Monday, June 01, 2009

TV Land and Hallmark Last Minute June Changes; CBS To Air Unaired Worst Week Episode

TV Land June 2009 schedule - take three! And action! Yes, TV Land has changed its June schedule once again. As of now the changes are just for this week and next week (weeks of June 1 and 8) and are in effect starting TODAY, as we mentioned on our message boards this weekend. The new schedule will have TV Land Goes West on Mondays now from 11:30am-7pm with Gunsmoke and Bonanza and now Little House on the Prairie will air at approx. 5:30pm. I say approx. because TV Land is really off the clock now. From Tuesdays-Fridays, the western block will start at 1:30pm and run to 7pm with the same three shows. This means The Beverly Hillbillies will be only approx. 1pm now, as it loses 1:30pm and 6pm. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is totally gone for now it seems.
In primetime for the week of June 1, we have The Cosby Show in the approx. 8pm hour and Roseanne in the approx. 9pm hour. A different show will air from approx. 10pm-12am each night with Married...with Children returning on Monday, Roseanne on Tuesday and Thursday, and The Cougar/She's Got the Look Preview on Wednesday. Then at approx. 12am we have Married...with Children (just once in the hour, so it won't likely start until late except on Wednesdays when we have two episodes in the hour). At approx. 1am we have another Married...with Children, followed by M*A*S*H at 1:30am, and hour each of Roseanne, Three's Company, The Cosby Show and M*A*S*H follows from 2am-6am. So this week is a major overhaul and Three's Company returns to weeknights, at least for a week.
The Roseanne "launch" marathon is still on from Friday, June 5 to Friday, June 12 from 8pm-6am. However, this weekend (Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7) we have an Andy Griffith Show marathon from 8am-8pm, leading into Roseanne. The week of June 8 has the same daytime line-up as June 1, but primetime and late night is all Roseanne, as mentioned as the marathon continues. The weekend of June 13-14 will have more all-day marathons. Married...with Children will air both days from 8am-10pm, so this show seems like it will stay on TV Land as it is doing well for them. The weekend schedule that was in effect before will remain from 10pm-6am on this weekend of June 13-14. Now starting Monday, June 15, we don't know yet what TV Land will do. Will they have the same daytime schedule as the previous two weeks and the same primetime/late night schedule as week of June 1? Will we see marathons every weekend all-day? We will let you know as soon as we do, but for now view the weeks of June 1 and June 8 schedules for TV Land and discuss this!

As for Hallmark Channel, the June changes are not as drastic. The changes are in primetime starting tonight. The 8pm weekday hour will now have the return of Touched by an Angel. The series was only off for a week or two and now it returns in a much better slot of 8pm replacing two episodes of The Golden Girls. Those two episodes of The Golden Girls will move to the 11pm hour, replacing Murder, She Wrote, which is now off the line-up for now. So if you're keeping track, The Golden Girls now airs from 8am-11am and 11pm-2am every weekday. Nothing else is changing, so expect the schedule as it was. Good news for Lucy fans as they are not messing with the I Love Lucy timeslots so far!

Finally, CBS has scheduled an unaired episode of the canceled comedy Worst Week for this Saturday at 8:30pm. CBS had one leftover episode still yet to air, that is titled "The Party." The episode will have a repeat of Old Christine as its lead-in at 8pm. So get those DVR's rolling Worst Week fans because you have one more episode left and surprisingly CBS is airing it!
In other CBS updates, 48 Hours will air at a special time of 8pm (instead of the usual 10pm slot) on Saturday, July 11, so the two-hour finale of Harper's Island can air from 9-11pm on that night. Harper's Island is not expected back, so that is a series finale.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Hallmark Channel Reduces I Love Lucy in February; Obama Preempts Programming

