Friday, May 15, 2009

Less Than Perfect Joins Lifetime; Samantha Who and In the Motherhood Return to ABC in June; More Lucy on Hallmark

The 2002-2006 ABC sitcom Less than Perfect starring Sara Rue, Andy Dick, Zachary Levi, Andrea Parker, Patrick Warburton, Will Sasso, and Sherri Shepherd is coming to Lifetime with all of its 81 episodes, including the 8 unaired episodes! It seems they picked the show up since they could be ordering an original sitcom starring Sherri Shepherd. They also did that with Cybill, since they could order an original sitcom (Alligator Point) starring another Shepherd, Cybill Shepherd (no relation to Sherri). Right now both are just ordered to pilot, but this could be good news for both. Cybill airs weekdays in the 8am hour, 5pm hour and 2am.
Less than Perfect lasted four seasons and was about a young female office employee (played by Sara Rue) and her co-workers. The sitcom will join the Lifetime line-up on Monday, June 1, airing in the 9am hour and 6pm hour. In the 9am hour, it will replace Reba. In the 6pm hour it will replace Still Standing. The morning airing of Reba will move to the afternoon in the 4pm hour, replacing an episode of Wife Swap. And recently Reba returned in the 8pm hour, replacing Will & Grace. So Reba is back to 7-9pm week nights, while Will & Grace 8-9pm airings moves to the 1am hour and it still has the 11am and 11pm hours. Also, starting Monday, June 8 in primetime we will get an Army Wives encore at 9pm leading into repeats of Desperate Housewives at 10pm each Monday. Desperate Housewives will also still air weekdays at 12 and 1pm. Movies remain in the 9-11pm block every other weekday, but Fridays is still Wife Swap. Army Wives returns for its third season on Sunday, June 7 for 18 episodes airing Sundays at 10pm.
So, the addition of Less than Perfect means Still Standing is totally off the schedule. Last month it seems, Lifetime removed Medium from Fridays at 11pm, so that is off the schedule, too. Medium is eligible to air five days a week starting this fall, as will Grey's Anatomy (which currently airs Sundays at 11pm), so Medium will likely return then. But the schedule may be less than perfect, but Less than Perfect is a great addition to the schedule!
View the full Lifetime June 2009 schedule and highlights.

ABC sitcoms Samantha Who? and In the Motherhood will return to the schedule on Friday, June 5 in the 9pm hour. Both sitcoms were pulled from the Thursday night schedule two weeks earlier than planned in April. Samantha Who? has 7 episodes remaining to air, while In the Motherhood has 3 more. For Samantha, this could be a slot it can air next season, as it is expected to return for a third season. The sitcom could be in a change of format, though. It is rumored to be changing to a multicamera set-up or a hybrid setup (mix of both single and multicamera). Why? This will cut costs. ABC also might do the same for Scrubs, giving it new life for a ninth season. In the Motherhood is not expected back, so this is just a burn-off. We will find out what all this means on Tuesday, when ABC announces their 2009-2010 schedule and pick-ups. Could Samantha Who? be part of a Friday comedy block in the fall? We shall see. If a Friday block is not in their plans then they should move these Samantha Who episodes to Wednesdays at 9:30pm in the summer instead of Surviving Suburbia. That would work better on Fridays at 9. Just my two cents.

Finally, we end the day with some classic TV news. Hallmark Channel has made a last minute schedule change that goes in effect this Monday (May 18). Replacing two episodes of Matlock, weekdays at 3pm & 4pm will be two-full hours of I Love Lucy! It seems like Hallmark has a love-hate relationship with Lucy. They give it a good slot, pull it, and then give it another good slot. Currently, the series was airing at 2:30am weeknights, and will remain in that slot, too. Everything else will remain the same as it is now. So Matlock is off the schedule again. I Love Lucy 3-5pm will lead-into M*A*S*H.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our blog DVD review of course and a special upfront rumblings edition. Upfront week is next week, so join us all next week. We have some WGN America schedule news as well!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Better Off Ted - Premieres March 18; Lifetime Schedule Change

