We were fortunate to attend the Cougar Town Viewing Party event at the Paley Center for Media in New York City on Saturday night with the entire cast (together for the first time at a viewing party event) and showrunners Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. Producer Randall Winston was also on hand. But first, there was a red-carpet event with the entire cast coming one-by-one. We were lucky enough to see and take pictures of Josh Hopkins (Grayson), Dan Byrd (Travis), Bob Clendenin (Tom), Ian Gomez (Andy) and producer Kevin Biegel during the red-carpet festivity. After that, it was off to the concourse theater to get ready to screen two episodes from the upcoming season and to listen to the cast and producers in a panel style discussion. TVLine.com's Michael Ausiello introduced us to the event and creator Bill Lawrence at 7pm sharp. Bill then talked a bit about these viewing parties that have been happening since the end of December and also he gave some info on the episodes we were about to see. The episodes being screened on this night were the season premiere "Ain't Love Strange" and the fifth episode of the season "A One Story Town." The episodes were HILARIOUS and the crowd went wild many many times. One item of note, I already had seen both of these episodes in a press screener but I will tell you this, it was even funnier the second time around!
Some hints on these episodes, the season premiere, which premieres tonight at 8:30/7:30c on ABC, is perfect for Valentine's Day, as it is funny, warm, sweet, heartfelt and silly, which is just about everything Cougar Town sets out to do! And if you think that episode is top notch, wait until you see the fifth episode of the season in mid-March (scheduled for March 13) as Scrubs star Sarah Chalke guest stars as Bobby's new girlfriend and also Scrubs' Sam Lloyd is back. Everything just works in this episode and this comedic ensemble worked perfectly on this episode. And Scrubs fans get a very nice towards the end of the episode. It's a must see! I won't give anything away, but let's just say it's not just Scrubs in Florida with a lot of wine.
After the screening, Ausiello introduced us to the cast and producers one-by-one as they took their seats at the panel (left to right): Kevin Biegel, Bob Clendenin, Ian Gomez, Christa Miller, Brian Van Holt, Dan Byrd, Busy Philipps, Josh Hopkins, Courteney Cox, and Bill Lawrence! We learned a lot in this panel and we also laughed a lot. They are all very funny! Some info we learned, the series was going to change its name last season to The Sunshine State, but ABC had a similar-titled show at that time called Mr. Sunshine. Now the series is not changing the title. Why? The name wouldn't change on DVRs and that it would prevent the show from recording for people who have series recordings set. So it's not going to change, it's a great show with a bad title. Among the highlights from the panel include: Courteney Cox talking about directing two episodes this season, her daughter Coco's cameo and David Arquette guest starring; Laurie getting a new boyfriend that she fins on Twitter; Bob Clendenin will be upgraded to a series regular in season four; more baby Stan (who now talks); movie parody episodes of Groundhog Day and Braveheart; Barb (Carolyn Hennesy) is coming back and she is now married to Barry Bostwick's character; and so much more that I don't want to spoil, but it was great night and it's going to be a great season!
After the panel concluded, one lucky fan won a huge Cougar Town poster signed by the entire cast! And some fans stuck around and took pictures with Bill Lawrence inside and everyone got free Cougar Town 2012 Tour t-shirts! And finally, many fans waited outside for the cast to come out and most of them were very generous and stayed outside in the cold to take pictures and sign autographs with the fans! I think the most generous were Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel, Dan Byrd, and Bob Clendenin. Kudos to them especially! But now the night has finally come, after nine long months, Cougar Town is back with new episodes starting TONIGHT at 8:30/7:30c on ABC! Tune in because it's the perfect episode to air on Valentine's Day and you'll see why by the end of the episode. Make it a date with Cougar Town (and no there are no cougars, both animal or ladies in their 40's on the prowl) on V Day!
Shifting gears, it's Valentine's Day so we have to talk about some love stuff. Well how about I Love Lucy? The Hallmark Channel will play all 13 special episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. The series will be aired in edited thirty-minute installments under the syndication title We Love Lucy. These were intended to run directly after the sixth season of I Love Lucy in syndication. Hallmark Channel hasn't aired these before, so this will be a treat to watch all 13 hours (26 half-hours) in one shot, if you haven't seen it at all or haven't seen it on TV in years.
The marathon begins on Oscar Sunday (Feb. 26) at 6am and will run through 7pm. It will encore again from 7pm on Sunday to 6am the next day (Feb. 27). Moving on to other marathons on Hallmark, on Saturday, March 3 beginning at 11:59pm (12 midnight), Hallmark will start a M*A*S*H marathon that will run through 6pm the next day on Sunday, March 4. It looks like this series airs marathons every few months. On Saturday, March 24, it's a Little House on the Prairie 90-minute episodes stunt starting at 10am through 12 midnight. And finally on Saturday, March 31, spend the day with The Waltons as Hallmark airs a marathon from 10am-6pm followed by the two-hour special A Walton Easter from 6-8pm then A Decade of The Waltons from 8-10pm, as Easter Sunday nears. And we of course mentioned last week that the Mary Tyler Moore Show will have a marathon on Sunday, April 1. More to come on that! But for now enjoy these marathons and as of now, Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour will not be added into the I Love Lucy regular schedule, so make a note of the Feb. 26 marathon if you want to see these 13 episodes!