Earlier this week we gave you Hallmark Channel's March line-up, now Hallmark has edited February a bit. We are not sure if this will affect March yet, but I think it will. As of now, we don't have details on if March will be altered, but we do have what will happen starting Monday.
They have made last minute changes to be started on Monday (Feb. 9). Weekdays 4-5pm ET/PT will now be another episode of Little House on the Prairie replacing I Love Lucy. Lucy will remain weekdays 8-9am, though. The rest of the changes are on weekends. Saturdays 6-9am ET/PT will now be three episodes of Little House on the Prairie replacing the three-hour block of I Love Lucy. And that's not all on Saturdays...Saturdays 1-3am will now be back-to-back episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger replacing more I Love Lucy. Get the pattern yet? If not, keep reading. Sundays from 9-10am will now be another extra episode of 7th Heaven, so that series will air from 9am-3pm now on Sundays. The 9am hour will replace two episodes of I Love Lucy. However, all is not lost for Lucy on Sunday mornings, it will remain at 8:30am. And finally Sunday nights from 1-3am will now be more Walker, Texas Ranger replacing... you guessed it, I Love Lucy. So if you're keeping score, I Love Lucy now will only air weekdays 8-9am and Sundays at 8:30am...ouch.
So what will this mean for the March schedule we announced earlier this week? Not sure yet. If I were to guess, some of these changes happening Monday will be carried over to March (I doubt Lucy will air 3pm in March), but we'll let you know as soon we know! So for now, the March schedule we announced is still happening...but expect I Love Lucy to be reduced from the original March plan. The Hallmark sitcom curse continues...can The Golden Girls break that in March?

President Obama is planning a Presidential News Conference on Monday (Feb. 9) at 8PM ET/5PM PT. So this will affect the Eastern/Central time zones programming on network TV. The press conference is expected to last between 40-60 minutes. So in the eastern and central time zones, the 8pm hour will be different. At 8PM ET on CBS, the all-new episode of The Big Bang Theory will be moved to 9:30PM ET/PT for the entire nation, replacing Worst Week's season finale. That season finale will now be on Feb. 16 at 9:30pm ET/PT. How I Met Your Mother was also slated to be all-new at 8:30pm, but since the press conference will be between 40-60 minutes, CBS will air a repeat of Mother instead, joined in progress if the press conference ends before 9pm. Out west at 8pm PT (7pm MT), a repeat of Old Christine will air on a special night, followed by a repeat of How I Met Your Mother at 8:30pm PT/7:30pm MT.
Over at NBC, they will also air the press conference. They will have to preempt an all-new episode of Chuck at 8pm ET. If the press conference ends before 9pm ET, then they will air a Heroes repeat joined in progress. Out west, a repeat of Heroes will air in its entirety at 8pm PT.
ABC will devote the full 8pm ET/5pm PT hour to the press conference. In east/central, The Bachelor will air an hour later from 9-11pm ET (8-10pm CT), as True Beauty will be preempted. Out west, The Bachelor will air in its normal time of 8-10pm PT (7-9pm MT), followed by a repeat of True Beauty at 10pm PT/9pm MT. The regularly scheduled new episode of True Beauty will air on a special night of Tuesday at 10pm ET/PT, preempting Primetime: What Would You Do? for the week. Fox will preempt an all-new episode of House on Monday and move it to the following Monday in its normal time (another Obama address pending), while a 24 repeat from the previous week will air at 8pm PT/7pm MT out west.
That is not all for Obama. He is also planning a Presidential Address to Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. All the networks have committed to that. ABC will preempt two Scrubs repeats on that night to air the Presidential Address to Congress from 9-10pm ET. That will air 6-7pm PT, so ABC will likely air those Scrubs repeats out west. NBC will cut The Biggest Loser in half that night and will air the second hour the following night at 8pm, no idea what NBC will air out west at 9pm PT/8pm MT yet. CBS will preempt a scheduled The Mentalist repeat at 9pm ET that night to accommodate the address but it will air out west. Fox will make the most drastic change for this night. A Bones repeat will air at 8pm ET leading into the Presidential Address to Congress at 9pm ET. Not sure what is airing out west at 9pm PT/8pm MT, but I would guess another Bones repeat. Since American Idol was scheduled to air two-hours that Tuesday night, Fox will move those two-hours to Wednesday from 8-10pm ET/PT. So Lie to Me is totally preempted that week (Wednesday Feb. 25). The second night of American Idol will be shifted to Thursday that week at 8pm ET/PT, preempting Bones. Idol will lead into an all-new Hell's Kitchen.
And believe it or not, Obama also plans a short address on Monday, Feb. 16 as well. So far no networks have committed to that one. We will keep you up to date of everything on this, so keep checking back.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RTN Using National Feed; CBS Pulls Password on Sundays, Rules Back on Mondays in March

