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 (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, July 24

Kevin Can Wait - "Kevin's Bringing Supper Back" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin’s resolve to spend more quality time with his family is put to the ultimate test when his buddies surprise him with concert tickets to his favorite musician, fellow Long Islander Billy Joel. Multiple Grammy Award-winning pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel appears as himself.

Man with a Plan - "Kate's First Date" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Kate is asked out on her first date, Adam can’t curb his overprotective ways. Also, Don enlists Lowell’s help to buy the perfect anniversary gift for Marcy.

Mom - "Martinis and a Sponge Bath" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Christy and Adam get into a car accident, Bonnie is hurt to discover she is neither of their emergency contacts. Wendie Malick returns as Adam’s ex-wife, Danielle.

Life in Pieces - "Cheap Promotion Flying Birthday" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Colleen teaches Matt her frugal ways, he gets hooked when he realizes how much saving money turns her on. Also, Tim attempts to fire Heather from her receptionist position at his office, John tries to break Sophia’s fear of flying by taking her for a quick flight on a small plane, and Jen plans a quiet affair for Lark’s first birthday, until the family takes over the celebration.

American Dad - "The Life and Times of Stan Smith" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Stan becomes addicted to dying after Roger tricks him into thinking he had a heart attack; Klaus takes Steve to Arizona State University for a college visit, where a fraternity hazes him.

People of Earth - "New Beginnings" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
After learning the members of StarCrossed were on the ship as kids, Ozzie tries to get the group back together; disgraced FBI agent Alex Foster gets sent to Beacon to investigate white-collar criminal Jonathan Walsh; a merger takes place on the ship.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 24)

Monday, July 24

  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Watch Rob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. Rob and his sons, Matthew and John Owen, chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. They also talk about The Lowe Files on the AOL Build Show at 2pm.
  • Laura Benanti (Go On/Starved) - Laura appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Funches (Powerless/Undateable) - Ron appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Brandy (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha/Thea) - Brandy guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril crashes a cooking class on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tracey Gold (Growing Pains) - Tracey makes cherry pie filling cake on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana talks about People of Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti performs a jazz song on a repeat of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
  • Jennie Garth (What I Like About You) - Jennie shows off her favorite RVs on Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel at 7:52am.