Better Off Ted

Better Off Ted - Wednesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 8:30PM ET/PT

Better Off Ted is a satirical office comedy about successful good guy, Ted, who runs research and development at the morally questionable Veridian Dynamics. No achievement is too far-fetched and no invention too unorthodox for Veridian. Need cow-less meat grown in a test tube? Done. Need pumpkins that also double as weapons of mass destruction? No problem. Ted's a single dad to a seven-year-old girl, and he loves his job, but he's starting to take a closer look at the company's extremely dubious practices. Do you manufacture the best teeth whitener ever if it could also kill off all of the planet's fish? Probably not, but...
Ted's also fighting an attraction to co-worker Linda, who enjoys small acts of rebellion against Veridian (she's secretly stealing and hoarding all the company's creamer packets). But he holds back about his true feelings. He's already had his self imposed "one office affair" with überboss Veronica. Incredibly beautiful (if seemingly devoid of conscience and also emotion-free), Veronica lets nothing get in her way when it comes to serving Veridian's needs... even if it means doing something like cryogenically freezing an employee for testing purposes. And after all, the employee, research scientist Phil, survived (after he thawed out). So what if he screams like an eagle at the slightest provocation? He and his best friend, fellow research scientist Lem, are both geniuses and when they're not bickering, they're responsible for many of Veridian's miracles of weird science.

Cast Details:

* Jay Harrington as Ted Crisp
* Portia de Rossi as Veronica Palmer
* Andrea Anders as Linda Zwordling
* Jonathan Slavin as Phil Mymen
* Malcolm Barrett as Lem Hewitt
* Isabella Acres as Rose Crisp

Jay Harrington (Ted) has a recurring role on Private Practice as Dr. Wyatt Lockhart and has appeared on The Inside and Coupling. Other television credits include Teri Hatcher's doctor-turned boyfiend Dr. Ron on Desperate Housewives, Ghost Whisperer, Las Vegas, The Division, The Shield, Without a Trace and the Lifetime movie Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy. His feature film credits include Partners, Whatever It Takes and Anywhere But Here. Jay is also an avid sports fan. He plays in the NBA Entertainment League and dons skates for a local hockey team.

Portia de Rossi (Veronica) has had a widely varied career, captivating audiences in both television and film. She recently starred as a fifth-season series regular on the FX popular original drama Nip/Tuck as Olivia Lord, a holistic medicine practitioner who has problematic relationships with both her girlfriend, Julia, and her out-of-control daughter. She also starred as Lindsay Bluth Funke in the critically acclaimed Fox comedy Arrested Development. The show won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2004 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 and a SAG Award in 2005. De Rossi is perhaps best known for her portrayal of enigmatic lawyer Nelle Porter on Fox's hugely successful Ally McBeal. On the big screen, she starred in Wes Craven's Cursed, opposite Christina Ricci, Chris Ver Wiel's Who is Cletis Tout?, opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Tim Allen, Paul Goldman's The Night We Called It a Day, opposite Dennis Hopper and Melanie Griffith, Wes Craven's Scream 2, Rupert Wainwright's Stigmata, Bruce Wagner's Women in Film, Noah Stern's The Invisibles and Michael Goorjians Ambition to Meaning, with Wayne Dyer.

Andrea Anders (Linda) is best known to television audiences for her roles as Nicole Allen on the sitcom The Class and as Alex Garrett in the comedy Joey. Additional television credits include Law & Order, Tru Calling, Oz and Numb3rs. Her feature film credits include the road comedy Sex Drive and The Stepford Wives.

Jonathan Slavin (Phil) has been acting steadily in recent years. After a string of "insert occupation here" guy TV roles (Flower Delivery Guy, Fish and Chips Guy, Computer Tech Guy, etc.), Slavin landed a memorable turn as "Ice Cream Guy" on Caroline in the City, and has worked in television ever since. He has appeared as a series regular on Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Union Square, and had recurring roles on My Name is Earl, Summerland, Inconceivable and Wings. Recent guest starring roles include Life, Grey's Anatomy, CSI, Ugly Betty, Friends and Bones. He has also appeared in the feature films Hard Pill, A Cinderella Story, Grand Theft Parsons, Race to Witch Mountain and My Mother's Hairdo.

