Sunday, June 30, 2013
Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of June 17-23)
- The Simpsons (Fox) - A summer repeat at 8pm did 2.6 million and a 1.24 18-49 rating, which is up a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A repeat at 7pm did only 1.41 million and a 0.61 18-49 rating, about on par in 18-49 with previous week.
- Bob's Burgers (Fox) - An encore airing at 8:30pm did 2.53 million and a 1.21 18-49 rating, up nearly three tenths in 18-49 week-to-week.
- Family Guy (Fox) - A repeat at 9 posted 3.25 million and a 1.51 18-49 rating, up three tenths in 18-49 from previous week, since NBA Finals are now over.
- American Dad! (Fox) 2 airings - A repeat at 9:30pm did 3.21 million and a 1.44 18-49 rating, which is solid. A repeat at 7:30pm did 1.72 million and a 0.80 18-49 rating, up about a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - A repeat at 8 did 4.43 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, up three tenths in 18-49 from previous week.
- Raising Hope (Fox) - A repeat at 8pm did 2.11 million and a 0.8 18-49 rating, up two tenths in 18-49 from previous week.
- The Goodwin Games (Fox) - A brand new episode at 8:30pm did only 1.5 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating, up a tenth in 18-49 from previous week's series low.
- 2 Broke Girls (CBS) - A repeat at 8:30pm did 4.67 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating, up three tenths in 18-49 from previous week when it aired at 9.
- New Girl (Fox) - A repeat at 9 did only 1.35 million and just a 0.6 18-49 rating, but up a tenth in 18-49 from previous week. It doesn't repeat well for an anchor at all.
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 2 airings - 6.65 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating for a special repeat at 9 is excellent. A repeat at 9:30pm did even better with 7.35 million and a 2.0 18-49 rating.
- Anger Management (Fox) - A repeat on Fox, did 1.55 million and a 0.5 18-49 rating at 9:30pm, on par in 18-49 with previous week.
- The Middle (ABC) - A summer repeat did 3.52 million and a 0.8 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- Family Tools (ABC) - A new episode at 8:30pm did 2.79 million and a 0.7 18-49 rating, down two tents in 18-49 from previous week for a series low.
- Modern Family (ABC) - At 9pm, a summer repeat did 3.63 million and a 1.1 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 week-to-week.
- How To Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) (ABC) - A new episode at 9:30pm did 3.06 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, down a tenths in 18-49 from previous week for another new series low.
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - A repeat at 8 did 8.15 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, back up five tenths in 18-49 from previous week as there was no NBA Finals this week.
- Two and a Half Men (CBS) - A repeat at 8:30pm did 6.17 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating, which is up a tenth in 18-49 from previous week despite the lead-in going way up.
- The Office (NBC) - A one-hour repeat at 9 did just 1.76 million and a 0.7 18-49 rating, up two tenths in 18-49 week-to-week.
- Parks and Recreation (NBC) 2 airings - A repeat at 8pm did 2.08 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating, on par in 18-49 with previous week. A second repeat followed at 8:30 with 1.71 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating, also on par in 18-49 with previous week.
Summing it up. Repeats of all The Big Bang Theory airings, Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as repeats of Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother) or just plain old terrible (such as repeats of New Girl and new airings of The Goodwin Games, Family Tools).
Feeling the repeat blues? Look for original sitcoms on TV this summer. Some highlights include: Monday at 8:30pm on Fox has the finale of The Goodwin Games at 8:30pm. ABC has an original episode of Family Tools on Wednesday at 8:30pm. On cable, Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy this Wednesday beginning at 8pm are repeats due to the 4th of July holiday. TV Land has special encore insider episodes from premieres of the summer season of Hot in Cleveland this Wednesday at 10pm, followed by The Exes at 10:30pm and The Soul Man at 11pm only on TV Land. BET will return with the second half of the season of The Game on Tuesday, July 2 at 10pm. TBS airs Sullivan & Son Thursdays at 10, with a repeat this Thursday because of 4th of July. Nick at Nite has the Scott Baio sitcom See Dad Run every Sunday at 8pm but a repeat is tonight, while Wendell & Vinnie airs Thursdays at 8:30pm with a repeat this week. FX's Charlie Sheen sitcom Anger Management airs Thursdays at 9:30pm but is preempted this Thursday for the 4th of July. New sitcom airings are the perfect way to beat the summer blues! Look for our daily rundown of what sitcoms are airing each night every day at the bottom of the blog story so you don't miss anything!
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Digital Digest: Mama's Family DVD Update; CSI: NY - The Final Season DVD Review; The FBI - The Fifth Season DVD Review
One of the most anticipated upcoming DVD releases (at least for us, anyway) is StarVista's big release of Mama's Family - The Complete Series. Now, it isn't just something being talked about... it is truly happening! Set to be shipped the week of September 2, you can pre-order the 24 disc set for $199.99 (you can pay in installments if that works better for you). The set will come with a collectible book, "Mama's Photo Album," and will include two entire discs worth of bonus features, with interviews from the entire cast (well, at least from the syndicated seasons), bloopers, and more. We can't wait for this release!
We have talked a bit about Warner Archive's streaming service Warner Archive Instant over the past few months, and they're very slowly getting new content added to the service... but they're working on it. This week, they added episodes from the first season of of Medical Center to their TV offerings. Speaking of Medical Center, more episodes of that were released on DVD from Warner Archive this week as well, with their release of Medical Center - The Complete Third Season. We hope to have a review of this set soon.
UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW
Tuesday (July 2) has Shout! Factory's release of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Complete Series. This is an excellent release, and you can read our review of it here. Also, Image has The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray). Finally, Sony has Last Resort - The Complete Series.
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
DVD Review: CSI: NY - The Final (Ninth) Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $64.99)
by Todd Fuller
In this final season of CSI: NY, the rush for justice never ends. Still reeling from a shooting incident that nearly took his life, lead detective Mac Taylor (Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Gary Sinise) defies the odds to get back on the streets. His second-in command Det. Jo Danville (Emmy winner Sela Ward) never misses a clue, including warning signs hinting that her boss's mind suffers from the aftermath. But in spite of personal challenges, this team of relentless crime-fighters, Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Lindsay (Anna Belknap), Sid (Robert Joy), Adam (A.J. Buckley), Sheldon (Hill Harper) and Flack (Eddie Cahill) crack the most impossible cases. From an arsonist with a personal grudge to a twisted serial killer who patterns his murders after a popular board game, no perpetrator can outrun the clues they leave behind. But when the woman Mac loves is victimized in a complex kidnapping, they'll need the additional assistance of D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation).
Take a closer look at the evidence in all seventeen thrilling episodes collected in this five-disc set from the ninth and final season (2012-13) of the gritty crime drama. The attractive packaging has a photo of the stunning Sela Ward and her co-star Gary Sinise. There's an embossed CSI: NY logo in the center of the box. The Final Season is noted in the top left of the cover. As with the previous three seasons, it comes in a clear plastic Viva snapcase inside a cardboard box. Both the case and packaging have the same design, which uses the familiar black and blue color scheme. On the back of the case, there is a montage of photos of the nine main cast members with the New York City skyline at night in the background. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features by disc on the inside cover. A less-cropped version of the New York City skyline photo is used in the background. Discs 1-4 are held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 5 is an embedded holder in the back of the case. The discs have just a plain silver background with the CSI: NY logo on them. Each disc has the episode titles printed on them.
Moving on to the menus, they are stylish and easy to navigate. There are no previews on this release, so it jumps right to the main menus. A montage of video clips from the show is played on the main menu. There are a couple of nice music cues from Bill Brown used in the background. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up and Special Features are available at the bottom of the screen in blue bars with neon blue light borders. When you choose Episode Selection, there is a brief transition scene with Anna Belknap. The episode titles are listed vertically in the same blue bars. Deleted scenes for the four selected episodes can be played from this screen. The Set Up menu has a nice night photo of the New York City skyline. You can choose English 5.1, English Stereo or Español audio. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes. Various images are used on the Special Features menus. The special features are not rated any may not be subtitled. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes.
As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Surround and Spanish Stereo audio available. CSI: NY has the darkest and grittiest look of the CSI franchise shows. All of the original music appears to be intact. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order were the same this season. The CSI crossover episode, "In Vino Veritas," is presented on Disc 4. Running times are between 41-44 minutes in length. The set has a total running time of approximately 12 hours, 17 minutes. Hopefully we'll see some seasons released on Blu-Ray in the U.S. at some point.
Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:
Episode 901 "Reignited" (44:17)
Episode 902 "Where There's Smoke..." (41:54)
Episode 903 "2,918 Miles" (41:33)
Episode 904 "Unspoken" (44:11)
Episode 905 "Misconceptions" (44:18)
Episode 905 "The Lady in the Lake" (44:13)
Episode 907 "Clue: SI" (43:05)
Episode 908 "Late Admissions" (44:12)
Episode 909 "Blood Out" (43:33)
Episode 910 "The Real McCoy" (44:10)
Episode 911 "Command + P" (42:38)
Episode 912 "Civilized Lies" (44:14)
Episode 913 "Nine Thirteen" (44:17)
Episode 914 "White Gold" (41:54)
Episode 1313 "In Vino Veritas" (CSI crossover episode) (43:23)
Episode 915 "Seth and Apep" (41:57)
Episode 916 "Blood Actually" (44:09)
Episode 917 "Today Is Life" (42:53)
Over 50 minutes of special features are included. Five featurettes are included. Two focus on the season premiere, "Reignited." Two deal with two other episodes of the season There is also one on the crossover episode with CSI. Deleted scenes are included for four episodes. Once again, a gag reel is included for the season. Unfortunately, there are no audio commentaries included for the third consecutive season.
Deleted Scene for "Where There's Smoke" (2:32) - A montage scene of Danny at the lab. He is later joined by Lindsay and Adam to discuss the evidence. I dig the music cue by composer Bill Brown used in the montage scene.
On Thin Ice (4:13) - Join CSI: NY favorites Eddie Cahill, Carmine Giovinazzo and A.J. Buckley as they show off their ice hockey skills for the season opener, "Reignited." Interviews include Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Co-Executive Producer John Dove, Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway. The episode begins with the annual FDNY vs. NYPD charity hockey game, which is a real event. Some behind-the-scenes footage is shown. It's always nice to see hockey worked into television series.
