18 items from 2015
Last week, in the wake of Eddie Huang's complaints that he felt ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat" was distorting and softening his childhood experiences, this column examined how hard it is for any biographical or autobiographical sitcom to be true to the life of its source and still be a crowd-pleasing primetime network entertainment. You'd think, after decades of trying, TV writers and network programming executives would be aware of this.
Nonetheless, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the networks have no fewer than ten such sitcom pilots in production, as the first episodes of potential 2015-16 primetime series. Some are based on the lives of already famous entertainers, some on the self-referential stand-up comedy routines of not-quite-famous comics, and some on memoirsts who've lived interesting lives.
Here's a rundown of these pilots, with a look at who these shows are about, who's starring in them, what the series might be like, »
- Gary Susman
Weeds alum Kevin Nealon and Malcolm In the Middle‘s Jane Kaczmarek are set to co-star opposite comedian Tommy Johnagin and JoAnna Garcia Swisher in CBS' untitled CBS comedy pilot inspired by Johnagin's life. The pilot, from writers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, Wbtv and Bill Lawrence's studio-based Doozer, stars Johnagin as Tommy, a stand-up comic raising a family in a small Midwestern town. Nealon plays Tommy’s dad Jack, a charming but manipulative loose cannon… »
If you're like us and value your sleep, you probably nodded off into your Ambien dreamland before the party started on post-prime time TV. Don't worry; we've got you covered. Here's the best of what happened last night on late night.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" is in Austin, Texas, and in a little boost to the local economy, he posted a tweet asking if any businesses might want him to help them produce a TV commercial. He went with Vulcan Video and shot a commercial starring a "local actor" named Matthew McConaughey. Everything is better with McConaughey. This is a must-watch especially when McConaughey shows up and gets in classic McConaughey mode.
Kevin Hart was on Jkl and talked about the time he tried to work out with the University of Texas football team and it was a little too much for him. He threw up. "I didn't even clean it up, »
- Gina Carbone
It was just a few weeks ago that Robert Smigel made headlines revealing the details of the Ambiguously Gay Duo live-action movie that never wound up happening . but now the former Saturday Night Live writer has spilled the beans on yet another "almost" film that was going to be based on a skit. It turns out that there was a Hans and Franz movie once in the works . based on the bit starring Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon . and the big screen adaptation would have both been a musical and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Smigel recently recorded a digital exclusive for Late Night With Seth Meyers, and in the video he went into specifics about the Hans and Franz movie that nearly joined the ranks of Saturday Night Live films. Taking us all the way back to the early 1990s, the writer explained that he initially thought the idea of making »
Shout! Factory TV, now in its second month, has added three more properties to their growing library of streaming content. These include Gerry Anderson’s Stingray, the Supermarionation series from the mid-1960s, the animated Goode Family, and the 1970s comedy Kentucky Fried Movie.
Shout! Factory TV is a premiere digital entertainment streaming service that brings timeless and contemporary cult favorites to pop culture fans. With a uniquely curated entertainment library, the channel offers an unrivaled blend of cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials and more – presenting an exciting entertainment alternative to other services.
Shout! Factory TV is available through any browser and has a Roku app.
The Goode Family (All 13 episodes)
The Goode Family, from executive producers Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-head, Office Space) and John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky (King of the Hill, Blades of Glory), comes to Shout! Factory TV this March.
