Monday, April 12, 2010

Remembering Dixie Carter; Hallmark Channel Changes Starting April 14; Me-TV and Me-Too (Chicago) Updates

We have some sad news to bring you today. Television, film and stage actress Dixie Carter has died. She died on Saturday, April 10 in Houston, TX of complications of endometrial cancer, her publicist Steve Rohr said. She is probably best known for her role as interior decorator Julia Sugarbaker on the 1986-1993 CBS sitcom Designing Women. The series also starred Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Meschach Taylor, Julia Duffy, Jan Hooks and Judith Ivey.
Carter was born in McLemoresville, TN on May 25, 1939. She made her professional stage debut in a Memphis production of Carousel in 1960. In 1963, she moved to New York City and got a part in a production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. After taking a break from acting, she had a role on One Life to Live in 1974. From 1974-1976, she appeared on the daytime soap opera The Edge of Night as Assistant District Attorney Olivia Brandeis Henderson. Her first sitcom role was in On Our Own from 1977-1978 on CBS. The series also starred Lynnie Greene, Bess Armstrong and Gretchen Wyler. Later she appeared on the short-lived ABC sitcom Out of the Blue which lasted for 8 episodes. In 1982-1983, she appeared as Carlotta Beck on the CBS sitcom Filthy Rich. One of her co-stars was Delta Burke. The series was created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason who went on to create Designing Women and cast her in that. Her next major role was as Maggie McKinney, the girlfriend and later the wife of Philip Drummond, on Diff'rent Strokes for 28 episodes from 1984-1985. When the show moved to ABC for the final season in 1985-1986, she was replaced by Mary Ann Mobley. In 1986, the long-running Designing Women began and produced 163 episodes over 7 seasons. Her real-life husband, Hal Holbrook, had a recurring role as her boyfriend, Reese Watson, on the show. They were married on May 27, 1984.
She had several other television roles after the series ended. In 1999-2000, she appeared as Peaches in 9 episodes of Ladies Man with Alfred Molina, Sharon Lawrence and Betty White. From 1999-2002, she played Randy King on the legal drama Family Law. Her last major TV role was as Gloria Hodge, the surly mother-in-law to Marcia Cross's Bree and mother of Kyle MacLachlan's Orson on Desperate Housewives. She was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her seven-episode stint in 2007. Some of her other television credits included Cassie & Co., Bret Maverick, Best of the West, Quincy, M.E., The Greatest American Hero, Lou Grant, Crazy Like a Fox, Christy, Diagnosis: Murder, Fired Up and Hope & Faith.
In addition to her television series roles, she also appeared in some television movies and theatrical films. She met her husband Hal Holbrook while making the TV movie The Killing of Randy Webster. Some of her other credits included Going Beserk, Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, The Big Day and Comfort and Joy. Her final project was the 2009 independent film That Evening Sun, which was filmed on location with Holbrook in East Tennessee in the summer of 2008. In 2006, she published a memoir titled Trying to Get to Heaven, in which she talked about her life with Holbrook and working on Designing Women. She also appeared in commercials for The Real Yellow Pages and Coffeemate.
Besides Holbrook, Carter is survived by daughters Mary Dixie and Ginna, a sister, Melba Helen Heath and several nephews and nieces. We will miss her unmistakable Southern accent, style and grace. She was a classy lady. Ms. Carter was 70. Please share your memories and condolences here. You can also visit her official website for more information on her life and career. We will let you know if any marathons or on-air tributes are planned. Unfortunately, Designing Women isn't airing nationally at the moment.

As we reported last month, The Hallmark Channel added some Martha Stewart programming at the end of March. Now the weekday schedule is getting another makeover starting Wednesday. A number of shows will be shuffled to different times. Little House on the Prairie and Touched By An Angel will be returning to the lineup.

Effective Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weekdays
9:00am From Martha's Kitchen (replaces The Golden Girls)
9:30am From Martha's Kitchen (replaces The Golden Girls)
10:00am From Martha's Garden (replaces The Golden Girls)
10:30am From Martha's Home (replaces The Golden Girls)
11:00am Touched By An Angel (replaces From Martha's Kitchen 2x)
12:00pm Little House on the Prairie (replaces From Martha's Kitchen/From Martha's Garden)
1:00pm Little House on the Prairie (replaces From Martha's Garden/From Martha's Home)
2:00pm Little House on the Prairie (replaces From Martha's Home/From Martha's Kitchen)
3:00pm 7th Heaven (replaces From Martha's Kitchen 2x)
4:00pm 7th Heaven (replaces From Martha's Garden 2x)
5:00pm 7th Heaven (replaces From Martha's Home 2x)
6:00pm The Golden Girls (replaces 7th Heaven)
6:30pm The Golden Girls (replaces 7th Heaven cont.)
7:00pm The Golden Girls (replaces 7th Heaven)
7:30pm The Golden Girls (replaces 7th Heaven cont.)
8:00pm Touched By An Angel (replaces 7th Heaven)
9:00pm-4:00am is the same as it is now.

Discuss the Hallmark Channel April schedule here.

Me-TV Chicago and Me-Too Chicago are giving their schedules a spring makeover starting April 12. Joining or returning to Me-TV's classic weekday lineup are My Three Sons, Petticoat Junction, One Day at a Time, Maude, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Leave it to Beaver, The Munsters, Barney Miller, Hogan's Heroes, Gilligan's Island, Frasier, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, The Bernie Mac Show, Burns and Allen, The Jack Benny Show, McHale's Navy, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.. Joining or returning to the weekend schedule starting April 17 are Who's the Boss?, Square Pegs, Diff'rent Strokes, The Three Stooges, Get Smart, My Favorite Martian, The Bullwinkle Show, The Underdog Show, The Brady Bunch, Family Affair, Eight Is Enough and The Odd Couple. Leaving the schedule completely will be The Monkees, Reba, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Married with Children, That '70s Show, Laverne & Shirley, The Patty Duke Show, Amen, The Jeffersons, Good Times and That's My Mama.

Me-Too (WMEU) is all drama (except for Saved by the Bell and The Courtship of Eddie's Father)! The schedule is the same except for one minor change on Saturdays. Classic favorites airing on the weekday schedule include Cagney and Lacey, Perry Mason, In the Heat of the Night, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Bonanza, Police Woman, Charlie's Angels, The Rockford Files, Dragnet, The Adventures of Superman, The Rifleman, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Twilight Zone, Naked City and Route 66. Some notables airing on the weekend schedule include Knight Rider, The A-Team, T.J. Hooker, Friday the 13th: The Series, Batman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Little House on the Prairie, Hart to Hart and many more.

View and discuss the complete April Me-TV and Me-Too schedule.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies Reunion at 8th TV Land Awards; CSI: NY Pulled from Spike; Remembering John Forsythe

TV Land announced that Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks and Emmy® Award-nominee Peter Scolari are among the newest honorees at The 8th Annual TV Land Awards. The network will salute the ground-breaking sitcom Bosom Buddies with the "Anniversary Award" at this year's show, which will be hosted by Tim Allen. Taping on Saturday, April 17 on the historic Stage 15 on the Sony Lot in Culver City, the 90-minute award show will air on TV Land on Sunday, April 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari will reunite to accept the Anniversary Award for the 30th anniversary of the comedy, Bosom Buddies, along with fellow cast members Donna Dixon, Telma Hopkins and Holland Taylor, marking the first time that the cast has been together publicly since the show went off the air. Wendie Jo Sperber passed away in 2005 at the age of 47 after battling breast cancer. The series helped to launch the acting careers of the two up-and-coming actors in 1980. The series ended in 1982 after just two seasons.
The ABC sitcom centered around two bachelors, Kip and Henry, who move into a hotel for women after their apartment is condemned. The pair of advertising designers must live as Buffy and Hildegarde in wigs and heels in order to keep a roof over their heads. Previous honorees for this award have included Knot's Landing, Batman and Roots.

Starting today (Monday, April 5, 2010), Spike TV has pulled CSI: NY from the schedule and will replace it with Unsolved Mysteries every weekday morning from 9am-12pm. Everything else will remain the same as we announced a few weeks ago, including the Spike TV premiere of The Unit tonight at 6pm. Unsolved Mysteries will remain in its other timeslots as well, including most nights at 3am and weekend mornings.
No word yet why CSI: NY was pulled, but I don't think it has ever generated the ratings of parent series CSI on Spike TV. You CSI: NY fans can still catch the reruns on TNT in late nights (usually 1am), as they have the evening rights to the show.

