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 (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

Monday, October 24

Kevin Can Wait - "Beat the Parents" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Kevin and Donna are thrilled when their son, Jack, makes friends with a boy from school, Grayden (Graydon Peter Yosowitz), however, when Donna and Kevin don’t hit it off with Grayden’s arrogant father, Vic (Ray Romano), and his pushy wife, Brandi (Lindsay Broad), they set out to sabotage the boys’ new friendship. Matt Romano guest stars as Vic’s second son, Braden.

Man with a Plan - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Golden Globe Award winner Matt LeBlanc stars as Adam, a contractor who starts spending more time with his three kids when his wife, Andi, goes back to work and discovers the truth all parents eventually realize—their little angels are maniacs.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Godmama Drama" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Oleg and Sophie’s plan to have Max and Caroline as Barbara’s godparents is derailed when Oleg’s domineering mother, Olga (Mercedes Ruehl), arrives from the Ukraine for the baby’s baptism and fires Max and Caroline from their godparent duties.

The Odd Couple - "Food Fight" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Oscar learns that his favorite hangout, Langford’s, is in financial trouble, he impulsively asks Felix to help save it, without considering the disastrous consequences. Also, Felix tries to make his mark on the restaurant when the owner, Fred Langford (Fred Willard), puts him in charge for a few days.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Monday, October 24

  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.