1979, TV Show


My coworkers seem to think ...

Question: My coworkers seem to think CBS' The Class is connected to Friends. One says it is a spin-off, and another said she saw the opening credits on the Internet and the cast is dancing in a fountain, just like the opening of Friends. What can I tell them? Answer: The only connection between The Class and Friends (beyond the fact that I like both of them) is that the new CBS comedy is cocreated by David Crane, who performed a similar function on Friends. These characters are not related to the Friends characters at all, except that a few of these former classmates show signs of being as endearingly quirky and lovable as Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Joey and Monica. Not even CBS would go so far as to call this the next Friends, which I'm not sure is even possible. But it's one of my favorite new comedies for the fall season (though a number of people in my office were left cold by it) ... read more

I'm a little worried about ...

Question: I'm a little worried about all of the new characters that will be introduced in the upcoming season of Lost. It seems to me that most successful shows tend to revolve around a consistent group of characters: M*A*S*H, Friends, etc. I know ER has some success with a rotating cast, but Lost seems to lend itself to singling out each character and telling that person's story. But it feels like they're slowly giving up on some of the original characters and introducing new ones for the sake of more flashbacks. What is your take? Answer: My take is that it's way too early to judge, and that I lean toward giving Lost a chance to prove itself before we jump to conclusions. What's safe to say is that Lost will get hammered no matter what it does. Too many stories about the original characters, and there will be griping that the show isn't moving forward fast enough. Too many new tangents with new characters and story lines, and there will be griping that the show has changed too much. ... read more

Could Matthew Perry Be Any Busier?

Matthew Perry, The Ron Clark Story

TNT's The Ron Clark Story (Sunday at 8 pm/ET), starring Matthew Perry, follows the real-life story of an energetic, creative and idealistic young teacher who leaves his small North Carolina hometown to teach in a New York City public school. (All kinds of crazy, right?) Bringing with him some inspirational classroom rules (e.g., "Be the best person you can be"), a few innovative teaching techniques and an undying devotion, Clark is able to make a remarkable difference in the lives of his students. And in doing so, Perry, many will find, is able to warm your heart and maybe even bring a tear to your eye in the final act. Surveying Clark's impact on his charges, Perry says, "These are all kids who could have easily given up and gone on the wrong side of the tracks and lived a much harder life, so the messa read more

Natalie and Ivan Dance Off into the Sunset

Natalie Fotopoulos and Ivan Koumaev, So You Think You Can Dance

The latest castoffs from Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (tonight at 9 pm, the winner is announced Aug. 16 at 8 pm/ET) acted positively cheery when they were sent home last week: Natalie Fotopoulos let out a big fat Greek "Oopah!" while Ivan Koumaev playfully pinched Benji Schwimmer on the butt. The day after their dismissal, caught up with the "Nativan" (as the 22-year-old jazz dancer and 18-year-old hip-hopper have taken to calling themselves) to find out how making it to the final six has affected them personally and professionally, and where we might se read more

Everyone keeps saying Scrubs ...

Question: Everyone keeps saying Scrubs is a mistreated show. Doesn't NBC deserve a little credit for keeping it on the air for a sixth year? Scrubs couldn't hold much of the audience when it got a shot after Friends, but NBC has stuck with it anyway and has given the writers a good amount of freedom. I love the show and am thrilled to see it live on, but I'm a little sick of TV critics saying how mistreated it is when it's gotten well over 100 episodes, and when other networks would have given up on it by now. Poor little Scrubs. If that is being mistreated, what do you call the treatment given to shows canceled after one season, or worse, a handful of episodes? How about giving some credit where it is due? Answer: All valid points, but still, for NBC to bench Scrubs for half a season two years in a row seems like killing it with kindness. Especially at a time when the show has finally crossed the Emmy threshold with nominations for best comedy series, and this fall it would pair up so ... read more

Kudrow's Comeback: "We Don't Feel Done"

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

For those of you who Valerie Cherish'd HBO's The Comeback, here something to make you say, "I wanna see that!" The single-season look at a onetime sitcom queen's bid for a return to fame arrives on DVD this week, complete with extras, including an update on the horrific role Val has since been offered and a look at her Dancing with the Stars stint. spoke with cocreator Lisa Kudrow, Emmy-nominated for playing the hapless actress, about her ongoing Comeback, Valerie's A-list "Angel" of a fan, and Madonna stealing her hair. read more

Can you tell me why there are ...

Question: Can you tell me why there are so many talent-based shows this summer? Especially on Wednesdays. I looked in the listings sections, and there are at least four talent shows at 8 pm/ET on Wednesday. Don't people know that if they shove the same thing down our throats, we'll eventually get tired of it? I say we cut it back to only one show on Wednesdays at 8: So You Think You Can Dance. What's your take on this phenomenon? Answer: It is ridiculous, isn't it? But cloning comes naturally to the networks. Look at the glut of procedural dramas. Think back to all of the Friends knockoffs. If something works, all of the networks want to get in the game, innovation and creativity be damned. And nothing works on a grander scale than American Idol, so why be surprised when a tidal wave of amateur-hour talent contests invades the lineup, especially in the summer? It's almost comical when you see Dance go up against America's Got Talent, Rock Star: Supernova and now The One, all on the same ... read more

I have a comment on a ...

Question: I have a comment on a topic that I've never seen you address, and I could be the only one who feels this way. With so many new shows in the fall, it's really hard sometimes to keep them all straight, and the names of the shows often make this more difficult. They're not very distinctive! Last season, there were three sci-fi shows premiering, and they all had one-word names: Invasion, Threshold and Surface. I could never keep straight which one was on which network, and even though I had read your reviews and knew that you endorsed one especially, I could never remember which one. For this coming fall I've counted eight new series with one-word titles, and none of them are very distinguishable (Vanished, Standoff, Justice, Smith, Jericho, Shark, Traveler, Kidnapped). Just a note to the networks: If I need a visual aid to remember which shows I want to check out, I'm not likely to watch — unless they become hits and the name is repeated enough to remind me. Not a very good ... read more

This TV Season's Winners and Losers!

Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy, Matt LeBlanc of Joey

Put a fork in the 2005-06 TV season. For the fourth straight year, CBS was crowned the most watched network, with an average of 12.6 million viewers per week. Fox was able to crow as well — for the second year in a row it was No. 1 among viewers ages 18 to 49, the group most coveted by advertisers. ABC didn't come up with a new hit, but its audience grew as Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Desperate Housewives remained hot, and Dancing with the Stars read more

Thursday-Night Lights
The networks get ready for a prime-time war

Howie Mandel, Deal or No Deal

The networks and ad buyers on Madison Avenue are deep in negotiations over the price of commercial time for next fall's prime-time schedule, and at least a third of their $9 billion take (that is, the networks hope it'll be that much) will be spent on Thursday night. That explains why so many good shows this fall will be airing on the same night. It's looking like one of the great network-scheduling steel-cage matches in history: Grey's Anatomy vs. CSI vs. Deal or No Deal all battling it out at 9 pm/ET. ABC could have gotten higher ratings if it left read more

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Premiered: March 25, 1979, on ABC
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Premise: Dramedy about the growing pains experiened by three suburban 11-year-olds.



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