Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WGN America Turns Primetime Into Prime Crime; Remembering Jack Carter and Writer-Producer Chris Thompson

When WGN America expands its burgeoning slate of high-quality original programming this fall with its "Prime Crime" lineup, it will become the exclusive cable home for two of TV's biggest hit dramas, Elementary (as we announced) and Person of Interest (which we also announced). The two popular procedurals, which will join fan-favorite Blue Bloods on weeknights in prime, will give viewers a binge-worthy opportunity to watch these series from the very beginning, diving into the cases and capers that unfold. In Elementary, Jonny Lee Miller (who plays Sherlock Holmes) and Lucy Liu (who plays Dr. Watson) are a modern-day crime solving duo that cracks the NYPD's most impossible cases; and in Person of Interest, Michael Emerson (in the role of billionaire Harold Finch) and Jim Caviezel (as CIA operative John Reese) prevent violent crimes before they happen with the help of an advanced surveillance system known as "The Machine." Taraji P. Henson, who currently stars in Empire, is a regular in the first four seasons of the series. In the teaser campaign the four main characters face off for the first time in a quick-witted test of who's the better twosome and why. Representing the two most significant acquisitions across cable in 2015, Elementary and Person of Interest continue WGN America's transformation as an entertainment destination with popular originals, including breakout hit Salem, critically lauded Manhattan and upcoming dramas Underground and Outsiders, both premiering next year.


Jack Carter

Actor, comedian and host Jack Carter has died. He died on June 28 at his home in Beverly Hills, California, of respiratory failure. Mr. Carter was 93.

Carter was the first host of the variety series Cavalcade of Stars on the DuMont Network in 1949-1950. The show appeared under the banner of Saturday Night Revue, a package of two variety shows on a single evening. He hosted his own variety series titled The Jack Carter Show on NBC in 1950-1951.

He made more than 40 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Some of his other television appearances included Texaco Star Theatre, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Stage Show, The Jack Paar Tonight Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Dean Martin Show and The Merv Griffin Show.

The Love Boat - Ted Lange and Jack Carter

Carter's sitcom guest appearances in the 1960s included Hennesey, Make Room for Daddy, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ensign O'Toole, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mister Roberts, The Lucy Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Julia. His guest appearances in the 1970s included The Partners, Love, American Style, Bridget Loves Bernie, The Odd Couple, Big Eddie, Sanford and Son, The Love Boat, Carter Country and Archie Bunker's Place. He directed two episodes of Here's Lucy in 1971.

His later sitcom guest appearances included Gimme a Break!, Dream On, Kirk, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Something So Right, Living Single, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Just Shoot Me!, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, Rules of Engagement and Go On. He played Arthur Spooner in the original unaired pilot of The King of Queens, but he was replaced by Jerry Stiller and his scenes were re-shot.

Survivors include his wife, Roxanne, whom he married in 1971; sons Michael Carter and Chase Carter; daughter Wendy Carter; and grandchildren Jake and Ava.

Zendaya, Chris Thompson and Bella Thorne

Television writer, producer and director Chris Thompson has died. He died in actor Tim Curry's home on June 26 in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles after a long illness. Mr. Thompson was 63.

Thompson's writing career began with episodes of Blansky's Beauties and Sirota's Court. He worked on Laverne & Shirley as a writer, story editor, executive script consultant, director and producer. In 1980, he created Bosom Buddies with Robert L. Boyett and Thomas L. Miller. He also worked as a writer on nine episodes and directed four episodes of the Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari sitcom.

He was the creator of The Naked Truth, Action, Ladies Man and the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up!, which starred Zendaya and Bella Thorne. His other sitcom writing credits included Hard Knocks (Showtime), The Larry Sanders Show, Dave's World, House Rules, The Naked Truth, Action, Ladies Man and Shake It Up!. He worked as a producer on The Larry Sanders Show, The Naked Truth, Action, I'm with Her and Shake It Up!.

We thank them for the laughs they brought us over the years. They will be deeply missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, December 7

Live in Front of a Studio Audience - The Facts of Life & Diff'rent Strokes

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes - (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
In this one-night-only event, an all-star lineup of talent will tackle the roles first portrayed in the iconic television sitcom “The Facts of Life,” including Jennifer Aniston playing the role of Blair, Gabrielle Union taking on the role of Tootie, Allison Tolman who will play Natalie and Kathryn Hahn recreating the role of Jo. Previously announced “Diff’rent Strokes” cast member Ann Dowd is also set to appear as Mrs. Garrett in this recreation of “The Facts of Life.” The Sony Pictures Television special can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.