The other day we gave you an update on what is happening at RTN (Retro Television Network). On Sunday morning, many RTN affiliates had an on-screen message saying the contract with Equity has expired. Then shortly after RTN resumed programming or was replaced totally. On Equity-owned stations, like in Buffalo, RTN has been replaced totally with other programming. RTN was once owned by Equity, but was sold to Luken Communications in June. Equity's contract to distribute RTN had been extended a week past its Dec. 24 expiration date but Dec. 24 also was the deadline on Equity's option to buy back RTN from current owner Luken Communications. Equity is no longer allowed to air the RTN programs on its stations, including WNGS in Buffalo. However, an Equity spokesperson said it eventually might be able to bring the RTN programs back to the Equity stations.
For non-Equity stations, RTN is now using its national feed to program RTN. RTN stations had their own local feed, but due to this Equity fiasco, RTN made a sooner-than-expected flash cut to a new master control and uplink center in Chattanooga, Tenn. By 9 a.m. Sunday, it was able to restore service to most of their stations (not Equity-owned stations, of course) with national feeds.
So what is the schedule like for this national feed? I suggest you take a look at the national feed schedule we posted, so you know what is going to air. Now there are reports that RTN is way off time right now airing shows up to 20 minutes late, so be aware of that. This national feed might be good for some stations because they will get programs that weren't on their local feed. Until this is resolved, RTN will have this national feed to all of its stations. It could be up until today or last the rest of the month or longer, so no idea right now. But it will be nice to see Munsters Today and Harry and the Hendersons on Sunday morning for those stations who didn't get those! If this conflict is still going on Sunday, that is.
There were only four major Equity-owned RTN stations that RTN lost: Little Rock; Buffalo, N.Y.; Panama City, Fla.; and Spokane, Wash. They account for less than 1 percent of the nation's TV households, a small fraction of the network's total reach, which now hovers around 40 percent. In any event, the lost affiliates will be replaced quickly by new affiliates.
RTN won't be allowed to air original programming that Equity had produced such as the late night series Unreliable Sources and Closing Remarks, so total classic TV fans are happy about that, I'm sure.
Equity also refused to transfer RTN's website to RTN. So fans looking for RTNville.com, the website is now MyRetroTV.com. On some stations, RTN is calling themselves MyRetroTV, as well. Will this fiasco force them to change their name, too? We shall see. I'm trying to get in touch with RTN (Mark and Neal if you're reading, please contact me!), and we hope to reach them soon. Due to all of this, their contact info has changed. We hope to try and sit down with them to get you all the information you need. Maybe another Seven Questions interview? We'll try!

CBS has altered its Sunday schedule for the next three weeks. They have pulled Million Dollar Password. The show was originally scheduled for its final two new episodes on Jan. 11 and 25. The show has been doing decent in total viewers but lagging in the adult 18-49 demo. This Sunday (January 11) a special 60 Minutes will air at 8pm following an NFL playoff game from 4-8pm. On Sunday, January 18, CBS will air an all-new episode of The Mentalist on a special night & time at 10pm ET (7pm PT) following the NFL AFC Championship Game from 6-10pm ET. The Mentalist will air immediately following the game on ALL time zones. So 9pm CT, 8pm MT and 7pm PT. In Mountain and Pacific zones, a repeat of The Unit will follow 9pm MT and 8pm PT. Pacific time will have local programming after the repeat of The Unit. Finally, on Sunday, January 25, Million Dollar Password will be replaced with an all-new Cold Case at a special time of 8pm, leading into the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie from 9-11pm.
So what does this mean for Million Dollar Password? The following week is the Super Bowl, so it is not likely a new episode will air against that. It can't air on Feb. 8 because of the Grammy Awards and then starting Feb. 15 The Amazing Race returns to the slot. So looks like it will not return to Sundays anytime soon. What about Thursdays at 8? They have repeats scheduled thru January 22, but nothing has been booked for January 29 and Feb. 5, so the two final episodes can air then maybe? Survivor returns Feb. 12. I do expect these two episodes to air but not sure exactly when yet. We'll let you know.
Meanwhile, CBS has announced it will return sitcom Rules of Engagement on Monday, March 2 following Two and a Half Men at 9:30pm ET/PT. Worst Week will finish its 16 episodes on Feb. 9 and we won't know probably if that show will return next season until upfront in May. It doesn't look too promising, though. CBS will air repeats on Feb. 16 and 23 of other CBS comedies likely until Rules launches.
View our full CBS schedule updates.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