- ComicMix Staff
[Brightcove "4070812215001"] Following a possible overdose, Harris Wittels was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Thursday night, reports Entertainment Weekly. He was 30. At the Unite4:Humanity event in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler paid homage to Wittels during her acceptance of the unity award: "So, here's my daily life - today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young man in my life who was struggling with addiction and died. Just a few hours before we came," she said. "Jane [Aronson] and I sat and talked about it. I'm sharing it with you because life »
- Amanda Michelle Steiner, @amandamichl
Following a possible overdose, Harris Wittels was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Thursday night, reports Entertainment Weekly. He was 30. At the Unite4:Humanity event in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler paid homage to Wittels during her acceptance of the unity award: "So, here's my daily life - today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young man in my life who was struggling with addiction and died. Just a few hours before we came," she said. "Jane [Aronson] and I sat and talked about it. I'm sharing it with you because life »
- Amanda Michelle Steiner, @amandamichl
NBC aired the three and a half hour 40th Anniversary special for their beloved late night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live last night, and it was surely an affair to remember, with memorable appearances by comedians who got their start on the show, such as Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake kicked off the show with a memorable cold open, which is just one of many video highlights you can watch below, in case you missed the special or just want to relive it all over again.
Saturday Night Live's 40th Anniversary Special was watched by 23.1 million viewers last night, making it the network's most-watched primetime program in over 10 years, excluding post-Super Bowl programs. The ratings were the highest since the 2004 series finale of ER, which was watched by 23.9 million viewers. Also, excluding the Super Bowl and major awards ceremonies, »
Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary special airs this Sunday. While most of the show's best will be there, some of the show's greats are no longer living.
Et interviewed John Belushi just four months before he was found unresponsive in a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont. The comedian passed away at the age of 33 after taking a lethal combination of cocaine and heroin.
Belushi was a role model for another fallen SNL great -- Chris Farley. Both honed their improvisational skills at Chicago's Second City. While Belushi was a part of SNL's original cast in 1975, Farley joined the show in 1990 about eight years after Belushi's death.
SNL alum Julia Sweeney spoke fondly about her late friend and cast mate, as she remembered performing their classic Motivational Speaker sketches together. "Phil [Hartman] and I are the parents, and we're barely in the sketch. In fact I »
For 40 years, Saturday Night Live has helped launch the careers of some of the biggest comedy performers. Among them is Kevin Nealon, who appeared on the show for eight seasons (1986-1995). Et caught up with the SNL alum before the 40th anniversary special, and the actor shared what he remembers most about the show that started it all.
"When I look back on that time, [what stands out is] the excitement," Nealon said. "The excitement of being on live TV and having the option to do do topical things and the rush of it all."
Watch: See Your Favorite 'SNL' Stars In The Ultimate Flashback
"I'll never forget the first year on that show from the cold opening Live from NY and the rush to get changed and getting back out there it was nonstop for 90 minutes," he added.
His first show was met with more than just a rush-- the actor recalled just how nerve wracking his debut »
Phil Hartman proved to be one of Saturday Night Live's biggest stars during his eight season run (1986-1994) on the late-night sketch comedy show. And when Et first met the actor in 1989, just three years after his debut, it was clear just how much the show meant to him.
"It’s hard to put into words what an exciting thing it is to do this show," he told Et. "I've done commercials, I've done movies, I've performed on stage-- this is the best of all them rolled into one."
Watch: 'SNL' Greats Reveal Their Favorite Show Memories
Hartman was recommended to SNL creator Lorne Michaels by fellow comedians such as Penny Marshall and cast members Laraine Newman and Jon Lovitz, who Hartman worked with early in his career. Lovitz told Et that Hartman initially turned the opportunity.
"He got offered the show and then he turned it down," Lovitz recalled »
This is what someone at the gym might look like.
This is what the guys in the 1993 cast of Saturday Night Live look like when hitting the gym.
News: ‘SNL’ Secrets: Costume Designer Reveals the Story Behind His 6 Favorite Characters
Adam Sandler did a little coaching.
Mike Myers did a little head-locking.
And Kevin Nealon attempted to master the step machine.
Check out the video above to see more amazing flashback footage of their trip to the gym!
Be sure to follow Sarah on Twitter, @Sarah_Flanigan, for more Saturday Night Live-Tweets! »
Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary documentary Live from New York! will open this year's Tribeca Film Festival.
The behind-the-scenes look at the NBC sketch show's beginnings will screen at the New York festival in April.
