Friday, October 31, 2008

ION Television November Highlights; Fox Cancels King of the Hill, Renews American Dad!

Happy Halloween! Don't forget to tune in to the best Halloween marathon of the day in WGN America's Munsters marathon from 4pm-12am ET. Nick at Nite also has a Halloween marathon tonight with Halloween episodes of Home Improvement, George Lopez and Family Matters from 10pm-1am tonight. Be scared of laughs!

ION Television has announced its November 2008 schedule finally and ER is now officially off the line-up. ER hasn't aired since October 6, with ION making changes each week that it would not air...and now it is official, it is gone. Mondays at 10pm replacing ER will be another episode of NCIS, which will still also air Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm. Replacing ER Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10pm will be more Boston Legal. Boston Legal will still also air Mon-Thurs 8pm and Wednesdays 9pm. It seems ER was a dud for ION in the ratings. In other changes, ION has added an additional airing for Warner Bros. movies, airing now also Fridays 5-7pm ET. in addition to Thursday in primetime. Warner movis for November are Casino, Antitrust, Young Guns II, and yet again Above the Law.
RHI Weekend movies include the premiere of Archangel tomorrow night from 8-11pm ET and the premiere of The Color of Magic on Sunday, November 23 from 7-11pm ET. RHI movie encores include recent movies such as Final Approach, Lone Rider, Prairie Fever, and two McBride movies.
On Sunday, November 9, in addition to its regular 6-7pm airing, M*A*S*H will also air 7-8pm leading into the encore of Archangel from 8-11pm. ION has not yet announced what they will do for the Thanksgiving week (November 24-30). If they are doing anything out of the ordinary, we will let you know.
For now view the ION Television November 2008 schedule and highlights.

Fox has canceled King of the Hill after thirteen production seasons. What do I mean by "production seasons?" Well, right now it is actually in its 13th season, but they are still airing episodes form the 12th season. These animated series produce episodes well in advance and all way far ahead in production. For example Fox still has a lot of episodes from the 12th cycle to air and could start some of the 13th cycle by the end of this season. The 13th cycle has 13 episodes, and so these will be the final 13 episodes. Most of these will air NEXT season (2009-2010), so while King of the Hill has been canceled, it still will have episodes airing next season, unless Fox decides not to air them for some reason (which I doubt). I guess it all depends on how the new mid-season animated comedies Sit Down, Shut Up and The Cleveland Show do.
Meanwhile, Fox has renewed American Dad! for a fifth production season. The series is currently airing episodes from late in its third production season (but it is in its fourth season). Episodes from the fourth production season start airing in early December, so they'll air most of the fourth production season this season. So American Dad! will be on the air until at least through the end of 2010. Good news for fans, as the series has not made head way in the ratings. Anything beyond the fifth production season all depends on how new mid-season animated comedies Sit Down, Shut Up and The Cleveland Show do.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

ABC's According to Jim Returns For Season Eight; Fox Dumps 'Til Death; RTN Coming to Jacksonville and Memphis

ABC is bringing back the Jim Belushi sitcom According to Jim for an eighth season this December. Starting Tuesday, December 2, 2008, According to Jim will air back-to-back new episodes for the entire month at 9:00pm & 9:30pm ET. On December 2, it will follow the holiday classic Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, but it is unclear as of now what its lead-in will be for the rest of the month (likely to be holiday specials though). We will have more on all the network holiday specials at a later date on our annual network Christmas/holiday specials post. As for According to Jim, it was renewed for an eighth season pretty late and ABC has ordered 18 new episodes, including a Christmas episode! ABC will likely air them all in December and January. As of now, Scrubs and new animated comedy The Goode Family are slated to launch in the hour in January, but that could change. Scrubs promos already have started airing, saying "coming soon to ABC.

As for 'Til Death, Fox has pulled the comedy effective immediately and there are no signs of a return in November or December. Effective next Wednesday (Nov. 5), repeats of House will air in the slot in November. In December, Fox will launch new six hour reality-game show Secret Millionaire on Wednesday, December 3 from 8-10pm, before airing Wednesday (Dec. 10 and 17) at 8pm the following week, so Bones will move from 8 to 9pm. Secret Millionaire will also air Thursdays at 8pm on Dec. 11 & 18 followed by special Thursday airings of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? at 9pm, as Kitchen Nightmares will have its season finale on Dec. 4.
So no sign of a return for the low rated Brad Garrrett sitcom 'Til Death. We'll keep you up to date.

Newport Television's Fox affiliate WAWS Jacksonville, Florida and The CW affiliate WLMT Memphis, TN will offer Retro Television Network's programming lineup of classic TV shows on digital subchannels soon. RTN is a television network that provides each affiliate a customized feed with classic hit shows, in addition to local programming including news, weather and sports. RTN is specifically designed to go on a broadcast digital channel.
Shows currently on RTN include 21 Jump Street, Adam 12, Airwolf, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The A-Team, Kojak, Knight Rider, Leave it to Beaver, Jack Benny, Kate & Allie, Bachelor Father, Harry and the Hendersons, That's Incredible, McHale's Navy, Dragnet, and more!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SitcomsOnline.com Exclusive: Interview with Lydia Cornell; And Lydia Unleashed

We have a very exciting interview for you today. We have an interview with Lydia Cornell...one of the stars on the '80s sitcom Too Close for Comfort and now she is on the radio dial on her talk show Basham and Cornell Radio Live. Catch Too Close for Comfort tonight at 8pm ET/5pm PT on WGN America! As always with our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form!

We had the pleasure to interview Lydia Cornell - actress, writer, author, producer and radio host. Is there anything this woman can't do? She co-starred as Ted Knight's daughter in the role of Sara Rush on the ABC television situation comedy Too Close for Comfort, where she won a People's Choice Award, and most recently appeared on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cornell was a Best Actress nominee at Method Fest, which honors outstanding acting performances, for her leading role in the AFI indie Miss Supreme Queen.

We thank Lydia for taking the time to answer some of the most interesting questions we have for her...and her responses were so amazing that we gave her more space on our blog at the end in "Lydia Unleashed." So it is time for another installment of SitcomsOnline's Seven Questions Series! We seriously STILL need a jingle. Any takers out there? How about a Too Close for Comfort style jingle?

"Seven Questions with Lydia Cornell"
Lydia in 2008 Lydia in 1980
SitcomsOnline: We thank you for your time and it is an honor to speak with you! You are of course most remembered by TV fans for your role as Sara Rush, the sexy & beautiful daughter of Ted Knight's Henry Rush on the ABC sitcom Too Close for Comfort. Can you share with us how you got the role?
Lydia Cornell: Thank you! It's great to speak with you, too. I really love SitcomsOnline. My audition for Too Close for Comfort was a comedy of errors. I was half an hour late; it had been raining, I had taken the wrong bus -- and by the time I got there the producers were ready to go home. They had seen 400 girls already for the part of Sara Rush (formerly called "Susan") and they were burned out. I was literally the last girl they saw.
When I walked into the office, the casting director told me I was too late -- that they had already picked four girls for the final callback the next day at the network. I was on the verge of tears when the producer Arne Sultan, came out, took one look at me and said, "What the hell, let her read!" He must have felt sorry for me -- bedraggled, soaking wet. I followed him into an office where there were two other executive producers, one of whom introduced himself as Tom Werner of ABC.
At the end of my reading, there was a direction in the script that said: "Sara gives dad a raspberry." So I picked up an imaginary raspberry and thrust it at Mr. Sultan who was reading lines with me. He looked at me like I was from outer space and said, "What the f--- are you handing me? What the hell is this?" I said, "It's a raspberry. I'm giving you a raspberry like it says in the script." He started cracking up, "Where are you from -- did you just fall off the turnip truck? Don't you know what a raspberry is in show business?" He proceeded to put his lips together, stick his tongue out and blow out the most obnoxious sound. "It's a Bronx cheer!" They all laughed and one of them said, "This girl is exactly what we're looking for. We want you to come into ABC tomorrow for the final callback."
The next day I went to the network wearing a very sweet, virginal-looking flowered dress. All the other girls were in extremely tight T-shirts with their nipples showing. When the casting director called me into the room, I was awestruck to see Ted Knight sitting on the couch, along with several network executives. I hadn't been around Hollywood long enough to realize how scary this was standing in front of a firing squad. Imagine several characters like "Ari" from Entourage sitting there judging you. Ted got up, introduced himself and said "Let's read together, shall we?" I don't remember how I got the lines out, but there were huge laughs at each line I read, at the end there was a burst of applause. Arne Sultan said, "Will you please wait outside." A few minutes later they ushered me back in and said, "It's not protocol to tell an actor without telling her agent first, but we want you to know you got the part!"

Lydia Reunited with the Cast of Too Close for Comfort
SitcomsOnline: Wow, what a story that was! Do you have good memories from the show and do you have a few favorite episodes that you can share? It seems that the cast still gets together and has fun as we saw on the DVD special features?
Lydia Cornell: I have great memories of the show and lots of hilarious ones. I used to have a crush on Jim Bullock and would go to work every day with butterflies in my stomach. (I heard it's okay to have butterflies in your stomach as long as they're flying in formation.) Laughter is my favorite drug and Jimmy made me laugh until I couldn't see straight. I was crushed when I found out he was gay, but then we became the best of friends.
Not long ago, I guest-starred on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm with Seinfeld creator Larry David -- who made me laugh so hard I almost couldn't speak; he's a comic genius. So was Ted Knight, of course. He taught me wondrous things, like how to do a "spit-take" without drooling. It's similar to a double take, while holding a cup to your lips.
Deborah and I were very close from day one. I met her at the network audition. She told me she had worked in New York City for a certain shipping company. It turned out she had worked for my dad -- although we lived in Holland at the time. We were both blown away when we discovered that she had been working with my dad via telex in Holland on a daily basis. Out of all the millions of people and jobs in New York City! Of course there are no coincidences.
I recently wrote and produced a film called Venus Conspiracy with Deborah Van Valkenburgh starring as my abusive therapist sister. We got to finish fighting from the old days - with dialogue that was really juicy. Deb and I could not stop laughing; we have such great chemistry and she said the lines EXACTLY as I had imagined them. I want to make the feature film and a series based on this movie with both of us playing sisters again!
Even though we had a love-hate relationship, I really miss Ted, who died of prostate cancer in the last year of our show. At Ted's funeral I sat on the first row and sobbed uncontrollably as Mary Tyler Moore spoke. And I also miss John Ritter, who used to pop his head in and make us laugh between rehearsals for the Three's Company spin-off, Three's a Crowd. And then there was the legendary Audrey Meadows who played my grandmother. She had starred as Jackie Gleason's wife Alice in The Honeymooners. It's hard to believe all these great comedic actors are gone.
As for my favorite episodes, I love the one in which Jackie and Sara have a pizza fight. She scratches my records and I smear her dry cleaning with pizza. That was a great show because the we got to have several scenes without the grownups.
We heard that it worried Ted that we had so many big scenes without him. The producers were afraid we were developing our own following, which might lead the network to develop a "Jackie and Sara" show someday. They used us to raise the ratings with younger viewers. From then on, they tried to marginalize our roles. That's when they came up with a baby for Ted and Nancy. They also beefed up Jim Bullock's role - so the girls were expendable. Monroe was the perfect foil to Henry Rush. I always think that Ted enjoyed having Jim as the "idiot punching bag" as he been the same kind of punching bag as bumbling newscaster Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But I can't believe they didn't realize they could have built up a successful franchise with the Jackie and Sara characters.
I like the episode with the live lion. Monroe and I are making a movie in our house and we bring in animals. The cookie episode where we start a cookie business is another goodie. The one where I get a job as a waitress and have to wear lamb chop underwear with ruffles is another favorite. I hold a pillow over my skirt to hide from Ted. The one where I am the weathergirl and can't get my states right. I love the part when I popped someone on the head with a lint brush. I also loved the episode where Sara tries out for the newscaster job and has to comment about Middle East peace talks by saying: "We could have a war on our hands if these peace talks don't get started. And that is only going to drive up the price of bagels and gasoline."
And yes we do reunite often! Deb and I just went to the Too Close for Comfort reunion party hosted by Arne Sultan and Leonard Stern's long-time assistant Donna. Jim, Deb and I just got together for Jim's summer party in August. Pink Flamingos was the motif. He is as funny as ever. Just got an email from him -- he's in Kansas doing a play.

SitcomsOnline: It is too bad that the show is not in syndication anymore (however, you can watch four episodes TONIGHT on WGN America from 8-10pm ET/5-7pm PT) and the DVDs were halted after just two seasons, any reason why? Have you heard any new rumblings on at least when we can expect the DVDs to continue? I think you told me before that you guys had shot the extras for the next set or two?
Lydia Cornell: The truth is, I have no idea. It feels as if Don Taffner (DLT Entertainment) has deliberately stopped syndicating our show. It's from a more innocent time in history, which I think would be a nice change right now for younger kids. I mean Saved by the Bell is still on and it sure looks dated! I don't see why they won't syndicate our show on Nick at Nite or some other network.
I heard that Rhino, the division of Warner Home Media that produced our DVDs, folded and was absorbed into the parent company. But I wish they'd release the rest of the DVDs. Another theory is this: Maybe the Ted Knight estate owns such a large percentage of the show that it isn't profitable for Don Taffner or any DVD company to produce it anyway. Maybe the profit split would be unprofitable for them. It's always about money.
Deborah, Jim and I did commentary on Season 3 - which is my favorite season. It's odd that they didn't really promote our DVD release. But what I find odd is that Rhino was only interested in promoting Jim Bullock on all the postcards and giveaways. Deborah and I have been available to do PR and advertising. Here's what's going to happen: once my book comes out (more on this below in our "Lydia Unleashed" story), the movie is launched (Venus Conspiracy) and our show starts filming (based on the movie), Too Close for Comfort will come back.
In May of 2008, Paramount/Viacom called us to do a Too Close For Comfort Reunion Show for Entertainment Tonight. But then they suddenly cancelled the reunion.

Lydia with her Too Close for Comfort co-star Deborah Van Valkenburgh
SitcomsOnline: Last question on Too Close for Comfort...what was the deal that you and Deborah Van Valkenburgh were written out of the show for the last season when Henry and Muriel moved out of San Francisco to a newspaper in Marin County and was retitled The Ted Knight Show? If Monroe (Jim Bullock) got to go, why not you and Deborah? Unfortunately, Ted Knight passed away at the end of that season, do you remember your last memories of Ted and what your thoughts are of him in general?
Lydia Cornell: That was a horrible decision on the producers' part. First, Deb dropped out and didn't want to do a final year. She was always more interested in doing theater and darker roles. But I loved comedy and wanted to stay on. Then Arne Sultan died and new producers came on board whose sole purpose was to satisfy Ted - who had an ownership stake. Since the network never got to develop the Jackie and Sara characters, and our value had been diminished in the last couple of years - the new producers were simply resistant to upsetting Ted. And they didn't realize the value of the Sara character without Jackie. It was like willful ignorance. But to be honest, we had the hardest time ever feeling like they cared about "the girls" on that show. They were constantly trying to push us aside and make us feel expendable. I remember we had these amazing writers for one season - Jeff Reno and Ron Osbourne - who wrote great shows for Sara and Jackie. They were fired for being too talented! They went on to write and create Moonlighting. I have the greatest respect for writers. All the writers on the show were wonderful -- especially Earl Barret and Arne Sultan. Also we were honored to have the gifted and amazing duo of Rocky and Irma Kalish, they wrote Gilligan's Island, Bob Newhart, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis shows, Facts of Life, and tons of classic sitcoms. Irma was President of Writer's Guild America West and is one of the first women to become a producer of a TV show... a woman's activist. We also had Doug Arango and Phil Doran -- who had written All in the Family.
The funny thing is, I would have done the show for free - but my managers at the time were negotiating my contract for more money. I cringed over this, begging them to stop. The producers were so mad they started playing games and wrote me out of one episode - the one with Cousin April and guest star Robert Mandan, who played Ted's brother.
I think that once Arne died, Ted was free to design the show his way. Originally I was so hurt. I thought they decided to get rid of the girls because Ted Knight didn't particularly like us having any clout and a possible spin-off. Who knows? I have grown to forgive and love Ted, but I think the new producers made a mistake.

SitcomsOnline: During and after your stint on Too Close for Comfort you had some memorable guest starring roles on series like The A-Team and Knight Rider for an episode. And my were you stunning on those shows (who could forget that blue outfit on The A-Team!)! How was it being a sex symbol in the '80s? And you still are a sex symbol!
Lydia Cornell: Thank you so much! That is very sweet of you. I was so shy, it was difficult wearing those short-shorts and high heels. It's hard to be a woman in Hollywood unless you're lucky enough to thrive on humiliation. But laughing at myself and writing comedy kept me sane.
I really loved doing action shows. I wish Steven J. Cannell and Don Bellisario would clone themselves, come back and do more of these. I also played a race car owner in the Duke of Hazzard 2-hour CBS movie.
It's weird but David Hemmings, the iconic actor from films like Blow Up and Gladiator directed me in three action shows: A-Team, Hardball and the pilot for Quantum Leap. I was such a pushover I was talked into doing my own stunts on all these shows.
On A-Team Hemmings talked me letting the helicopter come so close to my head it was frightening. He said I didn't need a stuntwoman. Quantum Leap was a wild experience. When I got the part, no one told me we'd be staying out in Lancaster at Edwards Airforce Base for two weeks (where we hung out with the Blue Angels and got a sneak peak at the Stealth Bomber) so all I brought was my toothbrush. When the Teamsters van picked me up at Universal Studios at 5 AM, I wondered why everyone else had so much luggage. When we got there they took me shopping at Target for pajamas and stuff. I had dark hair at the time, long chocolate-colored hair down my back. The first day of shooting, Don Bellisario comes in the makeup trailer and says: "I need all the women to have short hair. This takes place in the 1950's and women didn't have long hair." None of us could believe he didn't mention this earlier - and none of us wanted to cut our hair off. So the hairstylist searched all over Lancaster for a wig shop. We finally found a short dark wig, which I wore in the film.
I also did Hunter -- where the director James Whitmore, Jr., talked me into doing my own stunts. I had to dive into icy Lake Malibu and swim up to the boat that Fred Dreyer and I would have our make-out scene on. What was really annoying was they forgot to put a ladder down so I could gracefully climb out of the water and into the boat. There was a camera on me from another boat, aimed right at my butt. As I swam up, my feet couldn't find any ladder so I got sucked under the boat, then had to grapple around, pull my body up and throw one leg onto the deck while wiggling on board - trying to appear attractive from behind! As I'm about to drown all I'm thinking about is how my ass looks!

SitcomsOnline: It has been known that you had a drinking problem but it is so good to hear that you are now a recovering alcoholic and had your last drink in 1994. How did this affect you personally and in your career having this drinking problem?
Lydia Cornell: I never drank when I was working (except during Christmas with David Hasselhoff when we were filming Knight Rider) but I had a few close calls on auditions. I actually fell down on top of a major director! Auditions made me so nervous.
My book will describe the crash, burn and surrender - and how I got to the other side. I had a catastrophic spiritual awakening and haven't had a drink or a craving to drink since September 11, 1994 - when I walked into a women's recovery group meeting. You will not believe the amazing thing that happened to me that day. It's hard to talk about this because it appears to exist in the realm of the magical - but this gave me concrete, tangible evidence of a loving force in the universe. And now I've finally figured out the key to activating these miracles, which are really natural laws.
I have now been sober for 14 years - the same age as my son. When I say sober, I mean "spiritually whole" in a way you cannot be when you try to just quit drinking by "white-knuckling" it, so to speak. The amazing thing is the gift of helping others stay sober too. We are all plagued by the "fame" drug.
It has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Now I am grateful for each day - and though the demons come back at times, I now have an unshakable higher power to lean on - the guiding principle of the universe.
I've never publicly spoken about this to anyone outside of recovery circles, but I've often stopped to wonder 'how did these seemingly miraculous events happen?' There was one common element: surrender. When I gave up fighting, the outside picture totally changed. But what is the metaphysics of surrender? How did an inner change affect an outer result? As Einstein said, "No problem can be solved at the same level it was created on." You can't fight fire with fire; you can't cure alcoholism with more alcohol or drugs - you have to go to a spiritual or diplomatic solution. Or as George Carlin put it, "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity."

Basham and Cornell Radio Live
SitcomsOnline: Finally, I must say you have become very successful in your new career! The radio show Basham and Cornell Radio Live in Las Vegas is a success and shows off how smart you really are. It is big in Las Vegas and also nationwide on the Internet at BashamandCornell.com. How did you get involved with politics and this radio program? Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life and do you still plan on acting from time to time? And to everyone, Lydia has her own website and blog as well at LydiaCornell.com and also has written a novel, if you can share a bit on those as well.
Lydia Cornell: Thank you! Our show is amazing. We hope to have Richard Belzer on next week and Larry Charles soon. He directed Borat, Religulous and lots of Seinfeld episodes. Recent guests on our show include: CNN's Paul Begala, (Senior Clinton Advisor); MSNBC's Pat Buchanan (Former Reagan advisor) John Dean, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Senator Tom Daschle, Bill Press, NBC Bureau Chief in Tel Aviv Martin Fletcher, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, John & Elizabeth Edwards, Rep. Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich, Congressman Charlie Rangel,Valerie Plame, Vincent Bugliosi, Christine Pelosi, Senator Mike Gravel; Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors, celebrities and more.
Yes, I will continue to act! I was just up for a couple of roles on Entourage. I am writing a trilogy of funny books, a TV series and the big movie version of Venus Conspiracy. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos, I plan to play a role in this.
I also do standup and am co-starring in a new comedy show I wrote with Stephanie Hodge (Unhappily Ever After, Nurses) and Destiny (The Tonight Show, VH-1, MTV) called Pain is Inevitable, Sex Optional” We had our first stage show on Saturday night and it was great!
The novel is an historical thriller called The Sylvia Plan which has taken me several lifetimes to finish. It is about the Trotsky assassination, the Spanish Civil War and a love triangle. Right now it's on the back burner, but will definitely be out after the other books are published.

Our thanks to Lydia Cornell for her time and this opportunity. You can listen to her every weekday morning on Basham and Cornell Radio Live at 8am PT on KLAV or nationwide on http://www.bashamandcornell.com/, and check out Lydia's own website and blog at http://www.lydiacornell.com/.
And don't forget to watch Too Close for Comfort tonight on WGN America from 8-10pm ET (5-7pm PT). If you've never watched it, you are in for a treat...good writing, good comedy, and Lydia Cornell. Enough said! Stay tuned right here on the blog for continued news on Lydia and Too Close for Comfort!


Holy continuation, Batman! Lydia Cornell is not done yet! We have more from Lydia as she was very nice enough to share more stories and insight. So we're calling this "Lydia Unleashed." She is sharing some stories for the first time ever, so you will want to read more from Lydia! Holy exclusives! Time to get unleashed with Lydia Cornell. That is good thing! Unleash the hounds!

Lydia Cornell Unleashed
Lydia in Jeans!