ION Television December 2008 Highlights; CBS Picks-Up More Episodes for 'Gary', 'Worst', While NBC Adds More 'Medium'

ION Television has announced its December 2008 schedule and highlights, and there will be no regular changes to the line-up...but there will be plenty of holiday movies and holiday episodes! ION's holiday airings start on Friday, December 12 in the RHI block with the 2007 TV-Movie, A Grandpa for Christmas. Other RHI holiday movies in the weekend RHI block include Silent Night, Hogfather, Night They Saved Christmas, and more. ION will also have a holiday TV-movie week the week of December 22-25 from 4-6pm these four nights with more holiday fun such as the ION premieres of 2008 films My Santa My Dad and The Elf Who Didn't Believe. Four holiday episodes of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper will air Dec. 17-18 in its regular 6-7pm time slot and four M*A*S*H holiday episodes will air the weekend of Dec. 20-21 from 6-7pm. And during the week of December 22, you can catch two classic Boston Legal Christmas episodes, including "The Nutcracker." The Thursday Total Theatre Warner Bros. movies are not in yet, so we don't know what is airing there yet. We will update you on that and if any more things change on our message board as soon as we know. So view our ION Television December 2008 highlights.

CBS Wednesday comedy Gary Unmarried, starring Jay Mohr, will have an additional seven episodes at least this year, bringing the total from 13 to 20 episodes. Two additional scripts were also ordered, so if it does well, we could see up to 22 episodes this season. Meanwhile, CBS has ordered three more episodes of struggling Monday sitcom Worst Week from 13 episodes to 16 episodes. The untraditional sitcom is a critical darling but has not capitalized out of the #1 sitcom, Two and a Half Men. 4 scripts were ordered previously, so one more script has yet to turn into an episode order. CBS still has Rules of Engagement coming in midseason, so if Worst Week doesn't pick-up, you'll see Rules there by February or March. Remember February sweeps doesn't start until March 5 this year because of the transition to digital TV in mid-February.
NBC has ordered 6 additional episodes of Medium, its veteran supernatural drama starring Patricia Arquette. The order brings the total from 13 episodes to 19 episodes for its fifth season. NBC recently canceled Monday drama My Worst Own Enemy and Friday drama Lipstick Jungle, so both will be out of here in January, which is when Medium will more than likely launch. Originally the show was set to launch Sundays at 9PM after Sunday Night Football concludes, but now that will likely change. As soon as NBC announces its revised midseason schedule, we will let you know. I bet it will return to its original Monday at 10pm slot followed the sinking Heroes.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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

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

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

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

"Seven Questions with Chris Mann"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Monday, September 22, 2008

60th Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; ION Adds More Warner Bros. Movies; New TV Season Begins Tonight

Here are the winners for the main categories at last night's Emmys.

COMEDY SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
The Office (NBC)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)
30 Rock (NBC)
Entourage (HBO)
WINNER: 30 Rock

DRAMA SERIES
Lost (ABC)
House (Fox)
Damages (FX)
Boston Legal (ABC)
Mad Men (AMC)
Dexter (Showtime)
WINNER: Mad Men

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA Network)
Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Steve Carell, The Office (NBC)
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
WINNER: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (ABC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Old Christine (CBS)
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? (ABC)
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds (Showtime)
Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
WINNER: Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Hugh Laurie, House (Fox)
James Spader, Boston Legal (ABC)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Gabriel Bryne, In Treatment (HBO)
Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
WINNER: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Glenn Close, Damages (FX)
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT)
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace (TNT)
WINNER: Glenn Close, Damages (FX)

