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.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 24

The Middle - "Halloween VIII: Orson Murder Mystery" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie discovers that a woman had died in the bathtub of the Heck house close to 50 years ago; Frankie and Brick become convinced that she was murdered and, much to Mike’s chagrin, attempt to track down and find the murderer. Meanwhile, Axl and Lexie become frustrated over losing their alone time when Sue insists on hanging out with them wherever they go.

Fresh Off the Boat - "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
On Halloween, Louis is disappointed that Evan doesn’t take his childish delight in the holiday; Eddie and the gang plot to crash a cool older girl’s party; Jessica and Emery are spooked when they hear a strange man’s voice emanating from Grandma’s room, and things get even creepier when a mysterious group of costumed strangers whisk Grandma away, making them suspect the supernatural worst.

black-ish - "Advance to Go (Collect $200)" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre brings everyone together for a rowdy family game night and the competition is fierce. The game of choice is Monopoly and as the night progresses, alliances are formed and some are pushed to their limits. Meanwhile, Bow makes it clear how she feels about Junior’s girlfriend.

The Mayor - "City Hall-oween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Mayor Courtney Rose and Police Chief Fox (Kristen Johnston) find themselves at odds on how to handle the community’s first annual spook-tacular celebration at City Hall. During the night of the bash, it dawns on Courtney that throwing a party to keep kids safe doesn’t address the bigger issues in Fort Grey and plans to work with Chief Fox going forward. Meanwhile, Dina gets into the spirit by dressing up as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, while Jermaine and T.K. set out to prank Val who has the last laugh when she outsmarts the guys at their own game.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 23)

Tuesday, October 24

  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Catch Ted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina is a musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/The Suite Life on Deck) - Cole visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Gabourey chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael drops by The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette talks about her LA road rage, her love life and more on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie is in the kitchen with three super-easy slow cooker dishes – like Sloppy Joes and a Pasta Bake on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna talks about her show Kevin (Probably) Saves the World – and her friendship with Lea Michele on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Denis Leary (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/The Job) - Denis is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.
  • J. B. Smoove (The Millers/'Til Death/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - J. B. is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace) - Debra appears on Daily Pop on E! at 12pm.


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