Lydia on her relationship with Ted Knight...
I had grown up watching Ted Knight on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I was star-struck by him. He was a comedy legend and I was blessed to have learned the ropes from him. But Ted was hostile toward me and I didn't know why at the time. During our dialogue scenes I was afraid to look him in the eyes, so I'd look at his forehead. He'd stand on his toes to get into my line of vision. I was so nervous I'd fidget and one time I scratched my nose on his punch line. He would yell to the director's booth, "Why is she moving on my line!" They had to stop taping. From then on whenever anybody spoke, I froze. The director became upset that I was too stiff and Ted started a rumor that they were going to replace me with a prop. The National Enquirer sent spies to the set. One time Ted was yelling that I was late to the set, but the truth was that Violet, our wonderful wardrobe designer, was trying to button the pearl buttons on my blouse and it was taking too long. In the tabloids the next week I was accused of holding up production on the set because I was "primping" when I was actually crying while she was buttoning me up!
I have a really funny Merv Griffin story when the whole cast was on his show. Deborah and I were so nervous being on our first talk show we got into a lot of trouble. Deb blurted out a weird secret about Ted and Merv exploded with his lascivious laugh, warning: "Stay tuned and we'll find out what Deborah means when Lydia Cornell, the youngest member of the Rush family comes out!" Then I came out and made it worse! Ted's jaw dropped open in horror and they had to stop taping. Sorry but you'll have to wait another day for the conclusion of this...

Lydia on going to Beirut on a USO tour...
Audrey Meadows is the one who convinced me to go to Beirut, Lebanon on a USO tour with Johnny Grant, the Mayor of Hollywood, during Christmas 1982. Bob Hope had eye trouble that year. This was the most amazing experience - flying into a war zone, being picked up by paratroopers during a blackout, driving through mine fields during a blackout, being choppered onto aircraft carriers and staying above the bombed out remains of the Beirut Carlton. I met Capt. Dale Dye and sang Christmas carols with all the sailors and Marines.
After we left the Middle East, a suicide bomber drove a truck into the Marine barracks and blew up 251 of the best and brightest of the 24th MAU. I received letters from the sons of these soldiers, and years later I got a letter that broke my heart. It was from a 13-year-old boy who had been a toddler when his dad died, and the boy himself was now dying of cancer. He thought I might have met his father before the bombing, and wanted any memories I might have. A disabled combat marine vet sent me his Purple Heart last year for writing that article about Ann Coulter. (More about this below.)

Lydia on the daily happenings on the Too Close for Comfort set...
First Season Cast Photo of Too Close for Comfort
There is something about seeing yourself on TV for the first time that makes you want to put a bag over your head and jump off a cliff. Contrary to what people believed, I never used drugs on the set, just Liquid Paper to whiten my teeth. This was before teeth whiteners. One day Ted Knight came into my dressing room and caught me blow-drying my teeth. This was the 80's, the era of giant shoulder pads and aircraft carrier hairdos. You could land a plane on my head. In fact, it looked like a 747 was permanently parked there, the wingspan was so huge.
I was supposed to be the blonde bombshell of our show, so I had to stay very thin. Backstage, as on every film and TV set, there was a huge buffet of food they kept replenishing. It was covered with bagels, donuts, cookies, coffee cake, popcorn, chips, ice cream and soft drinks - but I wasn't allowed to eat any of it. There were spies everywhere. One day I left the soundstage, ventured into the outside world and bought a burrito, a taco, and bag of M&M's. I was sneaking back to my dressing room when Arne Sultan appeared out of nowhere. He caught me with all the food and yelled, "Don't you know you're a sex symbol!? You can't eat starch!" (This was before the word 'carbs.') The food went flying into the air and landed all over both of us.
After the first episode aired, the producers took me aside and said my face looked chubby. To make it look thinner, for the second episode I used lift tape to pull up my cheeks until I looked practically Chinese. I think it lifted my vocal chords in the process because my voice got higher and higher until I sounded like Minnie Mouse. But maybe this was just nerves.
I am writing a book about all my humiliating adventures in Hollywood and on the show, and there are so many funny ones to choose from. We were all very immature (as most comic actors are) and we would goof around during rehearsals. One day Ted, Jim, Nancy, Deb and I got into a conversation about sex. I think John Ritter had come to visit that day. By the time we got around to discussing the sex lives of goats and sheep, we were laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. My stomach actually hurt from laughing, as if I'd done 300 situps. Then the director came in and we were all in trouble for not rehearsing. They couldn't leave us alone for one minute without all hell breaking loose.
On Wednesdays Ted would be all freaked out because the network would come down and watch the run-through with the producers. All of us hated being judged by the "suits." Usually they'd change the jokes and lines so we'd have new pages to memorize each day. We'd do two tapings on Fridays - one with a live audience.

Lydia on the publicity back then...
Lydia on the Pilot Episode of Too Close for Comfort
To bring in male viewers ABC promoted me as a sex symbol. They created posters and publicity shots in which I had to crawl on all fours in a sequined bathing suit. This was so embarrassing! Ted was anxious to have another hit series because after The Mary Tyler Moore Show he was typecast and every show he tried failed, including his own series, The Ted Knight Show (1978). This always happens after you have a hit show. Sometimes it takes years. But Ted felt that Too Close for Comfort was his last chance. So he went along with the network exploiting me in cheesecake bikini photos (anything to raise the ratings) until he saw a magazine on the newsstand one day - this magazine had my face taking up the entire cover with just a tiny photo of him in the right-hand corner. The implication was that I was the star of the show, and the headline was "Lydia is a Daddy's Girl" - in reference to the fact that he played my father. Ted brought the magazine to work and literally threw it at me, yelling "I'M the star of this show! And don't you ever forget it!" There was also a tiny picture of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in the upper left hand corner, announcing their engagement.
From that point on I shunned publicity and did everything in my power to lay low. All I wanted was Ted's approval - but the more I sought it, the more it eluded me. This was the beginning of a terrible time. It seemed there was a concerted effort to diminish my role and make me feel unimportant. At one point, the producers actually went so far as to hide my fan mail. They didn't want my head to get too big. Little did they know the depths of my low self-esteem.

Lydia on her feud with Ann Coulter...
In 2006, I had a public feud with Ann Coulter, America's preeminent hate-monger and "extermination speaker" - who said "the best way to speak to a Democrat is with a baseball bat," and who called for the assassination of Supreme Court Justice Stevens because he is pro-choice... and who helped bring down Bill Clinton with her book High Crimes and Misdemeanors. She also said he should be killed. She was the rock star of the conservative movement for awhile - and got paid $30,000 per speaking engagement at universities.
I was bewildered by her so-called "Christianity" which omits the Golden Rule. Right after she said Bush should "nuke" North Korea, she was the featured pro-life speaker at a Moral Reformation conference! I found this unbelievable. So after she called to revoke the right of women to vote, I sent her an e-mail asking her if she was just kidding or serious. I asked her for an interview, attaching my private home info and home number and asking for an interview. I assumed she was just using humor as a weapon and this was just her "schtick." But she never wrote me back.
Then my article "Death is Sexier than Sex to Ann Coulter" was published and I received 300,000 hits on my website and the publisher's site. Ann Coulter then published my home number and private info on her site and I began receiving death threats, hate mail and a stranger pounding on our door. My kids almost answered the door, and I had to grab them in the nick of time. We lived in mortal terror during Christmas. I did 27 radio shows in 2 weeks, one of which was Basham Radio in Vegas.
At the same time, I was receiving hundreds of love letters and several phone calls at home thanking me for speaking out against this bizarre war-loving, hatemongering form of "Christianity."
I was set to write a book about Coulter, a spiritual-progressive book, but decided I didn't need the negative attention. I wrote the book but there is such a wide cultural chasm in America now - I'd rather bring people together instead of being divisive. So I'm releasing my showbiz and humor books first. The Coulter saga doesn't end here. I have some highly classified details I can't reveal yet, which will come out soon. There is a lot more to this story, and it's pretty scary.

Lydia on raising children...
I interviewed Valerie Bertinelli on my radio show, and we were talking about our kids. I confided that I had been spying on my 14-year-old son's chat room and discovered he was talking about losing his virginity with a girl at school. Needless to say, I am completely freaked out. Valerie said she was nervous about her son Wolfie too. Neither of us can believe we are coping with things like this, since we both barely feel like grownups ourselves. She said that writing her book helped her "purge the shame" of her life. All the things she had been hiding and covering up were finally out in the light of day - and somehow this enabled her to get that lightness of being she was looking for. That's what I'm finally doing - not hiding anymore.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nick at Nite November 2008 Highlights; CBS Removes Ex-List, More Network Notes

Nick at Nite has released its November 2008 highlights and schedule, and once again there are no changes to the line-up. We do have a stunt for Thanksgiving though. They will air a marathon of Thanksgiving episodes on "Thanksgiving Nite" from 9pm-12am ET/PT. Viewers will get to see how Nick at Nite's favorite families celebrate Thanksgiving. They invite neighbors, they go to a NFL game, they go away on vacation, they help homeless shelters, and they go to a massage parlor...huh? You'll see all that on Thanksgiving night as Nick at Nite presents Thanksgiving episodes of Home Improvement, George Lopez and Fresh Prince!
That's it...nothing else is out of the ordinary in November, so expect to see the regular line-up on other days in November. See the Nick at Nite November 2008 Schedule and Highlights.

Effective immediately CBS has removed first year Friday drama The Ex-List off the Friday line-up. This Friday, the first Friday of November sweeps, CBS will air a repeat of NCIS in the Ex-List timeslot of Friday at 9pm. The timeslot is very weak and at times Ex-List wins its slot in total viewers, but this past Friday the show was very weak in 18-49 losing to first place Supernanny on ABC.
Last night Game 5 of the World Series on Fox was suspended after 5 1/2 innings because of rain in Philadelphia with the score tied at two. The game was supposed to resume tonight at 8pm, but due to still bad weather conditions, the game won't resume until Wednesday night at 8:30pm. Wednesday night was supposed to be game 6 in Tampa Bay, but that will be moved to Thursday night, if it is necessary. If Philly wins the continuation of the suspended game, the series is over and they are the champs, winning 4 games to 1. If Tampa Bay can win the next two games, game 7 will likely be on Friday now. Stay tuned...
Also, ABC will not air the Obama Ad on Wednesday at 8pm. ABC was in discussion to air the ad, but now they are not going to. CBS, Fox, and NBC will air the ad. So, ABC will be the only network airing scripted programming in the half-hour with the very creative series Pushing Daisies...tune in!

Lost '80s Week continues tonight at 8pm ET (5pm PT) on WGN America with another Three's Company spin-off, this time ... The Ropers! See how Jeffrey Tambor got his start. Tomorrow night WGN America will air the '80s sitcom Too Close for Comfort, and we will have an interview with Lydia Cornell (Sarah on Too Close for Comfort) tomorrow right here on the blog! It will be of course in our Seven Questions format and she gave us so much, that we have an additional segment where Lydia talks about things for the first time! How was her working relationship with star Ted Knight? That's just SOME of the things you'll read tomorrow! You'll want to read this!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

TV Land and NBC November Changes; Win Free Copy of Donna Reed Show Season 1 DVD!

TV Land has edited their primetime schedule a bit and added a few more stunts in November. First, TV Land has given 3rd Rock from the Sun a week-long TV Land PRIME marathon. It will air Monday, November 3 through Friday, November 7 from 9pm-12am ET/PT. Some slots will be preempted though, such as Wednesday at 10 and Friday at 10 for other TV Land PRIME programming. This change will lead into a new slot for 3rd Rock the following week, as TV Land swaps 3rd Rock and Scrubs. Scrubs will now move from 9-10pm to 10-11pm weeknights, as 3rd Rock goes from 10-11pm weeknights to 9-10pm weeknights starting November 10. Looks like 3rd Rock has surprised and done decent in the ratings. And finally, TV Land has added a weekend M*A*S*H Fan Favorites marathon the weekend of November 15 and 16 from 8pm-6am ET/PT both nights. You can catch memorable episodes, the series finale and the 30th anniversary reunion special!
Head on to our updated TV Land November 2008 schedule and highlights so you're all updated!

NBC has made changes to its schedule, that will alter Wednesdays and Fridays in the next week or two and later on Mondays get a little makeover. Effective Friday, October 31, Lipstick Jungle moves from Wednesdays at 10 to Fridays at 10 replacing Life. Life will be over to Wednesdays at 9pm starting November 5 replacing Deal or No Deal-Wed. Also that night NBC will launch the new season of Law & Order at 10pm. Lipstick Jungle was only at over 4 million for its latest episode, while NBC probably thinks Life is worth saving and trying back on Wednesdays. Also NBC has moved the series premiere of reality series Momma's Boys yet again...this is take three! The series will now launch on Tuesday, December 16 at 10pm following The Biggest Loser finale. Then it will air for five more weeks on Mondays at 9pm starting December 22. Heroes will be on a 5 week break at least as its fall finale is Dec. 15. NBC must not have much faith in Momma's Boys as it will be airing in the low rated holiday season, especially the first two Monday airings.

We have 5 copies of the classic sitcom The Donna Reed Show - The Complete First Season for giveaway thanks to the fine folks at Arts Alliance America. It arrives on DVD tomorrow (October 28, 2008). The contest begins today, Monday, October 27 and ends at the end of the day on Monday, November 10. So you have two weeks to enter! One entry per e-mail address and household. Multiple entries from the same IP address will be deleted...so no tricks, please. We'll know.
For the first time ever, the preeminent family television series from the 1960's will be brought back into America's homes. Amazingly, this series has never been on home video in any format. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the show. Arts Alliance is pulling out the stops for this historic occasion. Arts Alliance has digitally re-mastered all 37 episodes of the first season. This 4-disc set will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.95. Working closely with Donna Reed's family, Arts Alliance America has acquired the priceless series that fans have been clamoring for.
Look for our full DVD review very soon, but please enter our Donna Reed Show DVD contest, but before you do...please make sure you read the FULL contest rules and eligibility details.

Don't forget this week it is "Lost '80s Week" on WGN America featuring Three's a Crowd, The Ropers, Too Close for Comfort and Check it Out! All week long from 8-10pm ET (5-7pm PT). Tonight's presentation will be four episodes of the John Ritter series, Three's a Crowd! Tune in and let's try to get these on the air as regulars, at least on weekends. As a special treat, we will interview Too Close for Comfort star Lydia Cornell this week just in time for Too Close for Comfort on WGN America! Come on back for that and tune in to WGN America this week!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week 5 Numbers (First Four Nights); How the Sitcoms Did

Week 5 numbers (first three nights, Mon-Wed):
NOTE: Thursday is not in this week in our network averages once again (so sorry!), but we do have final program numbers for Thursday in the analysis below:

Households: CBS: 8.2/12.9; ABC: 6.9/10.9; Fox: 6.6/10.2; NBC: 4.5/7.1; The CW: 1.8/2.8; MNT: 0.8/1.2.
Total Viewers: CBS: 12.93 million; Fox: 10.6 million; ABC: 10.47 million; NBC: 7.17 million; The CW: 2.73 million; MNT: 1.18 million.
Adults 18-49: Fox: 3.9/10.1; CBS: 3.5/9.1; ABC: 2.7/7.0; NBC: 2.7/6.9; The CW: 1.3/3.4; MNT: 0.4/1.2.

Analysis: Week 5 saw everything airing back to normal as the debates have ended. I apologize for the third week in a row we only have final averages for the first three days (thru Wednesday). If this happens again, I don't know what I'll do now. But I do have Thursday final program numbers and network averages, just not four day averages. I don't have time to go through and recalculate so, I'll give you the final Thursday averages in HH: CBS 9.1/14, Fox 7.5/12, ABC 6.8/11, NBC 4.7/7, The CW 2.3/4, MNT 0.9/1, so you can determine yourself how things look after the first four days. So looking at those numbers and the first three days averages on the top, for the first four days, CBS has the lead in all categories, with Fox in second in all categories thanks to the World Series (but first in 18-49), ABC a close third in all categories, and NBC in fourth in all categories thanks to yet another bad week.
Last week, CBS won week 4 in all categories for the third straight week (ABC won the first week), ABC was second in all categories, NBC nipped by Fox this time for third across the board, so Fox was fourth.
Monday ABC was on top thanks to of course Dancing with the Stars. The 92-minute episode did 18.5 million and a 4.1/10 in 18-49...up from previous week, it will likely go up each week now until the finale. The sitcom Samantha Who followed and did 9.64 million, down nearly two million from its premiere the previous week...but it was on par with its episodes from last spring. A new Boston Legal followed with 8.14 million, up a bit from the previous week. Next up was CBS with its comedies and CSI: Miami. The Big Bang Theory did 9.33 million, on par from previous week as this show is the most consistent ratings I've seen this year and How I Met Your Mother followed with 9.45 million, up from the previous week but build on the lead-in in viewers finally after not doing it the previous few weeks. Two and a Half Men and new single-camera sitcom Worst Week followed with 14.63 and 9.88 million. Men was down a bit from previous week, while Worst Week was up a bit but still lost a lot from the lead-in in both viewers and 18-49. So wait they jumped 30 days later since the previous episode? I didn't like that. At 10pm a new CSI: Miami did 13.51 million, finally up a bit from previous week. NBC followed with its drama line-up. Chuck started it off with 6.87 million, up from previous week, Heroes followed with 8.51 million...down some from previous week. New series My Worst Own Enemy at 10pm did only 5.69 million...not a good sign as it dropped 1 1/2 million from the premiere. Fox was fourth with Sarah Connor only mustering 5.02 million and Prison Break doing 5.45 million. DVR ratings will benefit, but still these shows are not doing what they were before. The CW had its usual decent numbers with Gossip Girl doing a solid 3.03 million, but down from previous week and the resurgent One Tree Hill did 3.69 million, up week-to-week.
Tuesday it was CBS in viewers and Fox in 18-49. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 17.23 million, down though from previous week, new drama The Mentalist followed with a solid 15.28 million, up from previous week and Without a Trace did a decent 11.63 million, but seems low for this show but up a bit from previous week. ABC was next in viewers with a special one-hour recap of Monday's Dancing with the Stars doing a solid 9.04 million. Dancing with the Stars: The Results followed with 16.35 million...up a lot from previous week. Eli Stone with guest star Katie Holmes (Emmy nom coming?) followed and did 8.01 million, down a bit from the premiere the previous week. Have faith! Fox was next this week with House doing 13.08 million, down a bit week to week in viewers, followed by new drama Fringe at 8.91 million, also down a bit week to week. NBC was fourth with a two-hour The Biggest Loser doing 7.41 million, down a tad from previous week, followed by an all-new Law & Order: SVU at 9.50 million, on par from previous week. The CW aired a repeat of 90210 again doing 1.33 million, down week to week and a new episode of Privileged did 1.45 million. Why air it out of a repeat?
Wednesday saw CBS's crime dramas and the World Series battle. CBS started with sitcoms, Old Christine did 7.76 million, up a bit AGAIN from previous week and a season high AGAIN, followed by new sitcom Gary Unmarried at 7.56 million, also up a bit AGAIN from previous week and a series high AGAIN. These are slowly going up...do to lack of competition primarily. CBS aired Criminal Minds at9pm and it did a solid 15.01 million and CSI: NY did 14.39 million...they sure were missed the previous week with the debate on. Fox aired Game #1 of the World Series with the pregame at 8pm ET doing 9.73 million and the game following through 12:02am doing 14.63 million, but in primetime Fox averaged 13.89 million. ABC aired Pushing Daisies at 8pm and did 5.69 million, down week to week. Private Practice followed with a solid gain doing 7.98 million (3.0 18-49 rating) and Dirty Sexy Money did only 5.74 million...too bad, it is addictive and people should watch. NBC opened the night with the recently renewed due to the weak timeslot Knight Rider doing 7.23 million...down week to week, followed by Deal or No Deal Wednesday doing 7.61 million and the Friday bound Lipstick Jungle at just 4.31 million. Jungle moves to Fridays next week (where it will do worse), while Life moves to Wednesdays starting Nov. 5 with veteran Law & Order also coming back to its 10pm stomping ground. The CW had a new Top Model doing 4.44 million, up a lot from previous week's clip show...the premiere of Stylista followed with only 2.35 million, CW needs something over 3 million to make this night a solid night.
Thursday CBS won again. CBS opened with Survivor: Gabon at 13.31 million, up from previous week. A new CSI followed with 19.49 million, up a bit from previous week. The new Eleventh Hour followed and did 11.85 million, down a bit week to week. How?? I just don't get it. Fox had a way better Thursday than normal with Game 2 of the World Series doing 12.77 million, down from game one, with the pregame at 8pm doing 6.54 million. ABC opened the night with Ugly Betty with Lindsay Lohan doing 8.7 million, up from previous week. Grey's Anatomy followed with 14.45 million, down a bit week to week. At 10pm a new Life on Mars did 7.86 million, down from previous week. I don't understand it at all...such a good show, a cop show with a twist. NBC was fourth with a new My Name is Earl doing 6.39, down again from previous week, new sitcom Kath & Kim followed with only 4.99 million, ouch...down over a million from the second episode the previous week. The Office followed with a below normal 7.98 million, down from previous week. The third and final SNL Thursday Update special did 8.8 million, on par from previous week, can 30 Rock do anything close to that this week? My guess is no...look for 6 million or so only. ER benefited again from that higher lead-in and did 8.82 million, but down a bit from previous week. Smallville on The CW did 4.16 million, on par really from previous week, followed by Supernatural at a decent 3.25 million...up from previous week.
Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas, as Ghost Whisperer did very solid as usual but The Ex-List dropped more yet still lead at 9pm by a hair over NBC's disappointing Crusoe. NUMB3RS won 10pm but 20/20 tied it in 18-49.
Saturday numbers saw ABC win in the preliminaries overall and in 18-49 thanks to a great College Football game between #3 Penn State and #9 Ohio State. Fox's Game 3 of the World Series didn't start until late in night thanks to a rain delay, so Fox saw *gulp* 'Til Death repeats. NBC had terrible numbers again for America's Toughest Jobs on Saturday with a prelim 3.07 million, though up a bit week-to-week.
Tonight should be a victory for either Fox thanks to Game 4 of the World Series or ABC's regular Sunday (AFV, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters). CBS will be solid, but no NFL lead-in tonight to help them, and NBC will be in the dumpster since there is no SNF game tonight as a movie will air instead.
As for the week, CBS should hang on for the win in HH and viewers but Fox will take 18-49 likely thanks to the World Series. ABC will be at an uncharacteristic third across the board. Followed by NBC, CW and MNT. One thing that might hurt Fox is that the Saturday World Series game didn't start until late, so their line-up before that might have tanked badly and could cost them. What to watch for this week? Sweeps starts Thursday! Yes, we will start November sweeps already. The season is flying by and can't believe we will be in week 6 tomorrow.

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of October 13-19)

  • The Simpsons (Fox) 3 episodes - Two repeats in the 7pm hour opposite the CBS NFL game did just 3.06 and 5.14 million, but a nice jump. A new episode a 8pm did a decent 8.16 million.
  • King of the Hill (Fox) - A solid 7.4 million...seems above for this show of late.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - A solid 9.01 million...so this show has more ratings than The Office? 4.7 18-49 rating, too.
  • American Dad (Fox) - Just 6.63 million...this show better watch out because Cleveland Show could take this slot for good in the winter.

Monday Sitcoms

  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 9.33 million for a new episode, down just a bit from previous week's 9.34. How consistent is this show this season? Every episode but one has been in the 9.3-9.4 million range with very little difference. Good!!! But repeat tomorrow might kill the momentum. I am not a fan of repeats this early.
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 9.45 million for a new episode, up week-to-week again, and this time it did build on the lead-in in viewers after not doing it the past few weeks.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 14.63 million...down a tad from previous week, but still besting any sitcom by a landslide.
  • Worst Week (CBS) - 9.88 million...still not good retention at all but for the second week in a row it went up a little from previous week. This is a good show! Is CBS trying to kill it though? They have scheduled a repeat of Gary Unmarried for tomorrow following repeats of the other sitcoms from 8-9:30.
  • Samantha Who? (ABC) - 9.64 million for a new episode, down from its season premiere the previous week. Should have done better.


Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.

Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - 7.76 million for a new episode...up a bit yet again from previous week and a season high yet again. Still can't climb much, but good enough in this very weak slot.
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - 7.56 million, a series high again. Has gone up on all five airings.
  • 'Til Death (Fox) - Preempted again but Fox certainly is happy it was.
  • Under One Roof (MNT) - Repeat airing did 780,000 viewers...down a bit week to week, it aired after an all-new Tony Rock Project which did 1.04 million again.


Thursday Sitcoms

  • My Name is Earl (NBC) - 6.72 million for a new episode, down from previous week.
  • Kath & Kim (NBC) - 4.99 million for its third airing...down a lot from the premiere and more importantly the previous week too...cancelation eye is on.
  • The Office (NBC) - Weak lead-in might be hurting it as this show did a below normal 7.98 million.

Friday Sitcoms

  • Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - Final numbers are not in yet...but the prelim numbers show 1.83 million. On par with every episode this year.
  • The Game (The CW) - Prelim numbers show just 1.74 million...not building this week from the lead-in.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • 'Til Death (Fox) Few episodes - Fox aired a few repeats of this sitcom (at least in E/C zones) because of rain delay for Game 3 of the World Series...no final numbers yet obviously.
  • The Office (NBC) - For some reason NBC aired a repeat at 10:30pm and it only did a prelim 2.13 million.

Airing tonight (Sunday) is another 10:30pm repeat of The Office on NBC.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Worst Week, Samantha Who?) or just plain old terrible (such as Kath & Kim, The Game).

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blog DVD Reviews: Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the weekly Blog DVD Reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown Remastered Deluxe Edition. The holiday season is upon us and what better classic to celebrate Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This series always gave us classic holiday specials for just about every holiday. See my Blog DVD Reviews of Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown Remastered Deluxe Edition:

Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection - (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) (Warner, $44.98) brings us the three most popular Charlie Brown holiday specials on DVD, but this time digitally remastered and excellent backstories behind them! Plus in addition to these three classics, on each set we get a bonus Charlie Brown special!
I think just about everyone in this country has seen the classic Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials at least once. They air on TV every year. In fact, the Halloween one is airing on ABC this Tuesday (October 28) at 8pm (along with the Election special) and the Thanksgiving special is slated for Tuesday, November 25 at 8pm. So, if you don't know what they are about by now...I don't know what to say, but here is a short synopsis of each: In the 1966 animated special It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, they celebrates Halloween, with Linus hoping that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Pumpkin, while Charlie Brown is invited to a Halloween party. In the 1973 special, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang. However the dinner he arranges is a disaster when the caterers, Snoopy and Woodstock, prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. Humiliated, it will take all of Marcie's persuasive powers to salvage the holiday for Charlie Brown. In the classic 1965 special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees everywhere during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant, and Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, Charlie Brown needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is.
Each of these three classics are also available separately, if you don't want to buy them all in one deluxe set. The deluxe set is cheaper though, 44.98 for all three rather than 19.98 each. The deluxe set came out on September 23. Separate sets came out on other dates, with Halloween on Sept. 2 and Thanksgiving and Christmas on Oct. 7. As far as the packaging goes for the Deluxe set, we have a nice outer box that holds all three cases of each holiday special. The cases are the same as the separate released, but this set has no thin outer box, which is a good thing, because they don't make sense because it has the same front and back as the case. As for the deluxe set, the front has four different holiday shots (Linus with a pumpkin, Charlie Brown with a Christmas tree, Snoopy & Woodstock in Thanksgiving style hats watching the leaves fall, and Lucy skating on an ice rink.) In the middle we have a nice bow, so this set looks like a present! Nicely done! The back of this deluxe box has a nice red sky with snow falling and Charlie Brown, Woodstock and Linus watching Snoopy sit on top of his house that has Christmas lights. Also, each holiday set's cover is shown on the bottom. I'll quickly cover each holiday's packaging. For the Halloween one we have an orange background with lots of pumpkins and Charlie Brown, Linus and Snoopy. The back has info on the special and set along with a nice artwork of the gang in Halloween costumes. For the Thanksgiving one we have a beige (light yellow?) background with Charlie Brown, Woodstock and Snoopy with Thanksgiving food outside on a table. The back has info on the special and set along with a nice artwork of Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and Snoopy around a pile of leaves. For the Christmas one we have a dark blue (resembling a snow sky) background with Charlie Brown and Snoopy outside in the snow by a little (and pathetic looking) Christmas tree and you can also see Snoopy's little house with Christmas lights. The back has info on the special and set along with a nice artwork of the gang by a better looking Christmas tree singing Christmas carols. Now if you got these sets separately, you also got a thin outer box with the same artwork as the case. Inside each case there is no artwork or design, just plain black background. As for the disc artwork, Halloween has an orange background with Linus and a pumpkin. Thanksgiving disc has that beige (light yellow) background with Snoopy playing in the leaves, with Marci walking. The Christmas disc has that dark blue background with a nice Christmas tree and a shot of Snoopy. The Christmas set also has a six-song sampler disc, and it has a yellow background.
The menu screen has options of Features, Special Features, and Languages on all three sets. For Halloween, we get an orange background with artwork of Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy around pumpkins and the theme song playing in the background. When we select something, we see a pumpkin as a selector. For Thanksgiving, we get a beige background with artwork of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock around a Thanksgiving meal and the theme song plays in the background. We have a leaf as a selector. For Christmas, we get a nice dark sky background with snow on the ground with artwork of Snoopy and Charlie Brown looking at a tree, and this time Christmas background music used in the special is playing in the background! For each set for Languages, we can have either English, Espanol, Japanese, or Portugues. For subtitles we have those and also Chinese, Korean, and Thai...wow! The Features section for all three sets has the two specials listed, we can also select Play All to play both back-to-back. Finally, Special Features for each special lists the extra (more on that below) and Trailers.
The video and audio is tremendous on all three sets. It has never looked better or sounded better ever. I am very impressed and Warner did a great job on this remastering. For the Halloween set, the classic 1966 special runs 25:12 and has five chapter stops. We also get the 1981 special It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown and that runs 24:14. For the Thanksgiving set, the classic 1973 special runs 25:16 with three chapter stops. We also get an episode from the 1988 TV series This is America, Charlie Brown titled "The Mayflower Voyagers," that runs 24:14 with six chapter stops. For the Christmas set, the classic 1965 special runs 25:25 with five chapter stops. We also get the 1992 Christmas special, It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown running 22:56 with six chapter positions.
As for special features, we get a nice featurette on the back story of each special on each set! For Halloween is titled "We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown" and runs 13:56. It certainly was a blockbuster as this was the third special (after A Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown All-Stars)and it did a 49 share originally! The Thanksgiving featurette is called "Popcorn & Jellybeans: Making a Thanksgiving Classic" and it runs 12:25. This was the eleventh special for Peanuts and they wanted it to be different so they made the storyline of strange food during Thanksgiving dinner. For the Christmas featurette, it is called "A Christmas Miracle: The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas." Obviously this was the very first special and they were not expecting much of an audience but yes, a Christmas miracle happened and this became a blockbuster that Christmas in 1965 and has been watched by millions each year since! Interviewed for these featurettes are Fred Silverman, Scott McGuire, Bill Melendez, Mark Evanier, Lee Mendelson (Producer), Todd Barbee, Chris DeFaria, Hilary Momberger, Phil Roman, Jeannie Schulz (Charles Schulz's wife), and Monte Schulz (Charles Schulz's son).
I highly do recommend this set for any Charlie Brown-Peanuts fan and classic animation in general. All three holiday specials are trademarks during their respective season. Warner really needs to remaster every special for this wonderful franchise and put it on DVD. First we got 3 specials on the Valentine's DVD and two more on the Easter DVD. Now we get two specials each on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, although the second special on Thanksgiving is an episode from the This is America, Charlie Brown series. The Election special and another special on that set was also released (see review below). With the holiday season upon us, Halloween is next week and Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, this is the perfect gift for you or anyone else! Go buy this set! Good grief!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

If you want to buy each holiday separately for any reason see below:
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Remastered Deluxe Edition- Halloween
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Remastered Deluxe Edition
A Charlie Brown Christmas Remastered Deluxe Edition

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Charlie Brown Official Page


You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown - Remastered Deluxe Edition (Warner, $19.98) brings us the classic 1972 Election-themed episode (ninth primetime special) on DVD once again, but this time digitally remastered...and it is really worth it! Plus in addition to the Election special, we also get He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, which is the last special made to date and it aired on ABC in 2006.
If you have never seen this Election special, it is about Linus who runs for the post of student body president with a vigorous and enthusiastic campaign which receives a setback when he spreads the message of the Great Pumpkin. We also get the most recent Peanuts special from 2006 He's a Bully, Charlie Brown. At home, Rerun van Pelt finds some old marbles his grandfather kept in the attic. He then decides at summer camp that he wants to be a marbles champ. Joe Agate, the bully, decides to play against Rerun on the false pretense of teaching him the game and quickly cheats him out of his marbles. Charlie Brown to the rescue?
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin case, that is movie style. I never understood the reason for the thin box that holds a thin case...what's the point? Also, both the back and front of each is exactly the same, except the box is shinier. The cover art is blue in color, and has Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy watching Linus at the podium. The title of the election special is on the top, with a mention that this is a remastered deluxe edition! The bottom tells is we also get a bonus TV special (He's a Bully, Charlie Brown). To the back we go, we get a nice synopsis of the Election special, along with a list of the special features on blackboard. It is again blue in color with artwork of Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy and Linus. When we open the case, we get black background all over, very plain, but of course the disc is inside. The disc is in blue and has that blackboard and has artwork of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
The menu screen has options of Features, Special Features, and Languages. We get that blue background again, with the theme song playing in the background. We also have artwork of Snoopy and Charlie Brown...Snoopy in that Joe Cool t-shirt! Anyway back to the menu, for Languages, we can have either English, Japanese, or Portugues. For subtitles we have those three again and also Chinese, Korean, and Thai...wow! But no Espanol for either? The Features section has the two specials listed, we can also select Play All to play both back-to-back. Finally, Special Features lists the extra (more on that below) and Trailers.
The video and audio is tremendous. It has never looked better or sounded better ever. I am very impressed. Warner continues to do a great job on this remastering of all these classic specials. Election special runs 25:13 and has 13 chapter stops, which you an use via your DVD remote. The Bully special runs 21:32 and has 5 chapter stops also. Both specials look amazing...the Bully one should as it is the newest one yet.
As for special features, we get a nice featurette! It is titled "The Polls Don't Lie: The Making of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" and runs 12:09. We find out lots of behind-the-scenes details and cool facts for the Election special from members of the Schulz family and more. Interviewed are Scott McGuire, Lee Mendelson (Producer), Mark Evanier, Jeannie Schulz (Charles Schulz's wife), Bill Melendez, Todd Barbee, Hilary Momberger, and Phil Roman.
I once again highly do recommend this set for any Charlie Brown-Peanuts fan and classic animation in general. Warner is doing a wonderful job with the remastering and the behind the scenes extras of each special. Let's hope they continue to release more Charlie Brown specials! So head to the polls this Election Day and think of Linus! You can catch this special on TV this Tuesday at 8:30pm ET on ABC following It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, if you want to preview it first if you've never seen it. Vote for Joe Cool not Joe the Plumber!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Charlie Brown Official Page

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron Howard Reprises His Opie and Richie Roles for Obama; Minor Changes for Hallmark, ION and CBS Monday

Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham are both back! Ron Howard has reprised both of his classic TV roles for an ad supporting Barack Obama! It is a hilarious salute to those characters and shows, but also supports Obama and he urges Americans out there to vote and to change America. Ron is not the only one in the video either. Ron has reunited with Andy Griffith for his Opie/Andy segment and Henry Winkler for his Richie/Fonzie segment. These characters haven't been done in decades, so it is fun to see them reprise their roles! The Andy Griffith Show segment was even in black and white with Opie in his green/yellow striped t-shirt and fishing rod! The Happy Days segment had Henry Winkler's Fonzie in his trademark leather coat and Richie with his blue sweater outside of Arnold's. Ahyyyay!!! You even see Ron shave off his beard and trim his nose air for this video! He really does want Americans to vote and change this country. See the four-minute video for yourself! It's worth watching...whether you be a Democrat or Republican. Ron Howard has certainly found his "thrill on blueberry hill!"

Effective this weekend (Oct. 25-26), Cheers will not air on weekends anymore on The Hallmark Channel. It was airing Saturday nights 1-3am, Sunday mornings 10am-12pm, and Sunday nights from 1-3am. Cheers will only air weekdays from 4-5pm starting next week (Oct. 27).
Next week on ION Television, we will still not see any ER. ER's Mon-Wed at 10pm airings have been replaced for next week (Oct. 27-31) as well, on Monday we will see an extra NCIS and Tuesday & Wednesday we will see more Boston Legal. Did you know ER has not been seen since its Monday, Oct. 6 airing? ION's November schedule is still not out yet, and I'm sure they are trying to find a permanent replacement for the lower rated ER. As soon as their November schedule is in, I'll let you know. Right now only Nov. 1 and 2 is available, and that's a weekend. Speaking of ION, looks like the Warner Bros. movies are doing well, because they are having another movie marathon tonight from 4pm-11pm.
CBS has made a minor change for this coming Monday only. Wednesday sitcom Gary Unmarried (Pilot Repeat) will air Monday, October 27, 2008 at 9:30pm ET/PT replacing a repeat of Worst Week. The rest of the CBS comedies are also repeats the entire night on Oct. 27.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

TV Land December 2008 Includes 9th Annual Merrython and Lucy Farewell; Rita Rocks Solid in First Two Airings

I know it isn't even Halloween yet, and we are discussing TV Land December 2008 today! This December, TV Land will celebrate the holidays with three blocks of Christmas episodes labeled the 9th Annual Merrython and a holiday week of holiday episodes of feel good show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. But before that, take another spin down the catwalk with the lovely ladies from She's Got the Look -- TV Land's modeling competition series like no other. Relive the excitement as 10 finalists are chosen to compete against each other for a lucrative Wilhelmina modeling contract and a spread in Self magazine. The marathon airs Saturday, December 6 from 3pm-9pm ET/PT!
Then it is time to celebrate the holidays with classics and modern classic holiday episodes! This year's Merrython will be the best yet with many hours of holiday fun for all on December 7 (thirteen hours), December 21 (twelve hours) and December 25 (twenty hours)! TV Land is delivering the goods to the viewers with Christmas episodes from classics like Andy Griffith, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford & Son, Beverly Hillbillies, Brady Bunch, Three's Company and Little House on the Prairie and modern Christmas favorites from The Cosby Show, Just Shoot Me, Night Court, Murphy Brown, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Scrubs. Grab the eggnog, tune in with loved ones, and warm up your Christmas spirit with TV Land!
That's not all for the holidays! Get ready for an Extreme Home Makeover holiday! Extreme Makeover: Home Edition kicks off prime each night at 9pm beginning Monday, December 8, so don't miss this exciting week-long marathon showcasing five of the most popular families from the series. Concluding the stunt on Saturday night is a two-hour special that revisits each of these fortunate families during the holidays. Watch the Extreme Home Makeover crew give these special folks the opportunity to "pay it forward" and share their good fortune with other deserving families. There'll be a lot of joy and warmth this holiday season as we bring you all the best that Ty and his gang of hardworking homebuilders have to offer.
TV Land also celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Superman film starring the late Christopher Reeve by airing it at 12 noon on Sunday, December 14. TV Land Friday night movie premieres in the MovieLand block for December are Analyze This, Get Shorty, and Doc Hollywood! Encores include Sister Act II.
Finally, as we all know that I Love Lucy is headed for The Hallmark Channel this January, TV Land has to say goodbye. TV Land says "Bon Voyage" to 2008 and I Love Lucy as they countdown to the New Year with everybody's favorite classic sitcom, I Love Lucy, as the show leaves the network. Spend the day living vicariously through The Ricardos' and The Mertzes' antics, escapades and adventures as we countdown the all-time Top 25 I Love Lucy episodes--voted by you the fans. All throughout the month of December, TV Land gives fans the opportunity to vote which episodes they want to see during Lucy's New Year's Eve Countdown. Customized countdown flags and packaged I Love Lucy vignettes with color commentary will air throughout the stunt as it gains momentum and reaches its zenith with the I Love Lucy episode ranked #1 by the viewers. It was a year to remember and it'll be a TV Land send-off viewers will never forget. Goodbye Lucy! Obviously there will be a lot of changes to the January line-up since Lucy is leaving, but we don't know what yet...so we should know by next month and let you all know.
But for now View our complete TV Land December 2008 highlights for episode info for each stunt and more!

Lifetime TV's original sitcom Rita Rocks got off to a decent start on Monday when the show premiered to 1 million viewers. When comparing to Lifetime's last comedy series, Lovespring International, which launched in June 2006, Rita Rocks was up 38 percent among women 18-49 posting a 0.8 W18-49 rating. The show was also up 11 percent above the network's prior four-week time period average.
On Tuesday for episode two, the original sitcom did a 1.1 HH rating, up 37% from the premiere and 1.2 million viewers, up 200,000 viewers from the premiere. Rita Rocks also increased by 15 percent in key women 18-49 (0.83 rating) versus the prior four-week time period average. Wednesday numbers will be in later. Will it rise more?
Rita Rocks continues to air every night this week at 8:30 p.m. before assuming its regular weekly time slot on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. starting next week. Rita certainly rocks, and not bad after airing out of Reba repeats.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SitcomsOnline.com Exclusive: Interview with Chris Mann; We're Interviewed As Well on Retroality.TV!; Network Notes

We have a very exciting interview for you today. We have an interview with Chris Mann...author of the Three's Company book and now pop-culture guru on Retroality.TV! As always with our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form!

We had the pleasure to interview Chris Mann, author, writer, and my friend. Chris Mann is a freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer and behind-the-scenes TV book author. He is best known for his marvelous work on the tell-all book Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company. He's also founder and editor of the pop culture webzine Retroality.TV. A former magazine art director, he sometimes produces and art directs cover and feature shoots for his celebrity health and fitness profiles. He also served as consulting producer on NBC's behind-the-scenes movie about Three's Company, and he's helped produce and write TV documentaries and DVD featurettes about the show and its late star, John Ritter. Chris is currently developing multiple media projects, including an in-depth biography about Ritter.

We thank Chris for taking the time to answer some of the most interesting questions we have for him...and his responses were so amazing. So it is time for another installment of SitcomsOnline's Seven Questions Series! We seriously STILL need a jingle. Any takers out there?

"Seven Questions with Chris Mann"

SitcomsOnline: Hello Chris! We thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us! We sincerely appreciate it and are honored in talking to you. I've known you for years and I'm also a big Three's Company fan (as you of course know), but I don't think many people know how you got started on your Three's Company book, Come and Knock on Our Door - A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company. Can you share with us why you wanted to write the book and how it all got started?
Chris Mann: I'm honored to do this interview. The amazing energy and effort you and Todd put into Sitcoms Online and your other TV sites has truly encouraged me!
In the early to mid '90s, before the Internet exploded, I had only an inkling how many other people hungered for info about retro TV. Since age 5 or so, I'd had an unbounded love for Three's Company, along with deep admiration for John Ritter and a growing fascination with the show's emotional backstage break-ups. My behind-the-scenes curiosity grew in part out of my journalistic mind -- I guess I just couldn't take Three's Company at face value! While editing The University of Tulsa's student newspaper -- itself a huge undertaking, especially given my intensive class load -- I realized I needed a creative, escapist outlet beyond cracking jokes in class and at work and watching Company reruns in my dorm room.
I'd recently interviewed and met Suzanne Somers during her visit to Tulsa to share her uplifting story of surviving family alcoholism and abuse. After publishing the story in the student newspaper, I recrafted it and designed a Three's Company where-are-they-now fanzine around her Q&A. I sent "The Roomie Report" to all ten cast members, along with letters saying I hoped the fanzine would one day lead to a behind-the-scenes book about the show. Almost none of them responded -- except John Ritter.
Imagine at age 19 getting a call from John saying how "touched and flattered" he was by my efforts and my letter. I was elated and infinitely inspired. So I did three more "Roomie Reports" during my sophomore year at Tulsa University -- the second issue included an exclusive, extremely candid interview with John wherein he broke his silence about his bitter break-up with Suzanne. I retired the "Report" during my junior and senior years, but I kept in touch with John's office. The day after I finished college in '95, I moved to LA. A week later, I interviewed John in person for the book. Doors began opening, along with the casts' emotional floodgates. I knew I had a great story not only about the show but about the price of fame, fortune and ego.

SitcomsOnline: I got your book the second it came out back in 1998. You know I think your book really inspired me to do the Three's Company website (Jack's Bistro) back in 1998 and it is still going today. I wanted to thank you for the hard work on the book on behalf of all fans out there. Can you share with us some of your fondest memories shortly after the book was released to the world? Did fans come up to you and thank you? Did the entire cast embrace it?
Chris Mann: Thank you for your support! As you know, I've always loved your Three's Company site, so it's cool to know Come and Knock on Our Door in turn inspired you. 1998 was a whirlwind year. The book, along with Suzanne's accompanying biography After the Fall, led to heated interviews with Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne on Extra, Inside Edition, ET, The O'Reilly Factor, etc. Joyce promoted my book while disputing Suzanne's. What a hoot to get that kind of publicity -- and how weird to suddenly be in the middle of controversy. Suzanne formally thanked me for sending her the book -- and she told Inside Edition I was a "really nice" guy -- but the battle lines were again being drawn, and it was Suzanne vs. Three's Company Part II.
John also took the book onto a few shows, including Donny and Marie's talk show and a TV Guide Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals special. He and Joyce offered resounding public support, which was unexpected and thrilling. Joyce, Don Knotts, Richard Kline, Norman Fell and even Priscilla Barnes (the only cast member who didn't interview) did book signings with me -- and we all went out to dinner and celebrated with a bottle of champagne John sent me. Fans expressed love and appreciation at the book signings. Howard Stern's show harassed Joyce about Suzanne at a couple of these media-frenzied events. Suddenly, my book had become part of the story. Saying this entire experience was surreal and exciting is a understatement.

SitcomsOnline: Being involved with this book has made you the Three's Company king. All of the entertainment shows on Three's Company and its stars like the E! True Hollywood Story and A&E Biography have interviewed you. Your book was turned into a TV movie by NBC. You also got to produce special features for the Three's Company DVDs. How cool is that! How did you like all of that, though? What was your favorite out of all this?
Chris Mann: The Three's Company king...that's funny! Most of this six-year journey was a joy, and all of it was enlightening. The E! True Hollywood Story was my favorite project, though, by far. In summer 1998, I pitched the documentary to E! as their first THS exclusively about the backstage story of a TV show. They bit. Not to be immodest, but my book, interview and extensive production work were the documentary's basis and backbone. The entire surviving cast participated and were asked questions to elicit the same responses they'd given for the first time ever in the book. The end product was a two-hour video version of Come and Knock on Our Door. My book was everywhere in the show. It seemed like the perfect promotional tool. The THS reran enough times to keep Three's Company in the pop culture consciousness for the next few years. And it helped established the THS brand and lead to behind-the-scenes TV movies about TV shows.
The Three's Company TV movie eventually followed. Though Entertainment Weekly had reported NBC was adapting my book for this movie, things beyond my control (and, at the time, beyond my awareness) transpired and my book didn't get a "based on" credit. I did, however, end up getting a Consulting Producer main title credit, and the book was mentioned in the end titles instead of the main credits. Ultimately, this was a victory for me. This telefilm was one of the highest-rated TV movies of the season. I've since met with one of the movie's executive producers, Stan Brooks. We had a very nice and illuminating conversation. I'm glad he and NBC experienced more success with subsequent Behind the Camera movies.
The A&E shows had excellent producers. And the DVD featurettes offered a bittersweet ending, as I interviewed surviving cast members (minus Suzanne) about John's passing, which deeply saddened us all. I applaud DLT Entertainment and Anchor Bay for giving John his due on these DVDs. But with this project, I felt I'd said everything I could about the show -- and John's death really did devastate me -- so it was definitely time for me to separate from the Company drama.