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Kevin Dillion, Entourage (HBO)
John Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
Rainn Wilson, The Office (NBC)
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Jeremy Piven, Entourage (HBO)
WINNER: Jeremy Piven, Entourage.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty (ABC)
Amy Poehler, SNL (NBC)
Jean Smart, Samantha Who? (ABC)
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
WINNER: Jean Smart, Samantha Who? (ABC)

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Zeljko Ivanek, Damages (FX)
William Shatner, Boston Legal (ABC)
John Slattery, Mad Men (AMC)
Ted Danson, Damages (FX)
Michael Emerson, Lost (ABC)
WINNER: Zeljko Ivanek, Damages (FX)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal (ABC)
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Diane Wiest, In Treatment (HBO)
WINNER: Diane Wiest, In Treatment (HBO)

See complete list of winners.

COMMENTS: The night belonged to the mini-series John Adams, comedy 30 Rock and drama Mad Men. Too much cable stuff was winning. Surprise of the night was Bryan Cranston winning for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for AMC's Breaking Bad. Besides the 30 Rock wins (Comedy, Lead Actor, and Lead Actress) and the win for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Jean Smart of ABC's Samantha Who?, the night was all cable...AMC, FX, HBO. I liked the tributes to the memorable TV shows and moments...as the Emmys turned 60. As for the hosts, they should have just done 1 or 2...Tom Bergeron was clearly the best. 30 Rock doesn't launch its third season until October 30, so no carry over likely, however the show's second season is coming to DVD on October 7. I think it is the new Arrested Development...critically acclaimed show that no one watches.
Combining the winners for the creative portion on Sept. 13, HBO had the most wins with 26, thanks to mini-seroes John Adams, which became the most-honored program ever. ABC led the broadcast networks with 12 wins. CBS, NBC and PBS tied for third overall with 10 overall wins. AMC had 8 wins overall.


ION Television, the "Positively Entertaining" general entertainment network reaching over 94 million homes, has inked a multi-year film acquisition deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Extending from fall 2008 through summer 2010, this multi-year deal brings 27 critically acclaimed and Academy Award-winning films to the network's film slate.
The network already had a deal with Warner Bros., now 27 more movies come and the deal gets extended through summer 2010. ION Television kicks off the first of its new Warner Bros. films on Wednesday, September 24th at 8:00 p.m. ET with the comedy favorite Grumpier Old Men (starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret and Sophia Loren). ION will air the movies regularly on Thursdays from 9-11PM (sometimes 8-11PM) starting October 2. Through summer 2010, blockbusters featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood will grace ION Television in a series of cinematic favorites spanning multiple genres.
Dramatic thrillers and crime sagas include classics like The Fugitive (starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones), GoodFellas (starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino) and Heat (starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer and Jon Voight), as well as more recent favorites such as Deep Blue Sea (starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J and Samuel L. Jackson) and Training Day (starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke).
Also in the mix are two movies from the famed Batman series, Batman Forever (starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman and Chris O’Donnell) and Batman Returns (starring Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken), plus Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 1, 2 and 4.
Modern comedy classics include The Mask (starring Jim Carrey), Analyze This (starring Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal and Lisa Kudrow) and National Lampoon's European Vacation (starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo), among many others.
Rounding out the cinematic variety of ION Television's "Positively Entertaining" new movie lineup are dramas like City of Angels (starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan) and romantic comedies such as You've Got Mail (starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan). So that's 16 of the 27 new Warner Bros. movies, if you were counting. What about the rest? Above the Law, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Major League 2, Malice, Matchstick Men, Memphis Belle, Murder in the First, The Negotiator, The Specialist, Tango & Cash and Young Guns II! There you have it! Lots of good movies for Thursday nights.

