Monday, September 14, 2009

TBS and ABC Family Renew Original Sitcoms; Remembering Larry Gelbart

The beer will continue flowing at Crowley's Tavern as TBS orders up a fourth season of its critically acclaimed original sitcom from Sony Pictures Television, My Boys. The series stars Jordana Spiro as PJ Franklin, a 20-something sports columnist in Chicago. TBS has lined up nine episodes for the new season, which is slated to launch in 2010.
Co-starring in My Boys as PJ's mostly male group of close friends are Kyle Howard as boyfriend Bobby, Reid Scott as best friend Brendon, Michael Bunin as Kenny and Jamie Kaler as Mike. Kellee Stewart co-stars as Stephanie, a former schoolmate and the only female influence in PJ's life.
The single camera sitcom premiered to critical praise on TBS in November 2006. When the series returned in summer 2007, it scored 22% growth among adults 18-34. Earlier this year, the show's third season garnered 11% growth among adults 18-34. The comedy is particularly strong among DVR users, delivering 72% growth among adults 18-34 and 52% growth among viewers when comparing Live to Live + 7 viewing for the third season.

Meanwhile, ABC Family has ordered another season of ten episodes of original comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. The ensemble single camera sitcom based on the 1999 feature of the same name has performed well for ABC Family since its July 7 debut. The comedy is created and executive produced by Carter Covington and stars Lindsey Shaw, Meaghan Martin, Larry Miller and Ethan Peck. The series just finished its first season episode order (10 episodes) last Tuesday.
However, the news was not as good for another original ABC Family series that premiered this summer, Ruby and the Rockits. ABC Family will not renew the multicamera sitcom that revolved around a pair of aging pop stars and their families, which starred Patrick Cassidy, David Cassidy and Alexa Vega and was executive produced by Shaun Cassidy. The series still has two episodes left to air in its only season episode order, with the series finale airing next Tuesday at 8:30PM.

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 Friday. 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.
Larry will certainly be missed and his great writing will live on forever in M*A*S*H and his other work. He was 81.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

ABC Family Fall 2009; Me-Too August 2009 Daily Marathons; Summer 2009 TCA Tour: The CW

Our fall 2009 schedules barrage continues today with ABC Family September 2009! We are not 100% sure if it is their fall schedule but there will be a schedule change to the weekday line-up starting Monday, Sept. 14! The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will now also air on weekdays! The show will air weekdays in the 6pm hour replacing My Wife & Kids, which moves to 1pm replacing Sister, Sister. Sister, Sister will still air in the 7am hour (and on BET and Gospel Music Channel). So how on earth is Fresh Prince airing on weekdays when ABC Family only had weekend rights? It is very interesting. It looks to me as Viacom (Nick at Nite and The N) will lose the rights to the series and ABC Family is now picking up the rights for weekday evenings as well. ABC Family will continue to air the series on Saturday nights as well. So it looks like TBS will still have the daytime rights while ABC Family has the evening rights on both weekdays and on weekends now. I'm not 100% sure if Viacom is losing rights, so we will have to see when we announce both the Nick at Nite and The N's fall schedules. The N has already replaced Fresh Prince since last night, as Degrassi now airs Mon-Thurs 2-4am...so is that the reason for removal? There is still a Fresh Prince week-long marathon scheduled on The N for Aug. 17-21 from 7pm-12am. Is that the farewell? Nick at Nite airs the show still Mon-Thurs nights from 3-6am, so no signs yet of removal, but with Everybody Hates Chris coming in September, maybe that is a replacement?
Elsewhere on ABC Family, The Secret Life of the American Teenager has its mid-season finale on Monday, Sept. 7 at 8pm. An all-day marathon will lead into it from 11am-8pm. 10 Things I Hate About You has its season finale the next night on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 8pm. Lincoln Heights will have its season four premiere on Monday, Sept. 14 at 8pm, as Greek continues to air new season three episodes at 9pm. Ruby & the Rockits will air repeats at 8pm leading into new episodes at 8:30pm on Sept. 15 and 22, with the season finale on Sept. 22 at 8:30pm. AFV will air Tuesdays in primetime from 8-11pm starting Sept. 29, shifting the movie to Wednesdays 8-10pm starting Sept. 30. There will be an AFV marathon on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 3-11pm to get ready for the all-new season on ABC.
Movie wise, the ABC Family original movie The Wedding Date starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney premieres Sunday, Sept. 13 at 9pm. Theatrical movies include the premiere of Shanghai Noon and a special edition of Dirty Dancing.
View the full regular schedule for ABC Family September 2009.