SitcomsOnline: So we obviously know you love Three's Company and that is your all-time favorite show but what other sitcoms/shows did you love and grow up with and what about of today's shows? I know you are fan of the game show The Price is Right and you're also working on a book on that series as well. What can we expect there and any tentative date on release?
Chris Mann: I loved Ellen (I always saw her as the female Jack Tripper), Roseanne and The Golden Girls. I also grew up watching Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Alice, Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes and One Day at a Time.
I thought Nell Carter was hysterical in Gimme a Break! Recently, I've thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Kudrow's HBO dramedy The Comeback and I like 30 Rock (Tina Fey is a genius) and, because of Molly Shannon, Kath & Kim. If someone would give SNL's Cheri Oteri a sitcom, I'd simmer down now and watch in a heartbeat.
The Price is Right story is utterly fascinating. So much more happened backstage than the public knows. I've talked to the people who lived it and survived it -- producers, longtime Barker's Beauty models, production assistants who molded and shaped the show's formula (including its classic comedic moments) but who were erased from Price history in the recent "official" book about the show. Their stories are so compelling. Bob Barker's memoir will be published in April '09 -- under the banner of a publisher that salutes "traditional, wholesome entertainment" -- so his version of events will likely continue to reign for a while. He's an iconic host, so he deserves his accolades as a performer.
I think much of the audience still needs to believe that Bob, at almost 85, is the gift-bearing, grandfatherly/avuncular figure we grew up believing him to be for 35 years on Price. But he's so much more interesting than the one-dimensional showman his PR and legal machine has long portrayed him to be. In fact, his flaws and vulnerabilities, which probably won't emerge in his book, make his status as a legendary TV survivor even more remarkable. I may start to preview my book on Retroality.TV in 2009. I haven't really had time lately to do much with the book, so I look forward to telling that story when the time is right.

SitcomsOnline: Now your writing for quite a number of magazines and publications. You're such a good writer and you make me look tame compared to you. Can you share with us all some of the magazines and publications you write for and also what were you favorite stories for these?
Chris Mann: Thank you! I've had the good fortune to write stories for TV Guide, Emmy magazine, their web sites and Radar Online. Most of my freelance work this year has centered on celebrity health and fitness. I write and art direct/produce cover stories regularly for Muscle & Body, Get Active! and a newly-launched CVS magazine called Great Health. My favorite interviews have been Lynda Carter, Maureen McCormick, Dara Tores and Apolo Ohno. I'm looking forward to profiling Misty May-Treanor and Antonio Sabato Jr., too.

SitcomsOnline: As readers of our news blog know, you wrote the Three's Company book and you are now running the popular website Retroality.TV. We must ask how you came up with that idea and what made you think it would work? The stars you interview are astounding from Heather Thomas to Stacy Keibler to Olivia Newton-John. Do you have any favorites so far?
Chris Mann: I've wanted to do my own pop culture magazine for years. Retroality grew rather organically out of my passions for retro pop culture and celebreality TV, along with my recent focus on celeb health and fitness. I love survivor stories, and pop icons and retro stars who're still standing are certainly survivors. How have they survived? What have they overcome and learned? Why are they reinventing themselves at age 30, 40, 50, 60? What would they do differently now? Retroality is designed primarily to share these stories while promoting other pop culture enterprises -- such as Sitcoms Online -- that keep retro alive and well.
I want to do the stories that many lifestyle and entertainment magazines often overlook due to their obsession with teenagers, twigs and trainwrecks. Who over age 25 really cares if some 19-year-old CW star needs to eat a hamburger, or if Britney managed to fill her tank up with gas for the eighth time this week? I'd rather know how Lynda Carter found the inner strength and peace to conquer alcoholism, despite her image as Wonder Woman. Or why Heather Thomas uses her celebrity and money to influence politics, and how she's channeling her political fundraising experiences into a fun new novel. Or what breast cancer taught Olivia Newton-John, and how she's inspiring other women, including her daughter.
All of these celebs were once 19 years old, and some succumbed to addiction, eating disorders and other troubles. But they all made it to the other side and have fascinating stories to tell. Maureen McCormick is another example. Look how well her book's doing. I want Retroality to reflect the pop culture and sociopolitical interests of the vast majority of people who could care less about Miley Cyrus and (my nephew's gonna kill me) The O.C. or any of its derivatives.

SitcomsOnline: Finally, so what is coming up in the future for Chris Mann? We know Retroality.TV will be still going strong...any new stories or new features you'd like to tell everyone about the site? We also mentioned you're writing the Price is Right book and a book on the late legendary John Ritter. Can you share with us what you expect to do with the book on John?
Chris Mann: From your fingertips to God's ears! I'm excited about Retroality's future. I've got a few stories in the works for late '08 -- our current cover story interview is Jaclyn Smith, and we should have a very Brady tell-all soon -- and I plan to add multimedia in the months ahead. Our video interview with Joyce DeWitt really sets the stage for what's to come in '09. She opens up about her spirituality, her splintered relationship with Suzanne and her final, healing experiences with John Ritter.
I also expect my book on John to be on the front burner in 2009. To this day, he still inspires me (as I know he does you), and it means a great deal to me to get the chance to tell his story. He'd be 60 this year, and I have to wonder what great things he'd be doing if he were still with us. He lives on, though, through his kids, his wives, his brother, his friends and his work. Many would argue he lived far more in not quite 55 years than some live in 85. Sadly, he didn't live long enough to win Lifetime Achievement awards, receive Hall of Fame inductions, make a trillion dollars or write a self-congratulatory memoir. But I really think he left the world a better, more light-hearted, richer place, and in the end, those contributions are priceless.

Our thanks to to Chris Mann we wish him continued success! Now I must go and do Chris' "show" in return...kind of like how Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno appeared on each other's talk shows on the same night earlier this year! Yes, Chris interviewed Todd and I for his wonderful website as well! So head on over to his website to see that as well! I hope we are interesting like he is! More info on us being interviewed is below.
Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time. For more information on Chris Mann, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view his website http://www.retroality.tv. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for continued news on Chris!


Who would of thunk it, but can you believe we were interviewed?? Both Todd and I have been interviewed by Chris Mann for his website Retroality.TV, as I mentioned above! I would have never imagined I would be interviewed for anything, and I'm sure Todd feels the same way! Thanks to Chris for suggesting this and I thank him for doing our "show" in return! Chris asks both Todd and I some interesting stuff, so I hope you all enjoy the interview and do learn something you didn't know about SitcomsOnline and to a lesser extent, about us. I know we're not stars, but after this interview we sort of feel like stars...just a lil' bit! So, I hope you all get a chance to read our interview. It is a proud moment for SitcomsOnline celebrating the last 10 years and the years to come!

Lots of network notes lately, as it is common this time of year. We have a full season order news for ABC's Private Practice. ABC has picked up the back nine episodes of the show, giving it 22 episodes this season. It was only ordered for 13 episodes originally for its second season. All of the shows that came back from the strike that didn't come back last season have suffered a bit in the ratings, but this show has done modestly better. The show's season premiere on Oct. 1was only at 8.16 million but jumped to 9.22 million when the seven-day DVR numbers came in and jumped from a 3.3 18-49 rating to a 3.8 18-49 rating, on par with its live+same day numbers for its finale last December. Still 9.22 million is not as much as the over 11 million the show was averaging last fall, but even still, it is not as big of a drop when you see these DVR ratings. Numbers for its second episode of this year in seven-day DVR will be known next week. But it seems after seeing the jump, ABC is invested in bringing us a whole year of Private Practice!
In other news, CBS has given two extra scripts for new sitcom Worst Week. The show has began to stabilize a bit and has gone up in the ratings the past two weeks, but still it is losing quite a bit of its Two and a Half Men lead-in. It is quite a funny show, though, my only concern is what will happen when the week ends? It's like on day four already.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boomerang Schedules Flintstones Musical Marathon on Sunday; Network Notes

Boomerang will air a Flintstones marathon this Sunday, with a musical twist! In addition to making television history as the world's first prime-time animated series (ABC), The Flintstones also offered viewers many samplings of fun, culturally relevant music that delighted viewers throughout the show's six-year run. On Sunday, Oct. 26, these classic animated musical moments will return for a command performance as Boomerang presents a day-long marathon of the best of The Flintstones musical episodes. From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., America's favorite Stone-Age families-Fred, Wilma and Pebbles Flintstone plus Barney, Betty and Bamm-Bamm Rubble-will "rock out" to prehistoric beats while they welcome a number of celebrity guests, including Ann-Margaret (Ann Margrock) and James Darren (Jimmy Darrock).
Once again showing the depth and breadth of its incredible classic cartoon library, Boomerang presents a rollicking good time with a commercial-free marathon of 15 jamming episodes guaranteed to get your toes tapping. The seven-and-a-half hour rock block will be followed by an encore presentation so that music aficionados coast-to-coast can join in the fun. Highlights in the "Bedrock 'N' Roll" Marathon include: Fred discovers that Barney is a compulsive poet, so he seeks songwriting assistance from famed composer Hoagy Carmichael! While working on the new Bedrock Bowl, Fred and Barney prepare an act for the dedication ceremony starring Ann-Margrock. Fred's quiet seaside weekend is interrupted by a national surfing contest. Fred gets caught up in the activities and must be saved by surf idol Jimmy Darrock. Fred and Barney check out the new TV show, "Shinrock," hosted by Jimmy O'Neilstone. When Fred drops a bowling ball on his foot, Jimmy takes it as a new dance and names it "The Frantic."

First it was picked up for four additional scripts, which was a good sign, now...NBC has picked up a full season worth of episodes for Knight Rider. NBC will pick up nine additional episodes of its the freshman drama series Knight Rider (Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m. ET) to provide the series with a full-season order for 2008-09.
Knight Rider premiered on Wednesday, September 24 (8-9 p.m. ET). The series is averaging a 2.4 rating, 7 share in adults 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers overall so far this season in Live+Same Day DVR averages. Knight Rider is the #1 regular series in its competitive time period in all key adult-male demographics and won the slot in adults 18-49 with its most recent telecast on October 15.
Meanwhile, The CW has ordered two more scripts for new drama Privileged. The Warner Bros./CBS Paramount/Alloy Entertainment drama has been struggling in ratings on Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT, yet has demonstrated some growth in recent weeks even as lead-in 90210 has gone down a bit. The last new Privileged episode was up 22% to 2.3 million viewers, 1.1 adults 18-49 rating and a 3 share on October 7 when other networks aired a Presidential Debate.
In other CW news, Valentine encores will replace encores of In Harm's Way at 6PM ET/PT. In Harm's Way will still air new episodes at 7PM ET/PT and Valentine will still be new at 8PM ET/PT. The 6PM encores start this Sunday and will start from the Pilot episode...so start up if you haven't started. I admit, I watch it and it is surprisingly good...I'm only watching because of the sexy Christine Lakin, though.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

ION Television Goes HD; Steve Harvey Gets Exposure on TBS; Fox Surprisingly Picks-Up Sarah Connor For Full Season

ION Media Networks, Inc., owner and operator of the nation's largest television station group, today announced plans to launch its suite of networks – ION Television, qubo, and ION Life – in high definition in 2009. ION Television, the Company's flagship general entertainment network, will be available in high definition (HD) as ION Television HD beginning the first quarter of 2009. The HD simulcast of the newly branded "Positively Entertaining" network will serve to fully enhance consumers' overall viewing experience.
Viewers can look forward to a mix of compelling television series, theatrical and made-for-television movies and specials on ION Television HD. The newly rebranded ION Television network features hit programs from CBS Television, NBC Universal, RHI Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros., among others. The network's fall 2008 lineup is led by off-network hits including NCIS, Boston Legal, and ER. Critically acclaimed miniseries and original productions from RHI Entertainment will be made available in high quality HD, as will blockbuster theatrical movies such as Batman Returns, GoodFellas, Analyze This, and You've Got Mail.
ION Television in HD will be launched from its newly designed, state-of-the-art transmission platform via expanded satellite transponder capacity. That national distribution will then be delivered over-the-air via DTV broadcast, cable, telco-TV and satellite. The network will feature native and up-converted HD programming, and will be carried on all 60 of ION Media Network's television stations around the country.
Now you can watch Denny Crane and the gang in HD like it is supposed to be!

On Saturday night if you were expecting to watch Game 6 of the MLB ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays on TBS at 8PM ET, you missed the beginning because of an outage. TBS had technical difficulties that prevented it from showing the first 20 minutes of the game and also the end of the pregame show before it. In place of the game, TBS showed an episode of sitcom The Steve Harvey Show. A crawl on the screen ran repeatedly, saying: "We are experiencing technical difficulties." The game started at 8:08 p.m., but the broadcast didn't begin until 8:28 p.m., when Carlos Pena, the seventh batter of the game, walked in the bottom of the first inning. TBS then showed a replay of a home run by B.J. Upton, the previous batter, that put the Rays ahead 1-0.
So what happened: TBS had experienced router failure in Atlanta (their headquarters), which caused transmission problems. Steve Harvey Show wasn't the only filler TBS used while trying to restore its feed, lost toward the end of the pregame broadcast. At that time, TBS ran an abbreviated episode of Dick Clark's Bloopers special (with Elise Neal of The Hughleys) from 1999. I saw that and it was very funny and featured lots of flubs from newscasts and TV stations (how appropriate for TBS today!), but turned it off when Harvey came on. I personally didn't get back into the game until the third inning, thanks to this flub.
But at least sitcoms got more exposure! We'll let you know the ratings, if we get them for Harvey.

Second season action series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been picked-up for nine more episodes, giving it a full twenty-two episode order for the season. This was a surprise move by Fox, because the show has gone down in the ratings by a lot this season averaging just under 6 million viewers and in the low 2's in the 18-49 demo. The show does get a little boost in the seven-day DVR ratings, giving it just under 7 million viewers, but still a far cry what it did last year. The show launched out of huge Cowboys-Giants NFL playoff game that drew 40 million, for its series premiere last winter. The series did 18 million for its premiere. The show then obviously dropped after that to just above 8 million on average, but did much better than it is doing now.
The show could be used with American Idol or the return of 24 in January to help bring it back to life. But Fox would give a better slot to Fringe and the upcoming new series Dollhouse probably instead. No word on Prison Break, but this will likely be its last season.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week 4 Numbers (First Four Nights); How the Sitcoms Did; Blog DVD Review - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season

Week 4 numbers (first three nights, Mon-Wed):
NOTE: Thursday is not in this week in our averages once again, but we do have final program numbers in the analysis below:

Households: CBS: 7.7/11.9; ABC: 7.0/10.9; Fox: 5.3/8.2; NBC: 5.0/7.8; The CW: 1.7/2.5; MNT: 0.9/1.4.
Total Viewers: CBS: 12.0 million; ABC: 10.63 million; Fox: 8.29 million; NBC: 7.86 million; The CW: 2.43 million; MNT: 1.37 million.
Adults 18-49: CBS: 3.4/8.7; NBC: 3.1/8.1; Fox: 2.9/7.6; ABC: 2.6/6.8; The CW: 1.2/3.0; MNT: 0.5/1.3.

Analysis: Week 4 saw the final Presidential Debate, but it was on Wednesday this week. I apologize for the second week in a row we only have final averages for the first three days (thru Wednesday). But I do have Thursday final program numbers and network averages, just not four day averages. I don't have time to go through and recalculate so, I'll give you the final Thursday averages in HH: CBS 9.2/15, ABC 6.9/11, NBC 5.1/8, Fox 2.3/4, The CW 2.2/3, MNT 0.6/1, so you an determine yourself. So looking at those numbers and the first three days averages on the top, for the first four days, CBS has the lead in all categories, with ABC second in all categories (but possibly third in 18-49), NBC in third in HH/viewers (but possibly second in 18-49) and Fox in fourth in all categories thanks to a terrible Thursday.
Last week, CBS won week 3 in all categories for the second straight week (ABC won the first week), ABC was second in all categories, Fox nipped by NBC for third across the board, so NBC was fourth (but it did tie Fox for third in 18-49).
Monday ABC was on top thanks to of course Dancing with the Stars. The 90-minute episode did 17.77 million and a 4.0/10 in 18-49...again down from previous week, but that was two-hours. It should start picking up again soon when we reach the halfway mark and the good dancers are left. The season premiere of Samantha Who did solid with 11.45 million. A new Boston Legal followed with 8.01 million, down from the previous week. Next up was CBS with its comedies and CSI: Miami. The Big Bang Theory did 9.34 million, just down a tad from previous week and How I Met Your Mother followed with 9.25 million, up from the previous week but the show again didn't build on the lead-in in viewers...but it did in 18-49. Two and a Half Men and new single-camera sitcom Worst Week followed with 14.72 and 9.75 million. Men was up from previous week, while Worst Week was also finally up but still lost a lot from the lead-in in both viewers and 18-49. Too bad, it is a good show. At 10pm a new CSI: Miami did 13.22 million, down again from previous week...is that new sitcom before it, it has gone down every week. NBC followed with its drama line-up. Chuck started it off with 6.17 million, up a bit from previous week, Heroes followed with 8.75 million...up from previous week's series low. New series My Worst Own Enemy premiered at 10pm with 7.27 million...not too good, but not that bad either, needs to do something similar each week to be a player. Fox was fourth with the NLCS Game #4 with 7.71 million (7.1 million in primetime)...much better than the usual live numbers for Sarah Connor and Prison Break, as both of those return tomorrow. The CW had its usual decent numbers with Gossip Girl doing a solid 3.31 million and the resurgent One Tree Hill did 3.47 million.
Tuesday it was all CBS in viewers and Fox in 18-49. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 18.04 million, up over a million from previous week, new drama The Mentalist followed with a solid 14.94 million and Without a Trace did a decent 11.05 million, but seems low for this show. Fox was next this week with House doing 13.27 million, followed by new drama Fringe at 9.16 million. This show is pretty disappointing, as The Mentalist is doing much better. ABC was next with the very weak Opportunity Knocks at just 5.15 million and an even worse 1.318-49 rating. ABC has pulled it and this week a Dancing with the Stars Recap Show will air instead. Dancing with the Stars: The Results followed with 14.82 million...below normal, but that horrific lead-in has a lot to do it with it. Expect a boost this week. Season premiere of one of the written series, Eli Stone did 8.39 million, but with losses in the second half-hour. Viewers need to watch. Katie Holmes guest stars this week, look for better numbers this week. NBC was fourth with a two-hour The Biggest Loser doing 7.64 million, up from previous week, followed by an all-new Law & Order: SVU at 9.51 million, but it dominated the hour in 18-49. The CW aired repeats of 90210 doing 1.73 million and a repeat of Privileged did 1.22 million.
Wednesday it not a normal night as the final Presidential Debate took center stage. NBC won the coverage of the debate beating ABC, who won the previous 3 debates. CBS started with sitcoms, Old Christine did 7.61 million, up a bit from previous week and a season high again, followed by new sitcom Gary Unmarried at 7.53 million, also up from previous week and a series high again. These are slowly going up...do to lack of competition primarily. CBS missed Criminal Minds and CSI: NY big time as their debate coverage did 9.16 million, which doesn't count in the ratings...the 30-minute analysis at 10:31pm does though and it did 7.19 million only. Fox was the only network of the big four not to air the debate because of the NLCS Game #5 doing 8.08 million (but 7.49 million in primetime), as Bones and 'Til Death were preempted. ABC aired the best Pushing Daisies yet and it did 6.11 million, up week to week, but needs to do better. How good of an episode was that? Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money were preempted for the debate coverage as ABC's coverage did a solid 10.6 million, for second place, though it doesn't count in the ratings (no ads). The analysis does and it did a solid 8.86 million. NBC opened the night with the new cheesy Knight Rider doing 7.47 million...also up week to week, followed by NBC's coverage of the debate at a first place 11.3 million, as NBC won for the first time in debate numbers, but it doesn't count in the ratings. The analysis does and it did a first place 9.09 million, edging ABC. The CW had a clip show of Top Model doing 3.21 million, so obviously it was down from previous week...a repeat of 90210 followed with 1.65 million, down a bit from previous week.
Thursday CBS won again. CBS opened with Survivor: Gabon at 12.81 million, down from previous week. A new CSI followed with 19.26 million, down four million from previous week's season premiere. It dropped from a 7.1 18-49 rating the previous week to 5.2 this week, for second place. The new Eleventh Hour followed and did 11.91 million, actually up a bit week to week. How?? There was so much bad reception from viewers watching last week. I don't get it. ABC opened the night with Ugly Betty doing 8.33 million, down a bit from previous week. Grey's Anatomy followed with 14.8 million and a first place 5.9 18-49 rating. I knew it would beat CSI in 18-49, as I said last week. The second episode Life on Mars did 8.22 million, down three million from its premiere. I don't understand it at all. NBC was third with a new My Name is Earl doing 6.72, down from previous week, new sitcom Kath & Kim followed with 6.1 million, didn't build on from the lead-in like it did last week, not good so far. The Office followed with a solid 8.28 million, but down a million from previous week. The second SNL Thursday Update special did 8.83 million, down two million from previous week, but still better than NBC would have done with 30 Rock by a lot. ER benefited again from that higher lead-in and did 8.96 million, down from previous week a bit. Fox had a Thursday to forget with two episodes of Hole in the Wall at a big hole doing 3.56 and 3.7 million, losing to The CW. A new Kitchen Nightmares was a nightmare with just 3.5 million. Smallville on The CW did 4.18 million, up a bit from previous week, followed by Supernatural at a decent 3.06 million...down a bit from previous week.
Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas, as Ghost Whisperer did very solid as usual but The Ex-List dropped more and fell out of the lead at 9 with NBC's Crusoe premiere beating it. NUMB3RS won 10pm but again saw year-to-year declines.
Saturday numbers saw CBS win in the preliminaries overall and Fox and ABC in 18-49. NBC had terrible numbers for America's Toughest Jobs on Saturday with a prelim 2.49 million.
Tonight should be a victory for ABC Sunday (AFV, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters) and they will win the night in viewers. CBS will be solid, thanks primarily to the NFL lead-in tonight, and NBC's SNF game will do way below normal with Seattle-Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay viewers will flock to TBS to see Game 7 of the MLB ALCS instead. Fox will air its animated comedies but should be down thanks to baseball on TBS.
As for the week, CBS should win in HH, viewers and even 18-49. ABC will be second across the board. Followed by NBC, Fox, CW and MNT. Fox's terrible numbers on Thursday will probably cost them third place. This week everything will be back to normal...no more debates. Let's see how the networks do with regular stuff in their normal nights. My pick of the week is Eli Stone with guest star Katie Holmes...I've seen it already and I'll be watching again, and so should you! Tuesday at 10/9 central on ABC!

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of October 6-12)

  • The Simpsons (Fox) - preempted for the NLCS.
  • King of the Hill (Fox) - preempted for the NLCS.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - preempted for the NLCS.
  • American Dad (Fox) - preempted for the NLCS.

Monday Sitcoms

  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 9.34 million for a new episode, down just a bit from previous week. Excellent again, nothing else can be said!
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 9.25 million for a new episode, up week-to-week again, but it didn't build on the lead-in in viewers once again.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 14.72 million...up from previous week, besting any sitcom.
  • Worst Week (CBS) - 9.75 million...not good retention at all but up from previous week. But it did better than the 8-9pm sitcoms this week, after it didn't the previous week. This is a good show.
  • Samantha Who? (ABC) - 11.45 million for the season premiere for first place in its slot. 18-49 rating it did a 3.0 rating, but held more of Dancing's numbers (4.0 rating) than Worst Week did with Two and a Half Men's 18-49 numbers (5.3).


Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.

Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - 7.61 million for a new episode...up a bit from previous week and a season high again. Not great, but good enough in this very weak slot.
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - 7.53 million, a series high again. Has gone up on all four airings.
  • 'Til Death (Fox) - Preempted but Fox certainly is happy it was.
  • Under One Roof (MNT) - Repeat airing did 870,000 viewers...up week to week, it aired after an all-new Tony Rock Project which did 1.04 million.


Thursday Sitcoms

  • My Name is Earl (NBC) - 6.72 million for a new episode, down from previous week.
  • Kath & Kim (NBC) - 6.1 million for its second airing...down a lot from the premiere and it didn't build from the lead-in this time.
  • The Office (NBC) - New episode did 8.28 million and a solid 4.3 18-49 rating...but both down from previous week when it did one million better and .5 better in 18-49.

Friday Sitcoms

  • Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - Final numbers are not in yet...but the prelim numbers show just under 2 million. That's the best it will do I think.
  • The Game (The CW) - No final numbers yet for Friday, but just under 2 million and it did build from the lead-in so far.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.

Airing tonight (Sunday) are no sitcoms.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Samantha Who, The Office, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Worst Week, Gary Unmarried) or just plain old terrible (such as Kath & Kim, Everybody Hates Chris).




Welcome to a special Sunday edition of Blog DVD Reviews! Today we head out west to Las Vegas for C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season. This season starred William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Paul Guilfoyle, Eric Szmanda and Robert David Hall. See my Blog DVD review of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season:

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $84.98)

Follow the evidence... again and again. One beloved character departs--and another dies--in the shocking eighth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. This bonus-filled collection includes crossover episodes, an episode directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and CSI's most devastasting scenes ever.

This 5-disc set contains all 17 episodes from the eighth season (2007-08) plus a bonus crossover episode of Without A Trace. The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen enhanced for 16:9 tvs with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio. It has a total running time or approximately 12 hours, 12 minutes. The attractive packaging has a large photo of William Petersen (with the beard) on the front with Las Vegas in the background. At the bottom of the box, there is an embossed CSI: Crime Scene Invesigation logo. Nine cast members are featured on the back of the box with some Las Vegas hotels/casinos in the background. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special and the DVD specs are given. The inside case is in a book format that you can flip through to get to the discs. Thee is a photo of Petersen and Helgenberger on the cover and Eads, Fox, Dourdan and Szmanda on the back. A content locator lists the episodes by disc and the special features on the inside cover. Each disc lists the episodes and has the show logo and an x-ray/fingerprint type background. It was interesting to see that they stuck to this type of packaging when CSI: Miami and CSI: NY switched to slimcases for their recent releases. They still even include the crime scene tape around the packaging. That is a nice touch.

The menus are very slick looking and easy to navigate. They have a montage of video clips that run a little over a minute, with some of the wonderful instrumental music by composer John M. Keane in the background. Options are available for Episode Selection, Set Up, Previews (only on Disc 1) and the Special Features on select discs. On the Set Up menu, you can choose either Dolby Digital 5.1 English Surround or Español. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. The show looks stunning. They do a lot of nighttime shooting and make the show look dark and like a theatrical film. I did notice that there is a disclaimer on the bottom of the box that says "some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." This is the first time that I can recall such a disclaimer on any of the CSI franchise releases. Hopefully it is nothing major. While the episodes are numbered by their production number, they are presented in the order of their original airdates. Running times are between 41 and 43 minutes in length.

Once again, there is a nice amount and variety of special features. Unfortunately, there are only 2 audio commentaries on this set compared to 7 from last season. That seems to be a recent trend on the CSI franchise releases. There are 6 featurettes that total approximately 63 minutes. A bonus crossover episode of Without A Trace is included. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Disc 2
Without A Trace episode: "Where & Why" (42:56) - This crossover episode aired after the CSI episode "Who & What" on November 8, 2007. It was nice that they were able to include this episode, since Warner Bros. doesn't seem very interested in releasing this excellent series on DVD. It's too bad CBS decided to move it again to another night. I think it's a perfect fit airing after CSI.

Disc 3
Commentary on "You Kill Me" by Writer/Executive Producer Naren Shankar, Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey, Archie Kao, Sheeri Rappaport and David Berman - The "Lab Rats" return from last season on this funny and lively commentary.

Commentary on "Cockroaches" by Director William Friedkin, William Petersen and Writer Dustin Abraham - William Friedkin and William Petersen reunite for this episode. Friedkin helped launch Petersen's career by giving him the lead in To Live and Die in L.A. in 1985.

While The Cast's Away, The Rats Will Play (13:58) - This featurette includes interviews with Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Writer Doug Petrie, Archie Kao, Executive Producer Naren Shankar, Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey, Jon Wellner, Gerald McCullouch, Paul Guilfoyle, George Eads, Sheeri Rappaport and David Berman. This featurette focuses on the episode "You Kill Me." This was the 9th episode of the season and aired on Thanksgiving night. It had a lot more humor than the typical episode. There was a similar "Lab Rats" episode last season. This is a nice companion featurette with the audio commentary.

William Friedkin: A Different Take (9:28) - This featurette includes interviewss with William Petersen, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Paul Guilfoyle, Director William Friedkin, Producer/Writer Dustin Lee Abraham and Gary Dourdan. It focuses on the "Cockroaches" episode. They talk about how the idea was pitched to Friedkin, the mob storyline and finding the strip club location.

Disc 4
Deleted Scene for "Grissom's Divine Comedy" (2:16) - A funny scene where Catherine goes to Grissom's house and does a little snooping and investigating. It was probably just cut for time, so it is nice that they were able to include it on the DVD.

Disc 5
So Long, Sara Sidle (15:20) - This featurette includes interviews with Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Executive Producer Naren Shankar, George Eads, William Petersen, Jorja Fox, Robert David Hall, Marg Helgenberer and Gary Dourdan. Among the topics covered are how they wanted to give her a dignified and graceful exit, how Jorja Fox originally got the part, her character, her favorite part of the show and what she will miss the most. There are some clips shown from previous seasons and some behind-the-scenes shots from her last day of shooting. They obviously left open the possibility of her returning for more episodes. She's already been in the first couple of episodes this season but probably not many more when William Petersen departs the show.

What Happened In Vegas... (21:12) - This featurette includes interviews with Executive Producer Naren Shankar, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Gary Dourdan, William Petersen, Paul Guilfoyle, George Eads, Marg Helgenberger, Eric Szmanda and Robert David Hall. This provides a good overview of the eighth season. They talk about how the end of season seven defined the eighth season, their first cliffhanger with Sara trapped under the car, the 7 episode goodbye Sara arc, Sara and Grissom's relationship, Warrick's divorce and personal drama, the Lou Gedda/mob storyline, Brass' character, Nick's maturation, how they keep it fresh, and how they always find new and exciting ways to kill people.

Shot In The Dark (9:22) - This featurette includes interviews with Executive Producer/Director Kenneth Fink, Director of Photography Nelson Cragg, Directory of Photography Nathan Hope, and Co-Executive Producer/Director Richard J. Lewis. They talk about the look of the show, how they give it a theatrical look with the lighting, how the look has evolved, how shooting at night takes a lot of planning, making Los Angeles look like Las Vegas, and their favorite part of working on CSI. Each of the looks on the CSI franchise shows is unique, but the original is still my favorite.

TOD: A Bug's Life (21:33) - This featurette includes interviews with Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, William Petersen, Dr. M. Lee Goff - Director of the Foresnic Sciences Program at Chaminade University of Honolulu, Dr. Neal Haskell - Associate Professor - Dept. of Biology at St. Joseph's College, Dr. Richard W. Merritt - Chairperson - Dept. of Entomology at Michigan State University and Olivia Klosternan - Student at St. Joseph's College. It focuses on forensic entomolgy, which is the application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters. They talk about Grisson being an entomologist, the various techniques of how they study the decomposing of bodies and the sequence of colonization of bugs over time, how it is difficult for them to identify specific times of death and that's it's not an exact science, and the future of forensic entomology. They show various pig farms at Chaminade University in Honolulu, Michigan State University and in Renesselaer, Indiana. Some fascinating stuff. Gil Grissom's interest in bugs is not really a huge part of CSI, but it's always fun and interesting when they go back to it from time to time. Various clips from previous CSI seasons are also shown.

Final Comments: It was a sad and shocking season of CSI. First, we saw Jorja Fox's Sara Sidle depart from the show after a 7 episode story arc. Then we saw the shocking shooting of Gary Dourdan's Warrick Brown character in the season finale. The strike definitely hurt their momentum, as they made only 17 episodes this season compared to 24 in season seven. This season really had a bit of everything with a sad goodbye, some humorous episodes, an entertaining crossover episode with Without A Trace, and a shocking season finale. It remains the best crime drama on television.

This is another very good release, but I think it's a little overpriced because there were only 17 episodes this season. They cut back on the commentaries from 7 to only 2 this season. There are still 6 featurettes, but they around 30 minutes shorter than the previous season. You are basically paying the same amount as previous seasons to get less material. CSI is still going strong, but I wonder how many major characters they can continue to lose and still continue to draw a huge amount of viewers.

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
(4/5 stars)

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV.com Page

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blog DVD Review - CSI: NY - The Fourth Season

Start spreading the news, we're bringing you another weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we look at CBS DVD/Paramount's CSI: NY - The Fourth Season. CSI: NY, the third incarnation of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise and the spin-off of CSI: Miami, is a crime drama about forensic investigators who use high-tech science to follow the evidence and solve crimes in The Big Apple. See my Blog DVD review of CSI: NY - The Fourth Season:

CSI: NY - The Fourth Season

CSI: NY - The Fourth Season (CBS DVD/Paramount, $79.99) - The evidence never lies. In this 21-episode collection of CSI: NY - The Fourth Season, Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his brilliant team - Stella (Melina Kanakaredes), Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Sheldon (Hill Harper), Lindsay (Anna Belknap), and Flack (Eddie Cahill) - get their game on when the clues in a woman's murder lead them to one of the web's most addictive virtual worlds. And as murders in Times Square, Central Park, and even on the Statue of Liberty test their mettle, the whole team battles Mac's nemesis, the mysterious 333 Stalker.

This 6-disc set contains all 21 episodes of the fourth (2007-08) season. The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish Stereo. It has a total running time of approximately 14 hours, 45 minutes. Notable season 4 guest stars included Mykleti Williamson, Robert Picardo, Bruce Dern, Arye Gross, Keri Lynn Pratt and Adam Baldwin. Packaging is very attractive as usual. The embossed, holofoil outer slipcase feaures a photo of Melina Kanakaredes and Gary Sinise and the show logo. Unlike previous seasons where they used a Digipak book format inside the box, this time they use three slimcases. CSI: Miami also switched to this format, but the original CSI continues to use the book format. The slimcases have black edges and feature a photo of the cast that is based on "Lunch Atop at Skyscraper" photographed in 1932 by Charles C. Ebbets. It has Anna Belknap, Carmine Giovinazzo, Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes on the front and Eddie Cahill, Hill Harper, Robert Joy and A.J. Buckley on the back cover. On the back of the slimcases, the episode titles and special features are listed by disc. Inside the slimcases, there is just blank black space. It would have been nice to see more photos here. The discs are very plain looking with a silver background and the CSI: NY logo.

Once again, the menus are very stylish and easy to navigate. A series of video clips leads to the animated anamorphic widescreen menus. Some of composer Bill Brown's great music is played in the background. At the bottom of the screen, there are options for "Episode Selection," "Set Up," and "Previews" (only on disc 1). The featurettes are also listed on their respective disc. There is no notation on the menus of which episodes have audio commentaries. You have to select an episode and play the commentary from there. On the Set Up Menu, you can choose either the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Español. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. Like all of the other CSI shows, it is incredbily well shot and lit. While most of it is shot in Los Angeles, the exterior shots of the city really enhance the show. They even occasionally shoot some scenes on location in New York. The episodes are presented in the order of their original airdates. Quite a bit of a music is used in the series. Fortunately, there is nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of it had to be replaced. They changed the opening this season to a remixed version of Baba O'Reilly by The Who. I think they should have stuck to the original. The running times vary greatly from 40 to 43 minutes in length, but that is how they originally aired.

The amount and variety of the special features is a little disappointing compared to the prior releases. There were 4 audio commentaries on the third season release, but we only get 1 on this set by CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker. There are four featurettes that are spread out on discs 2, 5 and 6. Discs 1, 3 and 4 feature only the episodes. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Disc 2
Audio Commentary on "Down the Rabbit Hole" by CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker - He talks about the origin and inspiration for this episode that deals with the Second Life virtual world. This is a pretty good commentary, but it could have benefited by having some of the people that created that the animation on it. Some of the information he discusses overlaps with the featurette.

Art Imitates Second Life (15:25) - This featurette includes interviews with Anthony E. Zuiker, Hill Harper, Writer Sam Humphrey, Carmine Giovinazzo, Frank Dellario - Director of Machinima Production - Electric Sheep-IllClan, A.J. Buckley, Gary Sinise, Anna Belknap, Eddie Cahill, Executive Producer/Writer Peter M. Lenkov, Sunny Cerchie - Lead Creative - Electric Sheep, Matt Dominianni - Machinima Director - Electric Sheep-IllClan, Jason Cerchie - Art Director - Electric Sheep, Kerria Seabrooke - Machinima Director - Electric Sheep-IllClan. It focuses on the "Down the Rabbit Hole" episode, which dealt with the CSI team entering a virtual world called Second Life to solve a real case. It's interesting that most of the cast had no idea about Second Life or virtual worlds. They give a good summary about the basic premise and how they do the avatars and animation. A huge amount of people signed up for the CSI virtual world after this episode aired. I'm not an online gamer, but I can see the appeal for others.

Dante's Infernal Episode (10:05) - This featurette includes interviews with Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Executive Producer/Writer Peter M. Lenkov, Writer Daniele Nathanson, Director Joe Dante, Anna Belknap, and Department Head Make-Up Perri Sorel. It focuses on the episode "Boo." This was really their first Halloween/zombie episode. It aired on Halloween night. They talk about the A and B storylines, working with Director Joe Dante, casting the zombies and doing the make-up. It was nice to see Joe Dante again. I'm a big fan of his movies like Gremlins and The 'Burbs.

Disc 5
Art Attack (4:12) - This featurette includes interviews with Production Designer Vaughan Edwards, Executive Producer Pam Veasey and Artist Clemente Bornacelli. The artwork was seen in the episode "Right Next Door." They talk a little bit why the paintings were chosen and how they picked the style and colors. Unfortunately, the paintings were barely seen in the actual episode, but you can get a closer look here.

Disc 6
Cutting To The Core: Season 4 In The Big Apple (13:33) - This featurette includes interviews with Gary Sinise, Anna Belknap, Executive Producer Peter L. Lenkov, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill, Executive Producer Pam Veasey, Production Designer Vaughan Edwards, Carmine Giovinazzo, Melina Kanakaredes and Eddie Cahill. This provides a good summary of some of the highlights of the fourth season. They discuss the opening of the season at the Statue of Liberty and how they built the sets for it. They talk about the character's personal lives this season and Mac Taylor's 333 storyline. Stella's relationships, Danny and Lindsay's developing relationship, Danny's guilt over Ruben's death, Danny and Sheldon's friendship, and Det. Flack and Det. Angel's blooming relationship are also discussed. Finally, they talk a little about the taxicab/serial killer storyline and some of the other story arcs.

Previews - Over 5 minutes worth of previews for other CBS DVD releases are found on disc 1.

Another very good season of CSI: NY. Some memorable episodes this season included Can You Hear Me Now?, One Wedding and a Funeral, The Thing About Heroes, Child's Play, Admissions, and Personal Foul. I like how they followed the lead of the original CSI with some story arcs that stretched out over multiple episodes. This isn't strictly a procedural show. It has dropped in the total amount of viewers since the first couple of seasons, but it's still a dependable hit and wins its timeslot easily.

It's a little disappointing that the amount of special features and audio commentaries continue to drop from release to release. They weren't affected by the writers' strike as some of the other dramas, so they produced around the same amount of episodes as they usually do every year. Hopefully we will see some more multiple episode story arcs this season. It will be interesting to see how they delve further into the character's personal lives and their relationships in upcoming episodes.

-- Reviewed by Todd
(4/5 stars)

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Tune in tomorrow as we conclude our CSI franchise review odyssey with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eighth Season. We'll also have our regular weekly ratings analysis.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Blog DVD Review: Knight Rider - The Complete Collection (Oct. 21); TV Land and ABC Schedule Notes

We have a special Friday edition of our Blog DVD Reviews for you today. Today we take a look at Universal Home Video's Knight Rider: The Complete Collection. Knight Rider of course is the hit 1980s action series starring David Hasselhoff. This is not to be confused with the current revival series. Universal already had released each season on DVD separately, but now we can own the series in one cool box set!
See my Blog DVD Review of Knight Rider: The Complete Collection:

Knight Rider: The Complete Collection (Universal, $139.98) brings all four seasons and 85 action-packed episodes of Knight Rider together for the first time in one amazing DVD collection! David Hasselhoff is back as charismatic crimefighter Michael Knight, the driver of the world's most dynamic, high-tech talking car, K.I.T.T. As this brave duo take on criminals, crooks and those eager to exploit K.I.T.T.'s impressive technology for their own evil purposes, you'll be blown away by their explosive adventures that set the standard for all TV action series to come. With 24 discs tricked out with an impressive array of bonus features, it's one complete DVD trip you can't afford to miss!
OK, so all four seasons were already released separately. See our season reviews: Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
The only difference on this set is the packaging. The packaging is pretty big, but VERY cool. It is like a portfolio type, but much heavier. The cover is all in black with the Knight Rider: The Complete Collection words in grey. Underneath that we see a red bar with a button. The red bar is supposed to be the flashing lights we see on K.I.T.T. Once we press that button the theme song plays for a little bit and he lights flash back and forth in that red bar. It is very cool! Good job by Universal and excellent planning. Batteries are of course used for this. There are instructions on the set if your batteries die on how to replace them. On the back of this nice packaging we have the same black color scheme (fitting) with a shot of Michael, K.I.T.T., and the box art/discs. There is also info on the set and DVD bonus features. Just make sure you don't pull out the back part because it is just an insert really glued on. When we open the box, we open how we do a portfolio...very easy. There is a pocket that holds six slim cases each on a side. So we have 12 slim cases! If you recall from our season one review, the packaging was a digipak case, so we get something different this time for season one. Each slim case holds two discs each. Each slim case has the same artwork that was used for each season box art, with episode info on the back of each slim case. Now on each of the season sets the discs were all double-sided, now this time they are all single-sided. So, I think many people will just buy this set because of that. The artwork for each disc is the same...all black background, with the show logo, season number, and disc number. Simple but effective. Beats the double-sided pain for sure!
Everything else is the same as what we saw on the season sets. The menus, video/audio quality, and special features. There is no new things content wise. See our season reviews again for details on these.
I think a die hard fan would want this set for sure. The packaging alone would do it. It is so cool to press a button and the theme plays and the flashing red lights. I have pressed it so many times already. One of the coolest sets ever. Maybe the best packaging ever. It is just hard to find a spot on your shelf for it because it is so big. It certainly isn't "compact" like the cheap Sony complete series sets which are a waste of money and time. If you haven't bought any season sets, then this would be the way to go. Same content, but the discs problem is fixed as they are all single-sided now. So buy this set before Garth chases you down and makes you watch the new Knight Rider, which doesn't compare at all with this classic series! Long live Michael Knight!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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We still have news for ya! TV Land has made some changes for this weekend and some changes starting Monday. Some of the changes for this weekend are for only this weekend. Such as Leave it to Beaver Saturday morning from 8-10am and 3rd Rock from the Sun on Sunday from 4-8pm. Everything else is for every week. We will start with weekdays first. From 4-5pm weekdays, The Beverly Hillbillies will air replacing Hogan's Heroes, which moves back to 5-6pm. Two-hours of Andy Griffith moves from 5-7pm to 6-8pm, as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be pulled from 7pm (it will still air 11pm). 12-1am and 1-2am hours will be switched, M*A*S*H will now air 12-1am and Cosby Show from 1-2am, with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's second airing now 2am instead of 7pm.
On weekends Saturdays will see an hour of Andy from 8-9am (sometimes 12-1pm) and Lucy from 9am to 1 or 2pm usually. The movies follow, with now 3rd Rock from the Sun airing 6-8pm instead of Cosby Show which will now air 8-10pm. So, two-hour editions of Home Edition have been pulled. Andy Griffith will air from 10pm-12am instead of Scrubs and Myths & Legends. Sundays will see Gunsmoke have another airing at 7am, while Bonanza gets two airings from 8-10am. TV Land Goes West gets extended from 12-4am usually to now 1-7pm (or 2-8pm sometimes). See the full list of changes.
It's official family game show Opportunity Knocks - from Ashton Kutcher - has been pulled from ABC, but it could return in December on a new night and time to finish out its remaining six episodes. Dancing with the Stars: Performance Recap Show will air this Tuesday ONLY (Tuesday, October 21, 2008) at 8:00PM ET/PT. It will be a condensed airing of Monday's performance.
Previously scheduled It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will air on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 in the time period and ABCNews Vote 2008: Election Night will air on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.
Programming for Tuesday, November 11 and Tuesday, November 18 in the time period has not been announced yet (As of now, Tuesday, November 25 is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving). We will keep you up to date.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Many Universal Series Seasons Not on DVD on Netflix.com!; Network Notes

Tired of waiting for some of your favorite Universal series to continue on DVD? Now Netflix is giving you the entire run of many series that are not yet complete on DVD from Universal! Shows include Coach, Charles in Charge, Leave it to Beaver, Gimme a Break!, Kate & Allie, Dragnet '67, Adam-12, Emergency!, Kojak, Simon & Simon, McMillian & Wife, Quincy, seaQuest DSV, The Rockford Files, Airwolf, Murder She Wrote and Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Wow you can watch every episode of Leave it to Beaver! Even season 6! Now you don't have to wait for Universal to complete the series and all the rest of these! All you have to do is to be a Netflix subscriber and you can watch all these episodes instantly on your computer in a nice streaming quality! Don't like that? Get the Netflix Ready Device so you can download these episodes to a device and play them on your TV! I know many of you would like to own the episodes on DVD, but this is a start in watching them.

It's time for more wheelings and dealings...it's network notes! CBS has given a full season order to its new drama The Mentalist, the season's top new freshman series in viewers and adults 25-54 so far. No surprise.
The Mentalist is averaging 16.14 million viewers (No. 7 among all primetime programs), 5.3/12 in adults 25-54 and 3.8/9 in adults 18-49. The series stars Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. The series joins Fringe and 90210 for full season orders for rookie series.
Meanwhile, NBC's veteran drama Medium returns sometime this mid-season (or earlier I bet) and NBC has ordered three additional episodes. Last season the show had 16 episodes, so we are not sure what the original episode order was for this year. Could be 13 or 16 and you can tack on three more for Patricia Arquette's series.
ABC's Eli Stone will have 4 more episodes this season as well. The show was ordered for 13 episodes in its second season, so you can tack on four more to that at least, pending the ratings being decent enough. ABC has been pleased with the quality and direction so far, thus their decision in adding four more. And if you haven't seen the season premiere yet, you missed out on an excellent season premiere with guest Sigourney Weaver. Catch it on abc.com if you missed it and don't forget to tune in for the second episode this Tuesday at 10PM ET, with special guest star Katie Holmes! As I said before, I saw this episode already from a review screener and she is excellent. Gina Torres and Katey Sagal also guest star. Have faith in Eli!
Finally, it seems that Fox will also air the half-hour political ad from Presidential Candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday, October 29. CBS and NBC have already signed on to air it. However, Major League Baseball would have to push back the start of game six of the World Series, if necessary, so Fox can air the Obama. The game was scheduled to have first pitch at 8:20pm, but Fox and MLB could move it to 8:35pm if necessary. ABC is in discussions as well to air it, but maybe on a different night like Tuesday instead, since they air an hour-long sow (Pushing Daisies) in the time period. CBS has two half-hour sitcoms and will preempt Gary Unmarried on the night and shift Old Christine to 8:30 for this night. NBC will preempt Knight Rider altogether and air a TBD show at 8:30.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lifetime Announces Halloween Programming; Remembering TV Composer Neal Hefti

Wow...two days in a row of Lifetime news! There is no shortage of blood-chillers this Halloween. That mysterious creaking emanating from the shadows. Hockey-masked killers and otherworldly marauders. The Dow. Lifetime Networks is getting in the "spirit" of the season too, rolling out a slate of tricks and treats on Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network.
Lifetime hits the ground running Halloween week beginning Monday, October 27 every day at 11 AM (ET/PT), with five new episodes of Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side, featuring the renowned clairvoyant's eerie encounters beyond the grave. Each day's show will feature a lead-in of a quite different brand of terror with themed episodes of Wife Swap at 10 AM (ET/PT). Halloween-themed episodes of the sitcoms Frasier, Reba, Still Standing and Will & Grace will also pepper the week-long schedule.
Over on sister channel Lifetime Movie Network, it's a full weekend of supernatural movies (Saturday, October 25-Sunday, October 26) ranging from the classic scares of The Rage: Carrie 2 and The Unquiet to contemporary paranormal stories like The Watch, You Belong to Me and Nightmare at End of the Hall.

Neal Hefti, a TV composer who composed the memorable themes for the movie The Odd Couple and the campy hit TV series Batman, has passed away. Hefti died Saturday (October 11) at his home in Toluca Lake, said his son, Paul. He did not know the cause of death, but said his father had been in good health.
While known primarily as a film composer, his two TV themes are his most famous work. Among his credits as a film composer are Sex and the Single Girl, Harlow (one of his most famous tunes, "Girl Talk," came out of the score), How to Murder Your Wife, Boeing Boeing, Duel at Diablo, Barefoot in the Park, A New Leaf, Last of the Red Hot Lovers and The Odd Couple, whose theme he reprised for the 1970s ABC TV series. Hefti also gained wide notice for composing the energetic title theme for Batman, the over-the-top 1966-68 ABC superhero series that became an overnight sensation. Hefti's Batman theme became a Top 40 hit and won a 1966 Grammy Award for best instrumental theme.
Hefti retired in 1976. He will be deeply missed but his themes will live on forever. Mr. Hefti was 85.

We'll return with more news, if any...stay tuned!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lifetime Daytime Schedule Changes; Maureen McCormick Releases Memoir; Network Notes

Yesterday Lifetime made some last minute schedule changes. Not too drastic, though. We knew about the change last week and posted it on our message boards. But if you missed it, then I'll comment here on it. The 8am hour now will be back-to-back episodes of Still Standing, replacing the Desperate Housewives encore. Then at 1pm an extra Desperate Housewives episode is added following its regular 12 noon airing...so yes, two new episodes of the Housewives every weekday! This move moves the movie to 2-4pm instead of 1-3pm. Thus, it will also shift from 3-5pm to 4-6pm. The 5pm hour will replace Still Standing, and that is why that was moved to the 8am hour. Still Standing will still retain its 7pm hour slot, though.
Don't forget original sitcom Rita Rocks launches this coming Monday at 8:30PM and will air each weeknight all next week before airing Tuesdays at 8:30PM weekly.

Maureen McCormick (Marcia from '70s sitcom The Brady Bunch) has come out with an all-new book called Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice. It has some revealing information. The actress writes of her romance with TV sibling Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, dates with Michael Jackson and Steve Martin, her addictions, depression, and trading sex for drugs. Things became hot and heavy while she and Barry were filming episodes in Hawaii.
I normally wouldn't write about this kind of stuff as it is too gossipy to me, but this is coming from Maureen herself. I think fans of the sitcom and Maureen will definitely want to pick this memoir up. Why did she want to release it now? Who knows, but she finally admits to having a relationship with Barry Williams.
Read the full CBS Early Show story. And if you haven't already, order the memoir.

Time for another round of network notes! The CW has ordered 2 more episodes of Gossip Girl, for total of 24 episodes this season. The show has gotten a little boost this season in the ratings. Meanwhile, NBC has ordered four extra scripts for Knight Rider (which is terrible, by the way...nothing like the 80s series) despite so-so ratings. After its Wednesday, November 19 airing (8 or 9 episodes would have aired by then), it will be off the schedule though for holiday specials through the end of December. But with this four additional scripts order, it could return in January. I wouldn't call anything official until additional episodes are ordered, but more scripts is a good sign.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day; Sci Fi Channel Mork & Mindy Marathon in November; Tonight's Preview

It's Columbus Day and we have a few marathons but not the full load like on major holidays. You can catch marathons of Smart Guy on BET all day today (9am-8pm) and George Lopez on Nick at Nite tonight (9pm-4am).

Back in early May we told you Sci Fi Channel has struck a deal with CBS-Paramount for various shows. The main show of the deal is Ghost Whisperer but it doesn't start to air until Fall 2009. Star Trek: The Next Generation was the first show from the deal to start airing, with blocks of The Sentinel shortly following in the daytime rotation. Then last month Seven Days joined the regular schedule airing weekdays at 4PM. This month, Friday the 13th: The Series started to air in the daytime rotation...just in time for Halloween. Now in November, we will finally get the '70s sci-fi sitcom Mork & Mindy! The show will air in an all-day marathon event the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 28 from 8am-6am! Yes, 22 hours of Mork! See episode info. As of now, this marathon is the only scheduled airing for Mork & Mindy. I'm sure we will see it again...we'll let you know when, but for now watch this all-day event on Nov. 28! Mark it down!
So far the only other shows not to air yet from this CBS Paramount deal are Charmed, Early Edition, Highlander, Highlander Raven, and The Invaders (Ghost Whisperer can't air until Fall 2009). We will let you know as soon as we know when they air!

Airing tonight is the second season premiere of last season's number one sitcom...Samantha Who! Golden Globe winner Samantha Who and Emmy winner Jean Smart star in this brilliantly written and funny single-camera sitcom. Tonight Cybill Shepherd guest stars in a dancing themed episode, with a special appearance by Dancing with the Stars pro Mark Ballas! The premiere airs at 9:30pm following Dancing with the Stars on ABC! View my review of the season premiere, along with the review of the first two Eli Stone episodes, which has its second season premiere tomorrow night at 10pm on ABC! Have faith! Eli Stone is one of those shows you have faith in and root for...

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week 3 Numbers (First Four Nights); How the Sitcoms Did

Week 3 numbers (first three nights, Mon-Wed):
NOTE: Thursday is not in this week in our averages, but we do have final program numbers in the analysis below:

Households: CBS: 8.0/12.6; ABC: 7.4/11.7; NBC: 4.2/6.5; Fox: 4.0/6.2; The CW: 1.7/2.6; MNT: 0.9/1.4.
Total Viewers: CBS: 12.62 million; ABC: 11.32 million; NBC: 6.54 million; Fox: 6.41 million; The CW: 2.42 million; MNT: 1.33 million.
Adults 18-49: CBS: 3.7/9.6; ABC: 3.0/7.8; NBC: 2.6/6.8; Fox: 2.4/6.2; The CW: 1.2/3.0; MNT: 0.5/1.3.

Analysis: Week 3 saw the third Presidential Debate, but it was on Tuesday this week. Through the first four days, CBS has the lead in all categories, with ABC second in all categories, NBC in third in HH/viewers (2nd in 18-49) and Fox in fourth in all categories. Remember these are through Wednesday, but Thursday was the same as our rankings above basically with CBS first, then ABC, NBC and Fox. Last week, CBS won week 2 in all categories as ABC won the first week, ABC was second in HH/viewers (and tied for second in 18-49), NBC was third in HH/viewers (but tied for 2nd in 18-49), and Fox fourth across the board.
Monday was all ABC thanks to of course Dancing with the Stars. The two-hour episode did 18.59 million and a 4.3/11 in 18-49...down a tad from previous week. A new Boston Legal followed with 8.75 million, up a tad from the previous week. Next up was CBS with its comedies and CSI: Miami. The Big Bang Theory did 9.39 million, up from previous week and beat the season premier even and How I Met Your Mother followed with 8.98 million, up a bit from the previous week but the show didn't build on the lead-in in viewers. Two and a Half Men and new single-camera sitcom Worst Week followed with 14.07 and 8.85 million. Men was up from previous week, while Worst Week was down a tad from a week ago...not good. At 10pm a new CSI: Miami did 13.88 million, down again from previous week...is that new sitcom before it, hurting it? NBC followed with its drama line-up. Chuck started it off with a weak 5.83 million, down a million from its premiere, Heroes followed with 8.2 million...down over a million from previous week and a series low. A second special preview of Friday night drama Life aired at 10pm with just 5.58 million, down over 1.5 million from previous week. Fox was a distant fourth with Sarah Connor continuing to fall with just 5.73 million, though up from previous week and nearly beat Chuck, and Prison Break did a similar 5.37 million...up a bit from previous week. The CW had repeats tonight with a repeat of Gossip Girl doing 1.82 million and a special repeat of Privileged on a special night did 1.55 million...did that help it for Tuesday? Find out.
Tuesday, the second Presidential debate and third overall took centerstage. ABC won with the debate coverage at 9pm with 13.2 million, but the ratings don't count. The analysis however did at 10:39pm and it did 9.92 million. Dancing with the Stars: The Results aired at a special time of 8pm ET and in its normal time out west at 9pm with 15.06 million...not bad since it aired all over the place. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 16.29 million, down over a million from previous week, new drama The Mentalist and Without a Trace were preempted due to the debate as CBS did 9.44 million, but that doesn't count in the ratings...the analysis at 10:39pm does and it did 7.95 million for third place. NBC was fourth with an abbreviated one-hour The Biggest Loser doing 7.27 million, down a tad from previous week, followed by coverage of the Presidential debate at a second place 10.86 million but that doesn't count in the final ratings, however the analysis following does with 8.35 million. Fox was fourth this week with a House repeat doing 6.36 million, followed by Fox's coverage of the debate at just 5.3 million, which doesn't count in the finals, but the analysis following did with 4.12 million. The CW aired a new 90210 with 3.12 million...down a bit from previous week. A new Privileged did 2.29 million...up week-to-week. Did the Monday repeat help? Or because of the debate it was the only show on?
Wednesday it was CBS with the win b a wide margin. CBS started with sitcoms, Old Christine did 7.53 million, up from previous week and a season high, followed by new sitcom Gary Unmarried at 7.36 million, also up from previous week and a series high despite not building in viewers from lead-in for the first time. However veteran dramas are not being tested by anyone and dominated big time with Criminal Minds and CSI: NY doing 16.19 (up over a million from previous week) and 15.87 million (up from previous week and has gone up on all episodes this season). Fox was next but a distant next, but started well with Bones at a strong 10.56 million, up from previous week. Two 'Til Death episodes did just 4.61 and 3.81 million...both up a bit from previous week, but this is costing Fox to be a closer second place. ABC was a disappointing third with its Wednesday dramas... Pushing Daisies did just 5.5 million for its second episode of the year, down from the premiere. This week its on its own before the debate out east and after the debate out west. Hopefully it helps rather than hurts. Private Practice followed with 7.4 million, very disappointing and down a bit from the premiere. Dirty Sexy Money followed with 5.85 million, down over a million from the premiere. People need to watch this addicting and well written show! The Dynasty of our generation. NBC opened the night with the new cheesy Knight Rider doing just 6.86 million...down over a million week to week, followed by part two of the Biggest Loser 6 from previous night doing just 6.56 million, down from its usual Tuesday airings. At 10pm NBC had the dud Lipstick Jungle at just 4.76 million, down from the previous week. The CW had its usual showing of Top Model at a decent 3.94 million, down a tad from previous week...a repeat of 90210 followed with 1.78 million, up a bit from previous week.
Thursday CBS won with a big premiere. CBS opened with Survivor: Gabon at 13.28 million, up a bit from previous week. The season premiere of CSI followed with a big 23.49 million, down a few million though from last fall's premiere...but still good. Series premiere of Eleventh Hour followed and dropped badly before it even started doing 12.29 million in the 10pm half-hour and 11.37 million overall for the hour. I think it will fall below 10 million either this week or next week...bad reception from viewers watching. ABC opened the night with Ugly Betty doing 8.52 million, up a bit from previous week when it aired on its own. Grey's Anatomy followed with 14.8 million and a 5.6 18-49 rating...both below average and should spike up next week. I think it will beat CSI in 18-49. Series premiere of Life on Mars got off to a decent start with 11.33 million and beat Eleventh Hour in households (7.5/13 to 7.2/12) and 18-49 (3.7/10 and 3.2/9)despite the bigger lead-in. NBC was third with a new My Name is Earl doing 7.17, up from previous week. Series premiere of new sitcom Kath & Kim followed with 7.52 million...not bad, but will it build on the lead-in this week? The Office followed with a solid 9.25 million, but the SNL Thursday Update special did better following it with 10.85 million and a surprising 5.1 18-49 rating. It was the surprise of the night. Two more specials left...let's see if it can keep it up before low rated but acclaimed 30 Rock returns. ER benefited from that higher lead-in and did a third place 9.41 million but a first place 3.9 18-49 rating. Fox had an above average Thursday with coverage of the MLB NLCS Game #1 doing 7.74 million...not great, but good enough. Smallville on The CW did 4.12 million, up a bit from previous week, followed by Supernatural at a decent 3.15 million...down from previous week...too much competition tonight.
Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas, as Ghost Whisperer did very solid but The Ex-List dropped more and fell out of the lead at 9. NUMB3RS at 10pm saw year-to-year declines, possibly thanks to the bad lead-in as 20/20 on ABC nearly beat it. Reality on ABC, NBC, and Fox from 8-10 saw bad numbers, but better than previous week.
Saturday numbers saw CBS win in the preliminaries overall and also in 18-49 with college football as ABC aired NASCAR.
Tonight should be a victory for ABC Sunday (AFV, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters) and they will win the night in viewers. CBS will be solid, but has no NFL lead-in tonight, and NBC will do well in primetime with NFL, but can New England draw without Brady? Fox will air the NLCS Game #3 and it will get a boost from the NFL overrun and its the Cowboys.
As for the week, CBS should win in HH, viewers and even 18-49. ABC will be second across the board. Followed by NBC, Fox, CW and MNT. This week will see the final debate...this time on Wednesday. That will hurt CBS as they dominate the night, and now ABC could win the night as its debate coverage has won all three so far. Can Pushing Daisies gain some viewers back with Bones in a repeat this week? Can the debate out west help it? Tune in!

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of September 29-October 5)

  • The Simpsons (Fox) - 7.41 million, down two million from the NFL driven premiere.
  • King of the Hill (Fox) 3 episodes - 6.59 million for the normal episode, down a bit from the premiere. Two repeats in the 7pm hour did just 2.9 and 3.99 million.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - 8.38 million for a new episode...down from the premiere.
  • American Dad (Fox) - Only 6.85 million...but only down a tad from previous week.

Monday Sitcoms

  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 9.39 million for a new episode, up from previous week and it nipped the season premiere numbers. Excellent!
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 8.98 million for a new episode, up week-to-week, but it didn't build on the lead-in in viewers as it usually does...
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 14.07 million...up a nice 1/2 million or so from previous week.
  • Worst Week (CBS) - Just 8.85 million...not good retention at all and down a bit from previous week. I said it would do lower than the 8-9pm sitcoms this week...and look it did. Not good news.


Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.

Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - 7.53 million for a new episode...up from previous week and season high. Not great, but good enough in this very weak slot.
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - I said last week it will start not to build on the lead-in and that happened this past week as the show did 7.36 million, but a series high still. Has gone up on all three airings.
  • 'Til Death (Fox) 2 episodes - Two episodes did a weak 4.61 and 3.81 million...both up a bit from previous week. But Fox can do better in this hour.
  • Under One Roof (MNT) - Repeat airing did 820,000 viewers...after an all-new premiere of reality comedy series Tony Rock Project doing 1.0 million.


Thursday Sitcoms

  • My Name is Earl (NBC) - 7.17 million for a half-hour showing, up from previous week.
  • Kath & Kim (NBC) - 7.52 million for the premiere is OK, nice that it built from the lead-in. Will it this week, though?
  • The Office (NBC) - New episode did 9.25 million and a solid 4.8 18-49 rating.

Friday Sitcoms

  • Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - Final numbers are not in yet...but the prelim numbers show just under 2 million. That's the best it will do I think.
  • The Game (The CW) - No final numbers yet for Friday, but just under 2 million and it did build from the lead-in so far.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.

Airing tonight (Sunday) are no sitcoms.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl) or just plain old terrible (such as 'Til Death, Everybody Hates Chris).

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blog DVD Review: Lil' Bush Season 2 (Oct. 14)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we take a look at Comedy Central/Paramount's Lil' Bush: Season Two. Lil' Bush is the hilarious Comedy Central animated series about George W. Bush when he was lil'. See skees53's Blog DVD Review of Lil' Bush: Season Two:

Lil' Bush: Season Two (Comedy Central DVD, $26.98) brings us ten more episodes of the Comedy Central animated sitcom about the life of George W. Bush as a child. If you ever wondered how George W. Bush got to where he is today, you can find out exactly how with this series, along with his friends--although in all fairness, the series isn't exactly biographical. Technically, Lil' Bush is a parody of Bush's childhood, but much of the events are events that are taking place in the current day, or very similar events. But in any event, it is hilarious political humor.
The season has many great episodes, and is honestly better than much the first season. In the first episode of the season, "St. Patrick's Day," we get to meet Lil' Karl Rove (played by... Kevin Federline... yes, the former Mr. Britney Spears) as he helps destroy the Lil' Dems St. Patrick's Day parade. And oh yeah, Barbara buys a tanning bed and cooks some liver in it... her own. The Lil' Cronies get a hold of some prescriptions that don't set well with them in "Big Pharma." The home mortgage crisis in America hits the Bush family as George Sr. and Barbara can't afford their mortgage payments on the White House (don't ask) in "Katrina." In Weekend at Saddamy's," the gang goes on a camping trip in Baghdad. Lil' Cheney has a heart, and apparently Osama bin Laden can use it, in "Afghanistan." Lil' Bush is going to have his own wedding, well getting married to his father, in "Wedding." The season ends with "Anthem & China," where the guys take on all of China.
With more episodes in this season than there were in the first season, the set expands to two discs this time. The set is presented in a standard DVD style case, with an extra tray inserted for the second disc. There are five episodes on each disc, but you wouldn't know that, as they neglected to include any sort of episode guide or list on this set, anywhere. I don't know how they expect people to know where to find the episodes.
The video and audio quality on this set are basically fine, with no real problems to note. Of course, that is expected, as these episodes aired only a few months ago on TV. It is usually pretty difficult to go wrong on quality with such recent shows, as there is never really much to "clean up" on the prints from the time of airing to the DVD. Of course, these were also rushed to DVD, which means that we have closing credits from Comedy Central left intact on all of the episodes. It isn't that bad, though. Each episode runs around 22 minutes.
The set has a great selection of special features, beginning with "Lil' Bush Viral Video" (2:42), which is basically a parody of those videos that many people put on YouTube, such as the "Obama Girl" video, supporting their presidential candidates. There are web clips (6:47), which are essentially just short little videos related to the series that can be found on the series website (gopharmony.com). They are very fun to watch. A commentary can be found on the episode "Big Pharma" on Disc One, as well as all five episodes on Disc Two, although they aren't as creative as the commentaries found on Season One. Instead, we just have commentary from the directors and producers of the series here. Finally, there are some animatics on Disc Two. (20:50), which gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the episodes.
This is a funny series to watch, although it isn't quite as good as the earlier Comedy Central sitcom about Bush, That's My Bush. Of course, it isn't exactly fair to compare the series, as they are completely different series with different objectives, but both are sitcoms about George W. Bush. The real question is this: is this the final season of the series? With no plans for a third season so far and less than four months left of Bush's tenure in office, the entire premise of the series will be outdated before new episodes could be made. Of course, they could make a Lil' Obama or Lil' McCain spin-off, as these are already characters on the series already, but those characters honestly aren't quite as funny. In any event, for now, you can give a hail to the little chief by checking out this DVD set.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Friday, October 10, 2008

ABC Family November Highlights, Two New Sitcom Pilots Picked-Up; TBS Orders Third Season of My Boys

This November on ABC Family, there will not be any regular schedule changes, so 8 Simple Rules will not return as of now. There is still a lot happening on the cable network in November, though! Sitcom My Wife & Kids will get a lot of special airings: Tuesday, November 4 (following an all-new Lincoln Heights) from 9-10pm, a few 1-2pm airings (Friday, November 14, Friday, November 21, and Wednesday, November 26), and a special Saturday night stunt on Saturday, November 22 from 12am-1:30am.
Lincoln Heights will have an all-day marathon on Tuesday, November 11 from 12-8pm leading into an all-new two-hour finale from 8-10pm. After the finale, original encores airing weeknights at 12 midnight will be off and Whose Line is it Anyway? will air regularly on Mon-Thurs 12-1am.
Movie premieres include Garfield, Curious George, Dr. Dolittle 2, Dr. Dolittle 4: Tail to the Chief, The Bodyguard, and Aladdin. Holiday movie premieres include A Carol Christmas, Unlikely Angel, Snow Dogs, Mrs. Santa Claus, The Family Man and A Dennis the Menace Christmas.
Finally, ABC Family will get a jump start to "25 Days of Christmas" on Sunday, November 16 with a "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas." The countdown airs Nov. 16-30. Movies like Holiday in Handcuffs, Christmas Caper, Home Alone 3, Home Alone 4, and more. View the full "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas" schedule.
We will return in the coming weeks with the actual "25 Days of Christmas" schedule for Dec. 1-25....stay tuned! I can't believe we are nearing the holiday season already.

Meanwhile, ABC Family has greenlit two sitcom pilots: Ruby and The Rockits and 10 Things I Hate About You.
10 Things I Hate About You, a half-hour, single-cam series is directed by Gil Junger (who directed the movie as well) and executive produced by Carter Covington, who also penned the pilot script. Based on the hit movie 10 Things I Hate About You, the Stratford sisters are two very different people and that is evident as they start at their new high school with very contradictory goals. Kat is a strong-willed, in-your-face feminist who is looking to save the world and get out of high school as fast as she can. Bianca is a social butterfly whose only concern is that she is popular, by any cost. As they both start the year out bumpy at Padua High, can each girl get what she wants in the end as they navigate the popular crowd, boys and their over-protective Dad? The series is produced by Prodco, Inc.
Ruby and The Rockits, is an ABC Studios' half-hour multi-cam comedy series executive produced by Shaun Cassidy (Invasion) and Marsh McCall (Carpoolers), and directed by Ted Wass. The series follows Patrick Callahan, a former teen idol who has chosen to lead a quiet life with his wife and two sons. But when his former Rockits band mate and brother, David, shows up unexpectedly with his new-found teenage daughter in tow, the Callahan family's life becomes anything but normal. David, who refuses to give up his past glory days, comes to Patrick for help raising Ruby while he continues to tour. Patrick must now put the past with David behind them in order to help raise Ruby and keep order within the rest of the Callahan clan. Ruby and The Rockits was written by former teen idol Shaun Cassidy and Ed Yeager, with teleplay by Ed Yeager. Alexa Vega, Austin Butler, Patrick Cassidy and former Partridge Family teen idol David Cassidy star
New ABC Family original series previously announced are the comedy half-hour series Roommates (multi-cam) and Sophie (sine-camera), both scheduled to debut in early 2009. If these two new pilots make it on air, they will join Roommates and Sophie.

