nick at nite
"It's nice to be back home in an arena where I'm completely comfortable and with a show idea that I love," Baio said in a statement.
The multi-camera comedy stars Baio as David Hobbs, an actor who played America's favorite TV dad for 10 years. The character becomes a stay-at-home father as part of a deal he made with his soap opera actress wife so that she can reclaim the spotlight.
The idea of reliving the sitcom fun of the nanny named Fran blowing into the life of theatrical producer Maxwell Sheffield and falling in love with him while taking care of his three children was the stuff of television romance when it aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999.
Part The Sound of Music, part schmaltzy broad Jewish shtick, The Nanny was fun stuff. For this marathon, Fran herself, actress Fran Drescher will host the week which Nick has dubbed Valentine Schmalentine.
Benz got her first big break on the small screen way back in the early 1990s on the extremely short-lived ABC and Nick-at-Nite sitcom spoof Hi Honey, I'm Home! She played the show's archetypal '50s sitcom teenage daughter Babs Nielson. I don't know why it's so amusing to watch her on the show now. Maybe if it's because we knew that Babs would end up dating and marrying a successful serial killer, the original show might have lasted a little longer.
A few weeks ago, while doing some research on stand-up comedians who became sitcom stars, I ended up Googling a whole bunch of names to get some additional pre-television history on them. One of these was Home Improvement's Tim Allen. While looking up Tim's information I came upon a listing for his personal website. It was a weird listing though -- something like Tim Allen -- T'Avatar. Well, since I know Tim's not a Romulan, I thought this was just an abbreviation of something. Needless to say I clicked in.
Turns out, T'Avatar was short for Tim Allen's Avatar, which appears in an opening video to his website. Folks, this Avatar freaks the living piss out of me.
How do I know this? I turned on Nick at Nite last night and saw an episode of... George Lopez.
I got a great question from a reader named Paul this week...
"I am looking (for) the name (of) a series on very early Nickelodeon? 83 or 84. It featured a young group of kids who would solve mysteries and other such problems and they wore teleportation belts. It was science fictiony and reminded me of BBC programs, but I can't remember the name of the show. Please help!"
Well, Paul, as most of the readers know, the show you're referring to was, indeed a BBC show called The Tomorrow People. It aired on BBC in the '70s but Nickelodeon ran episodes in the 80's for American viewers. The show was remade in the '90s and ran for a few seasons but failed to catch on like the original.
Now on to this week's question...
I 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.
I grew up on a farm, so I could only watch cable when visiting friends in town, at least until I was in high school and my family got a satellite dish. This was in the '90s, and one of our favorite channels to watch as a family was Nick at Nite: we'd watch The Donna Reed Show, The Patty Duke Show and Mr. Ed. You know, classic TV.
Fast forward to today and you have shows like Home Improvement, George Lopez and Saget-era America's Funniest Home Videos slated to appear on the cable channel, none of which feel especially "classic" to me. And George Lopez is still on, for the love of God.
The popular '80s sitcom Growing Pains will be added to the Nick at Nite lineup this month, kicking off with a marathon on January 21 from 9pm to 1:30am (and then repeating from 1:30am to 6am). Starting on January 22, the show will slide into its normal timeslot Monday through Thursday at 9 and 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 10:30pm, and Sunday at 9:30pm.
Growing Pains was one of the shows my family watched while I was growing up, and that's pretty much where it stays: in my memories. I've tried watching reruns in recent years, but it's still very much "of the '80s" to me. That isn't to say it was a bad show, and it followed the precedent set by The Cosby Show of having a family where both the mother and father had high-paying careers. Also, the kids were mischievous but never complete hoodlums. Actually, the more I think about it, it was pretty much a white Cosby Show in many ways.
Now, according to this press release, Nick at Nite will be becoming very Nineties-oriented over the next year or so, with the additions of Home Improvement, Designing Women, A Different World, and Bob's favorite show, NewsRadio. What's next, Seinfeld?
Also, does this mean that the shows from the Eighties are going to be pushed to TV Land? If so, where will the older stuff go? The dusty confines of our memories aren't enough. I guess I'll have to stock up on the DVDs...
[via The Futon Critic]
According to this AP article, a new study states TV viewers are watching more hours of sitcoms than ever before, to the tune of 4.84 hours per week, as opposed to 3.78 hours/week in 1993-94. Unfortunately, most of the sitcoms being watched are reruns, from syndicated reruns like Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond to pretty much every comedy on Nick at Nite, TV Land, and TBS. The study showed that viewers watch prime-time network sitcoms only 13 percent of the time, opposed to 56 percent in '93-'94. Now, the numbers might be skewed a bit because the total number of hours of sitcoms on TV has tripled over the last twelve seasons, but it still looks like people are flocking to new sitcoms in smaller proportions than in past years. Jeez... no wonder why Arrested Development failed...
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