Monday, December 03, 2018

Comedy Central Orders Awkwafina Comedy; Remembering Ken Berry of F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family

Comedy Central

Comedy Central is working with ascendant multi-hyphenate Awkwafina, as the #1 brand in comedy ordered 10 episodes of her self-titled scripted series. Awkwafina is a half-hour scripted narrative starring writer, actor and rapper Awkwafina (Ocean's 8, Crazy Rich Asians) as a twenty-something living in Queens, striving for a larger than life existence while living with her father and grandmother. Awkwafina, Karey Dornetto (SMILF, Portlandia) and Teresa Hsiao (Family Guy, American Dad) wrote the pilot directed by Lucia Aniello (Broad City, Rough Night). The cast is rounded out by Bowen Yang as Awkwafina's more successful cousin, BD Wong as her father, and Lori Tan Chinn as her grandmother.

Looking ahead, Comedy Central has a stacked year to offer fans with a programming slate that will feature new and returning series including: the premieres of scripted half-hour series Robbie, The Other Two and South Side; sketch-comedy series Alternatino with Arturo Castro; stand-up series This Week at the Comedy Cellar and The New Negroes; new series from Jordan Klepper and Anthony Jeselnik; along with the final season of Broad City, the return of the critically acclaimed Corporate, and new seasons of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Tosh.0, Drunk History, The Jim Jefferies Show and much, much more.


Ken Berry

Actor Ken Berry, who starred in F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family, has died. He died on December 1 in Burbank, California. Mr. Berry was 85.

Berry's early television guest appearances included Talent Patrol, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, Playboy's Penthouse and Harrigan and Son. He had a recurring role as Woody, a bellhop at a New York hotel called the Bartley House, in the CBS sitcom The Ann Sothern Show from 1960 to 1961. He appeared in seven episodes of Ensign O'Toole as Calucci / Lt. Melton from 1962 to 1963. Some of his other 1960s sitcom guest appearances included The Jim Backus Show, Peter Loves Mary, Hennesey, The Gertrude Berg Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show (two episodes), Hazel, No Time for Sergeants (three episodes), The Lucy Show and The Andy Griffith Show (four episodes as Sam Jones).

F Troop

His first sitcom starring role was as Captain Wilton Parmenter in the 1965-1967 ABC sitcom F Troop. He was the gallant although laughably clumsy military governor of the territory and commander of Fort Courage. The series, which ran for two seasons, also starred Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Melody Patterson, Frank de Kova, Don Diamond, James Hampton, Bob Steele and Joe Brooks.

Mayberry R.F.D.

He appeared in the last few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as Sam Jones, a widowed farmer with a young son, in 1968. Berry continued to play the character in the spin-off series Mayberry R.F.D., which premiered on CBS on September 23, 1968. It ran for three seasons and 78 episodes until the rural purge of 1971. The series also starred Frances Bavier (1968-1970), George Lindsay, Jack Dodson, Paul Hartman, Arlene Golonka, Buddy Foster and Alice Ghostley.

Berry had a long working relationship with Carol Burnett. He made 19 guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show from 1968 to 1978. They appeared together in the 1972 CBS color remake of Burnett's Broadway hit, Once Upon a Mattress. He played Phillip, Eunice's brother, in the 1982 CBS TV movie Eunice, which was based on The Carol Burnett Show sketch, The Family.

Mama's Family

He starred as Vinton Harper in Mama's Family, which was a spin-off from The Carol Burnett Show. Vinton was the youngest of Thelma Harper's three children. He was married to Naomi Oates Harper. The series aired for two seasons on NBC from 1983 to 1984 and four seasons in first-run syndication from 1986 to 1990. It starred Vicki Lawrence, Rue McClanahan (1983-1984), Dorothy Lyman, Eric Brown (1983-1984), Karin Argoud (1983-1984), Betty White (1983-1984, 1986), Allan Kayser (1986-1990) and Beverly Archer (1986-1990).

Some of his other sitcom guest appearances included Love, American Style, The Brady Bunch, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break!, Small Wonder, The Golden Girls and Maggie Winters.

He appeared in television dramas. He provided comic relief as Dr. John Kapish in 25 episodes of Dr. Kildare, which starred Richard Chamberlain, from 1961 to 1964. Some of his drama guest appearances included Michael Shayne, General Electric Theatre, Mr. Novak, Burke's Law, Combat!, The Rogues, Rawhide, 12 O'Clock High, Medical Center, Ellery Queen, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Little House on the Prairie, CHiPs and Fantasy Island.

Some of his film credits included the 1969 musical comedy Hello Down There, Guardian of the Wilderness and Disney's Herbie Rides Again and The Cat from Outer Space.

Berry was also an accomplished dancer and singer. He appeared on Broadway in The Billy Barnes Revue and headlined as George M. Cohan in the musical George M!. Some of his other theater credits included The Music Man, I Do! I Do!, Sugar and 1993's From the Top with Carol Burnett. In 1970, he released an album called Ken Berry RFD. He appeared in two episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1964 as dance instructor Tony Daniels. He had his own short-lived summer musical variety series called The Ken Berry "Wow" Show on ABC in 1972. He worked as a choreographer on several episodes of Mama's Family.

He was interviewed for the Archive of American Television for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on March 7, 2012.

Mr. Berry was a man of many talents as an actor, dancer and singer. He stated in interviews that he was most proud of his work on F Troop, but he made everything he appeared in much better. He just seemed like a genuine, likable man. We thank him for the many laughs and hours of entertainment that he brought us during his long career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama's Family message boards. View photos in our galleries.


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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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08/07 - FX Orders Atlanta Season 4; Netflix to Turn The Baby-Sitters Club Into Series
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08/02 - FX's Baskets to End After This Season; GSN's Catch 21 Returns with Dancing with the Stars Duo Reunion
08/01 - Ovation Airs Classic Episodes of Actors Studio; FX Orders Limited Series Starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson
07/31 - Netflix Goes Big with New Sitcom; CW Seed Expands to 24/7 Linear Channel
07/30 - A Very Brady Renovation Premieres Sept. 9 on HGTV; Trinkets Gets Conclusion Season in 2020 on Netflix
07/29 - Hulu Nabs Designing Women, More from TCA Tour; Exclusive: Modern Family's Ariel Winter to Guest Star on Law & Order: SVU
07/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 29, 2019)
07/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brady Kids Reunite; DVDs for The Simpsons and Lucille Ball's Final Sitcom on the Way
07/26 - Fri-Yay: What Sitcoms Can We Expect on Disney+?; National Golden Girls Day on July 30, Event in Florida
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