Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rest in Peace, Marvin Kaplan

Marvin Kaplan, best known for playing Henry, the phone company worker who frequented Mel's Diner on the sitcom Alice and for voicing "Choo-Choo" in the Hanna Barbera classic cartoon series Top Cat, has passed away at age 89.

Mr. Kaplan got his start in show business in the late 1940's, taking a small role in the movie Adam's Rib. His most high profile role was in the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World after which he turned primarily to television roles, guest starring on such shows as Petticoat Junction. His biggest role was on Alice, however, a part he held for the entire run of the series.

After Alice, he took mostly voice over work, his most recent role being in 2011's The Garfield Show.

TV Quote Weekends


Thursday, August 25, 2016

More Wisdom From SVU



Looking for more crazy SVU and Ice T "quotes"? There's a whole website of fun now available! It's called The T Shack and it's located at


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jeopardy Tuesdays: The Answer!


Norman Lear produced all of those shows, though he refused to put his name on The Facts of Life, and begged NBC to cancel it after the first season.

Rest in Peace, Steven Hill

Steven Hill, who spent ten years as the District Attorney on Law & Order has passed away at age 94.

Mr. Hill began his career on Broadway alongside Marlon Brando. Many of their contemporaries considered Steven to be the better actor. Steven, however, took time off to serve in the armed forces. Even when he was acting, he chose roles that had a societal component to them, which often weren't considered commercial enough.

Despite his talent, Steven seemed to toil away in smaller roles, gaining a following on Broadway, but not in Hollywood. Despite having worked for decades, Mr. Hill would only find a larger audience in 1990 when he began a decade long run as Law & Order's District Attorney Adam Schiff, who navigated the political landscape of New York City to ensure that justice was done. He retired in 2000, outliving his successor who passed away last year.

Jeopardy Tuesday!

(Come Back at 6PM PDT for the answer!)

Monday, August 22, 2016



On this day in 1932, the British Broadcasting Corporation went live. While the United States chose to privatize its airwaves, the United Kingdom chose to setup a publicly owned and funded broadcaster. In the UK, viewers must pay a yearly tax for each television they own. The taxes are then used to produce the network's programming. This permits the network to air its programming without commercials.

Friday, August 19, 2016

FIRED! Adam Sandler

Saturday Night Live was almost canceled three times in its record breaking run. The first time was in 1980 when the new cast never caught on with viewers and Charles Rocket dropped an F Bomb. The second time was in 1986 when Lorne Michaels' return to the show provided less than stellar results. The third time was in 1995.


Phil Hartman was ready to move on. The show's Saturday night dominance was being challenged by Fox's Mad TV and its ratings were down. NBC was ready to lower the axe. With Johnny Carson gone from The Tonight Show and Jay Leno more of a company man, the time was possibly right to bring Tonight Show reruns back to Saturday night. They wouldn't produce higher ratings, but they'd be much cheaper. Lorne Michaels set to work to convince skeptical NBC executives to renew the show.

Regardless of their future popularity, NBC was unimpressed with Lorne's cast and wanted them all fired- Lorne had to choose between his cast or his show. He chose the show. David Spade, Chris Farley- pretty much everyone except for Tim Meadows. Even Adam Sandler was shown the door; unceremoniously fired from the show.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

FIRED! Shannon Doherty

Shannon Doherty holds a special spot on our dishonor roll- she was actually fired twice from two high priority roles.


Her first lost role was on Beverly Hills 90210. Other than Married... With Children and The Simpsons, 90210 was one of Fox's biggest hits. The cast enjoyed huge salaries and even had a toy line. Rather than enjoy her newfound success, Ms. Doherty soon became a pain to work with, reporting to set late and making ridiculous demands. When she insisted on a car to drive her across the street during a shoot the network had enough. Ms. Doherty was fired, her character going to study overseas and never returning. Unwilling to accept any blame for her situation, Shannon claimed, of all things, that Fox fired her because of her conservative views. 

By 1998, Shannon had somewhat repaired her bad reputation. The WB Network would come calling, casting her in the drama Charmed. This time, Shannon promised she would behave, but it didn't last. She soon ran afoul of her co-stars and the network. Rather than let things get too bad, The WB chose to nip the problem in the bud. Shannon was quickly fired- again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FIRED! Brett Butler

In the 1990's, ABC found great success with a formula it created in the late 1980's- find a popular stand upcomic then build a sitcom around them. It worked originally with Roseanne Barr, then Tim Allen, Drew Carey and even Brett Butler.


Brett Butler's southern charm and dry wit transferred well to television and her show was successful. Ms. Butler, however, had a substance abuse problem that resulted in her taking control in the worst way possible- by ordering the firing of the man who created it. Behind the scenes, she engaged in boorish behavior, exposing her breasts to the young man who played her son. (He was replaced by an older actor the next season.) Soon Ms. Butler's behavior became too bad to ignore. Production on Grace Under Fire halted while she dried out in a network required drug rehab.