The show has clocked up more than 800 episodes and has been hosted by A-list stars across four decades, with many more putting in guest appearances.
Co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival Jane Rosenthal said: "SNL's contribution to the arts and to pop culture has been - and continues to be - groundbreaking, and Live From New York! offers an inside look at the show's inimitable ability to both reflect and impact American news, history and culture."
Robert De Niro, who is also a co-founder of the festival, added: "The selection of Live from New York! to open the 14th Tribeca Film Festival is personally gratifying to me on several levels. Having hosted SNL three times, »
On the eve of its 40th anniversary special (though the anniversary itself isn't until October), what is left to say about "Saturday Night Live"? There have been multiple books written about the show, several documentaries, countless essays — riding the never-ending roller-coaster between "Saturday Night Dead" and "Saturday Night Lives Again!" — best-ofs, worst-ofs, and every other kind of list you can think of. I don't know that anything I write over the next few pages will provide new insight into one of the most influential comedy shows ever made, but I wondered if you could tell the story of the show — through good times and bad, through revolutions and evolutions and retrenchments — by looking at its sketches. I wound up picking 21 in all: some among the show's most famous, some obscure but important. These aren't meant as a definitive breakdown of the best "SNL" ever had to offer, but as a »
- Alan Sepinwall
Before the big Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Et is talking to former castmembers, getting them to dish on their favorite times on NBC's long-running late-night sketch show.
"That experience -- the seven years I was on the show -- will be the hardest slash most fun thing I've ever done," Ferrell said.
"Getting up to air live and getting it done was kind of a work of art in itself," Nora Dunn said.
Dunn was a part of an '80s cast that saved the show from nearly getting canceled, even though the previous season had big names like Robert Downey Jr., [link »
If you need any further proof that "Saturday Night Live" has lost whatever edge it once had, there's the news that Sarah Palin is planning to appear on the show's 40th anniversary special, airing Feb. 15. Remember, just seven years ago, Tina Fey's impression of the then-vice presidential candidate was widely credited with losing the election for her and John McCain. Since then, in speeches and Facebook posts, Palin has not been one to let a personal grievance slide. And yet, here she is, returning to the "SNL" studio at 30 Rock. This is more than just being a good sport or burying the hatchet; it's an indication that she doesn't consider whatever satirical softballs "SNL" may lob her way to be any kind of a threat. Maybe there's no such thing as bad publicity, but clearly, no prominent person, not even one as polarizing as a partisan politician, is afraid »
- Gary Susman
Cinedigm has signed a 12-film deal with Brand Inc over three years and will funnel the original titles through multiple platforms including its Ott channels.
The partners said they aim to produce a wide array of films covering family, action, Western, urban and holiday season genres.
Cinedigm acquired all North American rights for the 12 including theatrical, digital, VOD and physical home entertainment.
Ott destinations include Cinedigm’s CONtv aimed at Comic Con enthusiasts and Dove Movie Channel for the faith-based and family crowd.
Christopher Barish and Jim Valdez’s Brand Inc plans to release its first three features this year: Zoey To The Max with Amy Smart and Grant Bowler; Little Loopers with Rob Morrow and Natalie Imbruglia; and Ghost Squad starring Kevin Nealon.
I hope you’re watching Celebrity Name Game, and the ratings indicate that you very well may be. The game show that, according to host Craig Ferguson, hopes to push the boundaries of the genre, has been renewed for a second season, and has announced its upcoming celebrity guests.
Check out the list, and make sure you’re tuning in.
Monday, Feb. 2
Angela Kinsey & Vivica A Fox
Tuesday, Feb. 3
Michael Ealy & Mario Lopez
Wednesday, Feb. 4
Thursday, Feb. 5
Friday, Feb. 6
Katy Mixon & Mario Lopez
Monday, Feb. 9
Tuesday, Feb. 10
Wednesday, Feb. 11
Thursday, Feb. 12
- Marc Eastman
18 items from 2015
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