TBS's single camera comedy My Boys is stepping up to the plate again as the network orders a third season of the critically acclaimed original sitcom. TBS has ordered nine episodes of the series, which is set to return first quarter 2009.
The series stars Jordana Spiro as PJ Franklin, a 20-something sportswriter looking for love in Chicago. Surrounding PJ is her mostly male group of friends, played by Kyle Howard, Reid Scott, Michael Bunin, Jamie Kaler, with Jim Gaffigan and Kellee Stewart co-stars as essentially the only female influence in PJ's life.
My Boys premiered to critical praise on TBS in November 2006. When the show returned to complete its first season in summer 2007, it scored 22% growth among adults 18-34. The series' second season grew its audience to more than 1.5 million viewers, a 14% increase over the first season.
While that is true, it was losing a lot of its Bill Engvall Show lead-in numbers, so I'm a bit surprised it was renewed for a third year.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hallmark Channel November 2008 Sees More Cheers; Network Notes

Hallmark Channel has announced its November 2008 schedule and Cheers will be getting more timeslots! Currently Cheers airs on weekends, Saturday and Sunday nights from 1-3am ET and Sunday mornings from 10am-12pm ET. However, starting Monday, October 27, Cheers will also air weekdays! Cheers will air back-to-back at 4:00pm & 4:30pm ET replacing an airing of Little House on the Prairie, which will still air weekdays 10am, 11am and 3pm. There will be no other schedule changes for November. Cheers will lead into another classic sitcom in M*A*S*H from 6-8pm. For fans wondering, the weekday rotation will start from episode one and will be different from the current weekend airings.
Among the other highlights in November are holiday movies starting Saturday, November 22 everyday. Movies include Angel in the Family, The Christmas Card, A Season for Miracles, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, and The Note. On Thanksgiving Day you can enjoy family movies with your family like Mighty Joe Young, The Rookie, and Iron Will. The day after Thanksgiving will see more holiday movies.

The premiere date for NBC's upcoming reality dating series Momma's Boys has been moved back two weeks to Wednesday, November 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The previously announced premiere date was Wednesday, October 29 from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT. The show will air for 6 weeks through December 17. Deal or No Deal will air in the timeslot on October 22, 29 and November 5.
At ABC, on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, a special Dancing With The Stars: The Results will air from 8:00-9:02 PM ET/PT because it will be preempted on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 due to ABCNews' Presidential Election Coverage from 7PM-2AM ET on that night. So, Private Practice will air off the clock from 9:02-10:02 PM ET/PT and Dirty Sexy Money will also air off the clock from 10:02-11:00 PM ET/PT on this date (Nov. 5) only. Pushing Daisies will be preempted on that night.
Also, the back-door pilot episode for the Supernanny spin-off series, Super-manny will air in the Supernanny timeslot on Friday, November 14 at 9:00PM.
We are still waiting for CBS to pick up the new drama The Mentalist for a full season. CBS has ordered six additional scripts, though. So the back-nine should be next.

Three new shows launch tonight. Sitcom Kath & Kim at 8:30PM on NBC, and two new dramas battle at 10PM on ABC and CBS with Life On Mars and The Eleventh Hour. Both will get good sampling, but Life On Mars is getting the better reviews. I've also seen an advanced preview of the pilot and it is great. Check out abc.com for a 1973 look in honor of the premiere of Life On Mars tonight!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

SitcomsOnline.com Exclusive: Interview with WGN America; Lost 80s Week and Halloween Marathon for WGN America

We have a very exciting interview for you today. We have an interview with WGN America about their addings of classic TV and why they did it, their new name change, and more! As always with our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form!

We had the pleasure to interview Sean Compton, SVP Programming and Entertainment for Tribune. Sean previously worked for Clear Channel radio for 16 years and was their VP Programming for 10 years before leaving in April 2008 to run Tribune programming, which includes the massive change for WGN America. Compton oversees programming for Tribune's 23 television stations and for WGN America. Sean is 34 years old and has worked in radio since he was in high school, and he also says his childhood hero was actually legendary NBC programmer Brandon Tartikoff, and he is bringing some of his shows to WGN America. Sean is originally from Connersville, Indiana, which is between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and he grew up watching those TV markets.
WGN America is TV You Can't Ignore, a broad entertainment network and destination for audiences across America. Part of Tribune Broadcasting Company, WGN America (also available in HD) is nationally distributed via cable, satellite and telco with entertainment programming consisting of cable exclusives, first-run programs, blockbuster movies and live sports.

Sean Compton SVP of Programming for WGN

We thank Sean and WGN America for taking the time to answer some of the most interesting questions we have for them. So it is time for another installment of SitcomsOnline's Seven Questions Series! We seriously still need a jingle. Any takers out there?

"Seven Questions with WGN America"

SitcomsOnline: Thank you Sean and WGN America for your time. We really appreciate it! My oh my I have to say WGN has become the cable network of the year with its great pick-ups of classic sitcoms and we are so honored to speak to you! Fans have been really happy to see this! What made WGN add the Outta Sight Retro Night on Sundays and all the great classic themed weeks?
WGN America: I am a huge fan of television. It amazes me that these shows haven't been given a platform in many years. While everyone is trying to be hip and fresh, I thought it would be fun to dedicate a night to classic television. Our ratings on Sunday nights have more than doubled in some time periods!

SitcomsOnline: Now that networks like TV Land that seem to be focusing less on picking up classics, will WGN America pick up more classic series? Any hints on what the future might hold classic TV wise for WGN America? How about shows like Perfect Strangers and One Day at a Time?
WGN America: We will not have retro 100% of the time. However, we'll stay committed to Sundays as long as the ratings hold up and we'll continue to have special events like '80s week, '70s week, holiday marathons, etc. Our Sunday retro block started with three hours, now we've dedicated eight hours to retro!

SitcomsOnline: There are some classics that have only aired in the theme weeks (Family Ties, Mork & Mindy, etc). Why is that? Is it because of contract rights or is WGN looking into airing them in the future? Also, how are these classic shows doing ratings wise?
WGN America: We experimented with ALF during an '80s week and the network had its best 18-49 and 25-54 night in years. It proved that parents that loved ALF when they were teens, introduced their kids to the show. Brandon Tartikoff and Fred Silverman were masters at bringing families together and these shows are doing it all over again for us. Because of our ALF success, we have added it to the Sunday retro block and included it in our Monday night primetime line-up!

SitcomsOnline: We like that WGN surrounded the Outta Sight Retro Night on Sunday with more classics like Coach, ALF, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie. So the classic night label expanded on Sundays to reflect these shows joining the original trio of WKRP, Newhart and The Honeymooners? What about expanding the brand on to other nights or better yet, on weekdays?
WGN America: Even though Coach and ALF air in the afternoons on the west coast on Sundays we still brand it as part of the classic retro night. See our latest promo for all your enjoyment. If the ratings continue to climb, we'll probably add more hours and nights.

SitcomsOnline: We have to talk a little about the change to WGN America. Can you tell fans and readers out there why exactly the network changed from Superstation WGN to WGN America?
WGN America: What was 'super' about the old channel? WGN is 30 years old this October and for years it was branded as "Chicago's Own." We've now branded it as "America's WGN Going Forward." We have 72 million homes and one of the oldest channels on cable. We have great heritage but the channel needed a facelift. We have a long way to go still.

SitcomsOnline: The new look website (http://www.wgnamerica.com/) looks great, too! Can we expect show pages for more shows? And what else can we expect on the website? Are message boards next?
WGN America: The website will be fully ready in a few weeks. The website you see now is temporary. You can expect a much better site by November 3.

SitcomsOnline: Finally, we see WGN America will add The Bob and Tom Show to its late night brand and the syndicated Disney-ABC series Legend of the Seeker later this fall. Can you tell us a bit about both and how will it affect other late night shows like Corner Gas? Will WGN America continue to air the popular Corner Gas for years to come?
WGN America: We aren't speaking for shows' future other than to say that every show that is on the air now will be evaluated and at the end of the day, it comes down to our viewers. Bob and Tom are America's most successful morning show in radio. They air in 160 markets and are highly rated in most of them. They are a great fit with WGN America for late nights. The Legend of the Seeker looks fantastic. It will air on Wednesday nights and again on Saturday afternoons. I've seen the first ten minutes of the first episode and it is very good stuff! We've put a lot of focus on weekends. We added Boston Legal and it airs Saturday evening. We've also added Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie on middays on Saturdays to give those great shows more exposure to folks not able to see them late Sunday nights (and weekday mornings).
Thanks and we hope to add more retro! It's fun to program!

Our thanks to to WGN America and Sean Compton, and we wish WGN America continued success and hope you guys can deliver us more wonderful and classic shows. Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time. For more information on WGN America, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view their website (full version launches Nov. 3) http://www.wgnamerica.com. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for continued news and programming updates for this network.


And those news updates for WGN America starts RIGHT NOW! How convenient! We are turning this day into an all-WGN America day! It just so happens we have news for another theme week for WGN America along with a Halloween marathon, that we mentioned before. We can now reveal that Halloween marathon but first we have to mention the cool theme week!
The next theme week will be called "Lost '80s Week" and will air Monday, October 27 through Thursday, October 30 from 8-10PM ET (5-7PM PT) and will feature four "lost" sitcoms from the '80s that haven't been seen on the air in many years. All four are from Don Taffner's DLT Entertainment. The shows are: Three's Company's two short-lived spin-offs Three's a Crowd & The Ropers, the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close for Comfort, and the Don Adams comedy Check It Out!
The week kicks off with the John Ritter sitcom Three's a Crowd on Monday, October 27 as Jack Tripper now lives with his girlfriend Vicky with constant problems from her father, Mr. Bradford. On Tuesday, October 28, The Ropers take stage as Mr. and Mrs. Roper move in to their new house much to the dislike of neighbor Jeffrey P. Brookes (Jeffrey Tambor). Both Three's a Crowd and The Ropers both briefly aired on TV Land on a few weekend marathons for Three's Company, but they relegated these two shows in the overnight slots of 3-6am in those marathons. And speaking of Three's Company, Sean Compton loves the show (just like I do!) but it is too bad he can't acquire it because TV Land has the rights. He would air the show everyday! Anyway, the third night, Wednesday, October 29, will be one of the most under-appreciated sitcoms ever will air in Too Close for Comfort starring Ted Knight. This sitcom hasn't aired in years despite lasting quite a long time (6 years, 1980-86) and is about Henry Rush and his wife, with his two daughters now living in the apartment downstairs. Finally on Thursday, October 30, we check out with Check It Out, starring the legendary Don Adams leading a staff of a supermarket team.
Check out episode info for this "Lost '80s Week" on WGN America! This is a really good job by WGN America! They don't plan on adding these shows to the actual line-up, but I hope Too Close for Comfort does well so they can add it...as this show is deeply missed. Sean Compton is doing such a wonderful job here!
And we're still not done! That same week is of course Halloween. So on Friday, October 31, from 4PM-12AM ET (1PM-9PM PT) you can catch a marathon of America's scariest (but funny) family...The Munsters! Join Herman, Grandpa, Eddie and the rest of the family this Halloween for scary fun!
Check our episode info for The Munsters Halloween marathon on WGN America! Halloween is not the only holiday getting the marathon treatment on WGN America...coming soon we will reveal what will air on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day and New Year's Eve/Day!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More Slots for Boston Legal on ION This Week; ABC.com Goes Retro on Thursday; Upcoming Seven Questions Preview

ION Television will add more timeslots for Boston Legal this week. As of now, it is just for this week. Originally it was only stated for Mon-Thurs at 8:00PM and Wednesdays at 9:00PM. Now ION has also added for this week Tuesday at 10:00PM and Wednesday at 10:00PM, both replacing ER, which seems to be underperforming for the network. Last week Legal replaced ER on Wednesday at 10:00PM, so I wonder if ION will make the announcement soon that this will be until further notice, but as of now these changes are for this week only. ER is only on once this week, and that was last night at 10:00PM. Legal is airing 8 times this week, but three of them are encores. Legal and NCIS, which can only air twice a week, have done well for the network since being added last month. Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer are coming to ION in 2009, and I think they will do as well.
In other changes, it seems Flash Gordon on Fridays isn't doing well, as yet again a Warner Bros. movie will air Friday from 7-9pm this week. Above the Law (1988) will air leading into an RHI movie (Tornado) at 9pm. Flash Gordon has been preempted for the last few weeks (last week ION aired a Warner movie marathon from 4-10:30pm), but as of now, it is scheduled for next Friday.

I thought this was worth mentioning as we have a big following for retro stuff here at SitcomsOnline.com. Beginning Thursday, October 9, the home page of ABC.com will give a nod to 1973 with a retro main page for the premiere of the new drama, Life on Mars (launching that night at 10PM ET/PT). The home page will offer the same categories (schedule, shows, community, full episode player, etc.) but in the signature monochromatic green font, popular to DOS in the 70s. After clicking on their desired section, users will be transported back to the ABC.com of 2008.
Additionally on the Life on Mars section you will see the songs of 1973. Get down with streaming songs on the 1973 Radio Player. The selections will include album cover art, song title and album title.
Where were you in 1973? NYPD Detective Sam Tyler (Jason O'Mara) finds himself in the cultural hotbed of New York City in the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War, Watergate, women's lib and the civil and gay rights movements without a cell phone, computer, PDA or MP3 player -- suddenly hurtled back in time when he's ripped from 2008 after being hit by a car while chasing down a criminal. He's trying mightily to understand what has just happened to him and how he can get back "home." In her return to series television, Lisa Bonet (Cosby Show) has a supporting role. The all-star cast also includes Harvey Keitel as Lieutenant Gene Hunt, Michael Imperioli as Detective Ray Carling, Gretchen Mol as Annie Norris and Jonathan Murphy as Detective Chris Skelton.
I have watched the premiere and I must say they do a great job of recreating 1973. It looks so retro but has the 2008 look to it. Fans of the great cop shows of the past will want to tune in and fans of cop shows of today, especially funny ones, will want to tune in. It has gotten good reviews and is worth checking out this Thursday at 10/9 central on ABC.

We are working on quite a bit of upcoming Seven Questions interviews. Seven Questions is of course our on-going interview series where we talk to a network or a star and ask them, well...seven questions. We try to ask the most interesting questions that cater to you all...sitcoms, classic TV, and programming. We have interviewed networks like RTN, AmericanLife, ION Television and stars like Alf Clausen in the past, with more coming very soon. First up will be WGN America later this week! You'll want to read this if you are a fan of classic TV and WGN America has brought classic TV back, as we all know! Also in the works (if everything works out): TV Land, Nick at Nite, Too Close for Comfort star Lydia Cornell, and author Chris Mann (Retroality.TV)!

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Monday, October 06, 2008

ABC Family Schedule Change; TV Land PRIME Begins Tonight; Winner of Nick at Nite's Fido Awards

ABC Family will make a schedule change starting next week (Monday, October 13). From 3-4pm back-to-back episodes of Full House will air weekdays instead of 8 Simple Rules. Full House used to air in this time period before 8 Simple Rules moved from 6-7pm to 3-4pm last month. As of now, 8 Simple Rules will be off the line-up totally, while Full House also will still air in its other weekday slot of 12-1pm.
ABC Family has listed the change as Oct. 13-31 only, but that doesn't mean it won't be in effect for November as well. ABC Family November will be announced soon and hopefully 8 Simple Rules is either back from 3-4pm or placed in another time period. We will certainly let you know! There are no other changes to the line-up starting October 13.

As a reminder, TV Land premieres its new TV Land PRIME block in primetime tonight. This is NOT your Father's TV Land. Beginning, tonight, October 6, 2008, the network launches TV Land PRIME, a new primetime programming destination designed to appeal to the attitudes, life stage and interests of people in their 40s and 50s, catering specifically to people in their mid-40s. Equipped with a new logo, color scheme and on-air graphics, as well as the premieres of the original series Myths & Legends and the hit sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun, TV Land PRIME will air Monday through Friday, 9PM to Midnight ET/PT with programming that is entertaining, engaging and escapist. Moving forward, all of TV Land's original programming, including the return of hit franchises High School Reunion, She's Got The Look, and the original series The Cougar, contemporary television series acquisitions and movies will premiere solely in this daypart. Scrubs, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the Friday MovieLand block round out the TV Land PRIME schedule.

Last night Nick at Nite aired the 1st Annual Worldwide Fido Awards! And the winner was...a toilet-flushing, skateboarding bulldog named Gabe from Bellingham, Washington (bow) wowed the celebrity judges of Nick at Nite's First Annual Worldwide Fido Awards -- telecast on Sunday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT -- to fetch top dog honors. The champ triumphed over five other talented finalists, including a deep diving Labrador Retriever and a Schubert-humming Golden Retriever. All were revealed, showcased and saluted in the one-hour canine competition honoring the family dog, hosted by actor/comedian Fred Willard and judged by Kevin Nealon, Vivica A. Fox and dog trainer to the stars Tamar Geller.
View the full press release.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Week 2 Numbers (First Four Nights); How the Sitcoms Did

Week 2 numbers (first four nights, Mon-Thu):


Households: CBS: 8.1/12.7; ABC: 6.8/10.7; NBC: 5.2/8.2; Fox: 4.5/6.9; The CW: 2.1/3.2; MNT: 0.9/1.4.
Total Viewers: CBS: 12.73 million; ABC: 10.27 million; NBC: 8.17 million; Fox: 7.26 million; The CW: 3.15 million; MNT: 1.4 million.
Adults 18-49: CBS: 3.6/9.4; NBC: 3.1/8.1; ABC: 2.8/7.5; Fox: 2.8/7.5; The CW: 1.5/3.9; MNT: 0.5/1.2.

Analysis: Week 2 has not been a typical week to say the least. The big guns on Thursday were preempted due to the Vice Presidential Debate, which did well, but of course not as much as the regular Thursday airings...and the debate itself doesn't count in the ratings. Through the first four days, CBS has the lead in all categories, with ABC second in HH/viewers (but tied for third in 18-49), NBC in third in HH/viewers (2nd in 18-49) and Fox in fourth in HH/viewers but tied for third in 18-49. ABC is down big from the first four nights of last week, as the People Magazine Special on Tuesday bombed, the Wednesday premieres disappointed, and no Grey's Anatomy. Last week, ABC won premiere week in all categories, with CBS second in HH/viewers (but third in 18-49), NBC was third in HH/viewers (but 2nd in 18-49), and Fox fourth across the board.
Monday was all ABC thanks to of course Dancing with the Stars. The two-hour episode did 18.88 million and a 4.4/11 in 18-49...down from previous week, but still #1. A new Boston Legal followed with 8.56 million, down a tad from the premiere. Next up was CBS with its comedies and CSI: Miami. The Big Bang Theory did 8.6 million, down a bit from previous week and How I Met Your Mother followed with 8.72 million, down a million from the premiere. Two and a Half Men and new single-camera sitcom Worst Week followed with 13.58 and 8.96 million. Men was down over a million from previous week, while Worst Week was down two million from its premiere. This show is on alert already. At 10pm a new CSI: Miami did 14.34 million, down nearly three million from previous week...but still #1 by a landslide at 10. NBC followed with its drama line-up. Chuck launched its second season to a so-so 6.84 million, Heroes followed with 9.5 million...down a bit from the two-hour premiere the week before, but this time it built a bit in its second half-hour. A special preview and the second season premiere of Life aired at 10pm with just 6.94 million. Fox was a distant fourth with Sarah Connor continuing to fall with just 5.37 million and Prison Break did a similar 5.28 million...both shows need to me removed or moved. The CW is on its game this year on Mondays with Gossip Girl doing a solid 3.4 million and the resurgent One Tree Hill at 3.42 million...both up week-to-week.
Tuesday, it was all CBS. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 17.47 million, down just a 1/2 million from previous week, followed by The Mentalist which did a nice 15.48 million...down just a bit from the premiere. This show could be the real deal here for CBS. Clearly the new hit of the season so far. At 10pm Without a Trace did 12.61 million, up over a million from previous week's season premiere. Fox was next with House doing 12.98 million, up a 1/2 million or so week-to-week. Still way down from what it does. Fringe was next with 9.91 million...also up a 1/2 million or so from previous week. I still think Fringe is lead-in dependent, as it showed without House it was doing low 3s in the 18-49 demo. ABC was next with the family game show Opportunity Knocks at 5.96 million, down from the premiere...this week it will be preempted due to the Presidential Debate. Dancing with the Stars: The Results followed with 15.49 million...needs to do a bit better, as Kim Kardashian was voted off. ABC aired the People Magazine Half Their Size special at 10pm at just 4.88 million...this might cost ABC a chance to win the week. NBC was fourth with The Biggest Loser 2-hour show doing 7.39 million, on par from previous week, followed by the Law & Order: SVU at a below normal 10.39 million, but up from the season premiere. The CW aired a new 90210 with 3.25 million...up from previous week. A new Privileged did just 1.87 million...though up a bit week-to-week.
Wednesday again it was CBS with the win. CBS started with sitcoms, Old Christine did just 6.8 million, though that was a bit up from previous week, followed new sitcom Gary Unmarried at just 6.91 million, also up a bit from the premiere. Not good still. However veteran dramas Criminal Minds and CSI: NY followed doing 14.78 (down nearly three million from the premiere) and 14.88 million (up a bit from the premiere). NBC opened the night with the new cheesy Knight Rider doing just 7.77 million...but actually up a bit week to week, followed by the season finale of the summer hit America's Got Talent at 12.69 million, up from previous week by over 2 million. At 10pm NBC the dud Lipstick Jungle at just 5.34 million. Down nearly a million from its premiere the previous week. ABC had a disappointing night with its Wednesday premieres (though they still were #1 in 18-34 and second in 18-49)... Pushing Daisies did just 6.33 million for its second season premiere, the biggest disappointment of the night. Last fall it averaged over 9 million. If it can go up this week to over 7 million, it's a start. Private Practice followed with 8.16 million but the Talent finale might have affected it. Look for it go up this week...hopefully over 10 million, as last fall it averaged over 11 million. Dirty Sexy Money followed with 7.02 million, good retention and actually up from its December finale. The show was down though over a million from its average last fall. What an episode that was though! Certainly dirtier and sexier! Fox was fourth, but started well with Bones at a strong 10.03 million, up a bit week to week. Two 'Til Death episodes did just 4.24 and 3.61 million...another problem for Fox. The CW had its usual showing of Top Model at a decent 4.03 million, on par really from previous week...a repeat of 90210 followed with 1.66 million, down from previous week.
Thursday the Vice Presidential Debate took stage and preempted a lot of the big guns from 9-11pm. CBS opened with Survivor: Gabon at 13.08 million, on par with the two-hour premiere from previous week. CBS's coverage of the debate (ratings not counted) did 11.1 million, for third place. The analysis following the debate counts in the ratings and did 7.97 million. ABC opened the night with Ugly Betty doing 8.31 million, down from the premiere (but great episode!), it should go up this week with the regular Thursday line-up. In the mountain time zone, it didn't air until 9pm, when it usually airs at 7pm. As for the debate, ABC was #1 with 13.13 million (ratings don't count though), and the analysis did a solid 9.78 million. NBC was third with the one-hour episode of My Name is Earl doing 6.72, up a tad from previous week's premiere. NBC's coverage of the debate was second place with 12.82 million (ratings not counted) and the analysis did a solid 9.78 million. Fox had another terrible Thursday with Hole in the Wall doing just 3.4 and 3.73 million in the 8pm hour, followed by Fox's coverage of the debate at 4.5 million (doesn't count) and its analysis at 4.04 million. Smallville on The CW did 4.05 million, down a bit from previous week, followed by Supernatural at a decent 3.51 million...and up from previous week.
Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas, as Ghost Whisperer did very solid but the premiere of The Ex-List saw a lot of bleeding but still managed to win the 9pm hour with a weak rating. NUMB3RS at 10pm saw year-to-year declines, possibly thanks to the bad lead-in. Reality on ABC, NBC, and Fox from 8-10 saw bad numbers.
Saturday numbers saw ABC win in the preliminaries, and Fox in 18-49.
Tonight should be a victory for ABC Sunday (AFV, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters) and they will win the night in viewers. CBS could get a bit of a boost from the NFL and NBC will do well in primetime with NFL, but seems like a weaker game. Fox will do well in young adults, as usual. I wonder how the new MRC shows will do for CW Sunday? Valentine with Christine Lakin looks good ;)
As for the week, CBS should win in HH, viewers and possibly 18-49. Maybe ABC or NBC can win 18-49 though. ABC will be a solid second in HH/viewers. This week it should be back to normal a bit, but the Tuesday shows will be affected this week with the third debate. How will The Mentalist, Fringe respond the following week? ABC won't mind though this Tuesday, as it will just air Dancing with the Stars: The Results at 8pm ET (still 9pm PT though) followed by the debate.

