Monday, December 16, 2013

Seven Questions with Lisa Whelchel of The Facts of Life; The CW Midseason 2013 Schedule

Today we have a special "Seven Questions" interview with the very likeable & nice Lisa Whelchel, who of course played Blair Warner on the hit '80s sitcom The Facts of Life from 1979-88. In 2012, she tied for second place and was voted fan favorite on Survivor: Philippines. This month (Dec. 13), she now co-stars in Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, in theatres nationwide. She is also promoting a new workout DVD: Lisa Whelchel's Everyday Workout for the Everyday Woman. It is the first workout DVD from the popular Facts of Life star, Survivor runner-up, author, and mom of three. With the help of her trainer, Lisa leads two inspiring and accessible total-body workouts geared towards beginners with a friendly, encouraging vibe and modifications for ALL levels plus useful personal training tips. The DVD is from Acacia and can be ordered today (since Dec. 3).

We talked to her about the The Facts of Life experience obviously, her Survivor experience, what motivated her to make this workout DVD, if she keeps in touch with her Facts of Life co-stars, how she almost took a role on Hello, Larry instead, and getting back in the acting game, including wanting to get back on a sitcom. Calling all studios and networks, Lisa wants to be on a sitcom! TV Land? ABC? Anyone? Lisa is busier than ever, so let's get right to another installment of "Seven Questions!"

"Seven Questions with Lisa Whelchel of The Facts of Life"

Lisa Whelchel 2013

SitcomsOnline: Hello Lisa! Thanks for talking to us. We're longtime fans of yours and The Facts of Life is one of our favorite sitcoms ever! You look amazing at age 50 (which you don't look AT ALL, by the way), so what is your secret of staying and looking young?
Lisa Whelchel: I love it (about Facts of Life)! Thank you very much (about looking great)! I don't think I can take credit for it. I just have good genes. My mom looks young, my grandmother looked young. That's pretty much it (laughs).

Lisa Whelchel's Everyday Workout for the Everyday Woman

SitcomsOnline: And now you have this workout DVD out in stores since Dec. 3! Can you tell us how the idea came about for your workout DVD (Lisa Whelchel's Everyday Workout for the Everyday Woman)?
Lisa Whelchel: Yeah, I was approached by Acacia after being on Survivor. I guess they figured I was in pretty good shape for my age and that maybe I can help other women my age get in shape but I wasn't initially interested in the idea because I thought I was the last person in the world who should make an exercise DVD because I don't enjoy exercise. Then I thought maybe I can make an exercise DVD for women's who don't enjoy exercising then maybe I could pull it off.

Lisa and Jeff Probst

SitcomsOnline: You were incredible on Survivor: Philippines as well last year (we thought you were going to win it!). America fell in love with you all over again it seems after watching you on Survivor! If you didn't participate on that show, do you think you still would have worked on making the workout DVD?
Lisa Whelchel: Thank you. Probably not, yeah I think that's how they approached me. I did really work hard to get in shape for Survivor. That show was a million times harder than it looks and that I thought it would be. The elements were tougher...the 17 days of straight rain, the rats, and the know, the hunger, all that was harder and even more than that just the emotional conflict of playing the game once you really care about people was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be as well. And I do think Denise deserved it (to win). She played a good game!

Facts of Life Cast

SitcomsOnline: You know we're a sitcom website so we have to mention The Facts of Life! What was it about Blair Warner that you liked the most? And what qualities did you two share and didn't share?
Lisa Whelchel: Well I think the thing I liked about her the most was probably the qualities we didn't share and yet I got an opportunity to (laughs) act that way. You know, I think I would have gotten into trouble if I acted like Blair. My mother would've just punished me (laughs) or grounded me in some way but I got to...let all that kind of, you know, spoiled attitudes come out in the part and it was actually really fun.

SitcomsOnline: Would Blair Warner actually make a fitness DVD you think? I just don't see her working out like that. Are the types of workouts on your DVD so easy that even Blair can do them?
Lisa Whelchel: No, I don't think so (making a fitness DVD)...although she might be more inclined to do my DVD than Jillian Michaels because I think Jillian Michaels actually makes you sweat to the point that your mascara might run and my workout DVD doesn't. So you can grip it and glow, without sweating.

