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.


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

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/04 - The Exes - Seasons 1 & 2
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/06 - Kenan & Kel - The Best of Seasons 3 & 4
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dharma & Greg - The Complete Season 2
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Broad City - Season 1
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/02 - The Simpsons - The Seventeenth Season (Blu-ray)
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - Family Guy - Volume 13
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 19

Last Man Standing - "War Games" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
hen Boyd gets sent home early from a birthday party for starting a game of “war,” Ryan insists Mike stop exposing his son to action movies and video games. Meanwhile, Vanessa hopes budding fashion designer, Mandy, can help her look awesome when she meets with her still hot-looking college roommates.

Cristela - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Cristela’s dream of becoming a lawyer is something her traditional Mexican-American family doesn't quite understand. She’s entering her sixth year of law school after juggling home obligations and working multiple jobs to pay her way. Cristela lives in cramped quarters with her sister Daniela, her long-suffering brother-in-law Felix and their two young kids. The senior member of this extended family, all living under one roof in Dallas, is Cristela’s old school mom, Natalia. After six years of setbacks, her mom Natalia worries that becoming a lawyer might not be in the cards for her and doesn't want Cristela to be hurt by a dream that might not come true. Then, Cristela’s life begins to look up. Lawyer Trent Culpepper, who is unapologetically politically incorrect about Latinos and just about everyone else, offers her an internship at his prestigious firm. She’ll be working – unpaid – with Culpepper’s pampered daughter Maddie and good-natured fellow intern Josh.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 15) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, December 19

  • Jay Thomas (Cheers/Love & War/Murphy Brown) - Watch Jay on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Damon Wayans (Damon) - Damon appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Chris Rock (Everybody Hates Chris) - Chris talks about raising two daughters and the controversy surrounding his SNL appearance on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Kevin dishes on behind the scenes antics on Celebrity Apprentice on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/Tom/The Tom Show) - Tom appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. (Freddie) - Freddie is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat/Veep/Supah Ninjas) - Randall talks about The Interview on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Donald Faison (The Exes/Scrubs) - Donald appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten is a guest on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 9am.