Thursday, March 12, 2015

TV Land Summer Comedy Plans Includes Jim Gaffigan Show; Remembering Facts of Life Co-Creator Jenna McMahon, Windell Middlebrooks and Sam Simon

The Jim Gaffigan Show

Production has begun in New York City on TV Land's newest sitcom The Jim Gaffigan Show, created by Peter Tolan and Jim Gaffigan. The show will shoot in iconic locations that have long been a part of the New York film and TV history like Katz's Delicatessen, Gotham Comedy Club and more to be announced. The single-camera comedy series is inspired by Gaffigan's real life and will chronicle one man's struggle in New York City to find a balance between fatherhood, stand-up comedy and an insatiable appetite. Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother) will co-star in The Jim Gaffigan Show as Jim's wife, Jeannie. Adam Goldberg (Fargo) will play Jim's best friend, Dave and Michael Ian Black (Ed) will play Daniel, Jeannie's meddling confidante.

The Jim Gaffigan Show, which will have an 11-episode first season, will premiere on TV Land this summer (tentatively on July 15 at 10). Fans who can't wait long enough for the show to premiere can get a sneak peek into production by taking a first look at the new crime drama-inspired promo. Like The Jim Gaffigan Show's Facebook page or follow its Twitter account @gaffiganshow. TV Land's other summer comedy plans as of now include Teachers (tentatively July 15 at 10:30pm), which revolves around six elementary school teachers who are trying to mold the minds and lives of America's youth, even though they don't really seem to have their own lives together at all and Impastor (tentatively June 9 at 10:30pm), which revolves around Buddy Dobbs (Michael Rosenbaum), a gambling, pot-smoking slacker on the run from a loan shark, who steals a man's identity and ends up posing as the new gay pastor in a small, tight-knit town. No word on when The Exes will return for its second half of the season, but all fingers are pointing towards Tuesday, June 9 at 10, paired with Impastor. The Wednesday slots are filled in early summer with Hot in Cleveland and The Soul Man (both which return March 18) until Gaffigan and Teachers takeover. Stay with us for continued updates.


Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon

Emmy-winning writer and actress Jenna McMahon, who co-created The Facts of Life and Mama's Family, has died. She died from heart failure at her home in Monterey, California on March 2. Ms. McMahon was 89.

McMahon's sitcom acting credits included Dennis the Menace, Love, American Style, The Bob Newhart Show, Welcome Back, Kotter and A New Kind of Family (which she also co-produced). Some of her other television guest appearances included This Man Dawson, Twilight Zone, Hollywood Talent Scouts, What's It All About, World? The Funny Side and 240-Robert.

McMahon and her partner Dick Clair were a very successful comedy writing team. Their writing credits included The Bob Newhart Show, Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, The Carol Burnett Show, Diff'rent Strokes, Flo, Soap, It's a Living and Mama's Family. They won three Emmy Awards for their work on The Carol Burnett Show in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

McMahon and Clair wrote the story for "The Girls School" episode of Diff'rent Strokes, which served as the pilot episode of The Facts of Life. The popular series starred Charlotte Rae, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn and Nancy McKeon. It would run for nine seasons from 1979-1988 on NBC. The Facts of Life Reunion TV Movie aired on ABC in 2001.

They created the character of Eunice (Carol Burnett), the daughter of Mama (Vicki Lawrence) and wife of Ed (Harvey Korman) for The Carol Burnett Show's recurring comedy sketch "The Family." The success of the sketch led to the 1982 CBS TV movie Eunice and later the spin-off series Mama's Family. Mama's Family aired for two seasons on NBC from 1983-1984 before moving to first-run syndication for four seasons from 1986-1990.

McMahon, Clair and Stu Silver wrote the pilot episode for It's a Living in 1980. The show ran for two seasons on ABC from 1980-1982 before moving to first-run syndication for four seasons from 1985-1989. The cast included Ann Jillian, Gail Edwards, Barrie Youngfellow, Paul Kreppel, Marian Mercer, Crystal Bernard, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Richard Stahl.