Fireworks (3:29) - Season nine opens with a bang - literally. Go behind-the-scenes and learn what it took to create the explosive beginning to a memorable season. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Special Effects Supervisor David Kelsey, Special Effects Jeffrey Knott and Eddie Cahill. This was a very cool shot. It's great to see they are still doing practical special effects and not just CGI all the time.
Deleted Scene for "Misconceptions" (:46) - Lindsay, Mac and Jamie talk about Nathan being interrogated. There are two dubbed voiceovers here.
NYPD Clue (8:45) - In the ninth season episode "Clue: SI," the investigators go after a serial killer who chooses his victims based on the popular board game 'Clue.' The cast and crew discuss what it took to translate the classic detective game into an inspired storyline. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Supervising Producer Steven Lilien, Supervising Producer Bryan Wynbrandt, Director Oz Scott and Property Master Leonard Hancock. They talk about the inspiration for the episode, the various locations where the episode was shot, and the weapons the props department recreated.
Deleted Scenes for "Civilzed Lies" (2:43) - Lindsay talks to Jason. Mac, Jo and Jamie take a photo of Adam in a dead man's clothes.
Deleted Scene for "Nine Thirteen" (:52) - Jamie confronts Calvin when he tries to get into a cab. Danny and some police officers take in for questioning.
Vegas/New York Crossover (2:53) - Catch a glimpse and go behind-the-scenes into the Vegas/NY crossover episode featurette which includes key cast and crew interviews. Interviews include Executive Producer of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Don McGill, Ted Danson, Gary Sinise, Elisabeth Shue, Eddie Cahill and Sela Ward. This featurette is just way too short for a major crossover episode. It could have easily been 20-30 minutes and been the highlight of the special features. Maybe there will be a more in-depth featurette on the CSI DVD release.
A Day Off With... (23:31) - Join the cast and Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway as they recount the episodes that showcased each character's 'day off' from the New York crime lab. Interviews include Gary Sinise, Co-Executive Producer John Dove, Eddie Cahill, Kathleen Munroe, Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Staff Writer Sarah Byrd, A.J. Buckley, Robert Joy and Sela Ward. They show Flack's day off, shooting at Yankees Stadium, Linday's day off, Adam's day off and seeing his father with Alzheimer's, the identity of the guardian angel, Jo's day off and her follower, Mac's day off and the CSI crossover in Las Vegas.
Gag Reel (3:40) - I like their music choices for these gag reels.
That's a wrap for CSI: NY. Although it was my least favorite series in the CSI franchise, they put together 9 solid and enjoyable seasons. I liked Melina Kanakaredes, but it would have been interesting to see Sela Ward in all 9 seasons. I think the show probably could have been canceled a season or two ago, but it's nice that CBS kept it going even though seasons 8 and 9 had a reduced amount of episodes. The show still was doing well on Friday nights. A milestone tenth season would have been great to watch.
Season nine began with a bang. Some of my favorite episodes this season included "Misconceptions," "The Lady in the Lake," "Clue: SI," "Nine Thirteen," "White Gold," and "Today Is Life." The only disappointment with the season is that there was no real series finale to wrap everything up. With a reduced amount of episodes and the uncertainty of whether it would be back or not, there probably was just no time.
The special features are pretty decent. I miss the audio commentaries. They dropped them for the final three seasons. Since these special features were likely produced before learning they wouldn't be back for a tenth season, there's no mention that this was the final season of the series. Overall, it was a good run for CSI: NY. It didn't get the attention of the other two CSI series, but it's worth checking out if you enjoy forensics and crime shows in general. It will continue to live on DVD and in syndication for years to come.
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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Blog DVD Review: The FBI - The Fifth Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)
Warner Archive has returned once again with more of the "most wanted" in The FBI - The Fifth Season. The Quinn Martin series (one of his most successful) featured a story each week about a most wanted criminal whom had been caught by the FBI. Of course, as is most convenient in a series like this, we have a regular character, Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) who happens to be the agent on every case, along with his assistants Tom Colby (William Reynolds) and Arthur Ward (Philip Abbott). The cases were based upon real cases, and the series was even produced with the support of then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The Fifth Season DVD set, which can only be purchased from Warner Archive, includes all 26 episodes of the 1969-1970 season of the series.
The season begins with "Target of Interest," where Erskine is investigating a case that may have blackmailed a diplomat to suicide. Jeff Bridges guest stars in "Boomerang," where he plays a man who fakes his own kidnapping… except things take a turn for the worse in his plans. A man is willing to do anything to clear his imprisoned brother of murder in "Gamble with Death." In "Blood Tie," we learn brothers will do anything for one another, but it can be frustrating when you give your brother shelter not knowing that he is on the run from the FBI. In "The Sanctuary," the search is on for an ex-football star wanted for murder and robbery (not who it sounds like, this was almost 30 years before that).
An escaped federal prisoner kidnaps his son in "Journey Into Night," but if he loves his son, he'll need to give him up. In "The Doll Courier," the hunt is on for communists using a porcelain doll to transport top secret microfilm. A widow and her son are taken hostage in "Fatal Imposter." In "Summer Terror," a kidnapping victim has little hope that the FBI will find her, so can she hope that one of the abductors will grow fond of her? Erskine goes undercover driving big rigs in "The Dealer." The season ends with "The Quest," where a man (Earl Holliman) who allegedly murdered his wife escapes from a mental hospital and is convinced that she is still alive… and eventually, even Erskine begins to believe that as well!
The episodes are unedited, with a few even including the original Ford sponsorship in the opening credits. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Target of Interest" (51:56)
2. "Nightmare Road" (51:37)
3. "The Swindler" (51:44)
4. "Boomerang" (49:41)
5. "Silent Partners" (51:37)
6. "Gamble with Death" (51:39)
7. "Flight" (51:28)
8. "The Challenge" (50:37)
9. "Blood Tie" (51:22)
10. "The Sanctuary" (50:37)
11. "Scapegoat" (51:39)
12. "The Inside Man" (50:38)
13. "The Prey" (51:39)
14. "Journey Into Night" (51:08)
15. "The Doll Courier" (51:39)
16. "Tug-of-War" (50:39)
17. "Fatal Impostor" (50:40)
18. "Conspiracy of Corruption" (50:40)
19. "The Diamond Milestone" (50:38)
20. "Deadly Reunion" (50:42)
21. "Pressure Point" (51:40)
22. "Summer Terror" (51:29)
23. "Return to Power" (51:39)
24. "The Dealer" (50:37)
25. "Deadfall" (51:30)
26. "The Quest" (51:40)
Like most recent Warner Archive releases of large multi-disc sets, this set comes packaged as two parts in individual Viva cases... but you can only buy both parts together, and they have the same artwork. The cover art features a large photo of Erskine, along with smaller photos of other cast members. The back of each case features the same description of the season (for both cases), and has a few episode snapshots. Inside the case, each disc has the series title, along with a listing of episodes on the disc.
The menus on the set are very basic. The main menu has artwork similar to the cover art, with a Play All option and a listing of all of the episodes on the disc right below that. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
The video and audio quality of the episodes on this set is simply outstanding. In fact, it is far better than I could have ever imagined it being. While there is some grain and debris on the episodes, it isn't out of control, and the colors are very bright and vivid. Granted, the quality isn't quite as good as The Streets of San Francisco on DVD (which was Quinn Martin's project right after this), but there is little to complain about. The audio is a very nice sounding track, although nothing fancy. The episodes are neither closed-captioned nor subtitled.
The set contains no special features.
Of the Quinn Martin shows, this was certainly the longest running one... and, ironically, probably the one that is seen the least in syndication. Admittedly, it is somewhat dated when it comes to some of the stories about stopping the communists and such, as it was about real criminals from over 40 years ago, but it is still fun to watch today. The series reminds me a lot of something like Dragnet, except here, we see more of the story from the side of the person on the run and not just the law enforcement. Fans of crime dramas of the era are sure to enjoy this, just as they would with most other Quinn Martin series. I'm impressed with the quality of what Warner Archive gave us, and I am hopeful that we'll see the rest of the series sooner rather than later.
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Who to Follow: Kathy Najimy (Twitter), "actress, activist, writer, mom, wife & 2 time winning wimbleton pro golfer."
Claim to Fame: Her name may not be one that you immediately recognize, but you know who she is. Before she had a career as a "celebrity," she made a few game show appearances (including one with her family in a 1981 episode of Family Feud), but she became best known with her roles in Veronica's Closet and her voice role as Peggy Hill on King of the Hill.
Why You Should Follow Her: I never knew a whole lot about Najimy outside of her TV and movie roles, but Twitter introduced me to a side of her that I never knew... particularly, she is a very outspoken person with a lot of strong opinions. While this would normally not seem out of the ordinary, it is a very deep and stark contrast to Peggy Hill, who was the housewife and substitute teacher that she played on King of the Hill. But she is nonetheless a funny person who seems to enjoy her fans, and always ends the day with a very nice tribute to a dessert (see her feed to see what I mean).
Pick of the Tweets: "i am just sick and tired of day after day people mistaking me for Eva Longoria. I'm taller than her dang it." (May 24, 2013)
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
Friday, June 28, 2013
Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 1, 2013); Inside Sanford and Son: Comedy and Cocaine by Ted Bergman
For the week of July 1-5, 2013, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVRs (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!
Monday, July 1, 2013
- Max Greenfield (New Girl) - Watch Max on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development/The Larry Sanders Show/The Ropers) - Jeffrey appears on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Molly Shannon (Kath & Kim) - Molly is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) - Miranda stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Grant Show (Accidentally on Purpose) - Grant guests in NYC on New York Live on WNBC4 at 12:30pm in the NYC market.
- Laura Prepon (That '70s Show/Are You There, Chelsea) - Laura drops by Better TV, so check your local listings.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry is a guest on a repeat ofLate Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Charlie Sheen (Anger Management/Two and a Half Men) - Charlie appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony chats on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Tune in to see Patricia on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney drops by The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Brad Garrett ('Til Death/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Brad is a guest on Joy Behar: Say Anything! at 9pm on Current.
