Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Writers' Strike Officially Over; CBS Announces Post-Strike Returning Series; Remembering Ron Leavitt

The writers' strike is officially over! The membership of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the restraining order and ending their 100-day strike that began on Nov. 5. 3,775 writers turned out in Los Angeles and New York to cast ballots or fax in proxies, with 92.5% voting in favor of ending the work stoppage.
WGAW and WGAE members will next vote to ratify the tentative three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The membership ratification vote will be conducted by mail and also at membership meetings on February 25, 2008.

CBS has announced return dates for new episodes of nearly all of its returning scripted series! Between 4-9 episodes for each series will be produced immediately for air. The first returning series with new episodes will be the Monday sitcoms on March 17. We will see 9 new episodes each of How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men starting March 17. Old Christine will not be going back into production it seems, but it still has a handful of episodes left from before the strike. The other CBS Monday sitcom Rules of Engagement will be back with 6 new episodes starting April 14. What about Welcome to the Captain? Only 6 were ordered and they will all air by March 10. Slim chance it returns next season.
Moving on to the dramas, CSI: Miami will have the most for dramas and will return Monday, March 24 with 8 new episodes. Sunday drama Cold Case will air for 5 new weeks starting March 30. The other Sunday drama Shark is expected to produce 4 new episodes, but it is unclear when they will air, if at all this season. Wednesday dramas Criminal Minds and CSI: NY return April 2 with 7 new episodes. Thursday dramas CSI and Without a Trace will each have 6 new episodes each starting April 3. Moving on to Fridays, Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS will return April 4 for 6 new episodes and rookie Moonlight will return April 11 with the first of 4 new episodes. Finally, the Tuesday dramas will only see Navy NCIS return on April 8 with the first of 7 new episodes. The Unit will not return this season and Cane will also not. Only a slim chance Cane will return at all. CBS will continue to use Big Brother, Showtime's Dexter, and Jericho to fill the void of no The Unit, Shark, and Cane. Yet to premiere mid-season drama Swingtown is resuming production, but when it will air is still a question mark.

Hopefully ABC, NBC, Fox and The CW will release something similar soon. When they do, we will bring it to you for sure.

Finally we leave you today with some sad news. Ron Leavitt, a TV writer and producer who co-created the successful Fox sitcom Married With Children, has died. He died Sunday of lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He and Michael G. Moye co-created the hit sitcom. Michael also served as the show's executive producer and helped write nearly 150 episodes. He even appeared in some episodes as a one-liner, usually the character of Jack Dallas.
He was a major player in sitcoms behind the scenes. He wrote for series such as Busting Loose, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and The Bad News Bears. He wrote the pilot episode for the hit '80s sitcom Silver Spoons. He was also a producer of sitcoms such as Unhappily Ever After, Laverne & Shirley, The Jeffersons and It's Your Move. Ron also was the creator of two short-lived Married with Children spin-offs, Top of the Heap and Vinnie & Bobby, both of which starred a pre-Friends Matt LeBlanc. Ron was last seen on the short lived 2004 WB sitcom The Help as a writer and director.
Fans of sitcoms, especially Married with Children, will miss Ron, but his work will live on forever. Ron will be missed. He was 60.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook

Monday, February 04, 2008

Day 92: WGA's Strike; ION Touts Its Ratings for RHI and Drew Carey; 5 More RTN Affiliates

Today is day 92 of the strike. Rumors are swirling that this will be resolved very soon. An announcement could come as soon as this week! I bet nothing will come officially until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest (as right now the main stories are the high-rated Super Bowl and Super Tuesday primaries). If the strike does end this week, production on many shows could be back up and running by the end of the month or early March for sure and we could start getting new episodes of our favorite scripted shows by the end of March or early April! Good news indeed!
Don't forget to tune in to the new CBS sitcom Welcome to the Captain premiereing tonight at 8:30pm, and then an hour later at 9:30pm it is the season premiere of Old Christine!

