Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Remembering Sherman Hemsley, The Jeffersons Marathons on TV Land and TV One; TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour: NBC Day 2

Sherman Hemsley

Actor Sherman Hemsley, best known for his role as the cranky George Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on Amen, has died. He died on July 24 at his home in El Paso, Texas, apparently of natural causes. Mr. Hemsley was 74.

Hemsley's professional acting career began as a stage actor in New York. He made his Broadway debut in Purlie in 1970 and toured with the show for a year. In 1971, Norman Lear called him and offered him the role of George Jefferson, a neighbor of the Bunkers, on All in the Family. Hemsley declined the offer because of his theatre work, but he joined the cast two years later. He made his debut as the character on October 25, 1973, in the episode "Henry's Farewell." From 1973-1975 he appeared in a total of thirteen episodes of the series, plus two additional episodes after he left for the spinoff. The Jeffersons premiered on CBS on January 18, 1975. The show became an immediate ratings hit and was one of the most successful and longest-running spinoffs in history. It ran for 11 seasons and 253 episodes. At the time of its cancellation in 1985, it was the longest-running primetime scripted series on the air. Hemsley received an Emmy nomination in 1984 and Golden Globe Award nomination in 1985. The actors on the show were nominated for Emmys a total of 13 times. His television wife, Isabel Sanford, was nominated seven times from 1979-1985 and won in 1981. Although they were twenty years apart in real life, Hemsley and Sanford had great chemistry together. They also appeared together in two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1995 and 1996. In the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, they appeared in a series of commercials for The Gap, Old Navy and Denny's. The cast also reunited for a Jeffersons stage-play. Hemsley and Sanford appeared at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards in 2004. Hemsley's final credited acting appearance was as George Jefferson in a 2011 episode of Tyler Perry's House of Payne. His Jeffersons co-star Marla Gibbs also appeared in the episode as Florence Johnston.

Sherman Hemsley Sherman Hemsley

Hemsley's second major role was on the 1986-1991 NBC sitcom Amen. He starred as the fiery Deacon Ernest Frye for five seasons. The series, which co-starred Clifton Davis, Anna Maria Horsford, Roz Ryan, Barbara Montgomery and Jester Hairston, ran for 110 episodes. Hemsley next voiced the character of B.P. Richfield, Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, on the live-action 1991-1994 ABC sitcom Dinosaurs for four seasons. In 1996-1997, he co-starred with Dorien Wilson on the UPN sitcom Goode Behavior. Hemsley played the role of Willie Goode, a newly paroled con artist, for one season. In 2006, he was a cast member on the celebrity reality series The Surreal Life. His other television guest appearances include The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, E/R (1984 CBS sitcom as George Jefferson), The Twilight Zone (1985), 227, What a Dummy, Designing Women, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Burke's Law, Thunder in Paradise, Lois & Clark: The New Adventure of Superman, Me and the Boys, Family Matters, The Wayans Bros., In the House, Martin, Clueless, Sister, Sister, City Guys, The Hughleys, and Family Guy (voice). Hemsley's film credits include Love at First Bite, Stewardess School, Mr. Nanny, Senseless, and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.

The Archive of American Television conducted an interview with him on August 17, 2003. No information on any survivors has been released. He never married and had no children. Mr. Hemsley was a very talented and funny actor. George Jefferson was one of the most memorable and iconic characters in the history of television. George wasn't the the most likable character, but Hemsley made him enjoyable and beloved. He's movin' on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky. He will be greatly missed.

Share your Sherman Hemsley memories on our The Jeffersons or Amen message boards. View Sherman Hemsley photos in our The Jeffersons and Amen photo galleries.

The Jeffersons

Many networks will honor Sherman Hemsley as a tribute to him. First up, Centric will air his episodes of 227 ("The Big Deal") and The Wayans Bros. ("It's Shawn, It's Marlon, It's Super Boys") today (Wednesday, July 25) at 12 noon and 5pm ET. The Wayans Bros. episode will also encore at 9pm ET tonight. On Friday, July 27, TV One will replace this Friday's scheduled Good Times marathon with The Jeffersons from 8pm-12am and 1-2am (Good Times airs 12-1am still, though). This marathon will feature episodes centered around Sherman Hemsley's Emmy-nominated performance of George Jefferson. Episodes airing are: the series premiere "A Friend in Need," "George's First Vacation," "Movin' on Down," "Louise Suspects," "George the Philanthropist," "Once a Friend," "The Ones You Love," and "The List." An hour later from 1-2am, The Jeffersons was already scheduled to air, as was Amen from 2-3am, so the Sherman Hemsley marathon sort of continues in the late night as well! If you want more Amen, the following Friday (Aug. 3), will have Amen (which was already scheduled) from 8-11pm. Both The Jeffersons and Amen airs weekday mornings on TV One in a block from 7-9am.