- The Cast of Hot in Cleveland - Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves are guests on a repeat of The Doctors, so check your local listings.
- Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Watch Neil on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
- Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) - Miranda visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jennette McCurdy (Sam & Cat/iCarly) - Jennette chats on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Steve Carell (The Office) - Steve is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
- Zendaya (Shake It Up) - Zendaya discusses her role as an ambassador of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and her recent endeavor performing and making it to the finals on the hit show Dancing with the Stars on Marie at 12pm on Hallmark Channel.
- Bill Engvall (The Bill Engvall Show) - Bill opens up about lending his hand to help the children at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and his accomplishment winning Best Male Standup at the American Comedy Awards on Marie at 12pm on Hallmark Channel.
- Roseanne (Roseanne) - Roseanne stops by Katie, so check your local listings.
- Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey) - Catch Nick on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is a guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Tune in to see Jennifer on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
- Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) - Kathy chats on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Margaret Cho (All-American Girl) - Margaret guest co-hosts a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Marilu Henner (Taxi) - Marilu discusses her energy makeover plan on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - Watch Woody on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil appears on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Jim Gaffigan (My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Tune in to see Miley on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
- Eve (Eve) - Eve chats on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
- Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Today we have a very special hilarious article about Sanford & Son written by one of the writers himself--Ted Bergman! It's not a Biography episode or anything, it's a funny take on the behind the scenes. But first, here is a short (and funny) bio about Ted by Ted: "I grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA. I sold my first TV script, The Munsters, while still in college, yet girls continued to ignore me. A short time later I became the youngest staff writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, earning an Emmy nomination which I've never quite lived up to. My producing and writing credits range from The Hollywood Squares to All in the Family, Sanford and Son, What's Happening!!, Gimme a Break, The Garry Shandling Show and way too many unsold pilots like, Who Needs Friends?! and The al-Qaida Comedy Hour. In the mid '90s, unable to take a deep breath or make a left turn, I and family moved from Los Angeles to Sebastopol, California, in the heart of the Napa Sonoma wine country." He is now working on this Dogs and Cats comedy.
Please read his articles below and I think you'll have a good laugh and maybe even learn a fact or two. Sanford & Son was such a good show. Enjoy!
Basically, there's only one real problem on Sanford and Son. But, it is serious and we deal with it every day. It comes in the form of a question that everyone asks first thing in the morning. "Is Redd here?" And if he is, "How's he feeling?" Redd Foxx likes cocaine and marijuana, is a chain cigarette smoker, loves to late night party and hates to rehearse. He will not show up at least one day a week, often two, sometimes three. And when he does come in, he's frequently groggy, hoarse, sometimes barely able to speak. If you watch the old reruns, you can tell by his voice what went on the night (or weekend or week) before. It is testament to the patience and people skills of the producers, Saul Turtletaub and Bernie Orenstein that we manage to get a show taped every week - and that it is as good as it is. Redd's immense talent manages to overcome most of his evils, but I've often wondered how great this series might have been if he (and others in the cast) hadn't been high so much of the time.
Tonight is our Bon Voyage party. Garry Shandling (who knows I am a shaky flyer), has brought a cake with a toy jetliner crashed into the frosting. Cute. I've already told everyone at Sanford and Son that I'm not returning as head writer for a third season. That's right; I'm walking away from one of the most beloved, successful situation comedies in television history at the height of its popularity. I've also turned down offers to write and produce either Grady or The Sanford Arms, both which will turn out to be unsuccessful spin-offs of Sanford and Son. Two days ago in the NBC commissary I was introduced to a young producer, Dick Ebersol. Dick is putting together an innovative, late night comedy show called, Saturday Night Live and wants to know if I'm interested. I say no thanks. I'm going to Europe with my girlfriend and I don't know when I'll be back.
We've bought a new, bright red, '76 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible and will be picking it up in Munich. I'm uneasy about this trip. I'm coming off a mammoth hit show and suddenly I'm this comedy writing genius that everybody wants to throw money at. I'm worried that if I go away, all that will too. Kathy thinks not. She says now is the time, when we have the youth, the money and the freedom. She believes walking away like this will only add élan and mystique to my persona, make me even more in demand when I return. She will be right. There's another subtle, more insidious reason that prompts me to go. I'm not even aware of it until the end of this article. So, we'll talk about it then.
Two years earlier, a simple, but fortuitous incident leads to all this. I am leaving my apartment to go down to the little corner market for an ice-cream bar. I've been struggling to come up with a story idea for my spec. Sanford and Son script, so I'll do anything to avoid sitting in front of the typewriter. Waiting at the elevator are my new neighbors; two Japanese girls who are opening a restaurant just down the street. The subject of Japanese food provides the catalyst for the Sanford and Son story that has eluded me. This spec script can't be just good, it has to blow them away. I haven't had a steady writing job in almost two years and I'm now pushing thirty four. I have about two months before I run out of money and either hang myself or go sell real estate. In the seventies, the Japanese were the Arabs and Chinese of today. They had gobs of money and were snapping up properties and businesses all over the US. My story will be about a Japanese company trying to buy up all the houses on Fred Sanford's block in Watts in order to build a brewery - and Fred is the lone holdout.FRED
Esther, you've broken one of the commandments.
FRED Thou shalt not covet Godzilla's face.
I finish the script and turn it over to my new agent at ICM, Helen Kushnick. At this stage of my career, Helen is perfect for me. She is ruthless, cutthroat, has a killer instinct. Rumor is, when she had surgery to remove an ulcer, they also found the head of a sea turtle, two small tuna and an old license plate in her stomach. But Helen is fiercely loyal, and as long as the ass she's kicking is not mine, go get 'em! She will eventually represent talents like Jimmie Walker, Elayne Boosler, David Letterman and Jay Leno. A week later, Helen calls, tells me Sanford and Son loved my script, wants to buy it and I'm getting all the money, over five grand! I soon meet with the Sanford producers, Saul Turtletaub and Bernie Orenstein for rewrite notes. Two weeks later I get the second fairy tale phone call of my career. They were so impressed with my rewrite that I'm being offered a job on staff!
Saul and Bernie are the best producers I will ever work with. Here, I am allowed the freedom and creativity to put my stamp on the show. In the next two seasons I will be credited for writing eleven episodes of Sanford and Son and almost completely rewrite a dozen more. Yes, there were better sitcoms before and after Sanford and Son. But, for its time the show certainly was brave. I don't think Redd Foxx ever thought of himself as heroic, but his character of Fred Sanford wasn't hesitant to find humor in social and racial injustices. Keep in mind this is only a decade removed from attack dogs, fire hoses and three young civil rights workers being murdered in Mississippi. And, whatever its place in television history, there's no doubt that Sanford and Son is special to African Americans. I've had countless black people tell me how much they loved and still love the show. I've been asked many times how can a white guy write for black people? My best answer is that I just wrote what I thought was funny and let the cast decide if it was acceptable. A good example of this is a joke I wrote for my spec script. The episode was supposed to open with Fred and Grady playing a board game. Fred is rolling the dice when Lamont enters and asks what they're doing.FRED
Esther, go into the kitchen, stick your head in the freezer and make me an Uglysicle.
The joke gets a huge laugh when it's first read around the table, but is immediately cut. Redd says that black people don't play Monopoly. So, maybe it was all those soul food dinners I consumed on the set. Beats me...FRED
We're playing Monopoly.
Monopoly? That's a kid's game.
FRED Yeah, but where else can a black man own hotels, railroads, power companies, plus a card that lets you outta jail free?
Because so many positive things come together for me on this show, it's not surprising I get off to a fast start. Monday morning, my very first day, all the cast and crew are seated around a big table, the script for this week's episode in front of us. I've already read the script, made notes; I'm excited, nervous and primed. This first reading is to give us an idea of what shape the script is in. I also get lucky because Redd rarely shows up on a Monday. About ten minutes into the script we come to a scene where Lamont, trying to be urbane, gives Fred an unusual birthday present, an exotic piece of fruit. Fred looks at it, disappointed, says, "What is it?" Lamont answers, "It's a Papaya." The script indicates "Fred reacts." That's it. As they read it, a line occurs to me and perhaps because of all the adrenalin, I just blurt out, "Fine. Where's my pa, pa present?" It's not protocol; you're supposed to wait for the rewrite meeting after. But, it gets a good laugh around the table and an approving wink from Bernie.
From that day, I knew I was going to do well. Unlike Smothers Brothers and The Jonathan Winters Show where I sometimes struggled to find my voice, here the producers encourage me to say what's on my mind. Yeah, I know, with me that's like giving a four year old an Uzi.FRED
Esther, when you go to the grocery, do me a favor.
Tell the bag boy to put one over your head.
Even if your stars aren't doing drugs, writing/working in series television can be grueling. There is a pervasive macho concept in television production that the later at night you stay up to work on the script, the better the show will be. Think about that for a moment. Now, think about it at two in the morning. Case closed. However, there is enormous pressure to make these shows succeed. Often, the producer is the creator and has a percentage of the profits. If the series stays on the air for several years, long enough to go into syndication (and later CDs) the financial rewards are stupefying. So, it isn't surprising that the mind set is to work yourself and everybody around you like the Pharaoh is dying and you're trying to finish his freakin' pyramid. On Sanford and Son (and most sitcoms) we have a five day production week for each episode. We start with the first draft script reading on Monday morning and end with the two tapings on Friday night. Monday mornings and Friday nights are the most fun for me. Mondays, even if my name isn't on the script as the accredited writer, I almost always have made a significant rewriting contribution. However, even if I wind up rewriting 100% of somebody else's script, unless we also completely change the story, the WGA dictates the original writer gets the "written by" credit. (And the resultant residual) So, basically, when I'm not writing my own script, I am the in-house, handy man joke fixer.
Esther, I got a beauty tip for ya. Try using toilet paper on your face.