The daily classic TV summer marathons continue on Chicago's Me-Too in August! This time with a twist! Every weekday spend the whole day and evening with a different Me-Too Marathon theme! There's never too much TV for Me-Too. One day you may time warp back to 1973, another day you may be enlisting in the military or spending a day on another planet. 10AM-10PM each weekday on Me-Too in Chicago!
The schedule for the month (Aug. 3-Sept. 4) in order is: First Episodes, Detective Day, S.W.A.T., Evil Twins, A Tribute to Norman Lear, 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, A Tribute to Brandon Tartikoff, A Tribute to Fred Silverman, Award Winners, Before They Were Stars, Me-Too Mystery, Suspense Day, Spy with Me, The Fugitive, Me-Too Wants You, Sci-Fi Friday, Classic Kids, The Single Dads of Me, A Tribute to Bill Bixby, Sea Hunt, and Christmas in September. SOME of the shows you will see in this classic must-see month on Me-Too are Dick Van Dyke Show, Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, Who's the Boss?, Benson, The Cosby Show, Cheers, Star Trek, Lost in Space, Get Smart, Bewitched, Barney Miller, Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five-0, Hart to Hart, Police Woman, Kojak, S.W.A.T., I Dream of Jeannie, Mork & Mindy, Knight Rider, One Day at a Time, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Sanford & Son, I Love Lucy, Burns & Allen, Abbott & Costello, You Bet Your Life, Four Star Playhouse, Dragnet, Ozzie & Harriett, My Favorite Martian, McHale's Navy, Patty Duke Show, Combat, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Lucy Show, Rawhide, Jack Benny, Andy Griffith Show, Alfred Hitchcock, The Partridge Family, Love American Style, The Odd Couple, Streets of San Francisco, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Webster, Diff'rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, T.J. Hooker, A-Team, Family Ties, Happy Days, Magnum P.I., and more! And that's the shows only through the 1983 day! They haven't announced from Aug. 14 and on yet. Who needs TV Land or any other classic network when you have a roster of shows like that!
View the schedule section on their website for episode info.

The CW is up today at the summer 2009 TCA press tour. Expected are panels for The Vampire Diaries, The Beautiful Life, Melrose Place, and Life UneXpected. Stay with us for any key announcements.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

ABC Family Sitcoms Deliver Solid Ratings; ION Fall 2009 Preview; Mork & Mindy Sighting on Syfy

Surging by double-digit percentages across all key targets, ABC Family's hit original comedy 10 Things I Hate About You posted series highs in Females 12-34 (771,000), Teens 12-17 (511,000) and Female Teens (448,000) in its third episode on Tuesday, July 21, 2009. Week to week, 10 Things delivered impressive growth across the board, including by 45% in Total Viewers (1.6 million vs. 1.1 million), by 20% in Adults 18-34 (424,000 vs. 352,000), by 22% in Adults 18-49 (616,000 vs. 503,000) and by 26% in Viewers 12-34 (935,000 vs. 740,000). The three-week count so far for 10 Things is OK in total viewers so far with 1.6, 1.1, and 1.6 million.
ABC Family's newest original comedy, Ruby & the Rockits, launched on Tuesday (July 21) as the network's No. 2 comedy series debut on record in Adults 18-49 (654,000) and Women 18-49 (483,000), behind only the premiere of 10 Things I Hate About You (7/7/09). Ruby & the Rockits also stands as the net's No. 2 comedy launch on record in Total Viewers (1.6 million), Teens (489,000) and Females Teens (436,000), behind Roommates (3/23/09). Ruby & the Rockits built over its 10 Things I Hate About You lead-in by 6% in Adults 18-49 (654,000 vs. 616,000) and by 9% in Women 18-49 (483,000 vs. 444,000). The series also built on its lead-in in households (1.0 vs. 0.9) and matched its lead-in in total viewers with 1.6 million. Let's see if it can maintain or build on that this coming week and beyond. We're not calling this a success yet.

Central to its strategic re-branding as a destination for engaging appointment television, ION Television is aggressively moving forward with a full slate of new off-network and original primetime programming, beginning Monday, September 7.
Kicking off the schedule at 8:00 p.m. is the Emmy-nominated, off-network hit series Ghost Whisperer, which premiered to strong ratings on ION Television on Mondays starting in June. Ghost Whisperer now moves to four nights a week, Monday through Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Debuting at 9:00 p.m. is the off-net series Criminal Minds, which will air every Monday, with additional episodes airing Tuesdays (9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.); Wednesdays (10:00 p.m.); and Fridays (10:00 p.m.) ION Television has acquired all 91 episodes of the Emmy-nominated show thus far. The critically acclaimed and award winning Durham County, ION Television's first original series, will air Monday nights at 10:00 p.m.
This is just a sneak peek at ION Television's Fall 2009 line-up. We will have the full schedule very soon as we start out of annual fall schedules blog posts with a barrage of schedules every weekday starting Monday! We've got Lifetime, TBS, and so many more. Stay with us for all of them!