Finally, we pay tribute to the late John Forsythe, who passed away on late Thursday (April 1, 2010). John Forsythe, the handsome, smooth-voiced actor who made his fortune as the scheming oil tycoon in ABC's primetime soap Dynasty and the voice of Charlie on ABC's Charlie's Angels has died after a yearlong battle with cancer. Forsythe died late Thursday at his home in Santa Ynez, CA from complications of pneumonia.
Despite his distinguished work in theater and films, Forsythe's greatest fame came from his role as Blake Carrington in the 1981-89 primetime ABC soap opera Dynasty. Forsythe lent dignity to the tale of murder, deceit, adultery and high finance, which often brought Carrington into conflict with his flashy, vengeful former wife, Alexis Colby, played to the hilt by Joan Collins. Dynasty returned in 1991 with a two-hour reunion movie on ABC. In 2006, CBS produced a retrospective special. Forsythe appeared with Dynasty co-stars Linda Evans, Joan Collins, Pamela Sue Martin, Al Corley, Gordon Thomson and Catherine Oxenberg in Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar.
Forsythe was an important part of another hit series without being seen. From 1976 to 1981 he played the voice of Charlie, the boss who delivered assignments to his beautiful detectives via telephone in Charlie's Angels. Forsythe reprised his role as Charlie for the film version of Charlie's Angels in 2000 and its sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in 2003, but then retired from acting.
Earlier in his TV career, he had a sitcom titled Bachelor Father. In the sitcom he played a Hollywood lawyer who cared for his teenage niece, which lasted from 1957 to 1962, appearing successively on CBS, NBC and ABC. He also starred on the comedy To Rome with Love for CBS from 1969-71 and The John Forsythe Show for NBC from 1965-66.
In 1992, three years after Dynasty, Forsythe returned to series television starring in Norman Lear's sitcom, The Powers That Be for NBC, co-starring Holland Taylor, Peter MacNicol, Valerie Mahaffey and David Hyde-Pierce. The show was canceled after only one season.
Among his other TV work he played Blake Carrington for a few episodes in the Dynasty spin-off series The Colbys, and also guest starred on series such as The Love Boat, Medical Story, Police Story, and Studio One.
John will certainly be missed for all of this TV work and film work. He was a legend. Mr. Forsythe was 92.

Bio TV will honor John Forsythe by airing the Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar on Wednesday, April 7 at 8am & 3pm ET followed by Biography Remembers: John Forsythe at 9am, 3pm & 4am ET.
No word on any other tributes, but it would be nice to have a cable network air Dynasty and Charlie's Angels as a tribute to John. Retro Television (RTV) airs his sitcom Bachelor Father on most of their affiliates weekday mornings, check your local RTV listings. Speaking of RTV, they recently added Archie's Funhouse, US of Archie and The Archie's to the schedule. We'll let you know if any other tributes to John Forsythe are planned.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WE tv Upfront 2010: Acquires Charmed; Remembering Robert Culp and Merlin Olsen

WE tv has acquired rerun rights to the fantasy/supernatural drama Charmed. The drama aired on The WB originally from 1998-2006 and starred Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannen Doherty (who was replaced starting in season four with Rose McGowan). WE tv will air the series weekdays at 5pm & 6pm ET/PT starting Monday, June 21, 2010. Currently, a block of The Golden Girls airs from 5-7pm, but the full June schedule is not out yet, so we are not sure of other changes yet. WE tv also airs sitcoms Hope & Faith and Girlfriends and drama Ghost Whisperer, which airs at 7pm and would have a good lead-in in Charmed.
Charmed also airs on TNT weekday mornings from 8-10am and has been airing on TNT since 2001. Will it be shared with TNT or will TNT finally lose rights? It will indeed be shared with TNT, as TNT will continue to air the series weekday mornings. Back in 2008, the then Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy) acquired Charmed in a library deal with Paramount, but it still hasn't aired there on the network. So maybe WE tv is getting Sci-Fi's portion of the deal while TNT will still have it? We'll let you know about the Syfy portion as soon as we find out. Stay tuned!
Sunset Daze is a reality version of The Golden Girls, reruns of which air on WE tv, about a group of Arizona retirees who behave like they're sill in college (minus the keg stands). It will air Wednesday nights at 10 pm beginning April 28.
Among the other original series they have ordered is Mother Knows Best?, which has Joan Rivers moving in with her daughter Melissa Rivers and Melissa's son and new live-in boyfriend, intends to cast Joan Rivers in a sympathetic light. WE tv has ordered eight episodes of the show, which is targeted to debut in fall 2010.

Actor, screenwriter and director Robert Culp has died. He was on a walk when he fell and struck his head outside his Los Angeles home and was declared dead shortly before noon at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center on March 24, 2010. Culp is probably best known for his role as special agent Kelly Robinson on I Spy, the 1965-68 NBC espionage series that co-starred Bill Cosby. The groundbreaking series combined humor and adventure and was the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor (Cosby) in a lead role. In addition to acting, Culp wrote seven of the episodes, one which he directed. He earned an Emmy nomination for the writing of one of the episodes. All three years he was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series, but lost each time to Cosby. "I was the proudest man around," he said in a 1977 interview. In 1987, he once again reunited with Cosby on an episode of The Cosby Show playing Dr. Cliff Huxtable's old friend Scott Kelly. His name was a combination of their I Spy characters' names. In 1994, they re-teamed for the two-hour CBS TV movie, I Spy Returns.
He began his television career with a role on Trackdown, a 1957-1959 western series in which he played Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman. His guest starring television roles included The Dupont Show with June Allyson, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Outer Limits, Target: The Corruptors!, Empire, Bonanza, Columbo and The Name of the Game. From 1981-1983, he co-starred with William Katt as tough FBI agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero. Several episodes were also written and directed by him. He would reprise the role in a voice-over on the stop-motion sketch comedy Robot Chicken. In addition to his television work, he also appeared in a number of theatrical films. His best known role was probably in the critically acclaimed Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Other film roles included The Castaway Cowboy, Golden Girl, Turk 182!, PT 109, The Raiders, Sunday in New York, Hannie Caulder, Hickey & Boggs (with Billl Cosby) and The Pelican Brief as a U.S. President.
His sitcom roles included guest appearances on Who's the Boss?, The Golden Girls, The Nanny, Wings and Cosby. Culp also had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond as Warren Whelan – Debra Barone's father and Ray's father-in-law. Culp was married five times, to Nancy Ashe, Elayne Wilner, France Nuyen, Sheila Sullivan and Candace Culp. He had four children with Ashe and one with Candace Culp. He will be greatly missed. Mr. Culp was 79.

Professional football star, broadcaster and actor Merlin Olsen has died. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and had battled cancer before passing away at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California on March 11, 2010.
Olsen began his football career at Utah State University where he was a three-year leterman as defensive tackle. He was a three-time Academic All-American and won the Outland Trophy after his senior season. Following his time at Utah State, he went on to play his entire 15-year career (1962-1976) with the Los Angeles Rams. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year in 1962, was First-team All-Pro in 1964 and 1966-70, and was elected to the Pro Bowl 14 times - missing it only his final season. In 1982, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Following his playing career, he teamed with Dick Enberg on NBC's NFL broadcasts throughout the 1980's. They also did the Rose Bowl together from 1980-1988. In 1989, he worked with Charlie Jones. For the 1990-1991 seasons, he moved to CBS and teamed with Dick Stockton.
His acting career began in 1977 when he played Michael Landon's sidekick and farmer Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. In 1981, Olsen moved on to star in the series Father Murphy, playing a kind-hearted frontiersman in that show, which lasted until 1983. He also had the lead role in the short-lived Aaron's Way that ran in 1988 on NBC. His sitcom roles included appearances on Petticoat Junction in 1970 and The Brian Keith Show in 1972.
He also starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom Fathers and Sons that ran for 4 episodes in 1986. In addition to his television acting work, he was the commercial spokesman for FTD Florists for many years.
He is survived by wife Susan, and their three children: Kelly, Jill and Nathan, and four grandchildren. The gentle giant will never be forgotten. Mr. Olsen was 69.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Hallmark Channel Cuts AFV, Adds More Cheers Starting Tonight; Remembering Andrew Koenig

The Hallmark Channel has made a last minute schedule change late on Friday that starts TONIGHT (Monday, March 1, 2010). First, the Hallmark Movie is back to 9-11pm, with Touched by an Angel moving back to 8pm. The movie was 8-10pm the last few weeks, with the primetime Touched at 10pm. Late night will also get a chance every weeknight starting tonight. America's Funniest Home Videos will be replaced from 1-3am with more Cheers. So, this means AFV is now off the line-up completely and Cheers will air for three hours from 1-4am on weeknights, as it was already airing 3-4am. On weekends, it will continue to be just 3-4am. Hallmark was airing the Bob Saget version of AFV since early January 2010. No idea yet if and when it will return, but stay with us as always because the schedule changes Hallmark does is like a soap opera! You can't miss a day!

Today we remember the life of Andrew Koenig. Andrew Koenig, an actor best known for his role in the 1980's television series Growing Pains, was found dead in Vancouver on Thursday (Feb. 25, 2010). His death was announced by the Vancouver police at a news conference in the downtown park where his body was found. Andrew's father, the actor Walter Koenig, said his son "took his own life." Andrew was visiting friends in Vancouver when he was reported missing more than a week ago.
From 1985 to 1989 Andrew had a recurring role as a friend of Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) on the hit ABC sitcom Growing Pains. He also guest starred on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, My Two Dads, 21 Jump Street, My Sister Sam, & Adam-12 . He also worked as a film editor and wrote and directed short films. His father played the part of Pavel Chekov on the original Star Trek.
Growing Pains star Alan Thicke (Dr. Jason Seaver) had this to say about Andrew: "Andrew's light shone brightly on the Growing Pains set. His skill and humor and friendship were important elements in our extended family. May his own family now find comfort in their memories of the good times with this very special young man."
Such a tragic loss. Even though he was not a major star or anything, he will still be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Koenig family. Andrew was only 41.

