Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WGN America Turns Primetime Into Prime Crime; Remembering Jack Carter and Writer-Producer Chris Thompson

When WGN America expands its burgeoning slate of high-quality original programming this fall with its "Prime Crime" lineup, it will become the exclusive cable home for two of TV's biggest hit dramas, Elementary (as we announced) and Person of Interest (which we also announced). The two popular procedurals, which will join fan-favorite Blue Bloods on weeknights in prime, will give viewers a binge-worthy opportunity to watch these series from the very beginning, diving into the cases and capers that unfold. In Elementary, Jonny Lee Miller (who plays Sherlock Holmes) and Lucy Liu (who plays Dr. Watson) are a modern-day crime solving duo that cracks the NYPD's most impossible cases; and in Person of Interest, Michael Emerson (in the role of billionaire Harold Finch) and Jim Caviezel (as CIA operative John Reese) prevent violent crimes before they happen with the help of an advanced surveillance system known as "The Machine." Taraji P. Henson, who currently stars in Empire, is a regular in the first four seasons of the series. In the teaser campaign the four main characters face off for the first time in a quick-witted test of who's the better twosome and why. Representing the two most significant acquisitions across cable in 2015, Elementary and Person of Interest continue WGN America's transformation as an entertainment destination with popular originals, including breakout hit Salem, critically lauded Manhattan and upcoming dramas Underground and Outsiders, both premiering next year.


Jack Carter

Actor, comedian and host Jack Carter has died. He died on June 28 at his home in Beverly Hills, California, of respiratory failure. Mr. Carter was 93.

Carter was the first host of the variety series Cavalcade of Stars on the DuMont Network in 1949-1950. The show appeared under the banner of Saturday Night Revue, a package of two variety shows on a single evening. He hosted his own variety series titled The Jack Carter Show on NBC in 1950-1951.

He made more than 40 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Some of his other television appearances included Texaco Star Theatre, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Stage Show, The Jack Paar Tonight Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Dean Martin Show and The Merv Griffin Show.

The Love Boat - Ted Lange and Jack Carter

Carter's sitcom guest appearances in the 1960s included Hennesey, Make Room for Daddy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ensign O'Toole, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mister Roberts, The Lucy Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Julia. His guest appearances in the 1970s included The Partners, Love, American Style, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Odd Couple, Big Eddie, Sanford and Son, The Love Boat, Carter Country and Archie Bunker's Place. He directed two episodes of Here's Lucy in 1971.

His later sitcom guest appearances included Gimme a Break!, Dream On, Kirk, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Something So Right, Living Single, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Just Shoot Me!, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, Rules of Engagement and Go On. He played Arthur Spooner in the original unaired pilot of The King of Queens, but he was replaced by Jerry Stiller and his scenes were re-shot.

Survivors include his wife, Roxanne, whom he married in 1971; sons Michael Carter and Chase Carter; daughter Wendy Carter; and grandchildren Jake and Ava.

Zendaya, Chris Thompson and Bella Thorne

Television writer, producer and director Chris Thompson has died. He died in actor Tim Curry's home on June 26 in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles after a long illness. Mr. Thompson was 63.

Thompson's writing career began with episodes of Blansky's Beauties and Sirota's Court. He worked on Laverne & Shirley as a writer, story editor, executive script consultant, director and producer. In 1980, he created Bosom Buddies with Robert L. Boyett and Thomas L. Miller. He also worked as a writer on nine episodes and directed four episodes of the Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari sitcom.

He was the creator of The Naked Truth, Action, Ladies Man and the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up!, which starred Zendaya and Bella Thorne. His other sitcom writing credits included Hard Knocks (Showtime), The Larry Sanders Show, Dave's World, House Rules, The Naked Truth, Action, Ladies Man and Shake It Up!. He worked as a producer on The Larry Sanders Show, The Naked Truth, Action, I'm with Her and Shake It Up!.

We thank them for the laughs they brought us over the years. They will be deeply 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.