The RHI mini-series Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Ricky Schroder (NYPD Blue, Silver Spoons), Victoria Pratt (Day Break) and the legendary Peter Fonda, garnered significant ratings success with its Sunday, January 27 debut on ION Television. According to Nielsen Media Research data, the two-hour original television movie, a dynamic new adaptation of the classic tale by Jules Verne executive produced by Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr., was seen in more than 1.1 million households and attracted over 1.6 million total viewers. The mini-series is the fifth original production from RHI Entertainment to air on ION, also generated the highest delivery among key demographics of RHI content on ION since its start. The Sunday night RHI Movie Weekend block has shown continued growth versus the fourth quarter, boosting households by 112 percent and more than doubling in every demographic category. RHI programming airs on ION Fri-Sun from 7-11pm.
Meanwhile, ION Television saw a ratings boost on Monday, January 28, as The Drew Carey Show delivered a 0.6 HH rating, doubling its four-week average of 0.3 HH since its launch on New Year's Day. In its 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. timeslot, the Emmy-nominated series captured 622,000 households (close to 1 million total viewers), and delivered a 73 percent increase in adults 25-54 and a 141 percent increase in women 25-54 in comparison to its average performance since its launch. After somewhat a slow start, hopefully it can keep this up as ION will add Baywatch right after it starting March 3.

Retro Television Network has announced that it will partner with White Knight Broadcasting to bring RTN programming to Shreveport, Louisiana (KSHV-DT) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (KZUP-CA). The network will launch late this year in both markets. Also, under the terms of the agreement, RTN programming will also air an additional four to seven hours a day on Shreveport's My Network affiliate, KSHV.
In addition, they will launch an RTN affiliate in Wichita/Hutchinson, Kansas. The network will begin airing in the second quarter of this year on KGPT, a Great Plains Television Network station.
Finally, they will launch RTN affiliates in two South Dakota markets, Sioux Falls and Rapid City. In Sioux Falls, the network will begin airing in March on KAUN, a station owned by J.F. Broadcasting that currently airs ION Television. In Rapid City, RTN programming will launch this summer on a digital stream of KOTA, the local ABC affiliate that is owned by Duhamel Broadcasting.

Labels: , , , , ,

Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook

Saturday, February 02, 2008

CBS Mid-Season Pilot Review: Welcome to The Captain - Premieres February 4; Solomon's Weekly Rant

Today instead of our regular Saturday Mini-DVD Review we have a pilot review for a new sitcom premiering Monday on CBS! We still have Solomon's Weekly Rant right below the review, so not to fret!

Welcome to The Captain Cast

Welcome to The Captain - Mondays at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres February 4 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Welcome to The Captain is a comedy about a wildly eclectic group of people whose lives are intertwined through the place they all call home, a fabled Hollywood apartment building, El Capitan, which they've dubbed "The Captain." Josh (FRAN KRANZ, The TV Set), is a Hollywood whiz kid whose filmmaking career has hit a wall. Just when Josh is about to move back to New York, his accountant-to-the-stars best friend, Marty (CHRIS KLEIN, American Pie), convinces him to move into his legendary apartment building. Among the eccentric tenants are Uncle Saul (Emmy Award nominee JEFFREY TAMBOR, Arrested Development), a former Three's Company writer who is the building's self-proclaimed expert on anything and everything; Charlene (Golden Globe Award winner RAQUEL WELCH, The Three Musketeers), the femme fatale who welcomes Josh in her own seductive style; Jesus (comedian AL MADRIGAL), a gossipy doorman who knows all the residents' most tantalizing secrets, and Astrid (VALERIE AZLYNN, Two and a Half Men) a flighty, aspiring young actress. Josh is most taken with the earthy, beautiful Hope, (JOANNA GARCIA, Reba), an aspiring acupuncturist who enlists him as a practice patient. The folklore of this fabled apartment building always continues to grow and, as each dweller quickly learns, the walls never stop talking.
The single-camera comedy, shot in Los Angeles, premieres Monday, Feb. 4 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS. The series was created by John Hamburg and is executive produced by Hamburg, Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen for CBS Paramount Network Television.

Cast Details:

Fran Kranz as Josh Flum, Chris Klein as Marty Tanner, Jeffrey Tambor as Uncle Saul Fish, Joanne Garcia as Hope, Raquel Welch as Charlene Van Ness, Valerie Azlynn as Astrid, and Al Madrigal as Jesus.

Fran Kranz (Josh) is best known for his performance in the feature film The TV Set. A graduate of Yale University, Kranz has played a series of memorable roles in feature films. He also has extensive theatre credits. He is new to the television industry and impressively is the lead in this new sitcom.