The new season starts tonight! Expect Monday hits Dancing with the Stars, CSI: Miami, Two and a Half Men, and Heroes to be the night's highest rated shows. Other new notables tonight is the launch of the CBS sitcom Worst Week rounding out the CBS Monday sitcoms (8-10PM) and the Monday debut of ABC's Boston Legal.
My bets of the night: Dancing with the Stars (ABC 8-10:00PM) and The Big Bang Theory (CBS 8:00-8:30PM). Two fun-filled shows!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Worst Week - Premieres September 22; Five Year Anniversary for John Ritter's Passing

Worst Week

Worst Week - Mondays 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, September 22, 2008 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Worst Week is a comedy about Sam Briggs, an entertainment magazine editor who will do anything to please his girlfriend's parents ... but instead becomes a one-man wrecking crew whenever he's around them. Sam and his girlfriend, Melanie Clayton, have only one hurdle left to clear as they start their life together: breaking the news to Mel's conservative parents that they have a wedding in the works and a baby on the way. Dick, a stern Judge, and his wife, Angela, are protective of their daughter, and are really trying to let go of the anger they feel toward Sam ... after all, disaster follows whenever he visits their house. But despite his best efforts, every time Sam takes one positive step forward in winning over his future in-laws, he inevitably takes two crushing steps back. But with support and love from Melanie who stands up for him despite his knack for making himself look bad, Sam will hopefully charm his way into her family. It's all a funny week but it is the worst week for Sam! From Universal Media Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television comes Worst Week, a single-camera sitcom based on the BBC series The Worst Week of My Life, airing Mondays at 9:30PM on CBS!

Cast Details:

* Kyle Bornheimer as Sam Briggs
* Erinn Hayes as Melanie Clayton
* Nancy Lenehan as Angela Clayton
* Kurtwood Smith as Dick Clayton

Kyle Bornheimer's (Sam) television credits include guest starring roles on How I Met Your Mother, The Unit and Jericho, all on CBS, as well as the series The Office, Will & Grace, Medium, Monk and Breaking Bad. Movie wise, he appeared on Blades of Glory.

Erinn Hayes' (Melanie) first series regular role was in On The Spot opposite comedy legend Tim Conway. More recently, Hayes appeared as the female lead in the short-lived sitcom The Winner. Her other television credits include Kitchen Confidential, Unhitched, Notes From the Underbelly, Will & Grace and Shark, which was on CBS In addition, Hayes starred as "Pam Dawber aka Mindy" in the television movie Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Mork and Mindy.

Nancy Lenehan's (Angela) television credits include My Name is Earl, Malcolm in the Middle, Grace Under Fire and Ellen. Recently, she appeared as a series regular on Married to the Kellys. Her feature film credits include Catch Me If You Can and Door To Door.

Kurtwood Smith (Dick) is most recognizable to television audiences for his eight seasons playing Red Forman on That '70s Show. His other television credits include appearances in Medium, House, Malcolm In The Middle, The X-Files, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Star Trek: Voyager and Picket Fences, which was on CBS. His television movie credits include A Bright Shining Lie, The Magnificent Seven, While Justice Sleeps, Doorways, The Christmas Gift and The Nightmare Years, for which he received a Cable Ace Award nomination for best supporting actor. Smith's feature film credits include the Academy Award winners Dead Poets Society and Girl, Interrupted, as well as Broken Arrow, Citizen Ruth, A Time to Kill, To Die For, The Crush, True Believer, and in the memorable role of Clarence Boddicker in Robocop. Smith also starred in a short film, 12:01 P.M., about a man caught in a time warp, which was nominated for an Oscar in the "Best Short Film" category.


Pilot Plot:

#1 Pilot
When Sam and Melanie decide to break their life-changing news to her conservative parents, Sam's disastrous antics delay their plans. A lot of very bad things (but funny!) happen! For instance, Sam misses the train when he decides to help a drunk woman go home and so many bad (and pretty wild and funny) things happen after that. Let's just say, at the end he ends up at Mel's house naked. Find out how when you watch the pilot yourself. To top it all off, Dick, who had a concussion earlier from slipping on Sam's urine, collapses on the sidewalk near a funeral home and the undertaker makes him rest inside the funeral home. Sam of course misunderstands the undertaker's phone call and thinks Dick died. All this and more wild and funny stuff on the pilot!


