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December 18, 2014

all in the family

MENSA chairman picks the ten smartest shows of all-time

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 18th 2008 9:01AM

Mad About YouEverybody loves lists, even MENSA members.

Jim Werdell, the chairman of the brainy group, has picked what he considers the ten smartest TV shows of all-time. While some of the shows are no-brainers (ha!), I'm not quite sure why he picks some of the shows he does. The full list is after the jump, along with my suggestions for other shows that should be there.

I mean, seriously...Mad About You?!

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TV Obits: Knievel, Tolkin, Mercer

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 1st 2007 11:20AM

EvelA roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.

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The five best lineups in TV history

by Paul Goebel, posted Apr 16th 2007 12:58PM

Carol BurnettWelcome to TV Squad Lists (formerly 'The Five'), a feature where each blogger has a chance to list his or her own rundown of things in television that stand out from the rest, both good and bad.

Even before "Must-See TV" networks made an attempt to capture a particular demographic with a killer lineup of TV shows. (Bob's done one of these lists in the past.) What follows is a list of the best TV lineups in history.

1. CBS Saturday, 1973: All in the Family, M*A*S*H*, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show. All classics. If this lineup were on today, it would still get huge ratings. It's hard for most folks to remember when these shows were originally on and it's even harder to believe that they were once all on in the same night. It makes me wonder what the other networks were showing or why they even bothered.

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TV Obits: Roscoe Lee Browne, Edward Mallory, John P. Ryan

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 14th 2007 1:54PM

Roscoe Lee BrowneA new weekly feature here at TV Squad, as we list some recent deaths of those involved with TV, on screen and behind the scenes.

  • Roscoe Lee Browne: The veteran actor appeared in a number of TV shows, including All in the Family, Benson, Columbo, Mannix, The Invaders, Will and Grace, and a voice actor in cartoons. He was a classically trained film and theater actor as well. He died April 11 in L.A. of cancer at age 81.
  • Stan Daniels: He co-created Taxi and won several Emmys for that show and his writing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He died of heart failure on April 6 at age 72.

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Not all TV is classic TV

by Paul Goebel, posted Apr 10th 2007 11:58AM

Mike, Davy, Peter & MickyI have often said that all television falls into two categories, good and bad. However, I have recently discovered that television can also be categorized as classic and non-classic. But there's a catch.

When I was growing up, there wasn't a lot of good TV due to the fact that there were only three networks (four if you count PBS, which I certainly didn't). Consequently, local affiliates had no choice but to fill their daytime schedules with reruns of popular sitcoms like The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island and The Monkees. These shows and shows like them have become classics almost by default. Bottom line: when an entire generation can sing the theme song of a show, it's a classic.

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Bill Clinton's a 24 fan, but Grey's is his favorite

by Meredith O'Brien, posted Mar 26th 2007 4:21PM
Bill Clinton While critics may heap criticism on the torture-heavy Fox thriller 24, a former commander in chief -- and spouse of a current Democratic presidential candidate -- is a fan of watching Jack Bauer hunt down terrorists.

Former President Bill Clinton said even though 24 is run by "an uber right-wing guy" (referring to producer Joel Surnow), he thinks the show is fair in making both Democrats and Republicans look equally evil, according to a Reuters article.

Of other contemporary programs, Clinton said he's fond of Boston Legal and that his McFavorite is Grey's Anatomy. (Wonder where he stands on the Callie-Izzie contretemps?)

The Hollywood Reporter also said Clinton likes watching TV Land -- I Love Lucy, All in the Family and Bonanza -- because his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is frequently away campaigning and it gives "me something to do at night."

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Mike Evans dead at 57

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 22nd 2006 12:27PM

The JeffersonsYou'll remember Evans from his role as Lionel Jefferson on All In The Family and the spinoff show The Jeffersons. He died of throat cancer last week in California.

Besides his role as Lionel, Evans also appeared in The Streets of San Francisco, Rich Man, Poor Man, Love, American Style, Match Game, and Walker, Texas Ranger. He was also one of the creators and writers of the sitcom Good Times.

I had forgotten this, but he was actually replaced as Lionel Jefferson on The Jeffersons for four years, in the late 70s. He was replaced by Damon Evans, then returned to the show for the last couple of years.

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What baby boomers learned from TV

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 7th 2006 11:01AM
All in the FamilyNewsweek's November 13th issue features a story on what television taught baby boomers. Apparently, it first taught them how to buy a Davy Crockett cap and shotgun. Then, however, things got more complicated. All in the Family. M*A*S*H. Good Times. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Roots. "What boomers ultimately took from early TV was a collective sense of irony." The article isn't entirely convincing in this argument, but it does level a pointed criticism about television today.

Modern TV, according to Newsweek, has lost its edge. "The most popular shows are still crime procedurals (CSI) or soaps (Grey's Anatomy) - slick and sexy, but not about much. The reality shows American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are so retro, they're practically The Lawrence Welk Show. When The Unit or 24 does dare to focus on something like the war on terror, their take is uncritically gung-ho - no network today would risk satire on the level of M*A*S*H."

