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April 16, 2014

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Best '90s TV Shows

by Kim Potts, posted Feb 9th 2009 1:00PM
We know, we know ... another "best of" list.

But this isn't any old list – our Top 40 TV Shows of the '90s is just the first in a new series of countdowns in which we'll put our AOL Television seal of approval on the top 40 series of every decade.

Every other month we'll tackle another decade, going all the way back to the '50s, to recall the best comedies (hello 'Lucy'), the best prime-time soaps (do you remember who shot JR?), the best cop shows, animated series and groundbreaking TV shows.

So kick off 50 years of silver-screen bests with the greatest shows of the '90s, including everyone from 'Beavis,' 'Buffy' and 'Simpsons' to 'Freaks and Geeks' and teens on the 'Creek.'

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Five shows I've been watching again lately

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 22nd 2009 10:56AM
Home ImprovementIf you watch a lot of TV like I do, you often go through patterns. You'll drift away from a show for many months or even years, and then you start watching an episode one night and find yourself watching the show on a regular basis again (I'm talking about watching the shows on TV, not DVD). Here are a list of shows that I've found myself watching again recently, usually at 1 in the morning when I should be in bed.

1. Home Improvement. What a good show this was, and the type of show you don't see much of anymore, a sitcom shot on video in front of a live audience (most filmed-before-a-live-audience sitcoms today, like Gary Unmarried and Old Christine, have that film look). I think a lot of people dismiss this show because it was about a guy who was more into cars and tools than reading and emotion, but the show was a lot deeper than that.

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Grammer and Heaton: back to TV

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 7th 2009 6:06PM
back2Do you think there are times when Patricia Heaton wishes she was still working on Everybody Loves Raymond? What about Kelsey Grammer...don't you think there are days when he reflects on how lucky he was to have played Frasier Crane first on Cheers then on Frasier all those years, winning awards and having job security, critical acclaim, the knowledge that you were at the top of your game? That's not to say that either Patty or Kelsey are not on the top of their game now, but the failure of Fox's Back to You last season must have been a shock to the system.

Now they're both working on new sitcom projects and hoping for the best. Scrubs' Neil Flynn has joined Patricia Heaton in The Middles, an ABC sitcom pilot about a middle-class family living in middle America struggling in these tough economic times. They have three kids, too, just like the set up in Everybody Loves Raymond. Meanwhile, Kelsey Grammer's also doing comedy for ABC. The network has ordered a Grammer pilot about a corporate big shot who tries to reconnect with his estranged family.

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Four pairs of TV celebrities I always mix up

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 7th 2009 2:26PM
Paul McCrane and Dan Butler
Sarah Palin and Tina Fey aren't the only celebrities that people sometimes mix up. These two look a lot alike (more so when Fey has her hair a certain way, less so when she doesn't), but I often confuse two celebrities that don't even look alike in the slightest. Sometimes it's because they have similar names or have similar roles or a combination of both. Sometimes it's just because I don't see them that often and when one pops up I say to myself, "hey wait, is that _____ or _____?" Here's my list of eight people I often mix up. This must happen to you too, right?

1. Dan Butler and Paul McCrane. Both bald, both on hit NBC shows. Butler was horndog Bull on Frasier and McCrane was jerky, killed-by-copter Dr. Romano on ER. They really do look alike.

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What's On Tonight: Ab Fab, Man Vs. Food, Christmas Eve Mass

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 24th 2008 4:04PM
It's A Wonderful Life
  • TBS has A Christmas Story all night.
  • At 8, NBC has It's A Wonderful Life.
  • The CW has The Flight Before Christmas at 8, followed by The Story of Santa Claus.
  • ABC Family has the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas at 8.
  • Comedy Central has two Christmas episodes of Futurama at 8, then several Christmas episodes of South Park.
  • FOX News Channel has A Fox and Friends Christmas at 8.
  • Also at 8: Disney has The Santa Clause 2.
  • At 8:40, BBC America has a new Catherine Tate Christmas episode, followed by an Absolutely Fabulous Christmas special.
  • At 9, Lifetime has the movie The Christmas Shoes.
  • TruTV has a new Most Shocking at 9, then two new episodes of World's Wildest Vacation Videos.
  • Hallmark has the movie The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at 9.
  • Nickelodeon has two Christmas episodes of Home Improvement at 9.
  • Showtime has a new Inside The NFL at 9.
  • At 10, Travel Channel has a new Man vs. Food.
  • At 11, Lifetime has two Christmas episodes of Will & Grace, followed by two Christmas episodes of Frasier.
  • At 11:30, CBS and NBC has Christmas Eve Mass and music.
  • At 1am, ABC has Christmas Eve Mass and music also.