And if you missed it, view the entire portion of the Eight is Enough cast reunion on Today this morning. And later the cast came back to answer e-mails.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ellen Show Sitcom on WealthTV; Remembering Caroline McWilliams of Benson

WealthTV, the premier luxury lifestyle and entertainment network in digital and high definition, has announced that it will be airing several never been seen before episodes of Ellen DeGeneres' short-lived comedy series The Ellen Show. WealthTV concluded an agreement with Sony Pictures Television to air all eighteen episodes of The Ellen Show throughout 2010, including five final episodes that have never been aired on television. Beginning Tuesday, February 23, WealthTV will air the first unseen episode. WealthTV airs The Ellen Show on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 9:00 pm ET, in brilliantly clear high definition. Among the unaired episodes has a guest appearance by the late John Ritter in the episode "Gathering Moss."
The final episode, entitled "One for the Roadshow," has Ellen pondering her riches as she takes an old, unopened and mint condition Monopoly game to the Collectibles Roadshow. Ellen is offered $10,000 for the unopened game. Yet later that evening, Ellen is stunned when she finds that her mom has a Monopoly board all set up for them to play! The episode will be making its television premiere on WealthTV Wednesday, March 3.
Don't remember this show? Don't be confused with Ellen's hit sitcom Ellen which aired on ABC and her current daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This show aired on CBS in 2001-2002 before getting canceled to low ratings. Before her daytime talk show made her the darling of critics and the public alike, Emmy Award winner Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen) starred in The Ellen Show, as Ellen Richmond, a dot-com exec who trades the stresses of big-city life for the slower pace of her old hometown. Yet it remains to be seen whether returning to the fishbowl of Clark is really such a good idea, especially for someone who's grown accustomed to the pace of big-city life. Warmly welcomed by her eccentric mother, Dot (Oscar winner Cloris Leachman, The Last Picture Show), and her scatterbrained sister, Catherine (Emily Rutherfurd), Ellen is persuaded by her high school teacher (Martin Mull) to take a job as the school's guidance counselor. In trading her dreams of being a successful entrepreneur for a return to her roots, she faces starting over at home in a quintessential American small town.
Check out the WealthTV website to see if your area has this network.

Caroline McWilliams, accomplished actress and director best known for her role on the ABC '80s sitcom Benson, passed away peacefully at her home in LA last Thursday (February 11, 2010).
Her career included numerous feature television roles, starting with her breakthrough role as Janet Mason on Guiding Light and followed by regular roles on Benson, Nearly Departed, and Beverly Hills 90210. On Benson she played Marcy Hill, the Governor's sectary, during the series' first few seasons (1979-81). She also recurred on Benson's parent show SOAP but as a different character - as Sally - the secretary for Richard Mulligan's character Burt. Her other TV credits include guest stints on Another World, Barney Miller, Kojak, Quincy ME, The Incredible Hulk, Hill Street Blues, Night Court, St. Elsewhere, Cagney & Lacey, The Cavanaughs, Sisters, Home Improvement, Suddenly Susan, Lois & Clark, Murphy Brown, and Judging Amy (her last role). During her time on Benson, she appeared on the primetime version of Family Feud with the cast of Benson going up against the cast of One Day at a Time and she also appeared on The Battle of the Network Stars in 1980 on the ABC Team.
She will be deeply missed, especially by fans of Guiding Light in the '70s, Benson and SOAP. Caroline was only 64 years old.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just Shoot Me! On TV Guide Network; Remembering Producer Aaron Ruben

The '90s sitcom Just Shoot Me! is now airing on the TV Guide Network. It is airing every weeknight at 6:00pm & 6:30pm ET/PT. It also continues to air on TBS in the daytime and in local syndication as well. Comedy Central and other Viacom entities (like TV Land) have stopped airing the series since December. Boy this series gets around!
Just Shoot Me! is the first sitcom to air on TV Guide Network. Other series airing on TV Guide Network currently are Punk'd, American Idol Rewind, My Fair Brady, Celebrity Fit Club, and Ugly Betty (for now this is just encores of the weekly ABC airings). TV Guide Network also even airs movies now (weekdays 11am and 4pm).
Coming Wednesday, March 10 at 10pm on TV Guide Network are reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm, as we previously announced. TV Guide Network will preserve the integrity of the show by keeping as much original content as suitable for basic cable audiences. The episodes will be edited by HBO for standards and practices, but will not be edited for time. The episodes will be edited only for language and nudity.

Aaron Ruben, a comedy writer, producer and director whose five-decade career included producing The Andy Griffith Show for the first five seasons and creating the spin-off series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., has died.
Ruben, who devoted much of his later life to being a court-appointed advocate for abused and abandoned children, died Saturday (Jan. 31, 2010) of complications from pneumonia at his home in Beverly Hills.
In the early 1950s, he was a writer on specials starring Danny Thomas, Ed Wynn and Eddie Cantor. He wrote for The Milton Berle Show, Caesar's Hour and The Phil Silvers Show, where he also began directing.
Ruben then moved on and produced The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 to 1965 and also wrote and directed some of the episodes of the popular CBS series. He also did Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. as executive producer. Gomer aired on CBS from 1964 to 1970 and was the No. 2 top-rated program in the Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season. He then teamed up with Carl Reiner and co-wrote and co-produced The Comic, a 1969 movie directed by Reiner about the rise and fall of a silent film comedian starring Dick Van Dyke.
In the 1970s, Ruben was the initial producer of Sanford and Son, the hit 1972-77 series starring Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson for which Ruben wrote many early episodes. Among his other credits as a producer, executive producer or write is The Headmaster, C.P.O. Sharkey, Teachers Only, Too Close for Comfort, The Stockard Channing Show, and The New Andy Griffith Show.
Mr. Ruben leaves his legacy on his many hit series. He lived a long life and will be missed. Mr. Ruben was 95.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

'90s Cosby Sitcom Now on Gospel Music Channel; Remembering TV Writer Barry Blitzer

Gospel Music Channel (GMC) has quietly added the '90s sitcom Cosby to its schedule since Monday (Feb. 1). The series aired from 1996-2000 on CBS. The series previously aired in repeats in broadcast syndication and on cable on TBS shortly after its run ended on CBS. Bill Cosby stars as Hilton Lucas, a hard-working, devoted husband and father trying to make sense out of the challenges of everyday life. Also starring are Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show), Doug E. Doug and the late Madeline Kahn. The series is airing weekdays in the 9am ET hour and encoring later in the day in the 11pm ET hour. View the promo GMC has created for the series.
You can win a 10 CD prize pack on Twitter if you retweet their status. Contest ends Friday (Feb. 5) at 12 noon ET, so hurry Hilton Lucas fans!
They have also quietly added Funniest Pets & People airing weekdays in the 7am hour. With the additions of Cosby and Funniest Pets & People, there are some time changes for their existing series. Airing weekdays in the 8am hour now will be Sister, Sister in between the two new series. In the 10am hour we now have an hour of Amen. Joyful Noise Cafe has now moved to 11am-1pm, as it used to air 7am-9am, which means Christy is now gone from 12 noon. Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman will still remain in the 1pm, 2pm, 6pm and 7pm hours. Faith & Fame replaces Promised Land at 3pm, but Promised Land will now move to 10pm. Sue Thomas, F.B.eye will remain weekdays at 4pm and 8pm, while Doc also remain weekdays at 5pm and 9pm. Sister, Sister is replaced from 10pm-12am with the aforementioned Promised Land and Cosby hours. Various gospel progamming remains airs at 12 midnight ET and Amen continues to air with back-to-back episodes in the 1am ET hour, which is in addition to its 10am ET hour.
For weekends, everything looks the same with the weekly Sister, Sister Saturday marathons from 9am-2pm leading into movies the rest of the day. Sundays will still have a mix of movies and gospel programming.
View the full Gospel Music Channel schedule and to discuss these new changes.

Veteran television writer Barry Blitzer, who wrote for classic TV shows such as Get Smart and The Flintstones, died last Wednesday (Jan. 27) in Santa Monica, Calif from complications after abdominal surgery. Blitzer shared a Writers Guild nomination in 1968 for Get Smart, with co-writer and frequent collaborator Raymond Brenner. He wrote for comedies including The Phil Silvers Show, Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith Show, The Love Boat, Hot L Baltimore, Too Close for Comfort, McHale's Navy, Filthy Rich, Small Wonder, and Good Times.
In addition to The Flinstones, Blitzer also wrote episodes for other Hanna Barbera cartoons like The Jetsons, The Flinstone Kids, The New Yogi Bear Show, and Top Cat, as well as children's programs including Land of the Lost. He was also the last surviving member of the group of writers who shared a 1956 Best Comedy Writing Emmy for The Phil Silvers Show (for the episode, "You'll Never Get Rich").
He was also a story editor for the animated versions of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley (The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and Laverne & Shirley in the Army), along with writing episodes for The Partridge Family animated series Partridge Family 2200 AD.
Mr. Blitzer will certainly be missed even though he has not written anything since 1990. He was 80.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

In Memoriam: Sitcom Actor and Other Notable TV Deaths in 2009

Today we pay tribute to the sitcom actors, producers, writers and composers who passed away in 2009. We've lost stars from The Golden Girls, Mister Ed, My Little Margie, 227, and many more who are greatly missed. We've also listed some other notable TV deaths that we covered on the blog this year. They are listed in alphabetical order. The links go to their Internet Movie Database entry where you can view a full list of their credits.