Malcolm Barrett (Lem) has appeared on a number of series as either a regular or guest star, including The Bonnie Hunt Show, Kelsey Grammar Presents: The Sketch Show, Monk, Psych, Ghost Whisperer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Sopranos. Feature film credits include My Best Friend's Girl, Hurt Locker, American Violet, The Rhythm of the Saints, King of the Jungle and Swimfan.

Isabella Acres (Rose) was born in Atlanta, where she discovered her love for acting in children's theater. Since relocating to Los Angeles she has appeared on such TV series as Monk, Hannah Montana and Jimmy Kimmel Live. She has also appeared in the recurring role of Jane's daughter on The Mentalist. Isabella has extensive voiceover credits, including the feature films Horton Hears a Who, Four Christmases, The Women and Fred Claus, and has voiced characters in the animated series Phineas and Ferb and Special Agent Oso.


Pilot Plot:

I received two episodes for review. So, I will base my thoughts on the show on these two.

#1 Pilot (Airs March 18)
Ted finds out just how far Veronica's willing to go for Veridian's greater good when she charges him with convincing brilliant research scientist Phil to be cryogenically frozen for a test experiment. Phil is excited, even if best friend and research partner, Lem, is a little jealous...and Ted is more than a little worried about the long-term effects if the experiment actually goes ahead.
Guest starring are Maz Jobrani (The Knights of Prosperity) as Dr. Bhamba and Jim Lau as the screaming office worker. "Pilot" was written by Victor Fresco and directed by Mike Fresco.

#2 "Through Rose Colored HAZMAT Suits" (Airs April 1)
When the nanny calls in sick, Ted reluctantly takes daughter Rose to work, where Veronica forms a surprising (if frightening) bond with the little girl. Rose's visit to Veridian also stirs up trouble when a casual remark she makes sends Phil and Lem into a tailspin about just who has the upper hand in their work relationship. Meanwhile, Ted finds out where he stands with Linda when her ex-boyfriend comes back to town.
Guest starring are Julian Bailey as Hal, Martha Boles as Lisa, Mason Lauderdale as the little boy, Sean Christopher Davis as Jerry and Richard Fancy as Mr. Campbell. "Through Rose Colored HAZMAT Suits" was written by Justin Adler and directed by Michael Fresco.


Analysis:

After watching two episodes, I am pleased. The show is very smartly written and has some laugh-out-loud moments. Both Jay Harrington and Portia de Rossi as Ted and Veronica are strong leads and likable, yet de Rossi's character is a bit weird and wacky, but at the same time hilarious. Some of the stuff she says is priceless! The supporting cast includes scientists Phil and Lem, who are an excellent comedic duo. They are very funny. Also, we have co-worker Linda, who has instant chemistry with Ted...but will they get together? Or will Veronica beat Linda to it? And finally we have Rose, who is Ted's little daughter. She is smart and blends in well with Veronica, as you'll see on episode three (the second one I saw).

As for the plot of the show, it is all centered around the workplace. Both episodes I saw starts off with a one-minute presentation for Veridian Dynamics. Very cool and hilarious to start like that. Veridian Dynamics is certainly a future company. We can see that as they develop quite outrageous stuff, but it is funny. Some of the hilarious and wacky stuff they want to do are...to freeze Phil, just to see if it is possible; itchy chairs to have better production at work; and exploding pumpkins with Dr. Bhamba! If you like The Office, you'll certainly like this show. I hate that show, yet I liked this show, though. Why? There is no weird camera zooming to make this look documentary style or cheap. Plus this actually has music and background sound, unlike that show. The similarities for that show with this show so far is that this really is a good cast and ensemble. Everyone plays well off each other and Veridian Dynamics is a very fun place to work, even though they have weird ideas! It just makes it funny!