Redd Foxx rarely shows up on Monday. If he doesn't come in on Tuesday, we start to get uneasy. Tuesday afternoon is the first important rehearsal of the week, the actors walking and talking through the show, scripts still in their hands, lines not yet memorized. However, this rehearsal is also when the director begins blocking the show. Fundamentally, blocking is choreographing the movements of the actors. This has to be intricately planned in advance so the performers don't bump into each other and the cameras don't miss anything. This rehearsal is also the first opportunity for the actors to work with each other in sequence and begin to get their timing down. Over half the time, Redd does not show up on Tuesday. By Wednesday, there's only three days left before the show is taped before an audience. Wednesday afternoons' rehearsal is called the "Dry Run Thru." (no cameras.) This rehearsal is crucial because tonight will be the last opportunity for us to make any extensive changes. Wednesday night is rewrite night and any new material has to be in the script by Thursday morning. We consider ourselves lucky if Redd shows up on Wednesdays. But, even if he does, it is not unusual for him and others in the cast to be high on coke or weed, giggling through the rehearsal like teenagers. Wednesday nights is also when I discover I am good in a room. Tonight is the rewrite night of my original spec script. It's already after ten and we're still struggling to come up with this one last fix. It's an exit line, so it's important. When the Japanese real estate lady is leaving the Sanford home, she says, "Sayonara." Fred is supposed to reply, "Never saw the movie" (If you're frowning, Sayonara was a Marlon Brando movie back in 1957, but an old reference even then.) The so-called joke won't, hasn't worked all week. In frustration, Bernie keeps muttering, "Sayonara, sayonara, sayonara." I have no idea where it comes from, but I answer, "And Frank Sinatra to you too." I make it home in time for Johnny Carson.
I'm not feeling well. Is there some place I can lie down?
FRED Try the fast lane of the freeway.
Thursday is camera blocking day in the set at NBC, Burbank. Again, especially in comedy, blocking is crucial. This is when the camera shots are laid out by the director. Even if something as seemingly minor as a gesture or facial expression is missed, the audience at home won't see it and laughs are lost. In reality, the living room set on Sanford and Son isn't much bigger than an average apartment bedroom and it is vital that every cast member know exactly where to be at every moment. By Thursday, Redd usually shows up. However, the rehearsal is frequently a disaster, and realizing we are twenty four hours away from a live audience, most of us want to go home and hide under the covers until Seinfeld is created. Friday afternoons everybody unwinds a little, might even be a drink or two in someone's office. We've done everything we can to make this show as good as it can be. Now it's in the hands of a fifty-two year old, drug addicted night club comic with an attitude. We'll shoot the same show twice tonight; one at five thirty, the other at eight, with a catered dinner in between. Redd insists that there's plenty of "Soul food." That's okay with me, I love ribs, hot links, sweet potato pie. However, you can have the grits. I cannot see why anyone would want to eat grits. To me, this is the stuff that produced the expression, "Let's throw it against the wall and see if it sticks." As far as I'm concerned, you can leave it there. Our audiences are at least half African American and tonight Redd will, for them, tell it like it is. However, his appeal isn't limited to black people. My father is a seventy-five year old conservative Jew who does not hesitate to use the derogatory Yiddish word for African American, "Schvartze" (literally, "black.") However, he absolutely adores Redd Foxx, thinks he's funnier than Jack Benny. And, miracles of miracles, week after week, show after show, come Friday night, Redd Foxx undergoes an incredible transformation. Suddenly, this man who has been mumbling, sleepwalking all week, is razor sharp, energetic, charming and...hilarious! It defies logic and every show business axiom. And the audiences love him, shouting his name, laughing, stomping their feet. We see this and we shake our heads and smile. For Redd, the audience is the good drug.
Esther, every time I look at you I feel like singing, "Who Let The Dogs Out?! Who Let The Dogs Out!"
El Segundo is a small town a few miles south of Los Angeles International Airport. It is mostly a blue collar community, home to a refinery and dozens of storage tanks of various nefarious chemicals. On the freeway, everybody knows when they're passing El Segundo because someone in the car will jokingly say, "Wasn't me!" Halfway through the eight o'clock taping, there's a technical problem and we have to stop. It's going to take a few minutes, so Redd walks out to the audience and without preamble, says: "This couple is necking in the car and it's starting to get hot and heavy, they're really steamin' up the windows. Finally, the girl starts panting and moaning and says. 'Oh honey, oh baby, kiss me! Kiss me where it smells!' A perfectly timed pause, then Redd says: "So, he drove her to El Segundo." A few weeks later, we're taping the "Fred Recalls His Army Days" episode. In this particular scene, Fred and Lamont are American spies, captured by the Nazis and expecting at any moment to be interrogated by the Gestapo. Instead, in walks Pat Morita as a Japanese officer. Fred is surprised the "Japanese officer" speaks such good English.
Not so surprising, I was educated in your country.
No, University of El Segundo
Pat Morita started his career as a stand up comic and often opened for Redd on the road. Redd, always supportive of his friends, one day asks me to come up with a way to use Morita on the show. Thus, Lamont's friend, Ah Chew is created. Pat's debut on Sanford and Son was also Garry Shandling's first writing credit. It turned out to be a good push in the back for both of them.
One Friday afternoon, Redd pops into my office. He and some of the cast are playing Liar's Poker at twenty bucks a pop. I give him what I have in my wallet, a couple of bills. The following Monday morning we're all at the table reading and I'm doing my usual thing, taking notes, concentrating on the script. Surprisingly, Redd has shown up and is sitting across from me. At one point he slides a bill across the table to me, says, "Thanks, Mustache" (This is his nickname for me, prompted by my drooping, seventies style mustache.) I'm working on a joke, so I pay scant attention, just stuff the bill in my shirt pocket and forget about it. The script is in pretty good shape, so I get to drive home late in the afternoon on this beautiful spring day. However, things quickly go south when I get lit up by a Highway Patrol cruiser and dutifully pull over to the side of the freeway. My dad always taught me if stopped by a cop, get out of the car, walk back and use your people skills to chat with the guy, try to talk him out of the ticket. (Do not attempt this nowadays, you may be asked to immediately recline on the freeway - but not in those words.) Anyway, after the cop checks my license and registration, he tells me I made an abrupt lane change. No big deal, he's not going to write me up, just a warning. Relieved, I turn to walk back to my car, but bothered by the glare of the setting sun, I stop, reach into my shirt pocket and pull out my sunglasses. I also snag the bill that Redd gave me this morning, which falls to the ground. I pick it up, now noticing that it's a hundred and twisted at each end like a piece of candy. Thank God the cop is already walking back to his cruiser and has missed this. When I get home, Kathy and I unwrap the bill and yep, you guessed it, there's a goodly amount of Cocaine packed inside. Can you imagine me telling the cop, "Oh, that's not mine, it's a gift from Redd Foxx in return for me lending him money and I had no idea there was cocaine in there!" An arrest, jail, possibly prison time is adverted by happenstance.
Esther, beauty is only skin deep, and you're going to need a Roto Rooter.
By my second season, Sanford and Son is more popular than ever - and suddenly everybody thinks I am the latest comedy writer genius. Carsey and Werner at ABC, call, say they're dying to work with me. Columbia Pictures Television is offering a juicy development deal. Doug Cramer, producer of shows like The Odd Couple, Mission Impossible and Dynasty, promises me the equivalent of a new Porsche if I'll just take a rewrite pass at his sitcom pilot starring Dionne Warwick. (I am now also the genius white guy who knows how to write for blacks.) Does all this go to my head? Of course it does!
One Friday afternoon, Redd shuffles into my office. (That unique Fred Sanford walk was actually due to Redd's arthritic knees.) He wants to do something a little different on the show, shake things up a bit, maybe get the cast into fun costumes. I say, hey, how about something about World War Two!? Redd says, "Let's do it." I do not tell him about The Dirty Dozen sketch I wrote over five years ago for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour that never got on the air. I already have ten pages of the sketch, so by working through the weekend, on Monday I hand in a first draft teleplay. Saul and Bernie are amazed, but I don't tell them either. Let the legend grow! They smartly massage Redd's ego by buying a full page ad in Daily Variety and giving him a story credit. This episode also featured Pat Morita as the lost Japanese officer and was a particularly funny and successful show. However, an ugly incident that occurs during the taping will seal my fate and send me off to Europe.
Corky (Corrine) is a long time, treasured friend. When we were dating (well before Kathy), she was an AD (assistant director) on The Newlywed Game. One night she invites me into the booth with her for a taping of the show. The booth is a small room crammed with electronic equipment and TV monitors, where the director calls the shots to the cameramen down on the set. Corky is sitting next to the director. I'm up back in a corner, hunkered down and somewhat embarrassed because the director is being a real dick. He's throwing hissy fits because the cameramen are allegedly missing reaction shots from some of the contestants. Near the end of the show, the director perceives another cameraman atrocity, screams, "F***!" and hurls his pencil at one of the TV monitors. It ricochets off the screen, the point hitting Corky just under the eye. This is Corky's job and I could get her fired, so I manage to keep my mouth shut and not ask this a****** if a missed shot is worth blinding someone. Fortunately, Corky is okay, just a scratch. The director makes a token apology and I chalk it up to just another show biz dickhead taking himself too seriously.
Esther, your face could launch a thousand ships, all of 'em the Titanic.
Flash forward ten years and here I am in another booth, about to watch the second and final taping of the, "Fred Recalls His Army Days" episode. I've been toying with the idea of learning how to direct, so I'm sitting right behind our director. The show opens with Redd in a General's uniform, backed by a huge American flag, parodying the seminal scene in the hit, World War Two movie, Patton. Redd is just supposed to stand at attention, looking tough, while the voice over describes the dangerous mission that "this dedicated and brave solider" is about to lead. It's a completely scripted scene, except for Redd reacting, mugging to the voice over. However, now this comic genius throws us a curve which turns out to be, at least for me, one of the funniest moments in television. Redd is still standing at attention, but as the scene progresses his pants are starting to slowly slip down. No doubt he has somehow rigged this, but he pretends he doesn't notice, continuing to salute and look very George C. Scott like. This bit also contains the element of truth that all sight gags must have: that the heavy pistols he's got strapped to his waist would drag his pants down. The audience begins to notice, the laughs are starting to build and finally Redd does take action because his pants are dangerously close to dropping completely. Frantically, he tries to tug them up with one hand, still continuing to salute with the other, but it's a losing battle. Finally, when the pants do drop, we see he’s wearing red, polka dot boxer shorts. By now, the studio audience is hysterical, falling out of their seats. Well, you had to be there. No, really, you had to be there! Because the director, looking pages ahead, has his face in the script. So, without his direction the camera remains tight on Redd's face and the majority of the pants bit is missed. When I see this I am so angry, so furious, that I sling my pen at the monitor. I'm glad Corky wasn't there to see it.