The live special event will feature reenactments of the hit series “The Facts of Life,” created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, and “Diff’rent Strokes,” created by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris, and will reunite executive producers Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows. Previously announced cast members taking on the famed “Diff’rent Strokes” roles include John Lithgow, who will play Mr. Drummond; Kevin Hart, assuming the role of Arnold; and Damon Wayans and Ann Dowd, who will play Willis and Mrs. Garrett in “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Abbott Elementary - "Pilot" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible educators may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

The Last O.G. - "Know Thyself" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Amira attends college presentations, and her quick decision surprises Tray, who then works to guide Amira toward a better understanding of her identity; while cleaning out Roberta's storage unit, Shahzad makes a discovery about her past.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Wondering Prince" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lisa helps Miranda set up her online dating proļ¬le.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "What the Wellness" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Mr. Brown vows that he's finished eating meat until he's left alone with a lot of soul food.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 6)

Tuesday, December 7

  • Brandy (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha/Thea) - Catch Brandy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • J. B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Mapleworth Murders/Bent/'Til Death) - J. B. guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kristin Davis (And Just Like That.../Sex and the City) and Cynthia Nixon (And Just Like That.../Sex and the City) - Kristin and Cynthia are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. Kristin also talks about And Just Like That... on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Chris Kattan (The Middle) - Chris will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Sterling K. Brown (Starved) - Sterling is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Harlem/Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about her new holiday collection on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-December)

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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12/06 - getTV Acquires The Rockford Files, Here Come the Brides; Disney's Secrets of Sulphur Springs Premieres Jan. 14
12/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 6, 2021)
12/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kevin Can F*** Himself and Pen15 Cancelled; The Waltons' Homecoming Brings Ratings High to The CW
12/03 - Fri-Yay: It’s Always Sunny Returns, Bold and Funny as Ever; Jon Stewart Joins Live in Front of a Studio Audience for The Facts of Life; Remembering Eddie Mekka of Laverne & Shirley
12/02 - Rewind TV January 2022 Schedule Includes Drew Carey, NewsRadio; HBO's Somebody Somewhere Premieres Jan. 16
12/01 - Live in Front of a Studio Audience Announces Cast of The Facts of Life; Disney Television Orders Marsai Martin Produced Comedy
11/30 - Antenna TV January 2022 Schedule and Q1 2022 Stunts; Chucky Gets 2nd Season on Syfy & USA
11/29 - Who's the Boss? Now on GAC Family; black-ish Farewell Season Starts Jan. 4
11/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 29, 2021)
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11/26 - 2021 Antenna TV Christmas and New Year's Schedule
11/25 - 2021 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include The Jeffersons on Starz Encore Black
11/24 - First Look at Peacock's Bel-Air; Dollface Returns Feb. 11 on Hulu
11/23 - Paramount+ Celebrates the Holidays with Sitcom Classics; HBO Max Gets in Holiday Spirit as Well with Christmas Comedy Series
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11/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 22, 2021)
11/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders Last Blockbuster Video Comedy Series; Party Down Revival Set at Starz
11/19 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Thanksgiving Episodes to Be Thankful For; Live in Front of a Studio Audience Returns Dec. 7 with The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes
11/18 - COZI TV's 2021 Unexpected Guests Thanksgiving and Christmas; How I Met Your Father Premieres January 18 on Hulu
11/17 - Freeform Announces January Schedule; Starz Releases Premiere Date for Shining Vale with Courteney Cox
11/16 - MeTV Network Loses Columbo, Adds Andy Griffith and M*A*S*H Sundays; Remembering Gavan O'Herlihy, the Original Chuck Cunningham on Happy Days
11/15 - NBC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; And Just Like That... Premieres Dec. 9 and Airs Thursdays
11/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 15, 2021)
11/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Set for 2022-2023 Debut on NBC; The Harper House Cancelled at Paramount+
11/12 - The Newlywed Game Coming to BUZZR; Nick Renews Tyler Perry's Young Dylan for Season 3
11/11 - CBS Winter 2022 Midseason Schedule; The Wonder Years Series Premiere Grows in Multi-Platform Viewing
11/10 - HBO Max's Search Party Sets Final Season Launch on Jan. 7; The Wall Returns to Fill in on NBC
11/09 - Fox Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; The Righteous Gemstones Returns Jan. 9 on HBO
11/08 - The CW Midseason 2022 Schedule; Dolly Parton to Appear on Final Season of Grace and Frankie
11/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 8, 2021)