Friday, August 25, 2017

Fri-Yay: TV on Other Platforms; Remembering Jay Thomas

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

Snapchat

by Vincent

Yesterday, there was an announcement that Snapchat would begin making scripted content for their platform. This shouldn't be especially surprising, given that nearly every website and app has expressed a desire to create scripted content, from YouTube to Vimeo to even DirecTV. But it continues to pose an interesting question as we loom deeper into this "Peak TV" era: how does the availability of content everywhere affect the "sitcom" as we know it?

Many people are constantly waxing nostalgic about how sitcoms have changed, and how they wish they could make them like they used to. Some of this may just be looking at things through rose-colored glasses, but there has been genuine change in the television industry. After all, until the 1980s, there were only a handful of television networks, so it was much easier for a sitcom like All in the Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show to completely dominate conversation like they did during their runs. Television was a shared experience with an entire culture, and sitcoms were often the most popular television there was. If you watched an episode of Three's Company last night, chances are all of your friends watched it, too. This even continued after the advent of cable, with shows like Cheers and Frasier and Friends rising above the increased options cable provided to become genuine mass media experiences.

However, as choices continue to grow into streaming platforms and, well, mobile phone apps, it's hard for a TV show to make a splash across the entire culture, and if they do, it's usually a live reality show event or a live-tweeting-friendly drama with big twists - events that demand to be watched live. Sitcoms, then, have become much more catered to specific niches - hence why most of the big, acclaimed sitcoms of the past ten years haven't been huge hits but more fan-beloved cult hits such as Parks and Recreation or Broad City. Not to mention many people who might have been watching sitcoms in the past may be moving onto other buzzy mediums like YouTube. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it shows that sitcoms - like television - have evolved, and the big, mass appeal hits of years past may be just that - a thing of the past.


Jay Thomas

Emmy award-winning actor Jay Thomas, who was known for his roles in Mork & Mindy, Cheers, Love & War and Murphy Brown, has died. He died of cancer on August 24 at his Santa Barbara, California home. Mr. Thomas was 69.

Jay Thomas and Robin Williams - Mork & Mindy

Thomas' television career began with his role as Remo DaVinci in Mork & Mindy. He appeared in the second and third seasons from 1979-1981. Reno and his sister, Jeanie (Gina Hecht), owned the The New York Delicatessen in season 2 and DaVinci's Restaurant in season 3, where Mork (Robin Williams) and Mindy (Pam Dawber) spent a lot of their time.

Jay Thomas - Cheers

He had a recurring role as Eddie LeBec in 9 episodes of Cheers from 1987-1989. Eddie LeBec was a Boston Bruins goalie who began dating Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman). They later married, and had twin boys named Elvis and Jesse. In 1989, Eddie was killed by a Zamboni when he saved the life of another member of the ice show.

Jay Thomas - Murphy Brown

Thomas appeared as Jerry Gold in 9 episodes of Murphy Brown from 1989-1998. Jerry Gold was a tabloid talk show host, who became a friend of Murphy's and an occasional love interest, despite their significantly different journalistic values. Thomas won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990 and 1991 for the role.

Married People

He starred as Russell Meyers in the 1990-1991 ABC sitcom Married People. Russell was a freelance writer and house-husband who was married to Elizabeth (Bess Armstrong), who worked as an attorney. The series also starred Ray Aranha, Barbara Montgomery, Chris Young and Megan Gallivan.

Love & War

Thomas starred as Jack Stein in the 1992-1995 CBS sitcom Love & War. Jack Stein was a columnist for the New York Post. He had an on-again, off-again romance with Wallis "Wally" Porter (Susan Dey), a Chicago restaurateur. Dey was dropped from the show after the first season. Annie Potts joined the cast as Dana Palladino, who bought Porter's restaurant and also became a love interest for Jack. The series also starred John Hancock (1992), Charlie Robinson, Joel Murray, Michael Nouri, Suzie Plakson and Joanna Gleason.

In 1999, Thomas starred in the short-lived WB sitcom Katie Joplin. He played Glen Shotz, a radio station general manager. The series also starred Park Overall, Jim Rash, Jesse Head, Ana Reeder, Simon Rex and Majandra Delfino.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Open House, Cybill, Bless This House, Ink, Working, The Simple Life, Run of the House, Retired at 35 and Shake It Up.

He had a recurring role as Marty Grossman in Ray Donovan. Some of his other drama credits included Spenser: For Hire, Almost Grown, Freddy's Nightmares, Hercules, Fantasy Island (1999), The Education of Max Bickford, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Joan of Arcadia, Boston Legal and Cold Case.

Thomas starred as Bill Meister in Mr. Holland's Opus. He played the Easter Bunny in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Some of his other film credits included C.H.U.D., Straight Talk, A Smile Like Yours, Labor Pains and Underdogs.

Thomas also worked as a radio talk show host. He was heard in New York in the mid-1970s on Top 40 station 99X, and in Los Angeles beginning in 1989 on KPWR "Power 106". He began hosting The Jay Thomas Show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio in 1999.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Sally, and his sons, Sam, Jake, and J.T.

