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 (February)

The Bob Newhart Show - Season Five The Bob Newhart Show - The Final (Sixth) Season Maude - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) The Wonder Years - Season Two Mama's Family - The Complete Sixth Season

02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - Season Five
02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Final (Sixth) Season
02/03 - Maude - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) / The Complete Series Available 3/17 (Shout! Factory)
02/03 - The Wonder Years - Season Two
02/10 - Mama's Family - The Complete Sixth Season
02/10 - Nurse Jackie - Season Six (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, February 27

Last Man Standing - "Kyle's Friend" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When a homeless man that Kyle has befriended goes missing, Mike uses his vlog to help track him down. Mandy is inspired by Kyle’s good deed and in her unique way, helps a young mother from the woman’s shelter.

Cristela - "Gifted and Talented" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Cristela is tutoring and rooting for Isabella to get into the “Gifted and Talented” school program, partly because Cristela did not get in as a child. When Isabella throws the exam because she’s afraid of hurting her brother’s feelings, tensions mount between Cristela and Natalia over the program and Natalia reveals a hurtful secret. Meanwhile at the office, after Maddie gets into another car accident, Trent decides to punish Maddie by sending her to the mail room, which provides a bit of a challenge for Maddie to grasp.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 23) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, February 27

  • Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer (Broad City) - Watch Abbi and Ilana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) - Catch Simon on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Owen Benjamin (Sullivan & Son) - Owen appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) - Kathy is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Lana Parilla (Spin City) - Lana chats on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Anne Heche (Save Me/The Michael J. Fox Show) - Anne and the cast of USA Network's Dig give a sneak peak and share secrets from the highly anticipated new murder mystery mini-series on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Natalie Desselle-Reid (Eve/For Your Love/Built to Last) - Natalie guest co-hosts ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Ming-Na Wen (The Single Guy) - Ming-Na Wen will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani talks about getting ready for baby #2 to join her family and cooks on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings. She also talks about the Cooking Channel's Dinner at Tiffani's on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 9am.
  • Felicity Huffman (Sports Night) - Felicty is a guest on Tavis Smiley on PBS, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Luis Guzman (How to Make It in America/Luis) - Luis is a guest on People Now.