A month later the season is over and I've quit the show. My agent, my parents, most of my friends and maybe even you, think I'm crazy. But, you all weren't in that booth with me. Yes, later we retrieved most of the pants scene with the roving, hand held camera. But, that's not the point. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I think I subconsciously sensed that I was in danger of becoming one of those self important show biz pricks that I loathe. I think I somehow knew that I had to get away. There are people that have to experience a heart attack to get their head on straight. I am going to try it another way.
WHAT'S TED UP TO NOW?
A New Dog and Cat Comedy TV Show That Will Raise a Ton of Money For Animal Related Charities You Can Help Get This Show on The Air With a Click of Your Mouse
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Nickelodeon is "Making Our Dreams Come True!" Beloved classic sitcom duo Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley) will reunite on screen in a scripted series for the first time in over 30 years with their upcoming guest appearance on Nickelodeon's fellow buddy sitcom Sam & Cat. Marshall and Williams will appear alongside Sam & Cat's funny gals Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande in "#SalmonCat," taping this week in Los Angeles. In the episode, Sam and Cat are ordered to rename their babysitting business because it's too similar to Salmon Cat, a TV show from the '70s. Sam and Cat must track down the show's two original creators (played by Marshall and Williams) and resolve their three decade-long feud. Sam & Cat, currently Nickelodeon's number-one live-action series, drew over 4.2 million viewers with its series premiere making it the network's biggest live-action debut in three years. The series airs regularly Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
In Sam & Cat, McCurdy (iCarly's Sam Puckett) and Grande (Victorious' Cat Valentine) are back as their respective iconic characters from iCarly and Victorious in this new spin-off comedy. Sam & Cat follows feisty Sam and flighty Cat as they become best friends and unlikely roommates who start a babysitting service. The series is created by award-winning executive producer Dan Schneider (iCarly, Victorious, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101). Meanwhile, Laverne & Shirley aired from 1976-83 on ABC so this is the first time both Marshall and Williams will be acting together since 1983. Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!
Fox has now set its fall 2013 premiere dates for its new and returning series, joining CBS, The CW and NBC who all announced their dates already. Only ABC now remains to be announced. The 2013-2014 Fox season begins with the return of The X Factor and once again Fox will launch a majority of their series before the start of the official start of the new TV season. Hosted by Mario Lopez, and featuring judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio, the hit music competition series will launch with a two-night season premiere event on Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT and Thursday, Sept. 12 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. The X Factor will expand to two-hours every Wednesday starting Sept. 18 and will be one-hour on Thursdays starting Sept. 19. Darkly amusing procedural Bones enters its ninth season on Monday, Sept. 16 at 8:00PM ET/PT, followed by the series premiere of the thrilling adventure fantasy Sleep Hollow at 9:00PM ET/PT. The very next night, Sept. 17, the Tuesday night comedy block is back with two new additions - multi-camera sitcom Dads at 8:00PM ET/PT and single-camera comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 8:30PM ET/PT - and new seasons of New Girl at 9:00PM ET/PT and The Mindy Project at 9:30PM ET/PT, both remaining in their timeslots from last season. Moving on to Thursdays, fans will find out the answers to many Glee-related questions when a new season of the musical comedy launches Thursday, Sept. 19 at 9:00PM ET/PT, following The X Factor.
On Fridays, new unscripted series Masterchef Junior is set to debut Friday, Sept. 27 at 8:00PM ET/PT. The regular Masterchef will have its season finale on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 9:00PM following The X Factor season premiere. Sundays get re-animated beginning Sept. 29, with the season premieres of The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and American Dad! all returning in their time periods from 8:00-10:00PM ET/PT. And finally, later this fall, futuristic action drama Almost Human from J.J. Abrams premieres Monday, Nov. 4 at 8:00PM ET/PT in place of Bones. Where will that series go you say? To Friday nights beginning Nov. 8 is when Bones moves to a new night at 8:00PM ET/PT. Following Bones will be comedies: the season premiere of Raising Hope on a new night and time of 9:00PM ET/PT kicks off an all-new hour of comedy, followed by the series premiere of the new sibling single-camera comedy Enlisted at 9:30PM ET/PT from Kevin Biegel (Cougar Town, Scrubs). Stay with us for any further updates on Fox Fall 2013.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Join Gidget on July 4th as she celebrates Independence Day with life, liberty and the pursuit of boys. Antenna TV, which airs on 77 affiliates across the U.S. reaching 66% of TV households, will air a "Gidget Independence Day" marathon beginning at 11am ET on Thursday, July 4 and running through 3am ET on Friday, July 5. The marathon will feature all 32 episodes in a 16-hour marathon from the 1965-66 series' only season run starring Sally Field. Last year Antenna TV aired every episode as well and also the feature films Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), but those movies will not be a part of the marathon this year. Not a big deal since Sally Field was not a star in those. Gidget regularly airs on Antenna TV every weekend from 2-3pm ET leading into Sally Field's other series, The Flying Nun from 3-4pm ET. Stay with us for continued updates on Antenna TV as we near the fall schedule announcement which will include new series like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie.
Chiller has acquired the basic cable rights to the short-lived drama The River from Disney ABC Domestic Television. The series aired on ABC last winter (2012) for eight episodes and starred Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope, Eloise Mumford and Paul Blackthorne. It was a horror series from Oren Peli. The series was announced as a eight-episode epic event and had a conclusion. There was an option to continue it beyond a first season but the ratings weren't that good for it to continue. Once ABC canceled it, there was talks of airing a second season on Netflix but it never happened. Anyway, Chiller will air all eight episodes starting Sunday, August 4 at 8:00pm. The drama will air every Sunday at 8:00pm, so now is your chance if you haven't watched any of it. And if you're a fan, you can watch it all over again for eight weeks. In this series, Dr. Emmet Cole, beloved adventurer and television personality goes missing deep in the Amazon and his family and friends abandon hope and hold a memorial service to commemorate his amazing life, but six months later Emmet's location beacon mysteriously begins to relay a signal...and the search is back on in full force.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
NBC and The CW Fall 2013 Premiere Dates; Remembering Family Ties/Spin City Creator Gary David Goldberg
Late last Friday NBC announced its Fall 2013 premiere dates, becoming the second network to announce dates (CBS was the first). NBC will start the season on the traditional opening night of the season - the first Monday of the season on Monday, Sept. 23. The Blacklist, starring James Spader as an international criminal who works with a rookie FBI agent in order to bring down some of the world's most wanted, begins Monday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m., immediately following the fifth-season two-hour premiere of The Voice at 8 p.m. that will reunite the four original coaches: Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. It will have its season finale on Dec. 16. Moving on to Tuesdays, The Voice will air a special two hours of blind auditions on September 24 from 8:00-10:00pm ET/PT. Then the series will move into its one hour slot starting at 9:00pm ET/PT starting October 8th through its finale on December 17. The Voice will be followed at 10:00pm ET/PT by returning sophomore drama Chicago Fire on a new night starting September 24. Earlier in the night, The Biggest Loser premieres on Tuesday, October 8 at 8:00pm ET/PT, now cut down to one-hour. NBC has not yet announced what will air from 8-10pm on October 1.
Onto Wednesdays, returning drama Revolution moves to a new night and time on Wednesday nights starting September 25f at 8:00pm ET/PT and will be followed on the night of September 25 only at 9:00pm ET/PT and 10:00pm ET/PT with back-to-back originals of Law & Order: SVU. The following week, Ironside starring Blair Underwood, premieres on October 2 at 10:00pm ET/PT, as SVU moves to its normal 9:00pm ET/PT hour. Thursdays will start off with comedies as usual. On September 26, Thursday night comedy veteran Parks & Recreation kicks off the night with back-to-back all-new episodes at 8:00 and 8:30pm ET/PT, followed by the two episode premiere of the new comedy The Michael J. Fox Show at 9:00pm ET/PT and 9:30pm ET/PT. Parks & Recreation will air regularly in the 8:00pm half-hour, while The Michael J. Fox Show airs in the 9:30pm half-hour. The 8:30pm ET/PT and 9:00pm ET/PT comedies will launch beginning on October 3 with new family comedies Welcome to the Family and Sean Saves the World, respectively. Premiering on September 26 at 10:00pm ET/PT will be the returning drama Parenthood on its new night. As for Fridays, beginning September 27 and continuing through October 18, Dateline NBC will air from 9:00-11:00 pm ET/PT. Then on October 25, Dateline NBC moves to just the 8:00pm ET/PT hour, as the season premiere of Grimm at 9:00pm ET/PT and the new drama Dracula at 10:00pm ET/PT will begin. Prior to October 25, encores of programs will air in the 8:00pm ET/PT hour. As usual, Saturdays will be filled with repeats. On September 28 an encore of Chicago Fire will air at 8:00pm ET/PT, but then Ironside encores will take over this time period starting Oct. 12 It will be followed at 9:00pm ET/PT by encores of The Blacklist and SNL at 10:00pm ET/PT, both starting Sept. 28. And finally, Sundays of course in the fall are Sunday Night Football airings.