Check your local TV listings for more.

(Most of the late night talk shows are pre-empted or repeats tonight, except Charlie Rose.)

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TV Dogs Quiz

by Kim Potts, posted Jul 14th 2008 6:00AM
LassieWhich TV pooch released an autobiography called 'My Life as a Dog'?

Island-dwelling heroes, martini-swilling Ivy Leaguers and autobiography-penning sitcom actors ... we're talking, of course, about TV land's most beloved canine cohorts.

How much do you know about the most memorable prime-time pooches?

Take our quiz and find out! Be warned: it's "ruff" stuff.





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Wings: Behind the scenes - VIDEOS

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 10th 2008 10:20AM

Wings season 6"Deedee Chappel. Get ready to unzip your pants!" - Lowell

That's one of my favorite lines in TV history, and I'm happy to say it was uttered in a show I had the pleasure of being an extra in many years ago, NBC's Wings. A great friend of mine, Suzanne, worked on the show and, since I was going out to Los Angeles for a vacation, she got me on the set as an extra. The episode was titled "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" and guest-starred Debbie Reynolds. It was filmed in October of 1994 and aired on November 22.

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Frasier: Star Mitzvah - VIDEO

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 10th 2008 10:03AM
Frasier- Niles and FrasThe bar mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage, the time in a boy's life when he becomes a man -- symbolically -- by reading from the Torah. When a girl does the ritual, it's called a bat mitzvah. I mention all this because in TV, the bar/bat mitzvah has been the catalyst for some wonderful episodes, mostly on sitcoms.

The Simpsons celebrated Krusty the Klown's bar mitzvah in the episode "Today I Am A Klown," which was a variation on one of the all-time great sitcom bar mitzvahs of all time: the episode "Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy," on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Square Pegs shared "Muffy's Bat Mitzvah" with viewers, and this past season, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David used his friend Jeff Greene's daughter Sammi's bat mitzvah to announce that he never put a gerbil up his butt.

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Frasier: Three Valentines - VIDEO

by Debra McDuffee, posted Jul 9th 2008 1:19PM
David Hyde Pierce as Niles CraneDo not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of classic TV shows.

(S06E14)
It's awfully hard to pick a standout episode from a comedy like Frasier that lasted eleven seasons. There are so many that stand out for different reasons.

I picked 'Three Valentines' because:
  • It is a good example of classic Frasier foibles
  • Niles's cold open is a masterpiece in physical comedy, something we don't often see in Frasier episodes
  • The performances are top-notch: sensitive, masterful, spot-on
  • This episode is an example of perfect timing being a key to a sitcom's success
  • It is filmed in three acts, each allowing the characters featured to play up to their strengths perfectly.

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Where are they now: The employees and patrons of Cheers

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 9th 2008 10:03AM

The original Cheers cast -- Sam, Diane, Coach, Carla, Cliff, NormDo not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of classic TV shows.

Welcome back to TVSBTTHB (TV Squad Behind the True Hollywood Biography). For 11 years the bar simply known as Cheers was the place to go. Not only did everyone know your name (particularly if it was 'Norm'), but you were able to get a beer, a story about major league baseball's heyday, some homespun wisdom, a bunch of needless trivia from a postal worker, and perhaps a beer thrown into your face by a hormonal waitress who seems to have been very pregnant. When you left your wallet would be lighter, but a smile would crease your face.

Yet, once the last beer was sold and the final patron walked out the door the employees and patrons of that Boston bar disappeared into its narrow and winding streets, people have been asking the folks here at TVSBTTHB whatever happened to Sam, Diane, Norm, Cliff, and the rest of the Cheers gang. Now, after digging through mounds of beer kegs, Hungry Heifer napkins, and undelivered mail, we have discovered what happened to these folks who seemed to spend all of their waking hours in the bar.

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Jean Smart: The TV Squad interview

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 16th 2008 11:02AM
Jean SmartJean Smart is one of TV's most popular and prodigious actresses. Capable of doing comedy and drama equally well, it seems that not a season passes without Jean making her mark. This past year, she was wonderful as Christina Applegate's mother on Samantha Who?

The two-time Emmy winner (for guesting on Frasier), is likely to win an Emmy nomination, which I discussed with her recently. But what about her other TV work. Here's some thoughts about 24, Designing Women and other TV memories. And find out what she thinks is the best show ever on television!

Allison Waldman: What are your memories from playing Charlene Frazier on Designing Women?