Will this series work for ABC? It will be following new episodes of Scrubs, so the young audience ABC is hoping for will certainly be there. It will air in a rather weak timeslot with the only competition really from Fox's Lie to Me and CBS's Gary Unmarried, the latter is also a comedy and ABC should have no problem beating it in 18-49. Hopefully this show surprises and at least becomes a cult hit like The Office that skews very young.


Conclusion:

This show is very funny. It is not as crazy as say Worst Week, but is much better written and relies more on dialog. Though this show has its fair share of physical comedy as well. Having both funny dialog and physical comedy, along with a great ensemble make a recipe for a great comedy. This show has so much potential. The promos have been showcasing scenes from later episodes, so I cannot wait to see a worker jumping out of a window, and the human resources lady saying "that's gonna be some paperwork," Ted staring at Linda's butt, and Veronica making fun of the balding guy. So there are going to more fun stuff coming soon, and I cannot wait! I hope to see more of Dr. Bhamba, too. He was only in the pilot episode but will make more appearances this season. He is played by Maz Jabrini, who was on The Knights of Prosperity, which is the funniest sitcom to air in the last few years. Too bad it didn't last...but I hope and think this will. There are stuff I didn't like, such as sitcom cliches (smart daughter, sitcom romance), but who cares. We need bread and butter sitcoms to get an audience, even though this is not a traditional sitcom.

Freezing Phil, training children of Veridian Dynamics "life skills," and so much more makes this show top-notch and a must watch. Watch the premiere, and if you like it...please tune in every week as we need a new sitcom hit. And if you like the premiere but are on the fence, don't give up because episode two is even better! Portia de Rossi deserves an Emmy nomination for her work here!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 03/16/09

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, March 18 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Better Off Ted Photo Gallery



  • Finally, if you didn't see this posted on our message board over the weekend, Lifetime made a schedule change effective today. They are replacing the afternoon movie with an extra Desperate Housewives and Wife Swap, so both of those shows will now air three in a row...12-3pm and 3-6pm. Also, in primetime, Will & Grace will be airing in the 8pm hour, while the primetime Wife Swap moves from Mondays to Fridays, 9-11pm. A movie will still air in primetime the other nights. Late nights, we now have a Reba hour at 1am replacing the late Desperate Housewives airing, followed by a Rita Rocks half-hour at 2am, five days a week. Rita Rocks won't be airing in primetime until it returns with new episodes now. No other changes are being made.

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    Monday, December 01, 2008

    Lifetime December 2008 and January 2009 Changes; Cincinnati Station Changes Name to WKRP

    We didn't get a chance to mention it, but effective last week (Nov. 24), Lifetime removed The Nanny from the line-up. The contract for the show expires later this month, and TV Land and Nick at Nite gain access to it starting this spring, but not sure yet when and where it will air. We'll let you know. The Nanny was airing weeknights at 2am, and Lifetime replaced it with an extra episode of The Golden Girls. Also, The Golden Girls is now airing in the 8am hour replacing Still Standing's morning airings...it will still air weekdays 7-8pm. So The Golden Girls as of now is airing 8-9am, 9-10am, and 1-am-2:30am...7 airings a day. It will be cut to 6 in January, more on that below.
    As we mentioned previously, effective today (Dec. 1), Lifetime will add the original series Mom's Cooking in the weekday 11am hour (20 episodes have been ordered) and will add another Wife Swap episode at 10am leading into the series...so Will & Grace and Frasier are off of the daytime line-up until further notice (thru end of January at least), but remain in late night. No other changes are being made in December, so the rest of the line-up is the same as it is now.
    Starting in January we get a few more changes. Lifetime will start airing How I Met Your Mother on Monday evenings from 7-8pm starting Monday, January 5, 2009. This is its pre-syndication start before Lifetime can air it daily starting in fall 2010, as we mentioned before. Reba will be the lead-in (6-7pm) and lead-out (8pm) to the How I Met Your Mother airings, while original sitcom Rita Rocks moves from Tuesdays at 8:30pm to Mondays at 8:30pm. Lifetime will move the primetime airing of Wife Swap from Tuesdays at 10pm to Mondays at 9pm leading into their new original series DietTribe, airing Mondays at 10pm starting January 5 thru Feb. 2. Rita Rocks and DietTribe will repeat later on Mondays starting at 1am. So Mondays is a big night for Lifetime in January.
    Also, starting Jan. 5, Will & Grace will expand to three episodes airing 11pm to 12:30am, while the Frasier hour slides to 12:30am-1:30am, and the The Golden Girls airs 1:30-2:30am, so it loses an airing. The Golden Girls is moving to Hallmark Channel and WE tv in the spring, so we are down to the last months of the series on Lifetime. Frasier will get an additional slot in January, airing Sundays 12-1am after Grey's Anatomy. There will be no other changes, as of now.