Windell Middlebrooks

Actor Windell Middlebrooks, who had recurring roles in The Suite Life on Deck and Scrubs, has died. He was found unconscious at his home in the San Fernando Valley in California and was pronounced dead on arrival at a Los Angeles hospital on March 9. Mr. Middlebrooks was only 36.

Middlebrooks had a recurring role as Kirby Morris, the ship's security guard, in The Suite Life on Deck. The series ran on the Disney Channel for three seasons from 2008-2011.

He had a recurring role as Captain Duncook in six episodes of the final season of Scrubs in 2009-2010. His other sitcom guest appearances included The Bernie Mac Show, All of Us, My Name Is Earl, Hannah Montana, Entourage, Parks and Recreation, Cougar Town, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Mighty Med.

Middlebrooks starred as Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Curtis Brumfield on the ABC drama Body of Proof for three seasons from 2011-2013. His drama guest appearances included Veronica Mars and ER. He was also well-known for his role as the deliveryman in the Miller High Life beer commercials.

Sam Simon

Emmy-winning writer, producer and director Sam Simon, who co-created The Simpsons, has died. He died from complications from colorectal cancer at his home in Los Angeles on March 8. Mr. Simon was 59.

Simon's early sitcom writing credits included Best of the West, Barney Miller, Taxi and Cheers. He worked as the executive story editor on Taxi in 1981-1982 and as the showrunner/producer from 1982-1983. He also served as a producer on Cheers from 1984-1985. Simon worked as a creative consultant and writer for It's Garry Shandling's Show from 1987-1988.

He developed The Simpsons in 1989 with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. Simon assembled the show's first writing team and co-wrote eight episodes. He left the show in 1993. Simon won nine Emmy Awards for his television work, including seven for The Simpsons.

Simon co-created The George Carlin Show, which aired for two seasons on Fox from 1994-1995. He also directed six episodes of the series. His other sitcom directing credits included Friends, Men Behaving Badly, Norm, The Michael Richards Show, The Drew Carey Show and Norm. He worked as a consulting producer on The Drew Carey Show from 1998-2003. Simon co-created the ABC sitcoms Sibs and Phenom.

We thank them for the entertainment they brought us. They will be greatly missed.


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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 20

Family Guy - "Ain't Miss Debatin" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tina is recruited by the debate team, she finds unexpected success and an even more unexpected relationship. Meanwhile, Louise and Gene convince their parents to help fund a stop-motion movie focusing on a surprising subject matter.

The Simpsons - "Havana Wild Weekend" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the Retirement Castle and the V.A. Hospital can’t solve Grampa’s health issues, the Simpsons decide to take a family trip to Cuba to get him cheap medical care.

Family Guy - "The Peter Principal" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter becomes the temporary principal at the high school, and Meg uses his new power to get even with her bullies. Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie open a bed & breakfast that quickly turns into a brothel.

The Simpsons - "Dad Behavior" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer finds a new app that makes his life much easier and outsources his father-son bonding. Meanwhile, Grampa finds that he is about to be a father again.

Family Guy - "Dearly Deported" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Chris’ Mexican girlfriend, Isabella, gets deported, he volunteers to take care of her twin babies. After learning that Isabella can’t come back to the U.S., the Griffins go to Mexico to return her children.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 14)

Friday, August 18

  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - Watch T.J. on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Billy Eichner (Difficult People) - Billy is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/30 Rock) - Jane appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Jones (The Detour) - Jason appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Brandy (Moesha/The Game/Thea) - Brandy talks about Broadway's Chicago on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi performs on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Nat Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) - Nat talks about Leap and Home Again on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Geena Davis (Buffalo Bill/The Geena Davis Show) - Geena talks about Marjorie Prime on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.