Mr. Thomas was a talented and funny actor. His annual appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman where he told the story of how he met Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) were always memorable. We thank him for the many laughs he brought us in his career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our message board. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 29

Young Sheldon - "A Secret Letter and a Lowly Disc of Processed Meat" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon discovers that Mary’s been keeping a secret about his future. Also, Meemaw is furious when she learns Dale fired Georgie.

Mom - "Texas Pete and a Parking Lot Carnival" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie worries about her therapist, Trevor (Rainn Wilson), when his life hits a serious rough patch. Also, Christy comes to Marjorie’s aid when she has trouble adjusting to a new job.

Superstore - "Essential" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
During the coronavirus pandemic, Amy and Jonah try to bring order to the chaos in Cloud 9 while being pulled in multiple directions; the employees learn what it means to be "heroes," while Amy and Jonah's impending move to California looms large.

Connecting... - "Day 82" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michelle tries to meet a pressing work deadline and prepare a dish for a socially distanced dinner, all while fielding the world's questions about race in America; Garret and Ben find a way to escape from it all.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 26)

Thursday, October 29

  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - Catch America on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Julie Andrews (Julie) - Julie is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • James Van Der Beek (What Would Diplo Do?/Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Loretta will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Joey McIntyre (Return of the Mac/The McCarthys) - Joey is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Ian Black (The Jim Gaffigan Show/Ed) - Michael talks about A Better Man on ABC's GMA3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben talks about Superstore on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly talks about three of her favorite Halloween costumes over the years on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) and Ben Falcone (Nobodies/Joey) - Meliss and Ben are guests on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael discusses the loss of his father and his experiences with racial bias on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (July/August/September/October)

Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season

07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/28 - COZI TV Halloween Marathons of The Munsters & Roseanne; Apple TV+ Orders Another Comedy, This Time with Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen
10/27 - Freeform's The Clock Is Ticking Special with Yara Shahidi; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Ends on New Year's Eve
10/26 - TBS Orders 3rd Season of Miracle Workers; SNL Extended to 6 New Episodes in a Row - A Record!
10/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 26, 2020)
10/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Another Addams Family Reboot in the Works?; Quibi Says Goodbye After Six Months
10/23 - Fri-Yay: Archer Goes Back to Its Roots for Season 11; Everybody Loves Raymond Cast Reunion Tonight
10/22 - CBS Announces More Fall Premieres; REELZ Books Jennifer Aniston Special
10/21 - MeTV Network Acquires Looney Tunes and More Classic Cartoons; Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series Announces Nov. 26 Premiere
10/20 - Antenna TV Officially Announces Returns of The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time; Holiday Movie Reunites Family Matters Siblings
10/19 - Disney+ Says "Simpsons Forever"; TBS Orders 4th Season of The Last O.G.
10/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 19, 2020)
10/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fried Green Tomatoes Series Starring Reba McEntire in the Works at NBC; Last Man Standing to End After Nine Seasons
10/16 - Fri-Yay: COVID-19 Storylines on TV, Will Viewers Watch?; Antenna TV's 70 Episode Jack Benny Marathon for 70th Anniversary
10/15 - Last Man Standing to Conclude After Season 9 in 2021; CBS Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Dates
10/14 - TBS Brings Out Halloween Sitcom Episodes on Halloween; Remembering Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men
10/13 - Freeform's 'Kickoff to Christmas' Schedule; Celebrate 20 Years of Curb on HBO Max
10/12 - TNT Airing The West Wing Reruns on Fridays; Kate Mulgrew Joins Star Trek Animated Comedy
10/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 12, 2020)
10/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Seinfeld's Newman Returns in PSA to Encourage Mail-In Voting; Showtime Cancels On Becoming a God in Central Florida
10/09 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Makes Broadcast Debut As a Continuation of the Series' Unlikely Journey; Dickinson Season 2 Premiere Date and Renewal for Season 3
10/08 - Hallmark Drama Adding Cheers, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch; Chelsea Handler HBO Max Special Gets Date
10/07 - NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW
10/06 - Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Date, 4th Season Renewal; Busy Philipps Joins Peacock Comedy Girls5eva
10/05 - Apple TV+ Launches The Snoopy Show in 2021; Antenna TV Celebrates 70th Anniversary of The Burns and Allen Show
10/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 5, 2020)
10/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Debut Date Set; South Park Pandemic Special a Ratings Hit
10/02 - Fri-Yay: The Return of Sitcoms: black-ish & Superstore; Bounce Acquires Everybody Hates Chris & Greenleaf
10/01 - NBC's Young Rock Announces Cast; OWN Gets Digital Comedy
09/30 - Saved by the Bell Reboot Launching November 25; HBO Orders Weekly Talk Show with Sam Jay
09/29 - The Addams Family Coming to FETV; Netflix Developing Korean Sitcom
09/28 - 2002-2007 Sitcom George Lopez Coming to TBS; Guests Announced for black-ish Election Special