Chris Klein (Marty) began his acting career in the critically acclaimed film Election. His performance garnered him a Chicago Film Critics nomination for Most Promising Newcomer and the film received a nomination for Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards. He went on to star as Chris 'Oz' Ostreicher in the raucous comedy American Pie and reprised his role in American Pie 2 the following year. Klein has featured roles in upcoming films and has done a lot of movies previously. This is Klein's first regular role in a television series.

Jeffrey Tambor (Saul) is a television veteran and has starred on television in the hit series The Larry Sanders Show and the critically-acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning Arrested Development, for which he received two Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Also, he had three guest roles on the sitcom Three's Company (for which his character on this show was a writer for), and he also had a co-starring role on the spin-off The Ropers. He also recently starred in the short-lived sitcom 20 Good Years opposite John Lithgow. Tambor just wrapped production on two films Hellboy 2 and Superhero, which will be released this year. His other feature film credits include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Dolittle, There's Something About Mary, and many others.

Raquel Welch (Charlene) has millions of movie fans who first glimpsed her statuesque beauty in the science fiction classic One Million Years B.C., after which she secured a place for herself as the reigning sex symbol of the '60s and '70s. She has starred in over 45 films and won a Golden Globe for best actress in The Three Musketeers. She also acted on the stage with a remarkable performance in the hit Broadway musical Woman of the Year, which led her to a starring role in Victor/Victoria.

Joanna Garcia (Hope) was born and raised in Tampa, Fla. and first began performing at the age of 10 when she auditioned for a local theater production and earned the lead role. From there she was discovered by Nickelodeon, who cast her in the television series Are You Afraid of the Dark? Garcia attended the University of Florida, but after her freshman year she moved to Los Angeles and landed a role in the 1999 John Ritter CBS television movie Holy Joe on her first day in town. She went on to co-star the hit series Reba, playing Reba's daughter, Cheyenne Montgomery. Her other television credits include Party of Five, Freaks and Geeks and Boston Public. Her feature film credits include American Pie 2 (with co-star Chris Klein) and Not Another Teen Movie.

Valerie Azlynn (Asterid) was born and raised in New London, Conn. She moved to New York to pursue a career as an actress and built a resume performing in the theatre and singing with a reputable Opera Company in Manhattan. Her previous television credits include a recurring role in the CBS drama CSI: NY, as well as the CBS comedies Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. Her feature film credits include Poseidon, Bewitched and Constantine, and will be seen in the upcoming films Tropic Thunder and Hancock.

Al Madrigal (Jesus) has been called "dynamic" by the New York Times, and his flair for storytelling has established him as one of the nation's premiere stand-up comedians. He won the "Jury Award for Best Stand-up Comedian" at the 2004 HBO Comedy Festival. Madrigal can regularly be seen on television in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special, as well as his frequent guest spots on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Madrigal continues to headline comedy clubs and theatres around the country.

Pilot Plot:

We have received the first two episodes of this sitcom, "Pilot" and "Weekend at Saul's."

In the premiere episode, "Pilot" (airing Feb. 4 at 8:30), Josh Flug, a one-time Hollywood hot shot, is persuaded by his friend, Marty, to move into the El Capitan apartment building, dubbed "The Captain" by its residents. With its eccentric group of tenants, he realizes this is the fresh start he needs.
Directed by: John Hamburg
Written by: Executive Producer John Hamburg

Episode 2: "Weekend at Saul's" (airing Feb. 11 at 8:30) - When Josh invites Hope to stay at his apartment for the weekend, Uncle Saul convinces him that it is a bad move, and persuades him to stay at his weekend retreat in order to make her jealous.
Directed by: Mark Mylod
Written by: Executive Producers Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen
Guest Stars: Michael Weston as Brad and Christine Woods as Claire

Analysis:

This sitcom is actually pretty interesting. It is basically about a one-time Hollywood writer named Josh moving into The Captain hotel that is filled with ex-Hollywood stars. He was persuaded by his friend Marty, who seems very crazy, to move in to the hotel. Marty himself lives in the hotel as well. We also have Saul Fish, who likes to be called "Uncle Saul," living here. He was once a writer for four seasons on Three's Company, which he likes to call "T. Co." There are a lot of Three's Company references (such as #1 in the Nielsen's, Suzie Somers and Mrs. Roper). Then we have the front-desk attendant/doorman Jesus (not pronounced Hesus), who eavesdrops a lot and gossips about everyone. He and Saul are a good comedy team. Then we have the sexy older woman Charlene, was on either Knots Landing or Falcon Crest, no one can remember which. She seduces Josh but it is Uncle Saul who has a crush on her. Then we have Josh's love interest, Hope, an aspiring acupuncturist who enlists him as a practice patient...and Josh falls in love, but he later finds out she has a boyfriend in New York. Then finally we have Astrid, a flighty, aspiring young actress, who Marty tried to set-up Josh with, but she is too dumb for Josh.