Analysis:

The pilot is for sure funny. I think just about everyone who saw it so far will tell you that. But will people like this type of comedy for the rest of the season? The pilot is very wild and outrageous things happen. Some of these things would never happen in real life, but this is a TV show and things are made for entertainment...and you'll certainly be entertained by this pilot. I laughed out loud a few times actually. When I finished watching the pilot, I thought to myself this is a crazy show. So many wild things happen that that is what this pilot is about. It's like Meet the Parents: The Sitcom. If you like that movie, then you might find some similarities here. It's a simple story: Sam is in love with Mel, but her parents don't know. They want to get married and they also have a child on the way already. And Sam has bad luck. It's as simple is that! So, the plot revolves around Sam's luck.

Will this series work for CBS? Originally Fox was developing this series in 2006 but it was passed on. The Fox pilot had a completely different cast (Zachary Levi, Jamie King, JoBeth Williams and David Odgen Stiers). This sitcom is based on the hilarious British sitcom The Worst Week of My Life, which aired on BBC for two seasons. This series is a single-camera sitcom, something CBS is not known for at all. They didn't have success this past season in Welcome to The Captain, but in all fairness that was fed to the writers' strike and aired after repeats of their multi-camera sitcoms.


Conclusion:

Honestly, I did enjoy the show despite the wildness. It might be too wild even. I just don't understand how this sitcom can last for a number of years with the title Worst Week? Will they still be on that week in season 4? I guess they'll worry about that when that happens. The BBC series lasted only two seasons and three specials. And their seasons are very short, while our sitcoms get 22 episodes a season usually. So if this show gets 22 episodes this season, it'll pass the BBC episodes already. Also, this sitcom will probably be a bit serialized, something CBS shows are not known for.

The series will air after the highest rated sitcom on television right now...Two and a Half Men. But that is a multi-camera sitcom. I think it will get sampled for sure, though...it's on opposite Dancing with the Stars/Samantha Who, Heroes, Prison Break, and One Tree Hill, so the competition is there but it should be able to beat everything in viewers if it can hold a good portion of the Men audience but Dancing and maybe Heroes. It won't face Samantha Who until the fourth week of the season (Oct. 13), so by then the show should be finding itself and start to have consistent numbers...either good or bad. Can CBS break the mold and find success with a single-camera sitcom and join the other networks in airing these type of sitcoms? We shall see. Give the pilot a try on Sept. 22...if you find yourself liking all this wild stuff, then stick around for more!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/12/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, September 22 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Worst Week Photo Gallery



  • Yesterday was of course the fifth anniversary of John Ritter's passing and we will pay tribute to one of the best ever today. Actually, everyone heard about John's passing on this day (Friday, Sept. 12, 2003), so it makes more sense to pay tribute to him today. John passed away Thursday, September 11, 2003 at 10:30pm PT or so, so that would make it 1:30am ET on Friday, September 12 anyway. And even more, this is the first time that John's passing will be remembered the same day he passed away. That makes it more special this year.
    John was my all-time favorite because he was not only a wonderful actor but a good human being. I admired his work of course but I even admired him more as a person. He genuinely was a real person and didn't have the typical celebrity written on him. He was a huge star and a legend but he thought about others first and made everyone feel special...whether it be a homeless guy or George Clooney.
    I will never forget that morning when I found out. I was in utter shock and in denial, thinking how could this of happened? I never want to go through something like that again. Unfortunately, I never got to meet John in person but I have written to him (and of course he responded with a wonderful autographed personal photo) and spoke indirectly to him through his press assistant (the very nice Susan Wilcox). I had the chance to go to his Broadway show in 2000, but I never got around to it. Fortunately, many fans got to meet him and told me the stories and they were ALL positive and John made them feel like they knew him personally for over 20 years. An amazing man. An amazing actor. And the best. His wife actress Amy Yasbeck plans to write a book about John for Simon & Schuster. A month after he passed away, Amy started the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health (http://www.johnritterfoundation.org/). "Through the foundation, people are literally getting their lives saved," she told the Sept. 8-14 TV Guide. I urge you all to visit the website to learn more about aortic health and to view some moving stories about how John's story saved others. Chris Mann, author of the Three's Company book, Come and Knock on Our Door, is also planning on writing a book about John. So two books for John. We will keep you up to date on both projects.
    So, today's blog is for John. We miss you and we wish you were still here making us laugh and cry. John would have been 60 next Wednesday (Sept. 17).
    Share your memories and stories of John.

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