

The Last Man on Earth - "Five Hoda Kotbs" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A post-apocalyptic road trip has everyone at war with each other and Gail is really pushed to her breaking point.

Bizaardvark - "Spoiler Alert: Belissa Returns" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Paige and Frankie hit a writing slump and other bad things start happening to them, Paige begins to think they are cursed; Amelia and Dirk are at odds when the lifestyle Diva declutters the Dare Lair.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Sunday, October 23

  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.