Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saturday Night (Truly) Live

After a successful experiment late last season, airing Saturday Night Live truly live in all U.S. time zones for the first time ever, NBC has announced that the adjusted time slots are here to stay.

Starting with the season 43 opener on September 30 -- with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z -- each episode will air as always on the East Coast (live at 11:30 PM), and simultaneously in each of the other time zones -- meaning at 10:30 PM Central, 9:30 PM Mountain and 8:30 PM Pacific.  Then, to fill up the remainder of the Mountain and Pacific markets' Saturday nights, SNL will be repeated at 11:30.

For us on the West Coast, it means the chance to see the live version, warts and all.  So if something slips getting bleeped, now we'll all get to see, rather than just the lucky folks back East!

Below, the NBC press release from earlier today:


‘SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’ IS STAYING LIVE FROM COAST TO COAST

NEW YORK — Sept. 19, 2017 — NBC’s Emmy Award-winning “Saturday Night Live” will once again air live simultaneously around the country beginning with the highly anticipated season 43 premiere on Sept. 30 with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z.

Each episode will air live at:
11:30 p.m. Eastern
10:30 p.m. Central
9:30 p.m. Mountain
8:30 p.m. Pacific

For the Mountain and Pacific time zones, “SNL” will be repeated at 11:30 p.m.

The live coast-to-coast airings that began in April grew 11% in “live plus same day” viewership versus what “SNL” was averaging earlier in the season (8.3 million vs. 7.5 million, according to Nielsen Media Research), indicating strong interest in the formerly tape-delayed markets to see the show live.

“Saturday Night Live” is produced in association with Broadway Video. The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels.

Need a Refresher Before Will & Grace next Thursday?

For those of us dying to see the return, after 11 years off the air, of Will & Grace on Thursday, Sept. 28, here's a little taste to keep us going, and to remind us of the eight great seasons we had.

This afternoon, the Human Rights Campaign, an organization the W&G creators and cast have long supported, circulated the video below, featuring interview snippets about how the show came to be.




And for even more behind-the-scenes stories and clips, check out tonight's Paley Center for Media-produced tribute to Will & Grace, airing at 10PM Eastern/Pacific on NBC.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm So Glad We'll Have More Time Together

When The Carol Burnett Show first aired on CBS fifty years ago today, on September 11, 1967, few of us probably could imagine a date in 2017, way into the 21st Century, or the show's long-lasting impact.

Even Carol herself was just initially thinking of the show on a short-term basis -- because the show was actually an unintended result of a little-noticed clause in Burnett’s contract for The Garry Moore Show wherein CBS promised the musical comedy actress her own program.  But from such inauspicious beginnings, Burnett and her talented ensemble cast of Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner soon became a hit, averaging 30 million viewers per week and ultimately winning 25 Emmy Awards.

And now, even though The Carol Burnett Show has been off the air for several generations, Burnett told me in a 2012 interview that she still gets mail "from teenagers -- even 11-year-olds -- who write me because they've seen individual sketches on YouTube.  They're the sweetest letters, saying 'We heard about this show from our parents' or 'our grandparents. We wish we could have been there at the beginning.'"

The timing of the 50th Anniversary celebration is part of a perfect Carol Burnett storm happening in 2017, reminiscent of the big year another then-octogenarian icon, Betty White, experienced in 2010.  In July, Netflix announced a new unscripted series, A Little Help with Carol Burnett, in which the comedy legend joins a panel of 4- to 8-year old kids to give life advice.  And this past spring, Carol shot the pilot for Household Name, a multi-camera sitcom in which she plays a deliciously haughty 92-year-old movie queen living with a non-showbiz family in her Los Angeles manse; having attended the May pilot taping, I can attest that the show was hilarious, which is why it was surprising when ABC did not pick it up to series at the time of its May upfront presentation.  Still, the show is currently being redeveloped by its creator, Michael Saltzman, and the network, which was thrilled with Carol's work, hopes to pick it up in the future. 

There have been studies in the past showing that in bad economic times, comedy flourishes; and someday, I'm sure, sociologists will study 2017, and see how the anxiety of the Trump era drove us all towards the comfort of safe, nostalgic programming.  Netflix already has had several seasons of success with its Fuller House, and now this season on the broadcast networks we have upcoming reboots of '90s sitcoms Roseanne and Will & Grace.  Just the other day, ABC picked up a pilot for a new version of its 1981 show Greatest American Hero -- which wasn't even a hit in its day, but remains beloved by its fans nonetheless -- this time with a female, Indian-American lead.  Suddenly, everything old is new again.

And so this December 3, CBS is celebrating the Golden Anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show -- a little late, but perfectly timed to catch us in a nostalgic, holiday mood.  The star-studded tribute will tape next month in Los Angeles.  Below, CBS' press announcement about the special honoring their comedy icon.


Sept. 7, 2017

CBS CELEBRATES THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLASSIC, AWARD-WINNING COMEDY PROGRAM “THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW”
WITH A NEW STAR-STUDDED TWO-HOUR SPECIAL

“The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special” to Air Sunday, Dec. 3

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Carol Burnett, Original Cast Members Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, Costume Designer Bob Mackie, along with Celebrities Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno, Jane Lynch, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short and More Will Commemorate the Groundbreaking Show

CBS will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carol Burnett’s classic, award-winning comedy series with THE CAROL BURNETT 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, a new two-hour star-studded event featuring Burnett, original cast members and special guests, on Sunday, Dec. 3 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Filming on Stage 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the show’s original soundstage, Burnett will reminisce about her favorite sketches, Q&As with the studio audience, guest stars, her memorable wardrobe and bloopers, as well as the tremendous effect the show continues to have on television today as a true pioneer of sketch comedy.

“I can’t believe how fast the time went, and what makes me the happiest is that so much of the funny stuff we did still holds up today, and we can share it with generations to come,” said Carol Burnett. “What a great ride!”

“‘The Carol Burnett Show’ was a comedy showcase that was years ahead of its time. If social media existed then, clips from the broadcast would have quickly gone viral,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation. “We are very proud of the show’s significant place in CBS’ legacy, as well as in television history, and we look forward to this primetime celebration of incredible talent, led by the incomparable Carol Burnett.”

The special will also feature original cast members Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, costume designer Bob Mackie, as well as other comedians, comic actors and friends, including Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno, Jane Lynch, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, among others, who will join Burnett to discuss how the revolutionary series paved the way for them and impacted their careers.

“The Carol Burnett Show” premiered on Sept. 11, 1967 and starred Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway. Airing for 11 seasons and a total of 276 episodes, the show earned a total of 25 Primetime Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Variety-Music/Comedy Series. In addition, the show earned eight Golden Globe Awards, including one for Best Television Show – Comedy or Musical, and Burnett received four for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical.

THE CAROL BURNETT 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL will be produced for television by dick clark productions. Carol Burnett, Steve Sauer, Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Paul Miller and Leslie Kolins Small are executive producers. Paul Miller directs.

CHEAT TWEET: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of #TheCarolBurnettShow! 2-hour star studded special event on Dec. 3! #CarolBurnett50