Frank Aletter

Frank Aletter was an American stage, film, and television actor. Aletter starred in three programs in the 1960s. Bringing Up Buddy, a CBS sitcom during the 1960-1961 season, featured Aletter with Enid Markey and Doro Merande, who portrayed his overprotective spinster aunts to Aletter's character, Buddy Flower, a bachelor stockbroker. Aletter's first wife, Lee Meriwether, a former Miss America, guest starred in one of the episodes. After Bringing Up Buddy, Aletter guest starred in ABC's crime drama Target: The Corruptors!, CBS's anthology The Lloyd Bridges Show, and NBC's medical drama The Eleventh Hour.
In the 1964-1965 season, Aletter appeared in The Cara Williams Show, with Cara Williams as his television wife. The two worked at the same company in violation of policy that employees could not marry each other and maintain their employment. The show hence focused on how they kept their marriage secret.
Aletter also appeared in It's About Time, a Sherwood Schwartz series on CBS in 1966-1967. In the fall of 1970, he had a supporting role in the NBC sitcom Nancy. He passed away on May 13, 2009 of cancer. Mr. Aletter was 83.

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows Maude and The Golden Girls and who won a Tony Award for the musical Mame, died on April 25, 2009. Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side. Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series All in the Family as Edith Bunker's outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear fashioned Arthur's own series, known of course as Maude. Maude scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977. The show ended in 1978, as Bea thought it was time for the show to end after six seasons. Then came The Golden Girls from 1985-1992, and it was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience. She played Dorothy Zbornak, one of four older friends living in Miami. The show moved to CBS in 1992-93 and was titled The Golden Palace, but Bea didn't sign on for it. Bea did guest star in a two-part episode. In 2003, Lifetime reunited the cast for the special The Golden Girls: Their Greatest Memories. And in 2008, the cast reunited again on the 2008 TV Land Awards accepting the Pop Culture Award.
Even before television, Bea had a major career in plays on Broadway. Arthur's biggest Broadway triumph came in 1966 as Vera Charles, Angela Lansbury's acerbic friend in the musical "Mame," directed by Tony-winning director Gene Saks, who was also her husband of 28 years. They divorced in 1978. During 2001 and 2002 she toured the country in a one-woman show of songs and stories, ... And Then There's Bea.
In between Maude and The Golden Girls, Bea had a failed sitcom. In 1983, she starred in the ABC sitcom Amanda's, an Americanized version of John Cleese's hilarious Fawlty Towers. She was cast as owner of a small seaside hotel with a staff of eccentrics. It lasted a mere 10 episodes, with three episodes unaired.
She was also in films. Among the movies she graced were That Kind of Woman (1959), Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), Mel Brooks' The History of the World: Part I (1981), For Better or Worse (1995). Her TV movies include the ABC TV movie My First Love in 1988 and the NBC TV movie P.O.P. in 1984.
Among her guest appearances on television are the The Golden Girls spin-off Empty Nest, Ellen, Beggars & Choosers, Dave's World, a.k.a. Pablo, Laugh-In, and she appeared on a rare special recap episode of Soap as an "angel." In recent years, Arthur made guest appearances on shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Futurama and Malcolm in the Middle. The latter was very popular. Watch a video celebration of her life and career. Ms. Arthur was 86.

Carl Ballantine

Carl Ballantine was an American actor, magician and comedian. Billing himself as "The Great Ballantine," "The Amazing Ballantine" or "Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician," his vaudeville-style comedy routine involved transparent or incompetent stage magic tricks, which tended to flop to the wisecracking Ballantine's mock chagrin.
Ballantine is probably best remembered as Lester Gruber, one of the PT boat sailors in the ABC sitcom McHale's Navy (1962-1966), starring with Ernest Borgnine, Joe Flynn and Tim Conway. He made his only appearance on Broadway as Lycus the slave merchant in the 1972 revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Phil Silvers. His most recent feature film appearance was in Aimee Semple McPherson, a 2006 biopic about the female evangelist. He died of natural causes on November 3, 2009 at his Hollywood, California home. He is survived by his daughters actress Sara Ballantine and Molly and his sister Esther Robinson. Mr. Ballantine was 92.

Wendy Blair died of cancer on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 in North Hollywood. Blair enjoyed a long career in the entertainment industry, having served as the first female junior executive at CBS Television City in the mid-1950s. Known for being analytical and extremely organized, she worked as an associate producer and producer on a number of popular television series. Among the series she worked on as an associate producer are Three's Company, and both of its spin-off series The Ropers and Three's a Crowd, as well as several variety shows and specials for companies including Dick Clark Productions and Sid and Marty Krofft Enterprises, such as Dr. Shrinker.
Her other producer credits include pilots and series such as What a Country! in 1986, I Married Dora in 1987, Mutts in 1988, and Where's Rodney? in 1990. She later segued from working in production to serving as the manager of business operations for The Smothers Brothers and was active in this role until the beginning of 2009. Now, Joanne McCracken has taken over. Blair was a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and was a founding member of the Association of Associate Producers (which later merged with the PGA). Blair was devoted to her family and family traditions. Ms. Blair was 70.

Marilyn and Roz Borden

Marilyn Borden was an actress and singer, half of the acting duo the Borden Twins with her late sister Rosalyn (d. 2003) when they began an early acting career at age 3. They later appeared on numerous TV programs, including their best-remembered appearances as Teensy and Weensy, twin daughters of the sheriff, in a classic episode of I Love Lucy entitled "Tennessee Bound" (1955), starring country music legend Tennessee Ernie Ford. They also made guest appearances on CHiPs, Maude and The Ropers.
Marilyn Borden died of congestive heart failure in Modesto, California on March 25, 2009. Ms. Borden was 76.

Linda Day

Linda Day - TV director Linda Day passed away on October 23, 2009 from leukemia and breast cancer. Linda was the first woman to receive steady employment as a TV director. To her credit are more than 50 different series and 350 episodes including Married... with Children (for which she did the pilot and continued for more than two years), Archie Bunker's Place, Dallas, Kate & Allie, Alice, WKRP, Benson, Newhart, Too Close for Comfort, The Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes, It's Your Move, Double Trouble, Small Wonder, Gimme a Break, Throb, Women in Prison, Major Dad, Top of the Heap, Teacher's Only, Mad About You, Who's the Boss?, Baby Talk, Almost Home, Thea, The Nanny, Unhappily Ever After, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Clueless. And that's just some of the shows! During the 1980's and part of the 1990's, Linda was one of the top 5 television directors currently then working. She was survived by her husband, L. Steve Varnum; her daughter, Heidi Gutman and her sister, Nancy Riley. Ms. Day was 71.

Dom DeLuise

Dom DeLuise - Prolific actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author Dom DeLuise died peacefully surrounded by his wife and three sons on May 24, 2009 at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. He had been hospitalized and was suffering from kidney failure and respiratory problems following a long battle with cancer.
Deluise appeared in many movies and TV shows, Broadway plays and provided his voice to characters for numerous animated features in a career that spanned over 45 years. Mel Brooks cast him in many of his movies, including The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Spaceballs as the voice of Pizza the Hutt. In the 1970s and 1980s, he frequently co-starred with Burt Reynolds in the films The Cannonball Run and Cannonball II, Smokey and the Bandit II, The End and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He lent his voice to animated features such as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven and Oliver & Company. He was a frequent guest on game shows and hosted Candid Camera from 1991-1992.
His early sitcom appearances included The Munsters, Please Don't Eat the Daisies and The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. In 1973, he starred in the short-lived Lotsa Luck as bachelor Stanley Belmont who was the custodian of a New York City bus company's lost-and-found department. The cast included Kathleen Freeman, Wynn Irwin, Beverly Sanders and Jack Knight. In 1987-1988, he starred in the first-run syndication sitcom The Dom DeLuise Show with George Wallace, Maureen Murphy, Angela Aames and Michael Chambers. He appeared with his sons--Peter, Michael and David DeLuise--in a 1997 episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. They had previously appeared together in a 1994 episode of seaQuest DSV.
In later years he began a second career as a popular chef and cookbook author. He always had a love of food and authored 1988's Eat This — It Will Make You Feel Better! and 1997's Eat This Too! It'll Also Make You Feel Good. He also wrote seven books for children, including 1993's Charlie the Caterpillar. In recent years he was a regular contributor to a syndicated home improvement radio show, On The House with The Carey Brothers, giving listeners tips on culinary topics.
DeLuise is survived by his wife and actress Carol Arthur, actor sons Peter, Michael and David, his sister, Anne, and grandchildren Riley, Dylan and Jake. You can read more information on his official site. Mr. DeLuise was 75.

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett, who soared to fame as a national sex symbol in the late 1970s on television's Charlie's Angels and in a swimsuit poster that showcased her feathery mane and made her a generation's favorite pinup, died on June 25, 2009. Fawcett, whose celebrity overshadowed her ability as a serious actress, was diagnosed with a rare anal cancer in 2006, died about 9:30 a.m. PT at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica.
Three months after she was declared cancer-free in 2007, doctors at UCLA Medical Center told her the cancer had returned, spreading to her liver, and she repeatedly sought experimental treatment in Germany.
As an actress, Fawcett was initially dismissed for her role as Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels, one of the "jiggle" series on ABC in the late 1970s. Fawcett quit the series that brought her initial fame in 1977 after a single season, saying producers were preventing her from growing as an actress. With Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, Fawcett played a private investigator. She returned for 6 episodes as a special guest star.
She transformed her career and some popular perceptions in 1984 with The Burning Bed, a NBC television movie about a battered wife that brought her the first of three Emmy nominations. She further established herself as an actress in the play and later feature film Extremities in 1986, about a rape victim who takes revenge on her attacker. In 1989 she starred in the ABC TV mini-series Small Sacrifices opposite Ryan O'Neal, giving her an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. Her other Golden Globe nominated roles on TV-movies include ABC's Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story and NBC's Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story.
Among Farrah's other cedits includes the short lived CBS sitcom in 1991 called Good Sports starring her and boyfriend Ryan O'Neal, and guest appearances on many other TV series over the years such as Mayberry RFD, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, The Partridge Family, Owen Marshall, The Girl with Something Extra, McCloud, Apple's Way, Marcus Welby, S.W.A.T., The Brady Bunch Hour, The Battle of the Network Stars, Larry Sanders Show, Ally McBeal, and So noTORIous. And recurring appearances on Harry-O, The Six Million Dollar Man, Spin City, and The Guardian. She had her own reality series in 2005 on TV Land called Chasing Farrah, where she made her last rounds on talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Show with David Letterman, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Regis & Kelly. During the 2006 Emmy Awards, the same year she was diagnosed with cancer, she and her fellow Charlie's Angels paid tribute to the late Aaron Spelling on stage. Recently she documented Farrah's Story for NBC about her daily life with anal cancer. Ms. Fawcett was 62.