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of September 22-28)

  • The Simpsons (Fox) - Season premiere did an inflated 9.47 million after the NFL.
  • King of the Hill (Fox) - 7.1 million for the season premiere...not great, but good.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - 9.09 million for the season premiere, down from last year's premiere, which was an hour long episode. Still good.
  • American Dad (Fox) - Only 6.89 million...will this show be on the chopping block if one of the two midseason animated series does well?

Monday Sitcoms

  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 8.6 million is pretty solid...down from the season premiere, but it was expected. Now it needs to stay in the 8.6-9.3 million range.
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 8.72 million is decent and it did build from the lead-in, but should be doing higher...it was down a million from the premiere.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 13.58 million...still #1 but down over a million from its premiere
  • Worst Week (CBS) - Just 8.96 million...not good retention at all. I'm predicting this week it will do lower than the 8-9pm sitcoms and this sitcom has a great lead-in! If it does...it's curtains.


Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.

Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - Only 6.8 million for its second airing here. This time it didn't have the Dancing with the Stars excuse. Could we see this back to Monday soon?
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - Up a bit from the premiere to 6.91 million. I'm surprised it built still from the lead-in...but one of these weeks it will start not to. Will it be this week?
  • 'Til Death (Fox) 2 episodes - Two episodes did a weak 4.24 and 3.61 million...Do Not Disturb style for the latter. This will be gone soon.


Thursday Sitcoms

  • My Name is Earl (NBC) - 6.72 million for another two episodes from 8-9pm. Up a bit from the premiere.
  • The Office (NBC) - Preempted.

Friday Sitcoms

  • Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - Final numbers are not in yet...but the prelim numbers show just above 2 million for the season premiere...not good, but seems to be doing better than Sundays at 8 when some episodes did under one million actually.
  • The Game (The CW) - No final numbers yet for Friday, but did just under 2 million in prelim numbers. I would have thought this show would build a bit. Maybe it will in the finals. Check our message board tomorrow for final Friday numbers.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.

Airing tonight (Sunday) are the Fox animated comedies from 7-10PM.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Old Christine, My Name is Earl) or just plain old terrible (such as 'Til Death).

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blog DVD Reviews: The Smurfs Season 1, Volume 2 and South Park - The Cult of Cartman: Revelations (October 7)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for weekly Blog DVD Reviews! Today we take a look at Warner Home Video's The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 2 and Comedy Central/Paramount's South Park: The Cult of Cartman: Revelations. The Smurfs of course is the classic Saturday morning animated series about those little blue people. It is Smurftastic! South Park of course is the popular cable animated series that is full of laughs for all ages. See my Blog DVD Review of The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 2 and skees53's Blog DVD Review of South Park: The Cult of Cartman: Revelations:

The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 2 (Warner, $26.98) brings us the second half of the first season of the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade on DVD. Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Jokey, Clumsy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf are all back in more fun adventures. It's Season One, Vol. 2 of The Smurfs, home of the powder-blue pixies who have a way with words and have way-out adventures as they come face to face with Gargamel, Hogatha, Bigmouth, an abominable Snowbeast, and even a rampaging robot Smurf!
Let's now move on to the packaging. It's very similar to the last set...we have a thin outer box that holds a very thin digipak case. The front cover of both the box and case are the same, we see the land of Smurf in the background as the Smurfs are at play with Gargamel and Azrael looking through the bushes in a nice and blue sky. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this is Season One, Volume Two in yellow lettering! To the back of the box we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with details on the "Enchanting Extra." We see Smurfette with a butterfly and Papa Smurf as the evil Gargamel is watching. When we open the case, we get more colorful backgrounds. On the left we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of what we can expect episode title wise and special features wise. The left also has a nice green grass background near a water stream with two Smurfs on a boat. On the right side, we see both discs...overlapping each other again, ugh...I hate that. Both discs are in a yellow background with four or five Smurfs characters on each disc with an item they are known for. When you remove both discs from the case, you can see the continuation of the image from the left side, as Gargamel and Azrael are in the water stream with more Smurfs on the green grass. The back of the case has another nice background with a blue sky and nice green gash with a lot of mushrooms as Jokey with his present and Hefty on a rock.
The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Gargamel and Azrael approaching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for not pirating DVDs starts off disc one before the main menu comes. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Languages, Special Features (disc 2 only). Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. And Special Features list the one featurette and Trailers for other Warner Home Video sets like the Charlie Brown Holiday Collection.
The video and audio is tremendous once again. The Smurfs never looked better. The packaging states that the episodes are remastered. I am very impressed, as I was with the first volume. As a reminder, originally season one was an hour-long show on Saturdays with three mini episodes in the hour, however after about 2-3 episodes they started to repeat one of the mini episodes from the previous week the following week so they can cover the full hour. The episodes usually lasted approx. 12 min, 12 min, and 24 min or so for the full hour. So it makes NO sense on this DVD to have some repeats of a mini episode, so Warner has removed the repeats. There are no chapter stops on this set, but the mini episodes are easier to get to now, as you can choose the episode title from the menu. The mini episodes are about 12:30-13:00 and the full episodes are about 23:30 or more. The season finale is in the full one-hour form and three episodes in the hour (12:57/22:10/12:30), so I guess they didn't need to repeat anything then originally. I don't know how they could have handled this, but they split season one in half (meaning in these two volumes), so they could have just left the repeats in there so we could get the original NBC versions since they did this splitting nonsense. I know that would be weird to have repeats, but why split them up in two volumes anyway? I would have rather have season 1 in full without the repeats on 4 or 5 discs...that would work the best and it would have fit. The show has like 9 seasons, splitting them up in two volumes per season would be too much. I hope for Season 2 we get it all one ONE set and not two volumes...or we would need about 18 sets to finish the entire series, which is crazy.
As for special features, we get the featurette "I Smurf the Smurfs!" It runs 16:39 and is a lovefest on how people still love...err smurf the Smurfs! It has interviews with some of the writers (Marc Zicree, Mel Gilden) and voice artists from the show, including Lucille Bliss (Smurfette), June Foray (Jokey) and Danny Goldman (Brainy) and some actors who grew up or had their kids watching the show in its original run like Jo Marie Payton (Perfect Strangers, Family Matters), Candace Cameron (Full House), Persia White (Girlfriends), Debbie Allen (producer of A Different World), and Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven). It's really a fun extra!
I highly do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan and classic animation in general. The set is Smurftastic, but as with the first volume it could have been so much better. The special feature is so much better than the last set but the episode situation is still a mixed bag...I don't know how I would have handled it, but one thing for sure is I would not have split the season in two volumes. Other than that, the episodes are great and look great, too. I hope season two is out very soon and we get it all in one shot rather than two volumes. They better Smurf to it and get the job done. But before we get ready to Smurf to season two, click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. You better Smurf to it before Gargamel and his lazy cat Azrael see you with the DVD. Enjoy the Smurftastic DVD before they get their hands on it and see how badly they are portrayed!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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South Park - The Cult of Cartman: Revelations (Comedy Central DVD, $26.98) allows you, the viewer, to join a very special religious order, that of Eric Theodore Cartman. The two-disc DVD set brings together twelve very important life lessons (each presented in its own 22 minute episode) about living the lifestyle of a... Cartmanian?
This DVD set is very special before you even get a chance to open it. The first thing that you'll notice is that the set is presented like a hardcover book... as it is the "bible" of The Cult of Cartman. It is very heavy and sturdy packaging, and it opens up to reveal the two discs inside, where you will find each of the important life lessons.
When you place each disc in your DVD player, you are NOT presented with a "Comedy Central DVD" logo... in a very creative move, we get a "Presented by The Eric Theodore Cartman Society" logo, followed by all of the disclaimers... but even during the disclaimers, we here Cartman announce "I'm waiting." After you get through that, you get an animated menu with Cartman introducing himself and what the DVD is all about... but hurry up, because he does get impatient on the menus if you don't select a lesson quickly enough! The menu presents you with six choices of life lessons, or episodes, per disc.
Once you select one of the lessons, you get an introduction to that lesson from Cartman himself, all-new animation created exclusively for this DVD set. It is very fun to watch, and to hear some of his life lessons--which are lessons that we wouldn't all exactly want to live by! Basically, he stands in front of a white background, where the life lesson appears on the background, then talks about the lesson.
In the first life lesson, we learn the importance of retaliation, as we discover through the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die." This is the first episode in which we truly see Eric Cartman's evil side, but according to The Cult of Cartman, we learn that this is acceptable. In "Awesom-O," we learn a lesson about taking jokes too far. Cartman appears from the dead... sort of... in "The Death of Eric Cartman." In the two-part episode "Cartoon Wars," the series (or more specifically Cartman) takes on South Park. Cartman decides that Tourette's Syndrome is the way to get what he wants (even if he doesn't have Tourette's Syndrome) in "Le Petit Tourette."
Cartman may have given Kyle AIDS (don't ask) in "Tonsil Trouble." In "Eek, a Penis!," Cartman does his best to educate the youth while his teacher Mrs. Garrison is on a quest to become Mr. Garrison once again. Cartman opens up his own theme park in "Cartmanland." Cartman takes part in the Special Olympics in "Up the Down Steroid." Super Fun Time has Cartman and Butters holding hands while they cut during the school field trip, and Butters worrying about the consequences. Cartman teaches us when it is OK to discriminate in "Ginger Kids."
The video and audio quality on the set are great, with no true problems to note at all. They've even corrected the "closing credits problem" that was seen when these episodes were released on season sets, where the sets retained the Comedy Central closing credits (the "original" ones are found on this set). Each episode is closed-captioned for those that require closed-captioning and runs over 22 minutes in length.
The DVD is full of style and flash, but the substance just isn't there when it comes to special features. The only special features are the introductions to each episode, presented as a lesson by Cartman. This is a unique DVD set, so things like commentaries and interviews with creators, as well as behind-the-scenes items, would NOT be appropriate, but why not an animated interview with Cartman talking about how his church stands above the rest? Or how about a commercial advertising this church? They could have gone all out on these things, but unfortunately they didn't.
As all is said and done, this is a very nice set in how it is presented, but if you're just looking for episodes, head for the season sets. There are only three episodes on this set that are not yet on DVD, and that is because they are from the current season. Some of these episodes have been on DVD a few times already even. But if you are a fan of the series and want to learn about Cartman's church, you'll love this set. Those that want to own everything South Park will definitely want to have this. And oh yeah, don't forget, as Cartman keeps reminding us on these DVDs, we all die in 2012... wait, that isn't a very positive message.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4.5/5 stars)

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Friday, October 03, 2008

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Kath & Kim - Premieres October 9; NBC Schedule Changes; Home Makeover Also Airing on CMT

Kath & Kim

Kath & Kim - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 8:30PM ET/PT

NBC's Kath & Kim is an American version of a series of the same name that is already a proven hit in the land down under, Australia. Molly Shannon and Selma Blair star as a mother-daughter duo that find themselves living together after finding that happiness cannot be found in their respective marriages. But that could quite possibly be where the similarities end, because this duo is driving each other nuts. Can they take it anymore? Well, obviously the answer is that they're going to have to, thus we have the premise of a series.

The series is developed by Ben Silverman, who also serves as the executive producer of the ever-popular series The Office (which airs on the same night as Kath & Kim). Michelle Nader serves as the executive producer and writer of the series. The stars and producers of the Australian version, Jane Turner and Gina Riley, serve as the consultants for the NBC version.


Cast Details:

* Selma Blair as Kim Day
* Molly Shannon as Kim Day
* John Michael Higgins as Phil Knight
* Mikey Day as Craig Barker

The series keeps the core cast small, focusing primarily on stars Molly Shannon (as mother Kath) and Selma Blair (as daughter Kim). Mikey Day portrays Craig, Kim's husband that she has separated from, who has a job in the exciting field of electronics, which happens to mean that he works at Best Buy. John Michael Higgins plays Phil, Kath's boyfriend that just doesn't quite get along with Kim, but may somehow have to learn to do so.

Molly Shannon is, of course, known from her years of work on the series Saturday Night Live. Selma Blair, while not necessarily known as a TV actress, has found success in films such as Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, Hellboy, and others. Mikey Day is relatively new to the small screen, although he has had minor roles here and there. John Michael Higgins is known for his recurring roles on series such as Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and Arrested Development, as well as a few big screen roles.


Pilot Plot:

We received two episodes for review--the first episode and the second episode airing October 9 and 16.

In the premiere episode, "Love," romance is in the air for divorcee Kath, when she discovers a sandwich shop owner named Phil. But daughter Kim, who has decided to part from her husband that she married mere weeks ago, is determined to not see this trainwreck of a man (as she sees him) steal her mother's heart. So what other choice does she have than to do than to move back home?

The second episode of the series, "Old," finds Kath planning the perfect wedding with Phil, the perfect wedding that she missed out on before... but will Kim allow that to happen? Of course not! So what better way to talk her mother out of marriage than to convince her that she is too old? The wedding bells get silenced even further when Kath starts believing it, after she sees Phil with a younger woman. Justina Machado guest stars.


Analysis:

This is a decent and well-written series, with many funny moments, but there is one major issue. To me, the series feels like much more of a niche series that would cater to a very specific audience. It doesn't feel like a series that should be airing on a national broadcast network such as NBC, but rather on a cable network. The show appears to want to break a lot of barriers, which would make it appropriate for a premium cable network, where it could truly let loose.

Still, going back to the writing and casting, it must be said that a great job was done in respect to these. The cast is very impressive, particularly in regards to the "unknown" actors that appear on the series. Shannon and Blair play a very convincing mother-daughter duo (even if they are only a few years apart age-wise) and I really thought that the Higgins portrayal of the character Phil was great. Hopefully he'll play a large role throughout the series.


Conclusion:

When the dust settles, this is a decent series that has some hope, but not if it remains on the NBC Thursday night lineup. While it is a sitcom that is done in a style similar to the other NBC Thursday night programs, the substance isn't quite the same, and it feels like it would work better on another night or even another network (which probably won't happen). The series doesn't need to be "retooled" or anything, but it does need to find a better place to air if it wants to survive (airing after the slumping My Name is Earl isn't it).


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/03/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, October 9 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Kath & Kim Photo Gallery




  • It looks like NBC is pulling America's Toughest Jobs from Friday at 8 after tonight and next week. 8 episodes would have aired after its October 10 airing. The series was ordered for 10 episodes and the final two episodes will air on Saturdays at 8pm (Oct. 18 and 25). Ouch...but at least it will air, but it will be painful to see if it can even get 3 million on that slot. The series doesn't even get 4 million on Fridays. Deal or No Deal will move from 9pm to 8pm starting Friday, October 24. On Friday, October 17, NBC will launch the two-hour series premiere of new drama Crusoe. Crusoe will then air Fridays at 9pm following Deal or No Deal starting Friday, October 24.
    In other NBC news, NBC is adding new reality series Mommas Boys, the mother of all reality dating shows -- from multimedia talent-producer, Ryan Seacrest. It will debut on Wednesday, October 29 from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT, replacing the previously scheduled Deal or No Deal, which will still remain on Fridays. The series centers on three possessive, yet loving mothers who must help their complacent sons choose the perfect woman -- and ultimately poses the question: "Who is really the most important woman in every man's life?"

    TV Land is not the only cable network getting into the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition game, now sister station CMT will also air the show. CMT will start airing the home building ABC show tomorrow with a marathon of three two-hour episodes from 2-8pm. Then CMT will air the show weeknights in the 5pm hour and 8pm hour starting Monday (October 6). On TV Land it will air weekdays at 7PM and 11PM ET, among other times (see our TV Land October thread).
    Remember new episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition still airs on Sundays at 8/7 Central on ABC.

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    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    One on One Joins BET Line-Up on Monday; Nick at Nite's Great Ratings Continues; Fox Picks-Up Fringe for Full Season

    BET will be adding another sitcom! This time they will add the sitcom One on One to their weekday line-up beginning Monday (October 6). The show will air weekdays at 3:00pm & 3:30pm ET/PT, creating a sitcom block from 3-6pm on weekdays with Steve Harvey and Smart Guy still airing in the 4 and 5pm hours.
    One on One will also get a weekend marathon on Saturday, October 11 from 2-5pm (following a Smart Guy marathon from 11am-2pm) and on Sunday, October 12 from 1-4pm. The show will regularly on Saturdays from 12-2pm and Sundays from 1-3pm. The new Saturday schedule is now 9-10am Just Jordan, 10-11am Romeo!, 11am-12pm Smart Guy, 12-2pm One on One, 2-3pm Steve Harvey, 3-4pm Girlfriends, and 4-5pm Judge Hatchett. The new Sunday schedule is now 12-1pm Steve Harvey, 1-3pm One on One, and 3-4pm Girlfriends.
    One on One will also get a special block on Columbus Day (Monday, October 13) from 2-6pm.
    About One on One: Intelligent and outspoken, the in-your-face 17-year-old Breanna Barnes (Kyla Pratt) loves attention. Anywhere there's a crowd, you can bet she's at the center of the action. Breanna's sportscaster dad, Flex (Flex Alexander), is a fun-loving ladies' man who not only wants to be a responsible parent, but also wants to be his daughter's best friend. Flex is happy giving Breanna the freedom to make her own choices, but only if she is willing to accept the consequences.

    Nick at Nite, driven by hit family programming like George Lopez and newcomer Family Matters, scores its second consecutive quarter as total day's top cable network with Adults 18-49 (from 6/30/08-9/28/08). Nick at Nite soared in third quarter 2008 with high double-digit gains among its A18-49 and total viewer (P2+) audience, and has delivered 11 consecutive months of double-digit growth since last year.
    Nick at Nite is ranked number one with A18-49, for third quarter 2008 (3Q08) in total day, averaging a 0.6 rating and 667,000 viewers 18-49 and up 20% over last year. With P2+, the network delivered 1.5 million total viewers, up 22%. Nick at Nite ranks as the number-one basic cable network for W18-49 in total day this quarter (0.7 rating and 416,000 18-49 women viewers, up 17% over last year).
    In prime time, Nick at Nite averaged a 0.7 rating and 1.7 million total viewers (P2+), up 40% over last year. Family Matters, which joined the network's schedule in 3Q, is Nick at Nite's number-two program in total day, only behind George Lopez. Family Matters averaged a 0.7 rating and 775,000 viewers A18-49 at 11 p.m., up 40% over last year's time period. George Lopez is the network's highest-rated program and has experienced growth of 40% in rating since launching in September 2007. George Lopez averaged a 0.7 rating and 768,000 viewers A18-49 at 10 p.m. for the quarter, up 75% over last year's like time period. Home Improvement remains a growth engine for Nick at Nite, and averages a 0.6 rating and 654,000 viewers A18-49 in total day for 3Q08. Its ratings have grown 20% since launching on Nick at Nite in September 2007.

    Fox has announced that Fringe is the second new show this fall to be picked-up for a full season, joining The CW's 90210. Both shows launched a few weeks before the season. Fringe has benefited from airing behind House, which is down big from last fall, but still strong. Fox has ordered an additional nine episodes for Fringe, bringing the series to a full season order of 22 episodes.
    New episodes return Tuesday, October 14 because next week is the second Presidential Debate.

    Scorecard for New Series:
    Picked-Up for Full Season: 90210, Fringe
    Canceled: Do Not Disturb
    On Verge of Being Picked-Up: The Mentalist
    On the Fence: Hole in the Wall, Worst Week, Gary Unmarried, Knight Rider, Opportunity Knocks, Privileged
    Still Yet to Premiere: The Ex-List, Life on Mars, Kath & Kim, 11th Hour, My Own Worst Enemy, Stylista and The CW's MRC Sunday Block

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    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    TV One November 2008 Highlights; New Partridge Family Possibly Soon on NBC; Tonight's Preview

    This November on TV One there will not be much in terms of series television highlights, but we do have a few still! Thursday, November 27 is Thanksgiving Day and TV One has a Holiday Weekend full of Family, Fun, Music, and More to keep viewers high on holiday spirit through Sunday, November 30. I will only discuss the series highlights. On Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 27), catch Thanksgiving episodes of TV One sitcoms Good Times, All of Us, The Hughleys, Living Single and Martin from 8am-2pm and again from 1am-6am at night.
    On Friday, November 28 (Black Friday) beginning at 8pm, let the good times roll as TV One presents the Good Times family sitcom mega-thon. As viewers are spending time with their families during this family holiday weekend, they can also spend time with the Evans family and relive those special moments that make family so special in our hearts while the antics of J.J. and the crew will keep viewers laughing in this 24-hour mega-thon event.
    On Sunday, November 30 concluding Thanksgiving weekend, beginning at 12pm through 8pm, TV One airs an All of Us Family Edition marathon that features episodes focused on family issues and themes to keep viewers in the family holiday spirit. The marathon will also be seen from 2-6am.

    The Partridge Family is possibly headed for a return to the small screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. NBC has picked up a contemporary single-camera pilot on the classic ABC '70s sitcom. The show's writer, Jeff Rake, is a fan of the 1970s sitcom who plans to "turn the premise on its head," as he calls it. "In the original, the kids actually recruited their mom to front the band, which I can't see happening in any family on this planet," he said. "The new version will reflect what seems to me to be the more realistic family band scenario these days: a struggling, sort of well-meaning mom pimping her kids in order to create a wholesome-slash-sexy cash cow."
    Oh boy. If this is picked up to an actual series order, will NBC have more success with this than attempts for Bionic Woman, American Gladiators, and Knight Rider? It remains to be seen. For fans of the classic series, the third season DVD comes out Oct. 14, so buy it if you want more seasons. See our full DVD review.

    Tonight is the long awaited returns of Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, and Dirty Sexy Money on ABC. They haven't aired since last December due to the writers' strike, and ABC is relaunching them all tonight. They were last fall's number one shows on Wednesday night in 18-49. I expect that to happen once again. Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning this is because I've seen all three season premieres and I want to share with you all what I thought. Check out my thoughts on the Wednesday premieres.

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