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Family Guy: Stewie Loves Lois (season premiere)

by Brett Love, posted Sep 11th 2006 7:19AM
Family Guy - Robin(S06E01) Family Guy is back, and it's like they never left. That could just be because of my penchant for watching adult swim every night before bed though. Anyway... the episode kicks off with a newscast. We find out that Quahog is suffering from a flu epidemic. After cutting to Trisha, who is puking in the toilet, they send it back to Robin Hood, Boy Wonder. And that kicks off our theme for the night, a series of retro gags. Robin arrives on the scene where a group of girls in a car are teetering on the edge of a cliff. Upon seeing Robin come to their rescue, they're unimpressed. There is a no cell service joke about him being useless, but I thought it would have been funnier if he kicked them over the edge.

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The Five: Awesome TV jerks

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 22nd 2006 8:01AM

mr. burnsIf everyone was nice, life would get pretty boring, wouldn't it? The television landscape is full of characters who made shows more interesting by doing what they do best: annoying the living hell out of everyone else. There's a lot to choose from, so share some of your favorites in the comments. Below are some of my personal faves:

Major Frank Burns: Alan Alda gets a lot of credit for his acting chops and his portrayal of Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, but Larry Linville deserves just as much, if not more, credit for his role as Frank Burns during the show's early years. Yes, he was a jerk, and yes, he was self-centered and only cared about doing what was in his best interest, but beneath it all was a very real vulnerability, a man who still held on to the childhood notion that the world owed him something. Maintaining that balance is not easy, but Linville did it perfectly.

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The science behind television pilots -- market research

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 7th 2006 8:36AM

ASI Media CenterThe journey to get a television show from concept to eventual broadcast is a harrowing one. You have an idea, you prepare a spec summary for the network; they review the proposal and ask for a script. You (with help from others, most likely) prepare a script to send back to the network; they review the script and ask for a filmed pilot. You blow a big was of cash to create that pilot. Through a miracle of God the show gets picked up by the network.

At this point you're probably thinking Emmy and a juicy syndication package. Everything is going your way. Well, actually, no. You see, there's one more stop on the road to getting your show onto the big picture box. One stop that producers dread, but need to make in order to ensure some sort of chance to have their show stay on the air longer than two weeks. It's the small theater with people off of the street; pencils in their hands, a survey sheet nearby. I am talking about the neighborhood market research panel.

In this case, ASI Entertainment, Hollywood's oldest and most frequently-used audience testing location. Established back in 1966, ASI gages the reaction of regular folks for any number of television pilots that make it to the precipice of network pickup. From those reactions producers of those pilots make determinations on whether or not anything should be changed or if it is good to go for broadcast.


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The Five: Favorite TV lineups of all-time

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 22nd 2006 5:17PM
Bob Newhart Show1. CBS, Saturday nights, 1970s: Come on, how can you miss with shows like Bob Newhart, All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, and The Carol Burnett Show. I think Carol Burnett was one of the first shows that my mom let me stay up late to watch.

2. ABC, Friday nights, 1970s: The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Yeah, that's right, The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family! You got a problem with that? My sister and I would go down to the corner store and stock up on candy, chips, and ice cream, and then race home to watch Marcia get hit in the nose with a football. Good times.

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Another sad Hollywood tale

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 15th 2006 3:24PM
Good TimesRather interesting piece over at The Los Angeles Times, about Eric Monte, a writer who created such television classics as Good Times and What's Happening, wrote the 70s film Cooley High, wrote for Moesha and The Wayan Brothers, and even created the characters of George and Louise Jefferson on All in the Family.

He is now homeless and living in a shelter in Los Angeles.

Part of it is because of a bad crack addiction he had (he's clean now), but a lot of it was because of a series of strokes he had, plus a lawsuit he filed against Norman Lear, Bud Yorkin, CBS, and ABC for stealing his ideas for Good Times, What's Happening, and other projects (he got a million dollar settlement, years ago).

This is also, as Lee Goldberg says, a cautionary tale about the world of self-publishing. Monte spent thousands of his own money to publish and market a book, but no one was interested in it.

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Franklin Cover dead at 77

by Anna Johns, posted Feb 10th 2006 8:24AM
franklin cover deadFranklin Cover, perhaps best known as Tom Willis, George and Louise Jefferson's white neighbor on The Jeffersons, has died. Cover was being treated for a heart condition at the Lillian Booth Actor's Fund of America home in California. Besides a regular gig on The Jeffersons, Cover also appeared in The Jackie Gleason Show, All in the Family, Who's the Boss?, Will & Grace, Living Single, Mad About You,  and ER. What an awesome resume. He leaves behind a wife, Mary, a son and a daughter.

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New TV on DVD releases today

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jan 3rd 2006 10:16AM
Every Tuesday morning here on TV Squad , we will highlight the week's TV-on-DVD releases. Some noteworthy releases today, January 3, 2006:

  • alien nation cast 1st & Ten - Season 1; Season 2
  • Alien Nation - The Complete Series
  • All in the Family - The Complete 5th Season
  • Gunsmoke - 50th Anniversary Edition - Volume 1; 50th Anniversary Edition - Volume 2; 50th Anniversary Edition Giftset
  • Have Gun Will Travel - Season 3
  • Hunter - Season 3
  • Silk Stalkings - Season 4

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