That's all the characters in a nutshell. It really is an interesting show and after two episodes, I'll continue to watch this show. The pilot has us all meeting the characters while episode two is more about Josh's pursuit of Hope. I really like all the pop culture references here...we get Three's Company, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing, Alice, Weekend at Bernie's, and more. It is so funny that Tambor's character Saul was a writer on Three's Company because Tambor guest starred on three episodes of that show and also starred in the spin-off, The Ropers. Very clever. Let's hope Joyce DeWitt or Suzanne Somers can guest star in the future. Saul and Jesus are clearly the funniest on the show. Marty is also not too shabby. Saul also says he had a thing going with Linda Lavin of Alice...funny stuff.
One of the funniest lines is in the pilot with Saul saying Charlene has a tush like a buttery chardonnay.

Conclusion:

This is certainly a watchable sitcom. With the strike, we don't have as many options as we would have before scripted wise, so it might get a decent sampling. What will hurt is that it will follow repeats of How I Met Your Mother. Another thing working against this show is that it is in a single-camera sitcom. CBS is not known for these at all. In fact, all of their sitcoms are traditional style. NBC or ABC is more known for these. Little is expected of this sitcom, so it could surprise. With the strike still going, there is a chance this could be picked-up in the fall for more than 6 episodes, since a pilot season could be washed away.

I liked the show. It is charming and has a romantic feel to it. Will Hope & Josh get together? With the help of Saul and Jesus, it could happen. Or will Marty ruin it by staying in Josh's apartment even more? Marty has his own apartment, but one of his girlfriends is now living there. He is certainly girl crazy, but more crazy in general, too. It is smartly written, which is not CBS's style. I'm not sure if it is funnier than The Big Bang Theory, which is probably CBS's smartest sitcom as of now, but this one is the smartest after two episodes. Maybe I am thinking that because it is single-camera. Fans of shows in a hotel, like Hotel, Faulty Towers, Over the Top, and so many others (wow this has been done a lot, hasn't it?), will like this show. Let's hope it gets laugh-out-loud funny!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 02/02/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Welcome to The Captain Photo Gallery


    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, February 2, 2008
    "Annoying Auditions on American Idol; Lifetime Original Gone Without Notice; Miami Heat Still on National TV?"
    By Solomon Davis

    Every season around this time American Idol fans have to watch all the auditions that are not funny anymore just so we can get to the real part of the show. When will the American Idol producers realize that 75% of these people who are auditioning only want to be seen on TV and have no intention of becoming the next American Idol? Seems like everyone these days wants to follow in the footsteps of that god awful William Hung from three years back and purposely try to make a fool of themselves so they can be discovered. It's time to cut these auditions down since most of these clowns only come on the show to act a fool not show they have singing talent which is what the show is supposed to be about.

    The last time I checked there was a new show on Lifetime called Matched in Manhattan and now it's gone? It was airing right after the god awful show How to Look Good Naked and it just vanished off the schedule completely. Lifetime couldn't give the show at least a month? Why just yank the show off so quickly when most people were probably getting into the show? And to make things worse How to Look Good Naked is on for a FULL HOUR now while Matched in Manhattan is no longer on the schedule. How to Look Good Naked is nothing but a sneaky rip-off of TLC's What Not to Wear. I'm done with Lifetime original programming since this is the second time they did this to me.

    I know the Miami Heat has Dwayne Wade and the team was expected to be a contender this season but they are not and it's no reason for their games to be on ESPN, ABC, or TNT. The Heat record is 8-38 and the NBA expects NBA fans to still be excited to watch a horrible team like that on their day off? The NFL doesn't have a problem canceling games if a certain team has a horrible record so why can't the NBA do the same? The last time I checked I thought networks were interested in HIGH RATINGS and not still airing the games of a losing team on national TV because they have a NBA All-Star.

    Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

    DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

    Labels: , , ,

  • Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook