On Sunday at 8 PM ET, he co-stars in The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, the third in the Librarian series that has become a nice little franchise for TNT. He plays Judson, who acts as a guide and mentor to Noah Wyle's character of Flynn Carsen, a librarian who acts more like Indiana Jones than the person who stamps the insides of new books.
I spoke to Newhart by phone last week; we discussed the movie, shooting in New Orleans, his recent penchant for memorable supporting roles, and if he thinks the multi-camera sitcom has a future.
Participating television (and movie) writers include Lester Lewis (The Office), Rob Kutner (The Daily Show), Stephen E. de Souza (Die Hard), Karen Harris (General Hospital) and Ron Corcillo (Malcolm in the Middle). Acting talent involved with the programming include Bob Newhart, Timothy Dalton and Kristen Wiig.
"What is this channel that plays all these old shows I remember as a kid?" I asked the TV Gods.
"It's AmericanLife," they replied. "They feature classic family shows aimed at Baby Boomers -- shows like Remington Steele, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Lost in Space, and Welcome Back, Kotter."
Ok, the TV Gods didn't really say that. I looked it up on the AmericanLife Web site, not to be confused with Showtime's This American Life, the fab documentary series hosted by Ira Glass.
As AOL Television continues their look at the 50 Best TV Comedies -- Ever with their Top 10, we here at TV Squad are also looking at television comedy, but with a slightly skewed difference. Last week, we took a look at the Saturday Night Live cast members from 1996 to 2006 that made it to the big time. This week, we get a bit more serious.
There are those in the industry who say that it is easier to go from acting in a drama to acting in a comedy than it is the other way around. Yet, as you will see from the list we've compiled after the jump, there are plenty of comedic actors who have jumped from the world of comedy films, stand-up comedy, and television sitcoms into the more serious world of drama. In many cases they have had even greater success than they did on the other side of the tracks. There have even been instances where they stayed in the drama genre and never went back to being funny.
The Bob Newhart Show
Recently, when the American Masters did a special about Bob Newhart, they showed footage from The Bob Newhart Show. No, not the one with Suzanne Pleshette as Emily. They had clips from the 1961-62 Bob Newhart Show on NBC. It was a variety hour, showcasing many of his now classic routines. It looked really funny, filled with his inspired sketches and bits. And it was critically acclaimed, too, winning Emmy and Peabody awards. Naturally, NBC canceled it after just one season. I'd love to think that there's enough footage from those shows to create a DVD.
There's former 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins will star in The Ride of Her Life; Jacqueline Bisset has a holiday pic in the works called Thanksgiving Reunion, which will air in November; and Pam Grier, Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch) and Donna Mills (Knots Landings) will headline Ladies of the House, about three women from the same church who team up on a home renovation project.
Television buffs should know that the catchy theme to the Bob Newhart Show, written by Lorenzo Music, is titled "Home to Emily," but I added that "funky" to the title of this post because what I found on YouTube is not the original theme, but a funk version recorded by the Inner City Jam Band.
The music comes from a YouTube channel belonging to a vinyl collector, and I think it's pretty cool. I kept imagining Bob strutting through Chicago in bellbottom pants and a gigantic afro, and everyone on the series replacing the ubiquitous "hi, Bob" with "hi, Funky Bob." You can skip to about 1:38 to hear the actual song in its entirety, or you can listen to VinylJunkie's introduction and stare at his insane collection of records. Seriously, that's a pretty sweet collection.
Like a lot of people, I'll be out there today spending cash and gift cards I got yesterday. There are a lot of TV-oriented books released every year, and many of them are quite good. Some of them are downright terrible (*cough* TWOP *cough*), but let's focus on the good ones. Below is a list of 10 great TV books to give the TV addict in your family.
1. Hello, Lied The Agent, by Ian Gurvitz: Excellent behind-the-scenes look at how the TV industry works, from a writer/producer of such shows as Wings, Becker, and Get A Life. He talks about the dos and don'ts for Hollywood writers, pitch meetings, cancellations, shows the journal he kept a few years ago, and even talks about the new shows that have debuted in the past couple of years. Very informative and just really, really funny.
Well, not that early, considering it premieres tonight on TNT. But it is early enough to let you know that if you are fan of the first Librarian film you will probably like the second installment as well. And, even if you never saw the first one you'll still enjoy it.
For those who are unfamiliar with the film series, The Librarian stars Noah Wyle (ER's Doctor John Carter) as Flynn Carson, holder of 22 college degrees and 'librarian' of the Metropolitan Public Library. Actually, Flynn's job is to find and protect historical and sometime magical items that are stored in the special section of the library. His position of librarian takes him around the world in search of said items, and it sometimes leads to situations no normal librarian would be involved with. I mean, librarians usually aren't held at gunpoint by villains whose books are overdue.
Everything you need to know about the web site Television Without Pity - and why I hate it so much - can be found in the subtitle of their new book. It's called Television Without Pity: 752 Things We Love To Hate (And Hate To Love) About Television.
Why does it have to be like that? Why do they either have to "love to hate" or "hate to love" what they see on television? Is it not "hip" to really like television? I've long suspected that these people don't really like TV, they just find it a convenient place to use all of their snarky tools and be sarcastic. Of course, that doesn't mean that a book about television, even from them, couldn't hold some promise. But reading through the damn thing, this is what I found out about TWoP's view of television.
If I were to pick 10 of my favorite TV people of all-time, my list would include people like Rod Serling, Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, everyone behind The Simpsons, and, of course, American Idol judge Paula Abdul.
OK, I'm kidding about that last one.
But also on that list would be veteran comic Bob Newhart. Not only did he star in two great classic sitcoms (The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart), and a third underrated one (George & Leo), he's also a brilliant standup comic. He even had the #1 album and won a Grammy, beating out people like Frank Sinatra. He's funny, has a unique style, and just seems like a helluva decent guy.
- The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete 3rd Season
- Farscape - Starburst Edition - Volume 9 (3.3)
- In Living Color - Season 5
- The Merv Griffin Show - 40 of the Most Interesting People of Our Time
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