Meanwhile, The CW Network has also just announced its Fall 2013 premiere dates and it will strategically roll-out its Fall 2013 launch this October with the premieres of three new series and returning favorites on new nights. The CW returns to Bluebell, Alabama for a third season of Southern charm and hospitality with Rachel Bilson in Hart of Dixie kicking the new CW season off on Monday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET, followed by the epic romance of Beauty & the Beast, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, on a new night at 9:00 p.m. ET. On Wednesday, October 9, Stephen Amell dons the green hood for the second season of The CW's most-watched series Arrow at 8:00 p.m. ET, followed by the action-packed adventure of new series The Tomorrow People at 9:00 p.m. ET, starring Robbie Amell. On Thursdays, The CW's number one series in its key demos, The Vampire Diaries, returns for another season of highly addictive drama on October 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET, followed by the highly anticipated new series Reign at 9:00 p.m. ET, starring Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots. Tuesdays will begin a week later on October 15, as The CW kicks off its new Tuesday night with The Originals at 8:00 p.m. ET as the original family from The Vampire Diaries, Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt), find a new home in New Orleans, a city now run by Klaus's former protégée Marcel (Charles Michael Davis). The Winchester brothers of Supernatural – Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) – move to their new home on Tuesday at 9:00 pm ET to try and help out Tuesdays. Anna Sophia Robb returns as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw in The Carrie Diaries on Friday, October 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET followed by America's Next Top Model: Guys & Girls, which premieres on August 2, as previously announced.
Television writer and producer, best known for his work on Family Ties and Spin City, has died. He died after a long battle with brain cancer in Montecito, California on June 22. Mr. Goldberg was 68.
Goldberg's career in Hollywood began in 1976 as a writer for The Bob Newhart Show. His early writing credits included The Dumplings, Phyllis, Alice and M*A*S*H. Goldberg worked as a story editor, writer and producer on The Tony Randall Show, which aired on ABC and later CBS from 1976-1978. He next worked as a writer and producer for Lou Grant, which was a CBS newspaper drama and a spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his work as a co-producer on the series. In 1979, he created and executive produced the short-lived sitcom The Last Resort for CBS.
In 1982, he formed his own production company called Ubu Productions. The company was named after his black labrador retriever, Ubu Roi, which he had in college. The famous closing logo included the dog's picture with Goldberg's voice saying "Sit, Ubu, sit! ...Good dog!", followed by the sound of a bark. Ubu Productions' notable television series included Family Ties, Brooklyn Bridge and Spin City.
Goldberg created Family Ties in 1982. The series starred Meredith Baxter-Birney, Michael Gross, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers. The critical and ratings hit ran on NBC for 7 seasons and 180 episodes from 1982-1989. Family Ties was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series 4 times from 1984-1987. Michael J. Fox won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 3 times in 1986-1988. In 1987, Goldberg shared an Emmy Award with co-writer Alan Uger for the episode 'A', My Name Is Alex. The series won the Fan Favorite Award at the TV Land Awards in 2011.
In 1991, he created the semi-autobiographical series Brooklyn Bridge. The dramedy ran for 2 seasons on CBS from 1991-1993. The series starred Marion Ross, Danny Gerard, Louis Zorich, Amy Aquino, Peter Friedman, Matthew Louis Segel, Adam LaVorgna and Jenny Lewis. Brooklyn Bridge won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy/Musical series in 1992.
Goldberg co-created and executive produced Spin City. The series reunited him with Michael J. Fox and also starred Barry Bostwick, Alan Ruck, Richard Kind, Alexander Chaplin, Connie Britton and Michael Boatman. Fox received 4 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and won in 2000. Goldberg worked as an executive producer in seasons 1-3 and 5-6.
His other credits included creating the 1987-1988 NBC drama The Bronx Zoo, which starred Ed Asner. In 1996, he created the 1996 sitcom Champs for ABC. He created the short-lived sitcom Battery Park for NBC in 2000. His other television writing credits included Making the Grade, Day by Day and Sugar Hill. In 1989, he wrote, directed and produced the feature film Dad, which starred Ted Danson, Jack Lemmon and Olympia Dukakis. He also wrote and produced Bye Bye Love in 1995 and Must Love Dogs in 2005. In 2008, he published his autobiography titled Sit, Ubu, Sit: How I Went from Brooklyn to Hollywood with the Same Woman, the Same Dog, and a Lot Less Hair.
Survivors include his wife, Diana Meehan; two daughters, Shana Silveri and Cailin Goldberg-Meehan; a brother; and three grandchildren. Michael J. Fox said in a statement: "With a full heart I say goodbye to my mentor, benefactor, partner, second father and beloved friend. He touched so many with his enormous talent and generous spirit. He changed my life profoundly."
We thank him for the wonderful television series he created. Hopefully Brooklyn Bridge will be released on DVD one day. It's a series that deserves to be seen again. He will be greatly missed.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Cloo's 2nd Classic TV Jump the Shark Marathon; WLNY-TV New York's 2nd Annual I Love Lucy 4th of July Marathon
We hinted last week that Cloo will have a special event coming up soon and now we can tell you what that is! On Friday, July 5, 2013, Cloo presents its second "Jump the Shark" Marathon! A 24-hour party full of classic TV all day and all night with "jump the shark" moments. The first one was back in November, as we announced. There comes a time when a long running television series desperately tries to keep viewers' interest. These gimmicks started when Fonzie "Jumped the Shark" on Happy Days. Cloo is celebrating these classic television moments with an all-day marathon featuring Get Smart, Bosom Buddies, Family Ties, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, MacGyver, Mannix, The Unit, House, and Charlie's Angels. Among the episodes you'll see are "The Birth of a Keaton" on Family Ties, the infamous 3-part "Hollywood" episode of Happy Days, the move to Burbank on Laverne & Shirley, the wedding on Mork & Mindy, and many more.
Late in the month, Cloo will have a Cloo Classics Marathon of MacGyver on Saturday, July 20, starting at 6:00am running 24 straight hours! MacGyver airs regularly on Mondays from 1pm-6am, following classic sitcoms Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, Taxi and Mork & Mindy from 6am-1pm. Stay with us for continued updates on Cloo and the classic TV they air! We will have more news for August, so come on back!
We stick with classic TV for this second story. Last year on the 4th of July, WLNY-TV 10/55 in New York City started a tradition of airing classic TV marathons on major holidays. The first one was I Love Lucy on the 4th of July. Back by popular demand... the I Love Lucy July 4th Marathon returns for the second straight year! As usual with the WLNY-TV classic TV marathons, they will be 12-hours and start at 9:00am running to 9:00pm. The 24 classic episodes airing are: "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her," "The Great Train Robbery," "The Seance," "Charm School," "The Handcuffs," "The Ballet," "The Million Dollar Idea," "The Diner," "Never Do Business With Friends," "Redecorating," "Lucy Wants New Furniture," "Lucy Learns to Drive," "L.A. at Last," "Staten Island Ferry," "Lucy & John Wayne," "Lucy and Bob Hope," "The Camping Trip," "The Black Eye," "Ricky Thinks He's Going Bald," "Breaking the Lease," "Job Switching," "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," "Lucy's Italian Movie" and "Return Home From Europe."
WLNY's last marathon was on Memorial Day for Happy Days. The other marathons they have aired in the last year were I Dream of Jeannie for President's Day, The Odd Couple for New Year's, Taxi for Thanksgiving, The Munsters for Halloween, and The Andy Griffith Show for Labor Day. Will these shows also become annual traditions like Lucy or will they change the shows up? We shall see, so stay tuned! We hope more holidays are added, perhaps Love American Style or The Love Boat for Valentine's Day, Columbo on Columbus Day, or a classic TV holiday episode marathon on Christmas?
Watch the I Love Lucy July 4th Marathon promo:
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of June 10-16)
- The Simpsons (Fox) - A summer repeat at 8pm did 2.43 million and a 1.14 18-49 rating, which is up about a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A repeat at 7pm did only 1.36 million and a 0.60 18-49 rating, down about a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- Bob's Burgers (Fox) - An encore airing at 8:30pm did 1.97 million and a 0.95 18-49 rating, just about on par in 18-49 week-to-week.
- Family Guy (Fox) 2 airings - A repeat at 9 posted 2.48 million and a 1.23 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week. A second repeat at 9:30pm followed with 2.64 million and a 1.20 18-49 rating, that is down about a tenth in 18-49 from previous week. NBA Finals clearly affected the Fox comedy encores again.
- American Dad! (Fox) - A repeat at 7:30pm did 1.55 million and a 0.72 18-49 rating, down about a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - A repeat at 8 did 3.52 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- Raising Hope (Fox) - A repeat at 8pm did 1.73 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating, again down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week.
- The Goodwin Games (Fox) - A brand new episode at 8:30pm did only 1.39 million and a 0.5 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 for a series low.
- 2 Broke Girls (CBS) - A repeat did 4.14 million and a 1.0 18-49 rating, back down two tenths in 18-49 from previous week.
- New Girl (Fox) - A repeat at 9 did only 1.15 million and just a 0.5 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week. It doesn't repeat well for an anchor at all.
- Mike & Molly (CBS) 2 airings - 4.32 million and a 1.0 18-49 rating for a repeat at 9:30, back down two tenths in 18-49 from previous week. A repeat earlier in the night at 8:30pm did 3.78 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 week-to-week.
- Anger Management (Fox) - A repeat on Fox, did 1.28 million and a 0.5 18-49 rating at 9:30pm, down two tenths in 18-49 from previous week's new episode.
- The Middle (ABC) - A summer repeat did 3.88 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, down a tenth in 18-49 from previous week. First time it went down this summer.
- Family Tools (ABC) - A new episode at 8:30pm did 3.62 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, on par in 18-49 with previous week.
- Modern Family (ABC) - At 9pm, a summer repeat did 4.25 million and a 1.2 rating, on par in 18-49 week-to-week.
- How To Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) (ABC) - A new episode at 9:30pm did 3.35 million and a 1.0 18-49 rating, down two tenths in 18-49 from previous week for a new series low.
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - A repeat at 8 did 7.66 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, down five tenths in 18-49 from previous week as it was affected by game 7 of the NBA Finals.
- Two and a Half Men (CBS) - A repeat at 8:30pm did 5.8 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, which is down two tenths in 18-49 from previous week.
- The Office (NBC) - A one-hour repeat at 9 did just 1.36 million and a 0.5 18-49 rating, on par in 18-49 week-to-week when it was a half-hour.
- Parks and Recreation (NBC) 2 airings - A repeat at 8pm did 2.13 million and a 0.6 18-49 rating. A second repeat followed at 8:30 with 1.66 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating.