Elsewhere, TV Land will have a 4-hour marathon of The Jeffersons this Saturday starting at noon ET through 4pm ET. Episode information will be released shortly. The TV Land Facebook page will also pay tribute to Hemsley, celebrating some of his greatest moments on television.

Antenna TV will commemorate the life of Sherman Hemsley this Sunday, July 29 with "All in the Family - Tribute to Sherman Hemsley." The three hour marathon will begin at 9pm ET/6pm PT and feature six George Jefferson themed episodes of All in the Family. They will include his first appearance ever as that character and The Jeffersons backdoor pilot episode that aired as an All in the Family episode.

9:00pm All in the Family "Henry's Farewell"
9:30pm All in the Family "Lionel's Engagement"
10:00pm All in the Family "Pay the Twenty Dollars"
10:30pm All in the Family "Lionel, the Live-In"
11:00pm All in the Family "George and Archie Make a Deal"
11:30pm All in the Family "The Jeffersons Move Up"

MeToo in Chicago, IL honors the life and career of Sherman Hemsley, best known as George Jefferson on the iconic television series The Jeffersons. On Saturday, July 28, beginning at 11 AM CT, tune in to MeToo for episodes of Amen, All in the Family and The Jeffersons. MeToo is available over the air on 26.4, XFINITY 247/358, RCN 22, WOW 171 and U-VERSE 48. The Jeffersons airs regularly on MeToo Monday through Saturday at 5:00 pm with All in the Family following at 5:30 pm CT. Amen airs on sister station The U Too weekdays at 12 noon CT.

Stay with us as we receive any further TV tribute news. Other possible networks include GMC TV (they also air Amen). We will post it right here, so come on back! Mmm hmm mmm!


Today it is day two for the NBC portion of the TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour. However, NBC will be showcasing their cable networks today, so we won't cover in detail. The day will start out with breakfast with the cable network mun2. Oxygen and Style will showcase some series after that, including reality series Tia & Tamera. Then it will be time for lunch and E! will be showcasing their series. Panels will follow, like for the upcoming talk show Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings. E! will have all sessions after lunch. So not much to report, but we do have some NBC updates from yesterday that we will cover now.
NBC will air two live half-hour Saturday Night Live Election Specials on Thursday, Sept. 20 and Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8pm ET. These were pretty popular in 2008 when Sarah Palin was in the limelight, but will it be as popular this time? As previously announced, 30 Rock will premiere on Oct. 4 in the time period. Also, NBC and Sky Living announced the co-production of Dracula, a provocative new drama series version of the classic Bram Stoker novel starring Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Dracula is from the producers behind the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning hit Downton Abbey, Carnival Films & Television, along with Flame Ventures and Playground, and will begin production later this year. The 10-episode series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There's only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

Stay tuned tomorrow for TCA Summer 2012 Press Tour: ABC Day 1!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 25

Last Man Standing - "The Courtship of Vanessa's Mother" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Vanessa's mother comes to visit and hits it off with Ed; Mandy and Kyle tutor Boyd, but they may be the ones getting outsmarted.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy nearly gives up on her dream of becoming a fashion designer when she is faced with rejection; Vanessa looks back at her own career path, which stirs up regrets; Mike steps in to help the women in his family realize their dreams.

The Simpsons - "Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Homer's work cuts children's health care benefits, Marge turns to buying healing crystals as a cheaper solution for Bart's ADD; Bart begins to succeed in school, prompting Marge to open her own crystals empire and sell to mothers at school.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Neighbor" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Fred struggles to discuss the mysterious cliffhanger from "The Flare" and speak with his guests because of a new noisy neighbor on the stage next door; Eric Stonestreet and Randall Park stop by.

Family Guy - "Trans-Fat" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter is mistakenly identified as transgender, which leads to an unexpected event and him learning an important lesson.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Elevator" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Fred gets stuck in an elevator and is unable to host the show, Taylor must face her biggest fear: hosting the show alone; Ike Barinholz, Jillian Bell and Taran Killam stop by.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 19)

Sunday, August 25

  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Catch Adam on a repeat of Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six

06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
07/08 - Man with a Plan - Season Two
07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
07/09 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season
07/09 - Speechless - The Complete Third Season
07/16 - Eight Is Enough - The Complete First Season
07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
07/23 - Brockmire - The Complete First Season
07/23 - What I Like About You - The Complete First Season
07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
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