Lisa Whelchel credit

SitcomsOnline: The Facts of Life cast has reunited a few times (a TV movie in 2001 and at the 2011 TV Land Awards), but other than that - do all of you still keep in touch regularly? If you had to pick one person, who is the one that you're the closest to? Can you also share with us how you almost passed on Facts of Life originally for Hello, Larry? You made the right call!
Lisa Whelchel: I keep in touch with all of them, although we're spread out all over the country, so we rarely all get together at the same time and since Nancy McKeon and I have both been living in Texas for the last, you know many years, I've had more opportunities to spend time with her. Yeah, I guess in the second season of Hello, Larry the older sister was let go because of a drug problem so they had to recast her and I auditioned and got the part but it was the same time that I also auditioned for the pilot of The Facts of Life so I had to choose. And I chose the Facts of Life. I think so, too (about her decision). I agree.

Lisa Whelchel and Nancy McKeon 2011 TV Land Awards

SitcomsOnline: Finally, you're back in the acting game! We can't wait to see you in Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas! Tell us about your experience on that movie and returning to acting in general. We need you back on our TV screens weekly, preferably on a sitcom (TV Land would be good). Any word on that? And thanks for your time--we truly appreciate it! Best of luck!
Lisa Whelchel: I agree totally! You know what, yesterday, my whole family went out to dinner and I went around the table and I said, 'if we were sitting here this time next year, Christmas 2014, you know, what would you like to say that you're thankful that happened?' So everyone went around and some of them said different things and I said 'I would like to say I'm thankful that I finally got to be on another sitcom' so that's probably my biggest thing on my Christmas wish list this year. You know what, I certainly consider anything that looks it was going to be funny and good quality and not terribly filthy (laughs). But I love being on the Tyler Perry movie because it is kind of like a 90-minute '80s sitcom. It is a lot of broad humor and so much fun and it has a good message at the end. And would you tell everybody at Sitcoms Online how much I appreciate, you know, their love and support and I'm very grateful for them!

We definitely appreciate Lisa for taking the time to give us an interview to talk about her workout DVD, her sitcom experience and what she is up to now. She is so very nice and as everyone can tell from reading this interview, she's so humble. We wish her the best and we will continue to see her on TV/movies for many years to come. That'll do it for this installment of "Seven Questions," stay tuned next time for another brand new interview! But first, don't forget to check out Lisa Whelchel all over the web and social media. Follow her everywhere!

Purchase Lisa Whelchel's Everyday Workout for the Everyday Woman on DVD from .

The CW

The CW announced its midseason schedule, including the premiere of two new dramas, Star-Crossed and The 100, and the second cycle of the hit comedy/improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway? In February, the futuristic story of an alien/human romance begins with the premiere of Star-Crossed on Monday, February 17 at 8:00pm ET, leading into another epic romance, Beauty and the Beast. The current Monday 8pm timeslot holder, Hart of Dixie, following a brief hiatus will return with a new night and time on Fridays at 9:00pm ET, beginning March 21. In March, the human race returns to planet Earth in the post-apocalyptic adventure drama, The 100, which will premiere on Wednesday, March 19 at 9:00pm ET, following hit drama Arrow. As a result, The Tomorrow People will transport to its new night and time on Mondays at 9:00pm ET, beginning March 17, following fellow new series Star-Crossed. After the March 10 telecast, Beauty and the Beast will go on hiatus and will return to the schedule with original episodes at a date to be announced.

The hit comedy/improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway? will be back with a second cycle on Friday, March 21 with new episodes at 8:00 and 8:30pm ET. Subsequent weeks will feature original episodes at 8:00pm and encore episodes at 8:30pm. Encore episodes from the first season of Whose Line Is It Anyway? will air Fridays at 8:00pm and 8:30pm from February 14 through March 14 to get ready for the new season. Currently airing in the Friday at 8pm slot is The Carrie Diaries, but that will end its season on Jan. 31 after its 13th episode. No word yet if that will be back after this season, so stay tuned. Stay with us for any continued updates on The CW in midseason!

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.