Larry Gelbart

Larry Gelbart, the award-winning writer whose sly, sardonic wit helped create such hits as Broadway's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the film Tootsie, and of course television's M*A*S*H, died on September 11, 2009. Gelbart died at his Beverly Hills home after a long battle with cancer. He is likely best remembered for the long-running TV show about Army doctors during the Korean War. Gelbart won an Emmy for M*A*S*H and was nominated for writing but quit during the show's fourth season, saying he was "totally worn out."
Gelbart's Broadway show, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, written with Burt Shevelove, was a runaway hit. It was based loosely on the Roman plays of Plautus with songs by Stephen Sondheim.
His films Oh, God! with George Burns as a philosophical deity, and Tootsie, with Dustin Hoffman as a cross-dressing actor, both brought him Academy Award nominations, and the HBO movie Barbarians at the Gate, about Wall Street chicanery, brought another Emmy.
Gelbart's other television work was creating the short-lived CBS sitcom Roll Out! in 1973. It starred Stu Gilliam and Hilly Hicks, and featuring Ed Begley, Jr. and Garrett Morris, the series was set in France during World War II and was loosely based on the 1952 film Red Ball Express. Instead of Army medics, Roll Out! highlighted the pratfalls of the supply drivers of the 5050th Quartermaster Trucking Company of the U.S. Third Army's Red Ball Express, whose staff was mainly African American.
Gelbart was also known for writing the first television pilot for Three's Company in 1976, which today is known as "The Larry Gelbart Pilot." The pilot never aired originally, but has been on DVD and aired on cable on TV Land. In 1980, Larry had another show that didn't last too long. The series was for NBC titled United States and starred Beau Bridges. It was a show about Richard and Libby Chapin and their two children Dylan and Nicky. The show differed from other sitcoms in that there might not be closure to problems after a frank discussion and the subjects discussed were not common to other sitcoms.
In 1983, Larry came back to M*A*S*H in the spin-off AfterMASH. It only lasted two seasons and had the Korean War ended with Colonel Potter, Sergeant Klinger, and Father Mulcahy finding themselves together once again, this time at a veteran's hospital.
In recent years Larry has been interviewed for TV Land Confidential, Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, Inside TV Land: The Dick Van Dyke Show, M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion, and most recently Biography: Three's Company. He was also at the TV Land Awards earlier this year. Mr. Gelbart
was 81.

Henry Gibson

Henry Gibson, a wry comic character actor whose career included Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Nashville and Boston Legal, died September 14, 2009 at his home in Malibu after a brief battle with cancer.
Gibson's breakthrough came in 1968 when he was cast as a member of the original ensemble of NBC's top-rated Laugh-In, on which he performed for three seasons. Each week, a giant flower in his hand, he recited a signature poem, introducing them with the catch phrase that became his signature: "A Poem, by Henry Gibson."
After Laugh-In, he played the evil Dr. Verringer in The Long Goodbye (1973), the first of four films in which he appeared for director Robert Altman. Their second collaboration came in Nashville (1975), in which Gibson earned a Golden Globe nomination and a National Society of Film Critics supporting-actor award for his performance as unctuous country singer Haven Hamilton. He also wrote his character's songs.
In television, Gibson's recent work included a five-season stint as cantankerous Judge Clarence Brown on ABC's Boston Legal and providing the voice for sardonic, eye-patched newspaperman Bob Jenkins on Fox's animated series King of the Hill.
His previous TV work include appearances on The Joey Bishop Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, My Favorite Martian, The Dick Van Dyke Show, F-Troop, Bewitched, Love American Style, Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard, Smurfs, Magnum P.I., Simon & Simon, The Love Boat, The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, Newhart, Evening Shade, MacGyver, Sisters, Coach, The John Larroquette Show, Maggie Winters, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Early Edition, Charmed, Becker, Malcolm in the Middle, and the short-lived Cracking Up. Mr. Gibson was 73.

Steven Gilborn on The Wonder Years

Steven Gilborn was a great character actor that has appeared on many sitcoms and TV series. He was best known for playing the father of Ellen DeGeneres' character on Ellen. He died of cancer in North Chatham, N.Y., on January 2, 2009. Gilborn also played the math teacher Mr. Collins on The Wonder Years and appeared on MANY sitcoms and TV shows including Rodney, According to Jim, Out of Practice, Complete Savages, 8 Simple Rules, Damages, The Bernie Mac Show, Still Standing, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Malcolm in the Middle, Two Guys and a Girl, NYPD Blue, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Get Real, Action, Maggie Winters, The West Wing, The Practice, Living Single, Boy Meets World, NewsRadio, Mad About You, ER, Empty Nest, Coach, Lois & Clark, Hearts Afire, Dream On, Blossom, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Vegas, L.A. Law, The Torkelsons, The Golden Girls, Matlock, Knots Landing, Perfect Strangers, Who's the Boss?, Kate & Allie, Columbo and Law & Order. Since 1983 he has been on about everything as you can see. His film credits include Nurse Betty, Doctor Doolittle, The Brady Bunch Movie, The Night Shift and the TV movie The Dreamer of Oz. Mr. Gilborn was 72.

Thomas Hill

Thomas Hill was an actor and director on stage for decades before starting in film in the mid 1960s and on television in the 1980s. One of Hill's most prominent recurring roles was as Jim Dixon on the 1980s TV series Newhart. Hill also appeared as King Baaldorf in the short-lived 1980s series Wizards and Warriors. His TV movie roles include Father Andrew Doyle in the 1984 NBC miniseries V: The Final Battle. He had guest appearances on such shows as St. Elsewhere, Remington Steele, The Facts of Life, Married... with Children, Coach, and Law & Order. He died April 20, 2009. Mr. Hill was 81.

Connie Hines

Connie Hines passed away on December 18, 2009 at her Beverly Hills home from complications of heart problems. She was best known for her role as Wilbur's (Alan Young) wife on the popular 1960s television sitcom Mister Ed. She has not acted since the early '70s, so many younger viewers probably don't know who she is, unless they caught an episode or two of Mister Ed on TV. She guest starred on series such as The Millionaire, The Untouchables, Bronco, Sea Hunt, Perry Mason, Bonanza, Love American Style, and The Mod Squad. As you can see, she was in a lot of dramas, but her regular role on the comedy Mister Ed is what everyone knows her for. Ms. Hines was 79.

Cheryl Holdridge on Leave it to Beaver

Cheryl Holdridge, the beautiful blond actress who first gained fame as a Mouseketeer on TV's The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s, has died. Holdridge died on January 6, 2009 at her home in Santa Monica after a two-year battle with lung cancer. After The Mickey Mouse Club, the actress played Julie Foster, Wally's girlfriend, on Leave it to Beaver and guest starred on series such as The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Donna Reed Show, Dr. Kildare, The Rifleman, Bachelor Father, My Three Sons, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Wagon Train, and reprised her role as Julie Foster on the '80s revival of Leave it to Beaver called Still the Beaver. Cheryl hasn't acted much since the '60s, but will be remembered for her work on these '50s and '60s TV series from classic TV fans. Ms. Holdridge was 64.

Morton Lachman

Morton Lachman was a comedy writer and producer who worked for Bob Hope for more than twenty years and subsequently produced sitcoms for television, including All in the Family and Kate & Allie. He was also the co-creator (with Sy Rosen) and executive producer of Gimme A Break!, which ran from 1981 to 1987 on NBC. He won two Emmy awards — one in 1978 for his work on All in the Family, and one in 1974 for his direction of an episode of The ABC Afternoon Playbreak. He died on March 17, 2009 of a heart attack and diabetes. Mr. Lachman was 90.

David Lloyd

David Lloyd was an American Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer for television. He wrote for many popular and award-winning sitcoms, such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, Frasier and Wings. Lloyd wrote the Emmy-winning "Chuckles Bites the Dust", an episode of the long-running Mary Tyler Moore Show. He won an Emmy for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series" in 1976. He died on November 10, 2009 from prostate cancer at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Lloyd was 75.

Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon, a fixture on U.S. late-night television for 30 years as the full-throated announcer and sidekick for the late Johnny Carson on NBC's The Tonight Show, died on June 23, 2009.
The veteran TV personality, best known for his nightly introduction of Carson in a deep, booming voice with the drawn-out line, "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" died at a Los Angeles-area hospital early this morning with his wife and loved ones by his side. McMahon had been battling pneumonia and other illnesses for about the past month. Ed and Johnny first worked together in 1957 as announcer and host on the daytime game show Who Do You Trust? The duo moved to the Tonight Show in 1962 when Carson succeeded Jack Paar for three decades, stopping in 1992 when Carson retired as host. Ed was also famous for his "Hi-oooooh!" line.
Among his other roles, he was with Dick Clark on the TV series and specials TV Bloopers And Practical Jokes on NBC from 1982 until 1998. He was also host of the successful weekly syndicated series Star Search, which began in 1983 and ended in 1995.
He has appeared on many sitcoms as himself over the years such as Here's Lucy, ALF, Full House, Who's the Boss?, Roseanne, Living Single, Malcolm & Eddie, The Simpsons, Suddenly Susan, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Popular, That '80s Show, Family Guy, It's All Relative, and Scrubs.
He has also appeared on TV series as a character as well, such as an earlier episode of Here's Lucy, Ellen Queen, Newhart, Burke's Law, Nurses, and Baywatch. He had a regular role on the short-lived comedy called The Tom Show starring Tom Arnold on The WB in the 1997-98 season.
In recent years was co-host for TV Land's ALF Hit Talk Show and co-host in 2003 for a handful of episodes for Jimmy Kimmel Live!. And last summer he and his family appeared on Celebrity Family Feud battling the The Kardashians, Deion & Pilar Sanders, Tiki Barber's families.
He is survived by his wife, Pamela, and five children. Mr. McMahon was 86.

Vic Mizzy

Vic Mizzy, who composed the indelible theme music for The Addams Family and Green Acres died on October 17, 2009 in Los Angeles. For the The Addams Family theme, which became a long-remembered part of '60s pop culture, Mizzy played the harpsichord and sang the vocal parts (overdubbing his own voice three times) and coached the actors during the main-title sequence (including on-camera finger-snapping by the actors). The equally iconic Green Acres theme was performed by stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Mizzy also wrote all the underscore for both series. His theme for Addams was reprised in the 1990s feature films. Mizzy also had many other 1960s and '70s sitcom themes that also included The Pruitts of Southampton, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, Captain Nice, The Don Rickles Show and Temperature's Rising. He also wrote underscores for TV's Richard Boone Show and Quincy along with several TV movies including Terror on the 40th Floor. His film scores included the William Castle films The Night Walker and The Busy Body; five Don Knotts films: The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Love God? and How to Frame a Figg; and other films including The Caper of the Golden Bulls, Don't Make Waves and Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady?. Mr. Mizzy was 93.

Ricardo Montalban on Fantasy Island

Ricardo Montalban, the suave leading man who was one of the first Mexican-born actors to make it big in Hollywood and who was best known for his role as Mr. Roarke on ABC's Fantasy Island, has died. Montalban died January 14, 2009 at his Los Angeles home of congestive heart failure. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he made the first of many TV appearances. In addition to his role as Chief Satangkai in the 1978 ABC miniseries How the West Was Won, he appeared in the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys on ABC in the late 1980s. More recently, he did a voice on the Disney Channel's animated series Kim Possible. He has also appeared on an episode or two of Family Guy, The Brothers Garcia, The Golden Palace, Chicago Hope, Dream On, Murder She Wrote, Police Story, Hawaii Five-0, Here's Lucy, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and many more! He was also a fixture on the game show Win, Lose or Draw in the late '80s. But it was Fantasy Island that created his lasting image in front of the Hollywood cameras. Elegantly attired in a white suit and black tie, Montalban created such an iconic -- albeit somewhat kitschy -- figure that he often reprised the character insubsequent films and television shows.
While making Fantasy Island" Montalban also gave one of his best movie performances -- as Khan Noonian Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), a follow-up to a beloved 1967 Star Trek television episode, "Space Seed," that also featured Montalban. Among his other movie credits include Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, and Cannonball Run II. Mr. Montalban was 88.

Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy died in Los Angeles on December 20, 2009 after suffering cardiac arrest in her bathroom, officials said. Brittany provided the voice of Luanne on the Fox animated series King of the Hill. While she was known more for her movie roles, Brittany got her start on television. She co-starred on the short-lived sitcom Drexell's Class in 1991-92. She also co-starred on the sitcom Almost Home in 1993, which was a follow-up series of The Torkelsons. Among her other TV roles were guest shots on Murphy Brown, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Blossom, Party of Five, Frasier, Sister Sister, Boy Meets World, The Marshal, seaQuest DSV, Murder One, Nash Bridges, and Clueless. She got her big break on the big screen movie Clueless, which lead to movies such as Drop Dead Gorgeous, Girl Interrupted, Don't Say a Word, 8 Mile, Just Married, Uptown Girls, Sin City, Happy Feet, and more. She has a few films still yet to be released. Ms. Murphy was only 32.

Harve Presnell

Harve Presnell, whose booming baritone graced such Broadway musicals as The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Annie, and in many TV roles has died. The actor died June 30, 2009 of pancreatic cancer at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.
He appeared in many TV series in his career. He was a regular on the series The Pretender, and guest starred in many series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ryan's Hope, Nash Bridges, Grace Under Fire, Star Trek Voyager, George & Leo, Two Guys and a Girl, The Outer Limits, Payne, Dawson's Creek, Frasier, The Practice, Charmed, Monk, ER, and was Lois Lane's father on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He also appeared on all episodes of the short-lived sitcom Andy Barker, P.I. He appeared on the original pilot of Hope & Faith as Hope and Faith's father, but it never aired. His final role was a guest shot on Cold Case this past March.
Although he was best known for his roles in musical theater, Presnell also is remembered as William H. Macy's father-in-law in the Coen brothers' 1996 film
Fargo. Among his other movies were When the Boys Meet the Girls, The Glory Guys, Paint Your Wagon, Saving Private Ryan, Mr. Deeds, Patch Adams, Face/Off, and recently on Evan Almighty. He also won a Golden Globe in 1965 for Most Promising Male Newcomer, shared with George Segal and Topol.
He is survived by his second wife, Veeva, six children and several grand children. Mr. Presnell was 75.

Alaina Reed Hall

Alaina Reed Hall who is best remembered for her role as Rose from the '80s sitcom 227 has passed away. Alaina passed away on December 17, 2009 sfter a battle with breast cancer. Prior to landing the role of Rose on 227, Alaina played Olivia, Gordon's younger sister, on Sesame Street for 12 years from 1976-1988. 227 aired on NBC from 1985-1990 and was taped in Los Angeles, while Sesame Street was taped in New York, so Alaina decided to leave Sesame Street due to the cross-country travel.
Alaina also guest starred on many other TV series such as Baby I'm Back, Herman's Head, Reading Rainbow, A Different World, Blossom, Friends, The Drew Carey Show, Lois & Clark, Between Brothers, The Steve Harvey Show, NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, NewsRadio, Any Day Now, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and ER. Alaina also had voice roles on two animated series, Sonic the Hedgehog and Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego? Alaina also was a co-star on a short lived sitcom for The WB in 1995 called Cleghorne! that also starred Ellen Clegorne, Garrett Morris and Sherri Shepherd. While she was known for her TV roles, she also appeared in a few big screen movies such as Death Becomes Her and Cruel Intentions. Ms. Reed Hall was 63.

Veatrice Rice

Veatrice Rice, the quiet but foul-mouthed on-air security guard on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, died on January 21, 2009. Though she is not a sitcom star, she was great in comedy. I was heavily shocked when I saw the tribute they aired. I had no idea she was sick, but found out she was battling cancer. I did notice she started wearing a wig this past fall, but didn't think much of it. Veatrice will be heavily missed. She was part of a trio of on-air security personalities (herself, Guillermo and Uncle Frank). She was great with Guillermo and Uncle Frank and her bits with them, especially the SNN: The Worst "___" Team on Television will be heavily missed. She also had great solo bits on the show such as her "make your own" instructions, her bits with the Land o Lakes Butter lady, her interview with John McCain, and her impression as Sarah Palin. And who can forget her "sex tape" with Ryan Phillipe? We leave you with the on-air tribute they did. Miss V was 59 and leaves behind her husband John.

Mickey Ross

Michael "Mickey" Ross - TV producer/writer/director Michael "Mickey" Ross, best known for his work on hit sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Three's Company, died on May 26, 2009 in Los Angeles from complications of a stroke and heart attack. Ross, along with business partners Don Nicholl & Bernie West, made his mark in the 1970's with the breakout CBS TV sitcom, All in the Family, for which he won a writing Emmy in 1973. They were nominated two other times, another one for All in the Family and one for Three's Company. The trio were known as "NRW" until the death of Don Nicholl in 1980. So now only Bernie West remains from this historical team.
Mickey also was part of the creation for ABC's Three's Company spin-offs The Ropers and Three's a Crowd. He also wrote for Maude, another All in the Family spin-off. In 1976 NRW also created and produced the short-lived sitcom The Dumplings for NBC starring James Coco. Mickey also directed many episodes of Three's Company. NRW also wrote the pilot episode for Chico and the Man.
Before all of his hit series were born, he was a part of many shows in the '50s and '60s such as The Garry Moore Show, The Perry Como Show, Sid Ceasar's Hour and The Martha Raye Show. The latter is how he developed a relationship with Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, later forming All in the Family. And decades later in 1998, Mickey appeared on screen for an interview on the E! True Hollywood Story for Three's Company.
Aside from his TV work, Ross and his wife founded the Michael and Irene Ross Program in Jewish Studies at The City College of New York -- Ross's (and Bernie West's) alma mater. Our good friend and author of the Three's Company book Chris Mann tells me he loved farce comedy and that's how he viewed Three's Company with John Ritter as the ultimate farceur. Mickey rejoins Don Nicholl now up in the heavens recreating TV comedy. Mr. Ross was 89.

Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on 20,000 pies to the face and 5,000 live TV appearances across a half-century of laughs, has died. Sales died on October 22, 2009 at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York, said his former manager and longtime friend, Dave Usher. Sales had many health problems and entered the hospice the previous week, Usher said. The comic's pie-throwing schtick became his trademark, and celebrities lined up to take one on the chin alongside Sales. During the early 1960s, stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine received their just desserts side-by-side with the comedian on his television show. His greatest success came in New York with The Soupy Sales Show in 1976 -- an ostensible children's show that had little to do with Captain Kangaroo and other kiddie fare. Sales' manic, improvisational style also attracted an older audience that responded to his envelope-pushing antics. His sitcom credits included Hennessey, The Beverly Hillbillies, Love American Style, Love Boat, Wings and Boy Meets World. He appeared on many game shows as well such as What's My Line, I've Got a Secret, The Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Body Language, and more. Mr. Sales was 83.

Ron Silver

Ron Silver - Award-winning actor and activist Ron Silver, who was Emmy-nominated for his recurring role on the hit television drama The West Wing, died on March 15, 2009 after a two-year ordeal of esophageal cancer. His portrayal of White House strategist Bruno Gianelli on The West Wing was perhaps his best known part in recent years, but he earned another Emmy nomination for the murder thriller Billionaire Boys Club, a TV miniseries from 1987.
He had a recurring role on the TV hospital drama Chicago Hope and a regular role on the sitcom Veronica's Closet, and he won acclaim for playing lawyer Alan Dershowitz in the film Reversal of Fortune. Among his other TV credits include guest-starring on sitcoms such as Rhoda, Big Eddie, Trying Times, and regular roles on short-lived sitcoms The Stockard Channing Show and Baker's Dozen. He guest starred on many TV dramas as well such as The Practice, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Wiseguy, Hill Street Blues, The Rockford Files, McMillan & Wife and a regular role on the short-lived Skin on Fox.
He was also known for his work on Broadway. He won a 1988 Tony Award for his performance in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. Mr. Silver was 62.

Arnold Stang

Arnold Stang was an American comic actor who played a small and bespectacled, yet brash and knowing big-city type. Stang worked on New York-based network radio shows as a boy, appearing on children's programs such as The Horn and Hardart Hour and Let's Pretend. By 1941, he had graduated to teenaged roles, appearing on The Goldbergs. Director Don Bernard hired him in October that year to do the commercials on the CBS program Meet Mr. Meek but decided his voice cracking between soprano and bass would hurt the commercial so he ordered scriptwriters to come up with a role for him. He next appeared on the summer replacement show The Remarkable Miss Tuttle with Edna May Oliver in 1942 and replaced Eddie Firestone Jr. in the title role of That Brewster Boy when Firestone joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943.
Stang moved to television at the start of the Golden Age. He had a recurring role in the TV show The School House on the DuMont Television Network in 1949. He was a regular on Eddie Mayehoff's short-lived situation comedy Doc Corkle in fall of 1952. Then, he made a guest appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater on May 12, 1953 and joined him as a regular the following September, often berating or heckling the big-egoed star for big laughs. Stang also had guest roles on several variety shows of the day including The Colgate Comedy Hour.
As a voice actor for animated cartoons, Stang provided the voice for Popeye's pal Shorty (a caricature of Stang), Herman the mouse in a number of Famous Studios cartoons, Tubby Tompkins in a few Little Lulu shorts, the famous Hanna-Barbera lead character Top Cat (modeled explicitly on Phil Silvers's Sgt. Bilko), and Catfish on Misterjaw. He also provided many extra voices for the Cartoon Network series Courage the Cowardly Dog. On television, he appeared in commercials for the Chunky candy bar, where he would list all of its ingredients, smile and say, "Chunky, what a chunk of chocolate!" He provided the voice of the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee in the 1980s and was also a spokesman for Vicks Vapo-Rub. He died of pneumonia in Newton, Massachusetts, on December 20, 2009. Mr. Stang was 91.

Gale Storm

Gale Storm, whose wholesome appearance and perky-personality made her one of early television's biggest stars on the comedy My Little Margie and The Gale Storm Show, died Saturday on June 27, 2009 at a convalescent hospital in Danville, CA. My Little Margie debuted on CBS as a summer replacement for I Love Lucy in 1952. It quickly became an audience favorite and moved to its own slot on NBC that fall. The premise was standard sitcom fare: Charles Farrell was a business executive and eligible widower, Storm was his busybody daughter who protected him from predatory women. After the series ended its 126-episode run in 1955, she moved on to The Gale Storm Show, which lasted until 1960 on CBS and later on ABC. This time she played Susanna Pomeroy, a trouble-making social director on a luxury liner.
After her comedies, she moved on to become a singer basically, but she did have some TV roles as well. She guest starred on Burke's Law, The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote. Ms. Storm was 87.

Kim Weiskopf

Kim Weiskopf, a TV comedy writer whose credits included Three's Company and Married...with Children, died of pancreatic cancer on April 22, 2009 at his home in Encino. He launched his career in the early 1970s, with longtime writing partner Michael S. Baser, he wrote for series such as One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Melba, Carter Country, We Got It Made, and Good Times, the latter show leading to their first staff-writing position.
The writing duo went on to write and produce three seasons of ABC's Three's Company before being hired to create the TV series 9 to 5 for ABC, which was based on the movie. They then developed an updated, syndicated version of the '70s series What's Happening!! called What's Happening Now!!, though he had never worked with the original series.
Weiskopf's also wrote and produced for Rachel Gunn, R.N., Full House and Married...with Children, without Baser. Kim appeared in interviews for the E! True Hollywood Story episodes of both Three's Company and Married...with Children. He had an uncredited appearance on Married...with Children on an episode playing Lucky the Dog in a 1996 episode. Mr. Weiskopf was 62.

James Whitmore

James Whitmore, the many-faceted character actor who delivered strong performances in movies, television and especially the theater with his popular one-man shows about Harry Truman, Will Rogers and Theodore Roosevelt, has died. The Emmy and Tony winning actor was diagnosed with lung cancer the week before Thanksgiving 2008 and died on February 6, 2009 at his Malibu home. Now he wasn't known really for TV sitcoms, but he did appear on quite a few. In fact, one of his ex-wives was a sitcom star. Mr. Whitmore was married to Audra Lindley of Three's Company fame in the '70s. Even after they divorced in 1979, they remained friends and appeared with each other in the big screen movies Zoo Ship in 1985 and The Relic in 1997. When they were married, they appeared in the TV movie The Canterville Ghost in 1974 and such plays as The Magnificent Yankee, On Golden Pond, The Visit, Foxfire and Love Letters, among others.
In the early '70s he starred on the sitcom Temperatures Rising. Set at the Capital General Hospital in Washington D.C., follows the adventures of the no-nonsense chief of surgery Dr. Vincent Campanelli (James Whitmore) and his all-nonsense staff. He guest starred on the sitcom A Minute With Stan Hooper in 2003. Among his other credits include series regular in dramas The Law and Mr. Jones, Mister Sterling, and My Friend Tony. In 2000 he won an Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a dramatic series for The Practice. Among his other guest appearances include CSI, Burke's Law, Riptide, The White Shadow, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, The Big Valley, Rawhide, Dr. Kildare, Route 66, Twilight Zone, Ben Casey, and more. His other big screen credits include The Shawshank Redemption, The Majestic, Give 'em Hell, Harry, and Battleground. The latter saw him earn Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
His legacy continues with his children and grandchildren, among them are grandson Matty Whitmore who was on Survivor: Gabon. Mr. Whitmore was 87.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - Don't Forget To Join Us on Twitter and Facebook; Remembering Connie Hines

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you are enjoying the holiday whether you celebrate it or not. Thanks for taking a bit of your time out today for visiting. And also thanks for continuing to visit everyday, as we near five years of everyday posting! As a reminder, don't forget to follow us on Twitter and be a fan of SitcomsOnline on Facebook. We welcome your thoughts, opinions and discussions! So join in on the action on both of those as well! We are everywhere--SitcomsOnline.com, the message board, the blog, Twitter, Facebook, and more! It's certainly "all sitcoms, all the time!" Merry Christmas and god bless us everyone, as Tiny Tim would say!

Tomorrow Todd will do his annual sitcom stars deaths for the past year right here on the blog, so you won't want to miss our tribute to every single sitcom star who passed away in 2009. As a lead-in (we like to throw in TV terms!) to that tomorrow, we will pay tribute today to Connie Hines. Connie passed away last Friday (Dec. 18, 2009) at her Beverly Hills home from complications of heart problems. She was best known for her role as Wilbur's (Alan Young) wife on the popular 1960s television sitcom Mister Ed. She has not acted since the early '70s, so many younger viewers probably don't know who she is, unless they caught an episode or two of Mister Ed on TV. She guest starred on series such as The Millionaire, The Untouchables, Bronco, Sea Hunt, Perry Mason, Bonanza, Love American Style, and The Mod Squad. As you can see, she was in a lot of dramas, but her regular role on the comedy Mister Ed is what everyone knows her for.
She will deeply be missed. Connie was 78.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Nick at Nite Overnight Changes in January 2010; Remembering Alaina Reed Hall and Brittany Murphy

Nick at Nite has made a schedule change that will take place starting next Thursday (December 31, 2009). They are removing the nightly Roseanne marathon from the overnight line-up. The series airs every night from 2am-6am. But starting Dec. 31 (actually early Jan. 1), after we welcome in 2010, two hours later instead of the usual Roseanne we now have an hour of Everybody Hates Chris at 2am, a Cosby Show two-hour block from 3am-5am, and Family Matters gets another hour adding on 5am to its already existing 6am hour. So, yes, Cosby Show is back on Nick at Nite, while still airing on TV Land and Roseanne will only be on TV Land now.
The reason for the change is because come January Roseanne might spill over past 2am at times on TV Land, mainly 3-4am, due to the addition of Home Improvement. The Cosby Show airs on TV Land weeknights in the 2am hour and the 3am half-hour, but that half-hour will likely be removed since it will be on sister network Nick at Nite at the same time.
Somehow I think we have not heard the last on both TV Land and Nick at Nite January 2010, so stay with us as we receive updates. In fact, we still have to give you Nick at Nite January 2010 highlights. Hopefully we can give you that by this week.

