Ironically, the show itself was about a hot-shot New York City CEO (Grammer) who, after being laid off, is forced to downsize his family to his hometown in Virginia. Grammer, best known for his Emmy-winning role as uptight psychiatrist Frasier Crane in both 'Cheers' and 'Frasier,' had another short-lived sitcom, 'Back to You,' that was canceled by Fox in 2008.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network has no immediate plans to air the remaining five episodes, and instead will air comedy repeats and holiday specials in the sitcom's Wednesday at 8PM slot.
The three other new half-hour comedies in ABC's Wednesday night lineup -- 'The Middle,' 'Modern Family,' and 'Cougar Town' -- have all received full-season pickups.
Admittedly, opinions of Hank haven't exactly been stellar. Quite the opposite, in fact. While the show has not actually been canceled, it does not seem long for this world. Its only consolation is that it lasted longer than The Beautiful Life.
Kelsey Grammer will never be able to get away from Frasier Crane, much like Carroll O'Connor was never able to get away from Archie Bunker. It's a shame since Grammer is a better actor than that.
For one, we would have had maybe ten minutes to talk to him. For another, he'd be defending a show that is a) terrible and b) on the verge of being cancelled. I want to talk to Grammer about comedy, Frasier, Cheers, his heart attack, and lots of other stuff. I wasn't particularly interested in him telling me how good he thinks Hank is for the whole interview.
But, when he told The TV Addict that last night's episode was going to be funny, it got me curious; maybe they had figured things out and made a leap in quality. So I tuned into last night's episode. I wish I hadn't.
Early buzz on Modern Family particularly brought people to sample the wares, and luckily that show delivered. The Middle has been impressive as well, and would probably fare even better if it switched places with Cougar Town. Courteney Cox's latest vehicle is much better than I expected, but not up to the creative caliber of its lead-ins.
As for Hank? Well, it is the only multi-camera comedy on the night, so it stands out a bit in that respect. Oh, and its derivative and lacking in any originality or, and this one can be a bit of a problem, comedy. So there's that to deal with as well.
If you heard Grammer speak about it during the panel for his new ABC comedy Hank, it's not hard to connect the dots. "I had an event they thought was stress related. You can make of that what you will. It was a rough year," said Grammer, whose FOX sitcom Back to You was cancelled after its first season.
His beef was that he pitched the show to Reilly when the exec was still at NBC, and he passed. Then Reilly got the position at FOX after they bought Back to You. So, basically, the show was airing on a network whose entertainment head already passed on it somewhere else. That, according to Grammer, caused conflict between the network and the writers of the show.
This news comes almost a year after the network dumped Milano's last shot at a sitcom, Single With Parents. Romantically Challenged almost ended up on ABC's fall schedule, reportedly due to the strong buzz surrounding Milano's performance. But the network decided to push it back, presumably to make room for its other new comedies, including Bill Lawrence's Cougar Town and Hank, starring Kelsey Grammer.
Along with some dramas and mythology-laden shows, it looks like ABC is playing it safe by picking up four half-hour family comedies starring some well-known TV vets.
Joining the already renewed Scrubs and Better Off Ted will be Hank, a multi-camera family show starring Frasier's Kelsey Grammer and The Middle, a single-camera comedy with Grammer's former Back to You co-star Patricia Heaton. Both shows seem to have pretty tired concepts. Hank is about a washed-up Wall Street deal maker who moves back to his home town, and The Middle is about a middle-class mom who is approaching middle age. Hopefully the stars, and the jokes, will make these shows worth watching.
And here are some hints -- small-screen vets like Kelsey Grammer, Mischa Barton and Sarah Michelle Gellar are set to return, classic hits ('Melrose Place') are getting high-profile remakes and two spin-offs could give their predecessors a run for their money.
Click through our pilots roundup to find out where each will premiere and which stars are on board ... so you can make the informed decisions about which shows you may want to save room for on your DVR.
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.
This week's letter comes from a fan named Jim Rodrigues.
"I just saw an episode I've never seen before! This was rare indeed. It involved the crew of the Enterprise devolving into different creatures. Barkley became a spider. Captain Picard was becoming a lemur. Warf (sic) was biting amphibian Troi. It was my favorite episode other than one of the best T.V. episodes ever, "Cause and Effect." I was wondering if this "monsters running around" episode was released for Halloween? It would be the perfect October 31st episode. If someone knows the title and the date of release, I surely would appreciate it."
Grammer was most likely enjoying a little time off before he returns to television this fall. His Fox sitcom, Back to You, was recently canceled but he quickly rebounded and took a role on an ABC comedy called Roman's Empire. He'll have the title role, actually, as Roman, the wacky patriarch of a wealthy and eclectic family. This new comedy is a departure, of sorts, for Grammer. Rather than the Frasier and Back to You-style sitcoms with multiple cameras, his new project is a single-camera venture.
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.
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?
Bateman, who starred in Arrested Development -- the Emmy-award winning comedy that the network dumped unceremoniously because of low ratings -- was behind the camera for The Inn pilot. The show, which is about the haves and have-nots in a fancy, five-star New York City hotel, has a promising cast of funny folks including Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), Jerry O'Connell (who looks like Jason's twin), and the really hilarious Jesse Tyler Ferguson (remember him on The Class -- he was so funny!).
... Six welcome returns.
Every fall season I get stoked about all the new shows, with cool new premises ("A guy travels through time trying to make right what once went wrong!"-- Journeyman not Quantum Leap), and all the big changes in store for existing shows. But it's equally exciting to see which beloved actors will be returning to television. Brad Garrett coming back to television in 'Til Death last year? Cool! Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer both coming back to television ... together? That's gotta be awesome, right? Jerry O'Connell on Carpoolers ... well ... ? I like the guy, but I'm not scheduling a 'Welcome Back' shindig for him.
Half the fun of a new television season is the return of great actors and actresses to the small screen. And while I could have easily done 10 or even 20 of these, I've narrowed it down to the six talents who were most welcome back in my house on a weekly basis this past year. I've even been so bold as to rank them. Feel free to agree, disagree and present your own lists in the comments.
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