Summing it up. Repeats of The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as repeats of Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls) or just plain old terrible (such as repeats of New Girl and a new airing of The Goodwin Games).
Feeling the repeat blues? Look for original sitcoms on TV this summer. Some highlights include: Mondays at 8:30pm on Fox will be original episodes of The Goodwin Games at 8:30pm. ABC has original episodes of Family Tools on Wednesdays at 8:30pm and the finale of How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) this Wednesdays at 9:30pm. Week five of the new season for hilarious cable sitcoms Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy is this Wednesday beginning at 8pm on ABC Family. TV Land has week two of the summer season of Hot in Cleveland this Wednesday at 10pm, followed by new episodes of The Exes at 10:30pm and The Soul Man at 11pm only on TV Land. BET will return with the second half of the season of The Game on Tuesday, July 2 at 10pm. TBS airs Sullivan & Son Thursdays at 10, with week three this Thursday. Nick at Nite has the Scott Baio sitcom See Dad Run every Sunday at 8pm, while Wendell & Vinnie airs Thursdays at 8:30pm. FX's Charlie Sheen sitcom Anger Management airs Thursdays at 9:30pm. New sitcom airings are the perfect way to beat the summer blues! Look for our daily rundown of what sitcoms are airing each night every day at the bottom of the blog story so you don't miss anything!
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Digital Digest: Parks and Recreation DVD Release News; Body of Proof - The Complete Third Season DVD Review; Highway to Heaven - The Complete First Season DVD Review
There are some certainties in the TV-on-DVD world, and one of those is that sitcoms that are returning in the fall almost always have a DVD release just before they return. This week, we found out when that will happen for Parks and Recreation. The release of Parks and Recreation - Season Five will come on September 3 from Universal. Few details are known right now, except that it will come at a $39.98 MSRP.
TVShowsOnDVD.com has been on top of the upcoming release of Mama's Family from StarVista (formerly Time-Life), and this week, they uncovered a listing from the Walmart website for the first season on DVD. The big news to come out of this is that this set will include the made-for-TV movie Eunice that preceded the series... which, without spoiling the movie, is a bit ironic considering what happens in the movie (but you'll have to see that for yourself!). Like the removed listings from Amazon.com, Walmart is indicating a September 10 release date, but of course that is by no means set in stone. We'll be following up on this, as well as the release of the complete series, of course!
UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW
Tuesday (June 25) has no sitcom releases, but Shout! Factory has two releases of interest to us, particularly Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids - The Complete Series and MADtv - The Complete Third Season. Meanwhile, CBS wraps up one of the CSI series with CSI: NY - The Ninth Season.
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Blog DVD Review: Body of Proof - The Complete Third Season (ABC, $39.99)
In the third exciting season of Body of Proof things are hotter than ever as new characters are introduced and relationships are tested when Medical Examiner Megan Hunt uncovers a new murder mystery every week. Now you can own all 13 episodes from the action-packed third season on DVD on a three-disc set. This set brings fans deeper into the series with exclusive bonus features including featurettes, bloopers and more.
The series aired Tuesdays at 10PM on ABC once again in season three. The series stars Dana Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, Jeri Ryan as Dr. Kate Murphy, Mark Valley as Detective Tommy Sullivan, Geoffrey Arend as Dr. Ethan Gross, Windell D. Middlebrooks as Dr. Curtis Brumfield, Elyes Gabel as Detective Adam Lucas and Mary Mouser as Lacey Fleming. Recurring is Joanna Cassidy as Joan Hunt.
Guest stars include Luke Perry, Richard Burgi, Brian Hallisay, Tim DeKay, Henry Ian Cusick, Ivan Sergei, Christopher McDonald, François Chau, Craig Bierko, Sharon Lawrence, Sarah Jane Morris, Alan Dale, and Kurtwood Smith.
The third season returned in early 2013 in mid-season with some cast changes and a new look. I think it worked very well and it got more action-packed. Unfortunately the series was canceled and it will not return for a fourth season (at least not on ABC). Anyway, as for the memorable episodes, it starts off with the two-part season premiere Abducted," where after being on sabbatical for three months, Megan comes back to work after Peter's death and as she begins the case of an alcoholic who died, she finds that the building behind him has five other dead bodies. In the second hour, after finding out that her daughter had been kidnapped, Megan tries to hide the fact that there is a bomb in the body of their victim, and that her daughter is missing. In the sexiest episodes of the season, "Fallen Angel," Kate falls for a handsome and mysterious man named Sergei at a political event. In "Committed," Joan refuses to let Megan have her father's body exhumed to examine and shortly after, a schizophrenic teen is murdered at a mental institution, as the institution's head doctor (Craig Bierko) comes under suspicion when he obstructs the investigation. In "Dark City," when a plane crashes in Philadelphia due to a crazed U.S. Marshall opening fire while aloft, the entire team of Megan, Kate, Tommy, Adam, Curtis, Ethan, Riley and Stafford must go into disaster mode. In the finale, "Daddy Issues," Megan's father's exhumation is granted and she is shocked to find the coffin empty and Megan later finds a key that that unlocks a secret compartment in her father's old study which holds a missing medical file for a young woman named Lindsay Pratt who was murdered the day before her father died by a serial killer named Earl Brown.
The episodes run usually between 42-43 minutes, all unedited of course. They are very consistent except one episode is under 42 minutes. There are 7 chapter stops per episode. See the runtimes for each episode below:
1. "Abducted, Part 1" 42:22
2. "Abducted, Part 2" 42:24
3. "Lost Souls" 42:07
4. "Mob Mentality" 42:02
5. "Eye for an Eye" 42:57
6. "Fallen Angel" 42:49
7. "Skin and Bones" 42:04
8. "Doubting Tommy" 42:39
9. "Disappearing Act" 42:42
10. "Committed" 42:34
11. "Dark City" 42:16
12. "Breakout" 41:38
13. "Daddy Issues" 42:20
Packaging has a nice thing cover holding a case once again and has shot of Dr. Megan Hunt in a black dress sitting in the medical office's morgue. The tagline "No Guts. No Glory." appears on the front along with the show logo saying "Dana Delany, Body of Proof." The back cover has information on the series & set and about six episodic photos. There is also a section detailing the special features in a white box with technical specifications in another box. Inside the box is the case. The front of the case has the same artwork as the outer box, and the same goes true for the back of the case. Opening the case, we don't get an insert on the left side this time. The panels itself have a nice cast photo that spreads out to both panels. The right panel also has a disc-by-disc breakdown of episodes. We don't get an episode booklet again since the episode titles are listed on the panels. Disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book and disc two is on the back side of that plastic holder. Disc three is on the right panel itself. The discs are in red and has artwork of the show's characters. Disc one has episodes 1-5 with artwork of Megan and Tommy. Disc two has episodes 6-10 with artwork of Ethan and Curtis. Disc three has episodes 11-13 plus the extras and has artwork of .
The menu screen has moving images playing in the background in a white/blue style tint. It is nicely designed. Background music from the show is playing in the background. On disc one before the main menu we have auto trailers for Once Upon a Time Season 2 Blu-ray & DVD and a trailer for the The Muppet Movie Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks. The latter option is only on disc three and has previews for ABC TV (Scandal, Nashville & Grey's Anatomy) on DVD, Castle, and Revenge. The Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese and how to register your DVD. The Bonus Features option lists the features available and is only available on disc three. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose but no screenshot from the episode this time. Each submenu has music from the series playing in the background.
The video is amazing as it should be since the series aired in early 2013. It is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks excellent. It's HD-like, even though it isn't Blu-ray. I have a DVD player that upconverts to HD, so who needs a Blu-ray player? Just kidding, I have one of those and it is flawless. The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. We also get to hear the nice closing theme, as on ABC there are promos at the end of the episode. And as mentioned, we get 7 chapter stops. There should be nothing wrong with audio/video with current series and there isn't on this set. Good!
Moving on to the bonus features. Only disc three has features and we have four short "behind-the-scenes" featurettes. The first one is titled "Getting the Shot" (4:16). Fans will enjoy the series' DP (Director of Photography) and Cinematography to get an insightful first-hand look at how the visual tones of the production are created . Interviewed are Jeri Ryan, Dana Delany, Patrick Cady (Cinematography), and Derrick Kolus (Gaffer). Next we have, "VFX The Ultimate Makeover" (3:07). The series is filmed in Los Angeles, but made to look as if it's set in Philadelphia, visual effects play a large role in the making of this series. On this featurette, the cast and visual effects artists walk viewers through what it takes to create the transformation. Interviewed are Corey Jamieson (VFX Artist), Windell Middlebrooks, Jeri Ryan, Dana Delany, Bill Parker (VFX Artist), Paula Schmitt (VFX Artist), and Lawson Deming (VFX Supervisor/Artist). Then we have "All Kinds of Props" (5:31). The cast and crew illustrate the importance of props within the development of each fascinating episodes. Interviewed are Windell Middlebrooks, Jeri Ryan, Chris Call (Property Master), Dave Preston (Props Assistant), Dana Delany, Mary Mouser, and Kendall Bennett (Assistant Art Director). The final behind-the-scenes featurette we have is "Creating the World" (5:29). The executive producers take us onto the set to provide an inside look at the show's world and share how the Walt Disney Studios lot is transformed into the streets of Philadelphia. Interviewed are Christopher Murphey (creator), Dana Delany, Matthew Gross (executive producer/director), Kelly Harris (Location Manager), Susanna Puisto (Costume Designer). And finally we have "Body of Goofs" (4:57) which is of course fun bloopers and outtakes from this season.
Good show, good set. I highly recommend this series and to finish (if this is indeed the last season) your collection. The season was very good and even with the cast changes. We miss the old cast but at the same time the new additions were very solid and Mark Valley and Dana had great chemistry. But so did her and Nicholas Bishop. The DVD itself is good. The special features are good but not as many as last season. The blooper reel was hysterical and the four behind-the-scenes featurettes was really informative and entertaining to watch. It's quick but good. I would have liked some deleted scenes though. We never get them it seems for this show. I hope this show comes back in some form on another network, but right now it doesn't look like it will happen. Such a shame since needed more than 13 episodes to prove itself with the new cast changes. Honestly, it could have thrived on Fridays or even Saturdays on ABC next season. Complete your collection because it's a season like no other!