Alaina Reed Hall who is best remembered for her role as Rose from the '80s sitcom 227 has passed away. Alaina passed away on Thursday (Dec. 17, 2009) after a battle with breast cancer. Prior to landing the role of Rose on 227, Alaina played Olivia, Gordon's younger sister, on Sesame Street for 12 years from 1976-1988. 227 aired on NBC from 1985-1990 and was taped in Los Angeles, while Sesame Street was taped in New York, so Alaina decided to leave Sesame Street due to the cross-country travel.
Alaina also guest starred on many other TV series such as Baby I'm Back, Herman's Head, Reading Rainbow, A Different World, Blossom, Friends, The Drew Carey Show, Lois & Clark, Between Brothers, The Steve Harvey Show, NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, NewsRadio, Any Day Now, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and ER. Alaina also had voice roles on two animated series, Sonic the Hedgehog and Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego? Alaina also was a co-star on a short lived sitcom for The WB in 1995 called Cleghorne! that also starred Ellen Clegorne, Garrett Morris and Sherri Shepherd. While she was known for her TV roles, she also appeared in a few big screen movies such as Death Becomes Her and Cruel Intentions.
Alaina will be deeply missed and I just wish 227 repeats were more prominent on television and DVD today. We had gotten word of her death on Friday from actor Shavar Ross, but were waiting on more details. Alaina was only 63.

And finally, as everyone probably knows already, Brittany Murphy has passed away. She was very young and the death is totally unexpected. She died in Los Angeles on Sunday (December 20, 2009) after suffering cardiac arrest in her bathroom, officials said. Brittany provided the voice of Luanne on the Fox animated series King of the Hill. While she was known more for her movie roles, Brittany got her start on television. She co-starred on the short-lived sitcom Drexell's Class in 1991-92. She also co-starred on the sitcom Almost Home in 1993, which was a follow-up series of The Torkelsons. Among her other TV roles were guest shots on Murphy Brown, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Blossom, Party of Five, Frasier, Sister Sister, Boy Meets World, The Marshal, seaQuest DSV, Murder One, Nash Bridges, and Clueless. She got her big break on the big screen movie Clueless, which lead to movies such as Drop Dead Gorgeous, Girl Interrupted, Don't Say a Word, 8 Mile, Just Married, Uptown Girls, Sin City, Happy Feet, and more. She has a few films still yet to be released. She is gone way too soon, and she will be missed dearly by her TV and movie fans. Brittany was only 32.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

TV Land Orders Sitcom Pilots, Schedule Changes This Week; NBC Orders Full Seasons of 3 Shows; Remembering Soupy Sales and More

TV Land has given cast-contingent pilot orders to the comedy series Hot in Cleveland and Retired at 35. This is TV Land's first foray into scripted comedy series and is being developed for TV Land PRIME, the network's primetime programming block designed to appeal to the attitudes, life stage and interests of people in their 40s.
Hot in Cleveland is written by Emmy Award-winning Suzanne Martin (Frasier, Ellen) and produced by Emmy Award-winner Sean Hayes' (Will & Grace) Hazy Mills Production.
Chris Case (Reba, Spin City) is the writer for Retired at 35 and Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis (Rita Rocks, Reba, Titus) are executive producers.
Hot in Cleveland revolves around three fabulous, eccentric, LA women of a certain age, and best friends whose lives are changed forever when their plane unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they soon rediscover themselves in this new "promised land." Retired at 35 follows a successful businessman who decides to leave the rat race of New York City behind and move into his parents’ Florida retirement home to reconnect with them, reevaluate his life and live the dream of retirement that so many are working towards.
These are just pilot orders, it doesn't mean they will air and have been picked-up. It all depends on the cast and if the pilots came out good. So stay with us and you'll find out if they actually make it on air!

Also at TV Land, some changes are happening this week...and they are pretty good if you like classic TV! Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 27), weekdays in the 4pm hour will now be more All in the Family, replacing an episode of Bonanza. All in the Family will also still remain in the 12 noon half-hour as well! In the 5pm hour, we now have an hour of Sanford & Son, replacing Bonanza. And Sanford & Son will remain in the 11am hour as well. Bonanza is now airing 6pm om Tuesdays (Little House remains on the other weekdays), Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, and weekdays at 3pm now replacing an episode of Gunsmoke, which remains at 2pm. The other weekday changes in the 7pm hour is now The Andy Griffith Show, as Hogan's Heroes and Brady Bunch are not airing anymore on weekdays. Andy will also air from 8-10pm each weeknight (except Fridays it is 7-9pm). This means the primetime marathons from 9pm-12am are now cut to 10pm-12am, with Andy on Mondays, 3rd Rock on Tuesdays, M*A*S*H on Wednesdays, and Roseanne on Thursdays. Everything else is the same as it was before.

NBC has picked up the comedies Community (Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. ET) and Parks and Recreation (Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. ET) -- as well as the new drama Mercy (Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m. ET) -- for the rest of the season by adding nine additional episodes to each.
All three are doing so-so in the ratings, but NBC has picked them up anyway for full seasons. Parks and Recreation is in its first full season after launching mid-season last spring, while the other two are actually rookies. So far this season, Mercy has averaged a 2.1 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers overall. Community has averaged a 2.6 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers overall so far this season, that includes a stint at 9:30 p.m. after The Office. And Parks and Recreation has averaged a 2.1 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 4.8 million viewers overall this season.
The jury is still out for NBC's Trauma, which has not heard its fate yet.

Finally, we leave you today with a recap of many stars that have passed away in the past week or so.
Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian whose anything-for-a-chuckle career was built on 20,000 pies to the face and 5,000 live TV appearances across a half-century of laughs, has died. Sales died at Thursday (Oct. 22, 2009) night at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York, said his former manager and longtime friend, Dave Usher. Sales had many health problems and entered the hospice last week, Usher said. The comic's pie-throwing schtick became his trademark, and celebrities lined up to take one on the chin alongside Sales. During the early 1960s, stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine received their just desserts side-by-side with the comedian on his television show. His greatest success came in New York with The Soupy Sales Show in 1976 -- an ostensible children's show that had little to do with Captain Kangaroo and other kiddie fare. Sales' manic, improvisational style also attracted an older audience that responded to his envelope-pushing antics. His sitcom credits included Hennessey, The Beverly Hillbillies, Love American Style, Love Boat, Wings and Boy Meets World. He appeared on many game shows as well such as What's My Line, I've Got a Secret, The Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Body Language, and more. Mr. Sales will certainly be missed. Let's throw a pie in someone's face or at least eat a pie in honor of him. Mr. Sales was 83.
Vic Mizzy, who composed the indelible theme music for The Addams Family and Green Acres died Saturday, October 17 in Los Angeles. For the The Addams Family theme, which became a long-remembered part of '60s pop culture, Mizzy played the harpsichord and sang the vocal parts (overdubbing his own voice three times) and coached the actors during the main-title sequence (including on-camera finger-snapping by the actors). The equally iconic Green Acres theme was performed by stars Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. Mizzy also wrote all the underscore for both series. His theme for Addams was reprised in the 1990s feature films. Mizzy also had many other 1960s and '70s sitcom themes that also included The Pruitts of Southampton, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, Captain Nice, The Don Rickles Show and Temperature's Rising. He also wrote underscores for TV's Richard Boone Show and Quincy along with several TV movies including Terror on the 40th Floor. His film scores included the William Castle films The Night Walker and The Busy Body; five Don Knotts films: The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Love God? and How to Frame a Figg; and other films including The Caper of the Golden Bulls, Don't Make Waves and Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? His TV and film scores will certainly remain on TV/film, but he will certainly be missed. Mr. Mizzy was 93.
TV director Linda Day passed away on Friday, October 23, 2009. Linda was the first woman to receive steady employment as a TV director. To her credit are more than 50 different series and 350 episodes including Married... with Children (for which she did the pilot and continued for more than two years), Archie Bunker's Place, Dallas, Kate & Allie, Alice, WKRP, Benson, Newhart, Too Close for Comfort, Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes, It's Your Move, Double Trouble, Small Wonder, Gimme a Break, Throb, Women in Prison, Major Dad, Top of the Heap, Teacher's Only, Mad About You, Who's the Boss?, Baby Talk, Almost Home, Thea, The Nanny, Unhappily Ever After, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Clueless. And that's just some of the shows! During the 1980's and part of the 1990's, Linda was one of the top 5 television directors currently then working. She will be certainly be missed and was a pioneer for women TV directors. Ms. Day was 71.

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