    WKRP is actually on the air! No, I don't mean the TV series is on TV, but a local station in Cincinnati has changed its call letters to WKRP! Low-power Channel 38 known as WBQC-TV since 1995, has changed its call letters to WKRP-TV to promote its new digital TV signal.
    This is the first time a station here has been known as WKRP since the CBS premiere 30 years ago of WKRP in Cincinnati, a TV sitcom about a wacky rock radio station fictionally set in Cincinnati. Elliott Block, general manager and chief engineer for WKRP-TV says, "When I call someone out-of-town and say we're a TV station in Cincinnati, the response usually is, 'WKRP in Cincinnati?' This gives us recognition." He also has tried to acquire the TV series to air on WKRP-TV, but says "We've checked, but WKRP in Cincinnati is not available for broadcast. It's only available for cable." He is correct, it airs Sunday evenings on WGN America and Monday nights on AmericanLife TV.
    So what does WKRP-TV air? Right now just stuff like Matlock, One on One, Punk'd, Cops, and first-run syndicated stuff like Cold Squad and Jury Duty. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still the name change is cool. So baby, if you've ever wondered if there was a real WKRP, now you know there is! Check out WKRP-TV's website. "I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati..."

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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Will & Grace Leaving Local Syndication?; Calling All Brady Bunch Fans

    Will & Grace has been on local broadcast syndication since Fall 2002, but now could it be leaving? I have gotten word that in New York, WPIX(CW11) will lose the rights to the sitcom after December 14, 2008. I'm not sure if it is leaving all local channels completely then, though. If you know if your local channel is removing the show starting Dec. 15, please let us know!
    WPIX will replace it starting Monday, Dec. 15, with an extra episode of Frasier at 1am. Will & Grace was airing weeknights at 12:30am, and now According to Jim will shift over from 1am to 12:30am, and Frasier was airing at 1:30am, will now get a full hour from 1-2am. The Saturday airings of Will & Grace will be replaced by an hour of George Lopez from 5-6pm, with Friends being shifted to 6-7pm.
    Will & Grace might be leaving local syndication, but it will remain on cable on Lifetime, so all is not lost. We're just not 100% yet if Will & Grace is leaving every market locally, but we do know in New York it is gone (or will it be on the move to another station in NY?). We will follow this and do a follow-up as soon as we get some info.

    We have gotten a special message calling out fans for The Brady Bunch: "Please sign this online petition for Rhino Video to release the complete nine episode series of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of The Brady Bunch in September 2009 and as a companion to Susan Olsen's upcoming coffee table book.
    Tell your friends - we need at least 1,000 signatures by November 30, 2008! Many of these episodes have not seen the light of day in over three decades and should be made available to fans.
    Fans are also welcome to contact Rhino Video via email, telephone, and
    USPS:
    QUESTIONS ABOUT PRODUCTS: drrhino@rhino.com
    WEBMASTER: webmaster@rhino.com
    You can also leave a voice message at the following phone number. 1-800-
    546-3670.
    Company address for writing a letter:
    Rhino Video
    3400 W. Olive
    Burbank, CA 91505
    Thanks for your support"

    Rhino did release two episodes years back, so they obviously have the rights to it. Rhino has basically stopped TV on DVD, so I'm not expecting anything out of them, but fans must make their voices heard and do this!

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    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Lifetime Announces Halloween Programming; Remembering TV Composer Neal Hefti

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

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

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

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