Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hallmark Dumps The Good Wife; Remembering Ben Starr Co-Creator of The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons

The Good Wife

The Hallmark Channel has pulled The Good Wife completely from its line-up effective today (Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014). The series started a few weeks ago by airing weekdays from 6-10pm but after just a week it was reduced to 8-10pm and now it is gone completely. The Waltons will now air in primetime from 8-10pm, so its 2-4pm airings will be replaced by Home Improvement. Hallmark will replace the 6-8pm Home Improvement block with the return of Little House on the Prairie. Classic '70s and '80s family dramas from 6-10pm trump over The Good Wife in the ratings for Hallmark it seems. Hallmark has a quick axe usually on shows that do not deliver in ratings, but for a big acquisition like this, it might have been too quick to pull. We'll let you know if and when it returns to the line-up. The rest of the Hallmark Channel weekday schedule will remain as is, with I Love Lucy from 5-8am, The Golden Girls from 8-10am, a new and encore of Home & Family from 10am-2pm, the aforementioned Home Improvement from 2-4pm, The Brady Bunch from 4-6pm into the classic dramas from 6-10pm (Little House & The Waltons). Comedies will rule in late night still with Frasier from 10pm-12am, The Golden Girls from 12-2am, Cheers from 2-3am, and more Frasier from 3-5am.


Ben Starr

Television writer and producer Ben Starr, who helped create The Facts of Life and Silver Spoons, has died. He died on January 19 at his home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. Mr. Starr was 92.

Starr's early sitcom writing credits included Duffy's Tavern, My Hero, I Married Joan, The Ray Milland, December Bride, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Bachelor Father. He wrote 40 episodes of Mister Ed from 1961-1963. Other sitcoms he wrote multiple episodes of included My Favorite Martian, Petticoat Junction, The Brady Bunch, Chico and the Man and All in the Family.

He worked as a writer and producer for Diff'rent Strokes from 1978-1982. He was instrumental in inadvertently coining the famous "Whatchu talking 'bout Willis?" catchphrase by Gary Coleman. The line was originally written as "What are you talking about, Willis?" before Coleman gave his classic delivery. He was interviewed in the E! True Hollywood Story specials on Diff'rent Strokes and Dana Plato in 1998 and 1999. In 1979, he helped develop the spin-off series The Facts of Life with Howard Leeds and Jerry Mayer. The popular series aired on NBC for 9 seasons and 209 episodes. Starr later helped create Silver Spoons with Leeds and Martin Cohan in 1982. The series, starring Ricky Schroder, Joel Higgins and Erin Gray, aired for five seasons (four on NBC and one in first-run syndication).

The Archive of American Television conducted an extensive interview with him on November 9, 2009. Survivors include three children and three grandchildren and nephew Andy Kaplan, who heads international channels for Sony Pictures TV. We thank him for bringing us the classic 1980s sitcoms The Facts of Life and Silver Spoons. He will be greatly missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 24

The Middle - "Halloween VIII: Orson Murder Mystery" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie discovers that a woman had died in the bathtub of the Heck house close to 50 years ago; Frankie and Brick become convinced that she was murdered and, much to Mike’s chagrin, attempt to track down and find the murderer. Meanwhile, Axl and Lexie become frustrated over losing their alone time when Sue insists on hanging out with them wherever they go.

Fresh Off the Boat - "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
On Halloween, Louis is disappointed that Evan doesn’t take his childish delight in the holiday; Eddie and the gang plot to crash a cool older girl’s party; Jessica and Emery are spooked when they hear a strange man’s voice emanating from Grandma’s room, and things get even creepier when a mysterious group of costumed strangers whisk Grandma away, making them suspect the supernatural worst.

black-ish - "Advance to Go (Collect $200)" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre brings everyone together for a rowdy family game night and the competition is fierce. The game of choice is Monopoly and as the night progresses, alliances are formed and some are pushed to their limits. Meanwhile, Bow makes it clear how she feels about Junior’s girlfriend.

The Mayor - "City Hall-oween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Mayor Courtney Rose and Police Chief Fox (Kristen Johnston) find themselves at odds on how to handle the community’s first annual spook-tacular celebration at City Hall. During the night of the bash, it dawns on Courtney that throwing a party to keep kids safe doesn’t address the bigger issues in Fort Grey and plans to work with Chief Fox going forward. Meanwhile, Dina gets into the spirit by dressing up as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, while Jermaine and T.K. set out to prank Val who has the last laugh when she outsmarts the guys at their own game.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 23)

Tuesday, October 24

  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Catch Ted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina is a musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/The Suite Life on Deck) - Cole visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Gabourey chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael drops by The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette talks about her LA road rage, her love life and more on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie is in the kitchen with three super-easy slow cooker dishes – like Sloppy Joes and a Pasta Bake on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna talks about her show Kevin (Probably) Saves the World – and her friendship with Lea Michele on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Denis Leary (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/The Job) - Denis is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.
  • J. B. Smoove (The Millers/'Til Death/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - J. B. is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace) - Debra appears on Daily Pop on E! at 12pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest