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

Tuesday, May 24

Fresh Off the Boat - "Bring the Pain" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Louis’ estranged brother, Gene (Ken Jeong), comes to visit, and he has big news to share with the family. And Eddie tries to find creative ways to watch the latest Chris Rock age-inappropriate stand-up comedy special despite his parents’ and brothers’ disapproval.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Prom" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As the school prom approaches, Kenny tries to think of who the best guy would be to ask as his date. With time running out, Kenny and Jimmy try to come up with the perfect “prom-posal” for the classmates they each have set their sights on. Shannon thinks the idea behind prom is a scam and would rather stay at home, but once Pat discovers she was asked to attend, he tries to convince her to go. Meanwhile, Eileen tries to keep VP Murray’s romantic attention at bay but struggles to resist.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Tuesday, May 24

  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Catch Dave on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Fozzie Bear (The Muppets) - Fozzie Bear appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Hodgman (Married) - John is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kristen Schaal (The Last Man on Earth/Bob's Burgers/30 Rock) - Kristen appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Eugene and Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) - Eugene and Dan are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Meredith's favorite reality stars are featured on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie/Players) - June is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • G Hannelius (Dog with a Blog/Good Luck Charlie) - G discusses her role in History Channel's adaption of Roots on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin dishes on his new movie Central Intelligence on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/The Millers/Up All Night) - Will talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.