Jean Smart: There are so many. Of course, meeting my husband (Richard Gilliland). I met him on the fifth episode and we hadn't even been on the air yet. I remember the chemistry that we all had together, which was so much fun. When my character got married on the show, I found out I was pregnant, so I got it in just under the wire. Charlene was a good Baptist girl, she couldn't be pregnant without being married.

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Retro Squad returns, new and improved

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jun 6th 2008 10:01AM
retro squad logoThe "big" shows are over, and now the typically low-key summer TV schedule begins. Oh sure, there are some real gems in there that are still airing or will start soon, but overall the excitement is nothing like the September-through-May period. Maybe people are ... gasp ... going outside to enjoy the sun?

It's been two years since we first delved into the world of Retro Squad, so we're back now with what we believe is a better format. Rather than pick a few shows and only review one season from each throughout the summer, we're doing theme/show weeks. These weeks will not only have standout episode reviews from any past season, but we'll have themed lists, Vs., interviews and videos. There are only so many weeks in the summer, so we can't cover all of your favorites, but I think there's something for just about everyone here. Check out the schedule below, after the jump.

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Back to...work: Kelsey Grammer lands new sitcom

by Allison Waldman, posted May 24th 2008 2:03PM
KelseyIt didn't take long for Kelsey Grammer to bounce back from his Back to You flop stint. The Fox sitcom, a high profile one at that with Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton as his co-star, was dumped by the network recently. Kelsey was so bummed out that he even tried to get other networks, CBS in particular, to pick up the news room comedy. No dice. Back to You was a dead shark.

Now, less than two weeks later, Kelsey Grammer has been cast in a new ABC sitcom called Roman's Empire. This is big news for a big star and he's the emperor in the title. He's playing Roman.

Roman's Empire is not a three-camera, traditional sitcom, which has been Grammer's playground since Cheers. Frasier may have been one of the best three-camera sitcoms ever. As an actor, Kelsey's accustomed to having an audience watching him work. Empire is a single-camera comedy -- like The Office or My Name Is Earl or Samantha Who? -- and revolves around a nice guy named Leo (Nick Thune), who's dumped by his heiress-like girlfriend (Christine Woods), but remains connected to her crazy family, the Prettys. That's especially true of Roman Pretty, the family patriarch, an outspoken, outrageous character.

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Kelsey asks CBS to save Back to You

by Allison Waldman, posted May 16th 2008 8:00AM
back to youFrasier has left the building, but Kelsey Grammer hasn't. Or maybe he just doesn't want to. The actor, whose Fox situation comedy, Back to You, was canceled after just one season, doesn't want to call it quits. He wants the show to continue and he's so determined, he's even lobbied for the show personally. The Emmy award winning star phoned CBS executives -- including CBS CEO Les Moonves -- to plead the case for Back to You.

When Kelsey phoned, Les took the call, and he even told Grammer that he'd "think about it," that is, moving Back to You to CBS. However, when Kelsey followed up with a call to Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment prez, she dismissed it. There really was no room on the CBS schedule for another sitcom; even Rules of Engagement (which CBS has a vested interest in bringing back) won't be broadcast till mid-season next year. There's no mention of Kelsey calling ABC or NBC; perhaps they didn't take his call?

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Eight sets of memorable sitcom siblings

by Allison Waldman, posted May 13th 2008 10:34AM
FrasierRecently, the AOL list of the 50 Best Sitcoms of all time got me thinking about ten all time great sitcom sidekicks. Working on that list inspired me to look at the best in sitcom siblings -- ADULTS ONLY. The brother/sister relationship, brothers, sisters, family dynamics are great fodder for comedy. For my collection of the best, I've limited it to grown-up siblings only because there are some truly funny things that happen only among adults brothers and sisters that are unique and universal at the same time. After all, unlike the childhood years when kids are controlled by parents, adult siblings remain close and in each other's lives by choice -- and that has made for some wonderful situation comedy.

Niles & Frasier Crane, Frasier
Two brothers, both psychiatrists, both opera buffs, both wine connoisseurs, both heterosexual despite evidence to the contrary. The Crane brothers were like two peas in a very funny pod, sparking each other in comedy, competitive and supportive at the same time. Making their brotherly friendship even funnier was the fact that their Dad, Martin, who was nothing like either one of them. What's even funnier is the fact that when Frasier was originally spun-off from Cheers, the writers didn't include the character of Niles. It was only after seeing an 8x10 of David Hyde Pierce, and how much he looked like Kelsey Grammer's brother, that they put him in the pilot. Frasier would not have been nearly the hit comedy it was without the brother angle.

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