Friday, June 13, 2008

TV Rebels: Jack Webb; TV Land's She's Got The Look Scores Again for Episode 2

We were very busy in May (upfronts!) so we couldn't bring you the May installment of TV Rebels, but we will bring it to you today! We will bring you the June edition later this month, I promise. We originally had special permission to publish the first 6 essays on TV shows and actors that will be featured in the upcoming book TV Rebels: 100 People and Programs That Shaped the Medium by authors Lou Orfanella and Oscar De Los Santos...and as we mentioned in April, we have now gotten rights to 6 additional essays, so we will be bringing you one each month until at least November! Upcoming TV Rebel columns coming soon are about Andy Griffith, Bill Cosby, and Desi Arnaz. The book is in the works and will be released in 2009.

So without further adieu, we bring you the sixth essay of TV Rebels:

Jack Webb: Just The Facts Ma'am
by Lou Orfanella

Dum de dum dum. Dum de dum dum dum. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent." Nine musical notes, eighteen words, and the most famous police drama to ever hit the airwaves. From 1952 to 1959 and again from 1967 to 1970 on NBC Sgt. Joe Friday of the Los Angeles police department kept the streets safe from crime solving cases drawn from the actual LAPD files. Stone-faced actor Jack Webb played Friday in both incarnations of Dragnet, a part he originally played on a radio version of the series. With catch phrases like "My name's Friday, I'm a cop." and "Just the facts, ma'am," Webb's Joe Friday became an iconic figure among television cops. Besides starring, Webb created, directed, and produced Dragnet as well as overseeing the hits Adam-12 and Emergency! through his MarkVII Limited company.
With a keen eye for detail and a desire for realism in his series, Webb the producer, and Dragnet the series, created what may well have been the prototype for all police shows that followed. "Jack Webb's contributions to the film industry were his use and improvement of the teleprompter, automobile tow shots, and close camera angles. He is credited as the person who pioneered the television police drama, which remains popular to present times. Further, with his demand for accuracy and realism, Jack desired an economy of dialogue with no excessive verbiage, insisting on a 'clean script.' He would have strongly objected to today's excessive violence offered on television" (Moyer 220).
Dragnet was in fact relatively devoid of violence. Few gunshots were fired and the show was considered unqualified family fare that was praised for its overarching theme that crime does not pay. A letter received by Webb and quoted in an early article about Dragnet underscores the appreciation he received. "Not only do you provide wholesome entertainment, but you are doing more for law enforcement than anyone else in the entertainment field. As a former FBI agent, deputy city attorney and prosecuting attorney, I'm particularly grateful for the public service you are rendering" (Harris 21).
After Webb's death in 1982 there were several attempts to revive Dragnet. Dan Aykroyd starred in a comedic big screen version in 1987. A syndicated version ran for 52 episodes starting in 1989. Producer Dick Wolf whose own Law & Order franchise drew from actual case in the Dragnet tradition attempted a revival in 2003. In this Dragnet a post-Married with Children Ed O'Neill played Joe Friday. Only 22 episodes were produced for ABC. Joe Friday was apparently too closely associated with Jack Webb for anyone else to wear badge 714.
Webb was a pioneer, a TV rebel whose contributions to the medium were long lasting. "Jack Webb achieved fame as a film and television actor, producer, and director who created the most popular crime drama it its time. His fast-paced and long-running Dragnet set standards and formats that influence television and motion-picture films today. Most police and detective stories prior to Dragnet concerned commercial and glamorized characters that real-life officers frequently laughed about. But Jack's contribution to police work was that his stories addressed the daily trials and tribulations of an actual large city department, from whose records he drew true-to-life accounts" (Moyer xi).

Works Cited
Harris, Jay S. TV Guide: The First 25 Years. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.
Moyer, Daniel and Eugene Alvarez. Just the Facts, Ma'am: The Authorized Biography of Jack Webb. Santa Ana: Seven Locks Press, 2001.

TV Land's newest original reality series, She's Got The Look, continues to build momentum, as the second episode aired this past Wednesday and scored double digit gains among the network's target demo, Adults 25-54, and the network's core audience, Adults 40-54 over last week's series premiere.
The six-episode series, a collaboration with Wilhelmina Models, Inc., sets out to discover a sophisticated, beautiful and confident woman 35 or older destined to become the next great supermodel. The winner will receive a lucrative modeling contract with Wilhelmina Models, Inc. and a photo spread for SELF Magazine.
Wednesday's episode, in which the ten finalists dare to bare it all in their first elimination challenge, posted a 0.5 rating (488,000 viewers) among A25-54, up 15% in rating from last week's episode and 14% in viewers. Among the network's core A40-54 audience, the episode earned a 0.6 rating (313,000 viewers), a rise of 12% in rating and 13% in viewers over last week's premiere episode. The median age was 45...which is inside the network's 40-54 core audience. Compared to a year ago, the telecast witnessed a 74% increase in rating and 79% increase in viewers among A25-54 and a 39% rise in rating and 44% in viewers among A40-54.
TV Land did not release how many total viewers there were as they did for the series premiere...my guess is it went down a bit in total viewers.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, June 12

Henry Danger - "Captain Man Strikes Out" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Captain Man goes on strike because he declines to pay for artwork that he destroyed while on a mission, the vice mayor appoints a new hero, Monsieur Man, to defend Swellview.

Tyler Perry's Young Dylan - "Food for the Soul" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Dylan gets ready to return to Chicago with his mother, but a change in plans has him questioning their relationship; the rest of the family is trying to help Dylan through this latest crisis.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 7)

Friday, June 11

  • Kathryn Hahn (Central Park/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Catch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Designing Women) - Jean appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - Michelle chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey talks about The Celebrity Dating Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ellen Burstyn (The Ellen Burstyn Show) - Ellen will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about Queen Bees in the 10am hour.
  • Jasmine Cephas-Jones (Blindspotting) - Jasmine talks about Blindspotting on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) and David Koechner (Superior Donuts/F Is for Family/The Golbergs/Hank/The Office) - Rob and David talk about The Big Slick Benefit on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) and Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Jane and Loretta talk about Queen Bees on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series

02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

06/11 - Fri-Yay: Kim's Convenience Is An Underrated Streaming Sitcom; Ted Revived as Series for Peacock
06/10 - CNN's History of the Sitcom Premieres July 11; Miracle Workers Returns to TBS for 3rd Season This Summer
06/09 - Antenna TV's Bewitched Double the Darrins Father's Day Marathon; HBO Max Renews Hacks for 2nd Season
06/08 - COZI TV Father's Day Marathon: Herman Munster vs. Dan Conner; Paramount+ Bolsters Offerings This Summer
06/07 - Who Are You, Charlie Brown? Debuts June 25 on Apple TV+; FX, FXX and FX on Hulu Announce 8 Premieres for Summer/Early Fall
06/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 7, 2021)
06/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Warner Bros. and Discovery Merger Moving Forward; Saturday Night Live Ends Season 46 on Top
06/04 - Fri-Yay: Happy Endings Now on Netflix, a Perfect New Comedy Binge; Remembering Arlene Golonka of Mayberry R.F.D.
06/03 - Leah Remini GSN Game Show Receives 2nd Season; Helen Mirren to Narrate ABC's When Nature Calls
06/02 - black-ish Coming to Freeform in July; TBS Sets Cast for Comedy Pilot Called Space
06/01 - Remembering Gavin MacLeod of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat; Mr. Big Returns in New Sex and the City Chapter
05/31 - Memorial Day 2021 TV Marathons
05/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 31, 2021)
05/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at the Fall 2021 Lineup; Amazon to Buy MGM
05/28 - Fri-Yay: Friends Reunion Special Thoughts; Breeders Renewed for Season 3 on FX
05/27 - NBC Launches NBC Summer Games, Schedules Family Game Fight; Modern Love Returns Aug. 13 on Amazon Prime Video
05/26 - The CW Gets Nostalgic with The Waltons & Scooby-Doo; A Black Lady Sketch Show Coming Back for Season 3
05/25 - The CW Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Former Grey's Star Joins Sex and the City New Chapter
05/24 - TBS Launches Best of Friends Awards; AMC Networks Adds to All-Star Cast of Ultra City Smiths
05/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 24, 2021)
05/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at Reboot of The Wonder Years; Kaley Cuoco Signs Development Deal with Warner
05/21 - Fri-Yay: First Look at the 2021-2022 Sitcom Slate; NBC Books Eighth and Final Season Premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine for August 12
05/20 - TNets Upfront: Chad and Wipeout Renewed for Second Seasons in 2022; The Dick Van Dyke Show in Color on CBS Friday (May 21)
05/19 - CBS Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; HBO's Betty Returns June 11
05/18 - ABC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Paramount+ Orders The Game Revival
05/17 - Fox Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Friends Reunion on HBO Max, Every Episode Marathon on TBS
05/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 17, 2021)
05/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Cancels Several Series; Quibi Returns Via Roku
05/14 - NBC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Fri-Yay: ABC and CBS Comedy Renewal Decisions
05/13 - Billy Porter and More Join The Proud Family Revival; HBO Max Orders Gordita Chronicles
05/12 - FXX Orders Animated Comedy Little Demon; The CW to Revive Legends of the Hidden Temple
05/11 - Fox 2021-22 Updates Includes Comedy News; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 for 2021-22, NBC Orders Dark Comedy Pilot