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 (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, October 28

Bunk'd - "Treehouse of Terror" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Zuri, Jorge and Tiffany enlist the support of an unexpected camper to help restore an abandoned treehouse, so they can use it as a new hangout; Emma and Lou and Ravi and Xander get competitive during a friendly game of billiards.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Do What You Gotta Do" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Joseph experiences an episode of sexual frustration due to Leslie's vow of chastity.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Friday, October 28

  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - Watch John on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Price is Right on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine?/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Colin Hanks (Life in Pieces) - Colin joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch/Clarissa Explains It All) - Melissa looks back at her earliest memories on Clarissa Explains It All – and says she was really bossy on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids) - Damon is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.