Things seemed to get better the second time around. A stronger supporting cast was introduced to lessen the stress on Ms. Butler. Everything unraveled at a taping of the show. While a contingent of network executives watched, Brett flew into a rage at a production assistant, throwing items and using profanity in front of the live studio audience. This was the last straw. She was fired and her show was canceled.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FIRED! John Amos

When Norman Lear first approached John Amos and Esther Rolle to play the leads in a comedy about the projects, they were ecstatic. Mr. Lear was considered to be a Titan of television whose productions often shone a serious light on important issues. Truly, this opportunity would produce Good Times for all involved.


Their joy quickly turned sour. Audiences seemed to embrace the buffoonish JJ who was played by Jimmy Walker. Rather than concentrate on the serious topics that Mr. Amos and Ms. Rolle were originally promised, the show became The JJ Dyn-o-mite Show! Amos and Rolle expressed their anger to CBS, sitting things out and halting production on the show. The network decided to offer the duo raises to get them to return. They both agreed, though the network had a change of heart when it came to John Amos. With at least one parental unit locked down to return, they decided to make an example of Mr. Amos. He was fired from the show and his character killed off. Good Times indeed.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fired! Suzanne Somers

Getting fired can be an embarrassing thing. Imagine if you're fired in a hugely public way where everyone knows it happened? It happens in the world of television more often than you'd think.


In the 1970's, ABC was firing on all cylinders. Happy Days, Love Boat, Charlie's Angels, Laverne and Shirley and many other hits made people forget about how ABC had begun life as a third wheel also-ran to the biggies. One of its biggest hits was Three's Company, a jiggle fest featuring two hot young ladies "shacking up" with a young man. The biggest star to come from the show was Suzanne Somers, who provided plenty of eye candy and the jiggliest jiggles. 

Despite signing a contract, Ms. Somers began to feel that she was owed a lot more than ABC was paying her. She staged a sick out to prove how important she was to the show. Rather than reward her by giving into her demands, ABC decided to make an example of her. When Suzanne returned, she was relegated to being away, only seen as calling in from time to time. Eventually she was released from her contract, replaced with a new blonde. The situation was deadly for Ms. Somers' career. She would eventually apologize to ABC for her behavior, though that might have been because she wanted a role on the network's TGIF sitcom Step By Step.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Google!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a special presentation...




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Are You Being Served? The Next Generation

The BBC has released the first picture from the set of the new Are You Being Served?


We previously featured the new cast at this link.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Saturday Nights with Roseanne

Stung by its embarrassing and expensive late night failure with Chevy Chase, Fox was eager to get something going on late nights. Saturday Night Live was coming off a lackluster season and almost found itself completely canceled. NBC had insisted that Lorne Michaels fire nearly everyone and retool if he wanted the show to continue. Fox saw an opening, but instead of choosing one potential comedy show, it chose to put two into production. The first show it considered had built in name recognition. Based on the famed satirical magazine, Mad TV would get the first shot at taking down Saturday Night Live.

The most 1990's picture you'll ever see outside of Friends.

The show would make great inroads against SNL. Since FOX was able to clear an 11-Midnight time slot, viewers could sample a full half-hour of the show before SNL even started. Successful but not quite a knockout punch, FOX chose to give its other show a shot- Roseanne Barr's Saturday Night Special.


In the mid-1990's, Roseanne Barr could pretty much do anything she wanted. Flush with success and cash from her eponymous sitcom, anyone and everyone in Hollywood would drop everything to speak with her about anything she liked. And in 1996, Roseanne Barr liked sketch comedy. Featuring future standouts Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Griffin, the show was hyped by Roseanne as being an SNL killer. It wouldn't live up to Roseanne's lofty claims; in fact, it wouldn't live up to Mad TV. By the end of the season the choice was clear. FOX would renew Mad TV and cancel Roseanne Barr's Saturday Night Special. Roseanne Barr's show, which she insisted would kill SNL actually had the opposite effect; Mad TV would not be able to maintain the momentum it was building before Roseanne's show took over its spot. Lorne was able to comfortably rebuild without Mad TV nipping at its heels for the second half of the season.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Waste Not...

Nowadays, when a television pilot is rejected, it often disappears forever, never to be seen again, outside of network screening rooms or television focus group panels. These pilots are very expensive, so they often signify millions of dollars in wasted effort. In the not too distant past, however, these pilots were often repurposed and recycled to try to recover some of that money.


While ABC's Love American Style did feature mostly new material, it often presented unsold pilots as episodes. This was a way to get some use out of the rejected pilots. Perhaps the most famous episode of Love American Style was the original rejected pilot for Happy Days.

Sometimes a network will actually make a handful of episodes before making the decision to kill it. In the case of hour long dramas, they were often packaged together into films. The benefit of repackaging them this way is that they often can be repeated or sold overseas as major theatrical films. One notorious film that found new life this way was Master Ninja, which also had the added bonus of featuring Demi Moore.


While this practice has mostly disappeared, there is one more recent film that began life as a pilot- Mulholland Drive. The David Lynch film was originally supposed to be an ABC drama series, but when it was rejected, he was encouraged to recut it as a theatrical film. It went on to win numerous awards from audiences who were none the wiser as to its less auspicious beginnings.