Syfy made a very last minute change that we couldn't even tell you about it in time. Last night (Thursday, July 23, 2009) instead of the movie War of the Worlds 2, they aired the sitcom Mork & Mindy from 11:30pm-2am ET/PT! What a treat that was! The first five episodes aired. If you missed it, don't worry because next Thursday night, they will air another marathon. That's Thursday, July 30 from 11pm-1am ET/PT this time, and they will continue the episodes in order. And again this wasn't originally scheduled either, as this will preempt the movie Cabin Fever.
The last time Mork & Mindy aired on Sci Fi was in November with an all-day marathon the day after Thanksgiving. I'll for sure let you know if more airings are added in, and let's hope we get some. Maybe this name change to Syfy was a good idea afterall! Na-nu na-nu!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fox Fall 2009 Premiere Dates; ABC Family July 2009

Fox has set the fall premiere dates for its new and returning series. The 2009-2010 season will kick off Wednesday, Sept. 16 with the sixth season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance at 8:00PM ET/PT, followed by the series premiere of Glee at 9:00PM ET/PT, the biting new one-hour comedy for the underdog in all of us that features a soundtrack of hit songs from past and present. Then on Thursday, Sept. 17, fan favorite Bones returns at 8:00 PM ET/PT and the second season of Fringe at 9:00PM ET/PT return. Brothers, the new family comedy starring Michael Strahan, premieres Friday, Sept. 18 in the 8:00PM ET/PT half-hour, followed by the return of comedy 'Til Death at 8:30PM ET/PT, and the second season premiere of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse wraps the night off at 9:00PM ET/PT.
The actual season begins on Monday, Sept. 21 with House jumpstarting its sixth season with a special two-hour premiere from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. Tuesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT will continue to be Hell's Kitchen until that wraps up on Oct. 13. Sunday, Sept. 27 marks the return of "Animation Domination" with the amazing 20th season premiere of The Simpsons at 8:00PM ET/PT, the series premiere of The Cleveland Show at 8:30PM ET/PT and the season premieres of Family Guy at 9:00PM ET/PT and American Dad! at 9:30PM ET/PT.
The second week of the season will see the second season of hit drama Lie to Me will premiere Monday, Sept. 28 at 9:00PM ET/PT following House. So You Think You Can Dance will air two nights per week when the original dance competition has its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, and later expands to two-hour performance shows beginning Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT, when Hell's Kitchen wraps. In addition, new Saturday late-night entry The Wanda Sykes Show (working title) debuts Saturday, Nov. 7 at11:00 PM ET/PT.
Fox will also have the MLB Playoffs with the ALCS this year and of course the World Series. ALCS is on Friday, Oct. 16; Saturday, Oct. 17; Monday, Oct. 19; Tuesday, Oct. 20; and if necessary on Thursday, Oct. 22; Saturday, Oct. 24; and Sunday, Oct. 25. The World Series airs Wednesday, Oct. 28; Thursday, Oct. 29; Saturday, Oct. 31; Sunday, Nov. 1; and if necessary on Monday, Nov. 2; Wednesday, Nov. 4; and Thursday, Nov. 5. So baseball will be preempting something at least once.
View the premiere dates in a list form.

This July on ABC Family will not see any regular schedule changes to the daytime line-up, but we have plenty to talk about. New single-camera comedy 10 Things I Hate About You launches on Tuesday, July 7 in the 8:00PM ET/PT half-hour. It will be followed by an episode of That '70s Show at 8:30PM ET/PT. 10 Things I Hate About You will have a special encore the same night at 9:00PM ET/PT if you missed it an hour earlier. Other regular encores every week are: Wednesdays at 12am, Thursdays at 4:30pm, and Saturdays at 10am.
Then on Tuesday, July 21 the multi-camera sitcom Ruby & the Rockits launches! It will air Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT (replacing That '70s Show repeats) following 10 Things I Hate About You. Ruby & the Rockits will have a special encore the same night at 9:00PM ET/PT if you missed it a half-hour earlier...also 10 Things I Hate About You will have an encore at 9:30PM that night. Other regular encores every week for Ruby & the Rockits are: Wednesdays at 12:30am, Fridays at 4:30pm, and Saturdays at 10:30am.
View full details on these two original comedies, from our previous story. Can these two comedies do better than Roommates and Sophie?
Other original programming is the movie Labor Pains. Lindsay Lohan stars as an assistant at a publishing company who pretends to be pregnant in order to avoid being fired by her boss. It premieres Sunday, July 19 from 8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. Along with Lohan, the film includes an all-star cast with Cheryl Hines, Chris Parnell, Luke Kirby, Kevin Covais and Janeane Garofalo.

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