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 (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 5

The Big Bang Theory - "The Line Substitution Solution" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon hires Stuart to spend the day with Amy when he’d rather go to a movie screening. Also, Leonard’s mother, Beverly (Christine Baranski), comes to town and Penny struggles to make a connection with her.

The Odd Couple - "An Oscar Named Desire" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Oscar and Charlotte hit a speed bump when they hesitate to take their relationship to the next level. Also, Felix attempts to overcome his fear of dogs with Teddy’s help when Emily regains custody of Biscuit.

Mom - "Pure Evil and a Free Piece of Cheesecake" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Christy learns she made the Dean’s List at school, she is disappointed by Bonnie’s lackluster response. Richard Schiff guest stars as Robert, Bonnie’s fantasy co-worker.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Ten Inches" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Max and Caroline need more space for their renovated dessert bar, they’re willing to do just about anything to convince Angie (Lisa Lampanelli), the brash owner of the pizza place next door, to rent them her back office.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 2)

Thursday, May 5

  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Catch Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Dana appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also talks about First Impressions on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
  • Zach Woods (Silicon Valley/Playing House/The Office) - Zach is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Louis C.K. (Louie) - Louis stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder/Perfect Couples/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Mary appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Show/Buffalo Bill) - Geena gives highlights of this year's Bentonville Film Festival on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Mario chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET and on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.