Thursday, May 26, 2016

Remembering Beth Howland, Vera from Alice; Another Period Renewed by Comedy Central

Beth Howland

Actress Beth Howland, who was best known for her role as Vera Gorman in Alice, has died. She died of lung cancer on December 31, 2015, in Santa Monica, California. As per her request, her death was not reported to the media until May 24. Ms. Howland was 74.

Howland's career began on stage on Broadway in 1959 with her role as Lady Beth in the Carol Burnett musical Once Upon a Mattress. She originated the role of Amy in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company, in which she introduced the patter song Getting Married Today. Some of her other roles included the musicals Bye Bye Birdie, High Spirits, Drat! The Cat! and Darling of the Day.

Some of her early television guest appearances included Mary Tyler Moore (2 episodes), Love, American Style, Cannon, The Rookies, Bronk and Little House on the Prairie. She had uncredited roles in the films Li'l Abner (1958) and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1972).


Howland starred as Vera Louise Gorman (later Novak) in Alice. Vera was a neurotic, scatterbrained waitress at Mel's Diner in Phoenix. She was accident prone. Her scene with the exploding straws in the pilot episode was used in the opening credits. The shy Vera married policeman Elliot Novak (Charles Levin) in the eighth season.

The popular series ran for nine seasons on CBS from 1976-1985. It also starred Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback, Philip McKeon, Polly Holliday (1976-1980), Diane Ladd (1980-1981) and Celia Weston (1981-1985). Howland received four Golden Globe Award nominations for the role in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Some of her other television guest appearances included Eight Is Enough, The Love Boat (6 episodes), Comedy Factory, You Can't Take It With You, Murder She, Wrote, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Batman Beyond (voice), The Tick and As Told by Ginger.

She starred in television movies, including The Ted Bessell Show, You Can't Take It With You, The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter and Agatha Christie's: A Caribbean Mystery. She appeared in the 1988 ABC Afterschool Special: Terrible Things My Mother Told Me.

Survivors include her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough of Murphy Brown fame, and her daughter, Holly Rowland, from her first marriage to actor Michael J. Pollard.

Ms. Howland was very funny as Vera. We wish someone would air Alice. It would also be great to have the remaining five seasons available on DVD. We thank her for the many laughs she brought us. She will be deeply missed.

Share your memories on our Alice message board. View photos in our galleries.

Another Period

Listen up peasants! The original ballers are back and here to stay. Comedy Central's turn-of-the-century historical and satirical scripted series, Another Period, has been renewed for a third season. The ten-episode second season, co-created by and starring Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, directed by Jeremy Konner and executive produced by Ben Stiller's Red Hour, debuts on Wednesday, June 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Prior to season two's premiere, fans can indulge themselves as the Bellacourts' would by binging on the entire first season of Another Period, available on the Comedy Central App and starting June 8. Another Period tells the incredible story of the Bellacourt sisters, Lillian and Beatrice (played by Leggero and Lindhome), who are defined by their family's wealth and care only about becoming super famous - which is a lot harder in 1902 - and follows the insanely decadent and outrageous life of the Bellacourt coterie. Before others claimed their fame, they were the one American family who epitomized all that was spoiled, shameless and stupid - with more servants than relatives and days filled with money, sex, drugs... and more money.

During the second season, the Bellacourts and the poor souls under their servitude return for a whole new season full of excess and debauchery with Lillian and Beatrice seeking advice on how to rebrand, attempting to divorce their gay husbands, pursuing new male suitors, fighting infectious diseases and, of course, still trying to become famous. Servants from downstairs head upstairs, sex is attempted to be had for pleasure, political scandals play out, and illustrious characters from our nation's past - such as Albert Einstein, Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman - pay visit to Newport's first family. On Tuesday, June 14, the day before the Season Two linear premiere, Comedy Central will provide fans the opportunity to experience, firsthand, a dinner with the Bellacourts via a 360ยบ virtual reality video available through Comedy Central's Facebook page the and Another Period Facebook page.

Season Two episodes of Another Period will be available the same day they premiere via and the Comedy Central app and will be available next day on iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Verizon Multi-Screen.

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

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.