Monday, December 03, 2018

Comedy Central Orders Awkwafina Comedy; Remembering Ken Berry of F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family

Comedy Central

Comedy Central is working with ascendant multi-hyphenate Awkwafina, as the #1 brand in comedy ordered 10 episodes of her self-titled scripted series. Awkwafina is a half-hour scripted narrative starring writer, actor and rapper Awkwafina (Ocean's 8, Crazy Rich Asians) as a twenty-something living in Queens, striving for a larger than life existence while living with her father and grandmother. Awkwafina, Karey Dornetto (SMILF, Portlandia) and Teresa Hsiao (Family Guy, American Dad) wrote the pilot directed by Lucia Aniello (Broad City, Rough Night). The cast is rounded out by Bowen Yang as Awkwafina's more successful cousin, BD Wong as her father, and Lori Tan Chinn as her grandmother.

Looking ahead, Comedy Central has a stacked year to offer fans with a programming slate that will feature new and returning series including: the premieres of scripted half-hour series Robbie, The Other Two and South Side; sketch-comedy series Alternatino with Arturo Castro; stand-up series This Week at the Comedy Cellar and The New Negroes; new series from Jordan Klepper and Anthony Jeselnik; along with the final season of Broad City, the return of the critically acclaimed Corporate, and new seasons of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Tosh.0, Drunk History, The Jim Jefferies Show and much, much more.


Ken Berry

Actor Ken Berry, who starred in F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family, has died. He died on December 1 in Burbank, California. Mr. Berry was 85.

Berry's early television guest appearances included Talent Patrol, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, Playboy's Penthouse and Harrigan and Son. He had a recurring role as Woody, a bellhop at a New York hotel called the Bartley House, in the CBS sitcom The Ann Sothern Show from 1960 to 1961. He appeared in seven episodes of Ensign O'Toole as Calucci / Lt. Melton from 1962 to 1963. Some of his other 1960s sitcom guest appearances included The Jim Backus Show, Peter Loves Mary, Hennesey, The Gertrude Berg Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show (two episodes), Hazel, No Time for Sergeants (three episodes), The Lucy Show and The Andy Griffith Show (four episodes as Sam Jones).

F Troop

His first sitcom starring role was as Captain Wilton Parmenter in the 1965-1967 ABC sitcom F Troop. He was the gallant although laughably clumsy military governor of the territory and commander of Fort Courage. The series, which ran for two seasons, also starred Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Melody Patterson, Frank de Kova, Don Diamond, James Hampton, Bob Steele and Joe Brooks.

Mayberry R.F.D.

He appeared in the last few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as Sam Jones, a widowed farmer with a young son, in 1968. Berry continued to play the character in the spin-off series Mayberry R.F.D., which premiered on CBS on September 23, 1968. It ran for three seasons and 78 episodes until the rural purge of 1971. The series also starred Frances Bavier (1968-1970), George Lindsay, Jack Dodson, Paul Hartman, Arlene Golonka, Buddy Foster and Alice Ghostley.

Berry had a long working relationship with Carol Burnett. He made 19 guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show from 1968 to 1978. They appeared together in the 1972 CBS color remake of Burnett's Broadway hit, Once Upon a Mattress. He played Phillip, Eunice's brother, in the 1982 CBS TV movie Eunice, which was based on The Carol Burnett Show sketch, The Family.

Mama's Family

He starred as Vinton Harper in Mama's Family, which was a spin-off from The Carol Burnett Show. Vinton was the youngest of Thelma Harper's three children. He was married to Naomi Oates Harper. The series aired for two seasons on NBC from 1983 to 1984 and four seasons in first-run syndication from 1986 to 1990. It starred Vicki Lawrence, Rue McClanahan (1983-1984), Dorothy Lyman, Eric Brown (1983-1984), Karin Argoud (1983-1984), Betty White (1983-1984, 1986), Allan Kayser (1986-1990) and Beverly Archer (1986-1990).

Some of his other sitcom guest appearances included Love, American Style, The Brady Bunch, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break!, Small Wonder, The Golden Girls and Maggie Winters.

He appeared in television dramas. He provided comic relief as Dr. John Kapish in 25 episodes of Dr. Kildare, which starred Richard Chamberlain, from 1961 to 1964. Some of his drama guest appearances included Michael Shayne, General Electric Theatre, Mr. Novak, Burke's Law, Combat!, The Rogues, Rawhide, 12 O'Clock High, Medical Center, Ellery Queen, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Little House on the Prairie, CHiPs and Fantasy Island.

Some of his film credits included the 1969 musical comedy Hello Down There, Guardian of the Wilderness and Disney's Herbie Rides Again and The Cat from Outer Space.

Berry was also an accomplished dancer and singer. He appeared on Broadway in The Billy Barnes Revue and headlined as George M. Cohan in the musical George M!. Some of his other theater credits included The Music Man, I Do! I Do!, Sugar and 1993's From the Top with Carol Burnett. In 1970, he released an album called Ken Berry RFD. He appeared in two episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1964 as dance instructor Tony Daniels. He had his own short-lived summer musical variety series called The Ken Berry "Wow" Show on ABC in 1972. He worked as a choreographer on several episodes of Mama's Family.

He was interviewed for the Archive of American Television for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on March 7, 2012.

Mr. Berry was a man of many talents as an actor, dancer and singer. He stated in interviews that he was most proud of his work on F Troop, but he made everything he appeared in much better. He just seemed like a genuine, likable man. We thank him for the many laughs and hours of entertainment that he brought us during his long career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family message boards. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, February 18

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Malcolm's Job" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Tina agrees to give Grover piano lessons and her son Malcolm lands a job in retail sales, neither Butler has a first day that goes quite according to plan.

Man with a Plan - "Put Him on the Ground" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam sees a kid push Emme, he convinces Teddy to dish out some old-school justice to defend his younger sister, to Andi’s dismay. Also, Adam and Don persuade Joe to hire a nurse to help out after his upcoming knee surgery. Ron Funches guest stars as Funches, Joe’s home nurse.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Monday, February 18

  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Watch Paul on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years/Truth Be Told) - Mark-Paul visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate chats about her new Netflix show The Umbrella Academy on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe is a guest on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Enemy Within on the BUILD Series at 3:30pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest