Thursday, September 11, 2008

SitcomsOnline.com Exclusive: Interview with ION Television; ABC Moves Samantha Who Season Premiere; TBS Renews Engvall Sitcom


We have a very exciting interview for you today. We finally have the long awaited interview with ION Television, just in time for their new changes that happened this week! As always with our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form!

We had the pleasure to interview Eleo Hensleigh, CMO, ION Media Networks, Inc. Eleo was named Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in February 2008 and develops, manages and implements all marketing and branding activities across the Company in support of the network and digital multiplatform portfolio. Ms. Hensleigh leads all consumer-facing and business-to-business branding and marketing activities company-wide. She is also in charge of leading the expansion of the Company's research organization, providing qualitative and quantitative audience, consumer, sales and media planning insights for all divisions. Previously, Ms. Hensleigh was with Disney-ABC, where, over her tenure, she oversaw the marketing and branding functions of both the Television and Cable Groups. She served as Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President, Marketing & Brand Strategy, and was involved in the marketing, advertising, research, media planning, synergy, creative services and promotion divisions for ABC Television Networks.
ION Television is a general entertainment network which reaches over 94 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems. Launched in 2006, ION Television features popular TV series and movies from the award-winning libraries of RHI Entertainment, CBS Television, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros. Parent company, ION Media Networks, Inc., owns and operates the nation's largest broadcast television station group.

We thank Eleo and ION Television for taking the time to answer some of the most interesting questions we have for them. So it is time for another installment of SitcomsOnline's Seven Questions Series! We need a jingle...

"Seven Questions with ION Television"

SitcomsOnline: First off, thanks so much for the opportunity and your time! ION has certainly made bold acquisitions to bolster its primetime line-up. The deals for Boston Legal, ER, NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Ghost Whisperer were very huge and will change the face of ION to more of a mainstream network. For the shows that are currently airing on broadcast television, will their current seasons be available to ION after the season ends on broadcast? For example, ER was bought for seasons 11-14, but season 15 starts on NBC this fall...will ION have access to season 15 after the 2008-09 season ends?
ION: Starting Monday, September 8th, ION Television has started offering viewers a new, "Positively Entertaining" slate of strategically acquired fall programming that appeals to a younger, broader audience. Regarding currently-airing seasons of off-network series, the arrangements are unique to each show.

SitcomsOnline: What will happen to the older shows ION has aired in the past like Mama's Family, Alice and Who's the Boss? Mama's Family has certainly been the face of ION for the last few years but now ION wants to separate itself from that. Why is that? Couldn't Mama just be moved out of primetime into say an afternoon slot like 4pm since it did so well for the network?
ION: While these classic programs reflected ION Television's traditional audience base, the new network brand is strongly focused on our current identity, which is bold, innovative and "Positively Entertaining" to our growing adult 25-54 audience.

SitcomsOnline: ION's expansion is great, but still plenty of hours are filled with paid programming. Many people want to know why is this and can we expect more paid programming hours to be removed little by little?
ION: ION is currently focusing on its primetime programming. Following the successful launch of ION Television's fall 2008 lineup, the network will move to address a full daytime strategy, with the goal of shifting away from paid programming. In April 2008, ION Television extended its weekday entertainment schedule by an additional hour of programming from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Beginning September 8th, the network plans on expanding its programming lineup by yet another hour, starting at 4:00 p.m.

SitcomsOnline: There have been some shows that never really got a chance to air, like Perfect Strangers and Growing Pains, will they come back? Has ION thought about creating an early afternoon block (or even late nights) filled with older sitcoms from the 70s and 80s leading into their late afternoon/evening block starting at 4pm?
ION: We are considering a lot of possibilities right now. It would be premature to announce anything, but we are looking at a variety of ways to serve our growing audience with the kind of fresh, "Positively Entertaining" programming that fits our brand promise.

SitcomsOnline: ION wants to build on the age 25-54 demographic, correct? I think so far ION has done a good job with the recent pick-ups like ER and Boston Legal, but I don't understand how most of the RHI films will be of that demographic? Most of them, especially the westerns, seem to be for age 55+. Will the RHI films be more younger now, even the library ones?
ION: Many of the RHI library films are Emmy Award winning films that were made for a broad audience. The original films that are being created for ION Television speak to that audience, and hold great appeal for adults 25-54. For instance, the network recently aired Jekyll and Hyde, starring Dougray Scott - who was recently a regular on the contemporary hit show, Desperate Housewives.

SitcomsOnline: ION has also created an African American initiative, which right now has a block of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Steve Harvey Show from 5-7pm, with Wayans Bros. airing recently as well. What can we expect of this initiative in the future and what exactly is it?
ION: ION Television has a partnership in place with Star Media and OMG to develop diverse programming for an urban audience. The partnership is aimed at providing programming to this audience and re-investing in original programming over time.

SitcomsOnline: Finally, ION certainly has access to various programming libraries it seems, from Sony Pictures Television (shows like Charlie's Angels, Partridge Family), Warner Bros (shows like Perfect Strangers, Wonder Years) and Universal (shows like Amen, McHale's Navy). Would it be possible for ION to create a digital channel, like qubo and ION Life, for classic TV or regular programs? This way these programming libraries could be more used if they don't work or fit on ION Television.
ION: Utilizing its digital multicasting capability and national reach, ION Media Networks' digital TV brands, qubo, a television and multimedia network for children formed in partnership with several leading media and entertainment companies, and ION Life, the country's first multicast network dedicated to active lifestyles, personal growth and positive values, have flourished. Both "diginets," which present branded program offerings on ION Television, serve to educate and engage priming viewers with positive messaging and helpful information. We are constantly innovating and looking for ways to effectively leverage our programming to deepen our engagement with our audience and to grow our audience over time.

Our thanks to to ION Television and Eleo Hensleigh, and best wishes in making ION Television establish itself with their new contemporary hits! We do hope the older sitcoms/shows appear in the daytime or in some way (would fit with M*A*S*H), as ION has announced that they do have plans to remove paid programming in the daytime. Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time. For more information on ION Television, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view their newly designed website with a new URL http://www.iontelevision.com/. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for news updates for this network.


ABC has pushed back the second season premiere of sitcom Samantha Who? back a week to Monday, October 13 at 9:31PM ET/PT following Dancing with the Stars. It was previously scheduled to launch on October 6 in that time period. ABC likely did it because of the debate on Tuesday, October 7. On that night ABC has announced it will move the Dancing with the Stars: The Results from 9PM to 8PM, so they can air the Debate from 9-11PM ET. The season premiere of Samantha Who? will be dancing-themed and have guest stars Cybil Shepherd and Dancing with the Stars pro Mark Ballas! It should be fun...I have it in advance and will watch it soon and let you know how it went.
For other recent ABC schedule updates, head on over to our message board for a listing.

After another highly successful run this summer, TBS has ordered a third season of its top-rated original sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. TBS has ordered 10 episodes of the show, which will return to the network in summer 2009.
Set in a Denver suburb, The Bill Engvall Show focuses on family counselor Bill Pearson and his wife, Susan, who strive to raise three well-adjusted children in an ever-changing world. The show offers a humorous look at parenting in the 21st century, a task Susan finds especially challenging because Bill is often as much of a handful as the kids.
Throughout its two seasons on TBS, The Bill Engvall Show has been embraced by viewers. The show's July 2007 series debut was watched by more than 4.1 million viewers and landed among ad-supported cable's Top 3 sitcom telecasts of all-time among adults 25-54 and households, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. This past summer, the show averaged 2.3 million viewers and ranked as ad-supported cable's #1 program in its time period among adults 18-49.
In December, TBS will present two special episodes of The Bill Engvall Show, just in time for the holidays!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, February 19

The Goldbergs - "Dave Kim's Party" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
A big party is being thrown at Dave Kim’s house and Pops has a plan to make Adam cool for the big event. Meanwhile, Beverly’s cookbook has made her “famous,” leading her to become out of control and fame-hungry, but eventually she learns an important lesson.

Schooled - "Moving On" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Wilma steps in to help CB move on from Lainey with help from Coach Mellor, while Lainey learns she has unresolved issues from her past when mentoring a student.

Modern Family - "Spuds" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Phil and Claire take Haley and Dylan to dinner to reassure them they are not bad parents. While out to dinner, they run into Mitch and Cam who are chaperoning Lily’s first date, as well as Jay and Gloria after attending Joe’s school play.

Single Parents - "Hip$ for Dolores" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After rent on the Winebrary goes up, the gang all chip in in their own ways to help solve Poppy’s new financial problem, each learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 17)

Wednesday, February 19

  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Laura Dern (F Is for Family/Enlightened) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • James Marsden (30 Rock) - James stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lizzy Caplan (Party Down/The Class) - Lizzy is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Adam Pally (Indebted/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam drops by The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jurnee Smollett-Bell (On Our Own) - Jurnee appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph (High Fidelity/People of Earth/Selfie) - Da'Vine talks about High Fidelity on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Suzanne Somers (Step by Step/She's the Sheriff/Three's Company) - Suzanne is a guest on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren appears on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly is a guest on People Now at 12pm.
  • Lark Voorhies (Saved by the Bell/In the House) - The actress who portrayed Lisa Turtle on the iconic teen sitcom Saved by the Bell opens up about her mental health challenges and her reaction to being left out of the reboot of the show on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


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

Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series

12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/18 - Family Matters Back on TBS; Caroline Rhea to Headline Showtime Comedy Special
02/17 - The Last O.G. Returns to TBS on April 7; He-Man Gets All-Star Cast on Netflix
02/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 17, 2020)
02/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CSI Limited Series for the 20th Anniversary?; ABC Orders Comedy Pilots
02/14 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens; HBO's Avenue 5 Gets 2nd Season
02/13 - The Mighty Ducks Returning as Series on Disney+; NBC Sets More Mid-Season Series
02/12 - NBC Renews Superstore for Season 6; UK Comedy Receives 2nd Season Before US Premiere
02/11 - Brockmire's Final Season Begins March 18; The Good Doctor Gets 4th Season
02/10 - Audible Gets Comedy Series with Big Stars; Fox Gets Another Guessing Music Series

02/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 10, 2020)
02/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Friends Reunion Coming to HBO Max; IMDb TV Acquires Free Streaming Rights to Lost, Malcolm in the Middle, and More
02/07 - Fri-Yay: Two Comedies Have Series Finales; House of Payne Returning and New Tyler Perry Sitcom Both Coming to BET
02/06 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Indebted - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 6); HBO Runs with New Comedy
02/05 - HBO Max Gets Jameela Jamil to Judge Series; ThunderCats Roar Back to TV on Cartoon Network
02/04 - ABC's Fresh Off the Boat Series Finale Details; Funny Or Die Comedy Now Streaming
02/03 - Netflix Gets Katharine McPhee Multi-Cam Sitcom; Two Daytime Soaps Renewed
02/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 3, 2020)
02/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Remembering Fred Silverman, the Man Who Shaped TV in the 70s; Pair of Soap Operas Renewed
01/31 - Fri-Yay: The Good Place Officially Ends; Starz Picks Up Comedy with Amber Stevens West
01/30 - Terry Bradshaw Gets Comedic Series The Bradshaw Bunch; ABC Moves Drama Premiere by a Week in April
01/29 - CBS Announces Midseason Comedy Premieres; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Is a Hit
01/28 - The Good Place Finale Post Show Special; Guy Fieri Is Up for a Food Network Face-Off
01/27 - New Punk'd Gets Host; Comedic Game Show Renewed Through 2023
01/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 27, 2020)
01/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pilot Season in Full Swing; Katey Sagal to Play Role Inspired by Erin Brockovich in ABC Drama Pilot
01/24 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Line-Ups - A Thing of the Past?; Adult Swim Comedy Returns Feb. 23
01/23 - The Conners Celebrate Grand Opening of Lanford Lunch Box with Contest; Lifetime Celebrates 30 Years of Original Movies
01/22 - HBO Max Gets Animated with Royals Comedy; Netflix Announces Premiere Date for Sophia Lillis Comedy
01/21 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: Hulu - a Comedy with Steve Martin and Martin Short, the Renewal of Dollface
01/20 - TCA Winter 2020 Press Tour: More Cable; 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® Winners
01/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 20, 2020)
01/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Punky Brewster Reboot Officially a Go; Freeform Renews Pair of Series