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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Blog DVD Review: Highway to Heaven - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek, $14.98)
Michael Landon was a fixture on TV (and more specifically, NBC) for several decades beginning in 1959. He started with a role in the long-running series Bonanza, and next he went on to the long-running series Little House on the Prairie. There was hardly any time between those series, and after the end of Little House on the Prairie, it wasn't long before he was back in the game again with yet another series. But unlike those previous two, this one was not set in the "old west," but rather in the "real world," with Highway to Heaven.
The series was a bit different from Landon's previous series, though. This time, he was a bit more "supernatural," playing an angel named Jonathan Smith. His mission was to come down to Earth with a mission (conveniently, there were about 25 of these per year) from God to do certain good deeds on Earth, such as helping people in need, helping people dealing with tough situations, promoting perseverance, equality, and many other "positive" things in life. Helping him along the way was ex-cop Mark Gordon (Victor French). The first three seasons of the series were previously released in edited fashion from A&E Home Video several years ago, but now Mill Creek is back with the series, starting again with the first season... and in unedited fashion.
The series begins with the two part pilot, where Jonathan Smith comes to his first mission to help senior citizens at a retirement home, and meets Mark Gordon for the first time. Jonathan is dealing with two boys who are facing trouble for very different reasons in "To Touch the Moon." Jonathan gets in the middle of a street gang problem in "The Return of the Masked Rider." In the two-part episode "One Fresh Batch of Lemonade," Jonathan has to find a way to help a rising football star who was just injured in a motorcycle accident. Jonathan and Mark have to convince an actor to play a a father in real life (to his own kids) in "Catch a Falling Star." James Whitmore, Jr. guest stars in "Dust Child," where a former Vietnam vet learns that he has a daughter in Vietnam and brings her back to the United States... only for her to face racial prejudice by many, including her own new family.
The series takes on the classic Christmas tale about Scrooge in "Another Song for Christmas." David Faustino makes an appearance in "Plane Death." In "One Winged Angels," Jonathan becomes attracted to a woman whose fiance he is supposed to be helping. Jonathan has to perform a miracle for Mark in "Going Home, Going Home." Jonathan helps a basketball player who only had one thing going for him in "As Difficult as ABC." A woman tries to reconnect with her father who won't see her because she had a child out of wedlock in "A Child of God." In "The Banker and the Bum," an unsuspecting pair of opposites switch bodies for a while. Jonathan and Mark have to rally a group of aging citizens when a corporation plans to buy up and tear down an old neighborhood in "An Investment in Caring." The guys help a family dealing with an aging parent at home in "The Right Thing." The season ends with the two-part episode "Thoroughbreds," where Helen Hunt makes a guest appearance.
The episodes on this set are UNEDITED, and the fact that a WorldVision logo (the original syndication distributor) appears on the end of each episode suggests that these are not the same Genesis prints that we've seen in syndication over the past several years. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Highway to Heaven (Part 1)" (49:04)
2. "Highway to Heaven (Part 2)" (50:24)
3. "To Touch the Moon" (50:02)
4. "Return of the Masked Rider" (49:58)
5. "Song of the Wild West" (50:00)
6. "One Fresh Batch of Lemonade (Part 1)" (49:16)
11. "Dust Child" (50:13)
16. "Going Home, Going Home" (50:18)
18. "A Child of God" (51:26)
19. "A Match Made in Heaven" (48:22)
20. "The Banker and the Bum" (47:51)
21. "The Brightest Star" (49:14)
Since this is a Mill Creek set, what I'm about to say regarding the packaging should be absolutely no surprise: black paper sleeves. Once again, they've created a package with nice cover and disc artwork, but put it all of the discs in black paper sleeves. As usual, though, I'd suggest just moving the discs to a five disc case, although these are a bit harder to find than other sizes. The artwork is very professional looking, with Jonathan and Mark standing on a highway that leads to the sky... literally. The front of the package makes it very clear that the episodes are original broadcast edits (that is the truth, too), and the back has several episode snapshots and a brief description of the series. Inside, the five discs all have the same artwork as seen on the cover. Episode titles are listed on each disc.
The menus on the set are rather straightforward, with the same photo as seen on the cover artwork on the main menu. The theme song plays in the background. Main menu options include Play All, Episode Select, and (on Disc 5 only) Bloopers. Episodes play upon selecting them. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
One thing that really left me incredibly unimpressed about this set was the video and audio quality. In particular, the video quality has some issues that seem to be related to frame rate issues. That could very much be true if these are international prints of the episodes (since they are unedited unlike all other versions of the series airing in the United States). However, in doing some research, some tech-experts who have seen this set insist that is not at all the problem with this set. But really, it doesn't make a difference if that is the problem or not, because that is what the problem appears to be, and how you'll likely see it. Besides that, the video looks a bit dated, with a lot of artifacts and unnatural looking colors. But those issues are no different than how the series looks in syndication. The audio is decent, though still nothing impressive. There are no captions or subtitles.
The set didn't advertise any special features... but you'll find some anyway on Disc 5. There is one blooper reel (2:53). It is a bit interesting to watch, to see everybody break out of character when something goes wrong. One of my favorites was one of the first ones on there, where a woman asked "who are you?" to Landon's character, and Landon, having forgotten his lines, breaks out of character and responds "I am a Jewish actor." Landon was known for so many serious series, and if he hadn't died at such a young age (he would have only been in his 70s today), I would like to think that we would have seen him do some sort of comedy role at some point in his time... but this is all we'll ever have, it seems.
Nobody can truly say anything bad about this series. I avoided watching it for years myself since I found the premise a bit weird, but as the series came to air on (almost literally) a dozen or so channels at the same time in the past few years, I actually started watching it a few times. It is a rather decent series that tackled some very big issues, but managed to do that in a light-hearted way that always turned out the best for everybody in the end. Sure, it does have a lot of spiritual moments, but the series is really not about any type of the religious "wars" that we see in society, but rather about using spirituality as a positive force in the world. It seems unlikely that any network could really air a series like this today (it would be "too tame" for the mainstream networks, and a religious network would likely throw in elements to make it about why their religion is better than others), and really, it is surprising that this worked in the mid-to-late '80s. But it did.
This Mill Creek release of the first season is certainly worth owning if you are a fan of this series at any level. If you own the previous release of the first season, I'd say without hesitation that this one is worth owning to replace that one. Mill Creek has done an excellent job as usual of "making lemonade out of lemons" (which is similar to the title of one of the episodes in this set), and still giving it to us at a price that won't break the bank.
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Highway to Heaven on TV.com
Who to Follow: Patrick Warburton (Twitter), "@paddywarbucks"
Claim to Fame: Patrick Warburton started his "celebrity" career as a model (and even played one on a few episodes of Designing Women early in his career), but he has evolved significantly over the years into a sitcom star. He has since had roles on Seinfeld, NewsRadio, and Less Than Perfect. More recently, he starred in the (now canceled) CBS series Rules of Engagement and also voices Joe Swanson on Family Guy.
Why You Should Follow Him: I think that if you mention Patrick Warburton, you'll find a lot of people have no clue who he is... but everybody knows who his tall stature and booming voice. As mentioned, he has had a long "tour" of sitcoms, and he is likely just at the beginning of his career. On Twitter, he tends to post a lot of light-hearted and rarely offensive observations about life, and is deeply appreciative of his fans. He isn't a constant (i.e. a few times every hour) Tweeter, but he is somebody that many of us are a fan of... even if many people can't remember his name (and we hope that you do now).
Pick of the Tweets: "John tesh and Kenny G walk into an elevator. That's it." (May 22, 2013)
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbrekable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, March 29
The Goldbergs - "A Night to Remember" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s prom night, and all three Goldberg kids have big plans, which go awry. Barry plans big romantic gestures for Lainey while Erica and Geoff try to go to prom together, but it doesn’t go as planned. Meanwhile, Adam is thrilled when a nerdy but cute junior asks him out, but he is horrified when Beverly gets involved.
Imaginary Mary - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A fiercely independent career woman, Alice has her life turned upside-down when she meets Ben, a divorced father with three children, and soon falls head-over-heals for him. This triggers more upheaval when the imaginary friend she created as a child, Mary, suddenly reappears as she is nervous to meet Ben’s kids for the first time.
Modern Family - "Five Minutes" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
So much can happen to the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan in five minutes! Mitch and Cam have five minutes to catch a new flight while fighting the effects of sleeping pills they took prematurely. Then at Rainer’s birthday dinner, Haley and Rainer are forced to reevaluate their entire relationship in the five minutes before the birthday cake arrives. Meanwhile, Phil and Claire pay a surprise visit to Alex and are given a five-minute surprise introduction to her new boyfriend. Finally, with only five minutes to catch a movie, Manny has to find the perfect parking space and endure Jay and Gloria’s backseat argument.
black-ish - "Richard Youngsta" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre is excited about doing a campaign with a popular rap star but becomes conflicted when Bow and Ruby provide feedback suggesting it plays on stereotypes. Meanwhile, Bow is determined to get the family to stop eating so much take-out food, but realizes the family may be too accustomed to eating whatever they want.
Nobodies - "Mr. First Lady" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After years toiling away writing on a kids cartoon, “The Fartlemans”, Groundlings Alums Larry, Rachel and Hugh finally get their big break: A chance to pitch their film script “Mr. First Lady” at Paramount.
Lopez - "Leaving Las Vegas" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
George quits his Las Vegas residency, causing big problems. Manolo gets out of jail and introduces his roommate, Hector, to everyone.
Schitt's Creek - "Friends & Family" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Johnny and Moira look for a location for the family portrait; David hosts a soft launch for the new store.
Wednesday, March 29
- Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Watch Andrew on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Emma Roberts (Scream Queens/Unfabulous) - Emma is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Paul F. Tompkins (DAG) - Paul is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Milana Vayntrub (Other Space) - Milana appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Andy Daly (Review/Eastbound & Down) - Andy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
- Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
- Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- George Lopez (Lopez/George Lopez) - George discusses the second season of Lopez on the AOL Build Show at 5:30pm.