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July 30, 2014

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Remembering Stephen J. Cannell: His Best Shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 1st 2010 5:30PM
The Rockford FilesBy now you've heard the terrible news that prolific producer/writer Stephen J. Cannell has died at the age of 69 of melanoma.

Not all TV producers/writers/creators are well-known, but Cannell was. That will happen when you are involved so many shows (in his case, more than 40). Even casual TV fans know the guy who rips the paper out of the typewriter and throws it up in the air at the end of his shows.

Since the 1960s, Cannell did many shows, either as a writer, creator, producer, or director (and sometimes all of those). He even acted, and had a recurring role on ABC's 'Castle.'

Here's my list of the great Cannell shows. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

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Nowhere Man creator Lawrence Hertzog dead at 56

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 25th 2008 2:41PM

Larry HertzogSometimes TV writers and producers aren't well known to fans by name. But this one was.

Larry Hertzog was actually one of the more well-known producers and writers on television. Besides creating and producing the cult favorite Nowhere Man, Hertzog also worked on many other shows over the past 30 years, including Stingray, Painkiller Jane, Seaquest DSV, Raven, Hardcastle and McCormick, Mrs. Columbo, 1-800-MISSING, Hunter, Profiler, La Femme Nikita, Hart to Hart, Missing, Walker, Texas Ranger, and many others. He also wrote an episode of 24, and creator Joel Surnow even named a character "Larry Hertzog" in honor of him.

Recently, Hertzog hosted a podcast with a friend called Drinks with Larry and Lauren. You can still listen to the many podcasts in the archive. He also kept a blog at that site but it hasn't been updated since 2007.

Hertzog died of cancer at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles last Saturday. He was 56.

[Thank you to Noam for letting us know about Larry.]

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Stingray: Complete Series - DVD review

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 7th 2008 2:38PM

StingrayThis is like Christmas for me.

I've been waiting for so many years for this show to come out on DVD. Sure, I have all of the episodes on videotape, but I've watched them so many times I was afraid that the tapes would eventually disintergrate into dust. And Stingray was a show that lasted for less than two seasons over 20 years ago and I didn't think that it would ever come out on DVD. So this is a very exciting month for me.

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New TV on DVD releases this week

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 31st 2008 6:05PM

Father Knows Best DVDHere are the new TV DVDs, in stores tomorrow.

  • Alvin & The Chipmunks - Funny, We Shrunk The Adults
  • Becker - Season 1
  • Doctor Who - The Time Warrior and Timelash
  • Father Knows Best - Season 1
  • John From Cincinnati - Complete Series
  • Law and Order: SVU - Season 6
  • Martin - Season 4
  • Murder, She Wrote - Season 8
  • Stingray - Complete Series
  • That 70's Show - Season 8
  • Tomorrow - John, Paul, Tom, and Ringo

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At last! Stingray coming to DVD in December

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 14th 2007 3:52PM

Nick MancusoI've been waiting for this for years, and judging by comments left at the site here, many of you readers have been waiting too: Stingray, the NBC drama series that ran in the mid 80s, is officially coming to DVD in December! The news was posted on Stephen J. Cannell's web site.

Now, I should say that the show is being released by VEI in Canada in December, but luckily our friends to the north make shiny DVDs that also work on our machines down here. Thank you friends to the north!

Stingray starred Nick Mancuso as a mysterious loner who helped people out of jams. He didn't ask for money, only that the people he helped do him a favor somewhere down the line. There were only 23 episodes of the show (plus the pilot movie), so I would assume the entire series will be released in one set. At least I hope so.

[via TVShowsonDVD.com]

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The seven greatest TV spies and agents

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 2nd 2007 11:20AM

Bill Cosby and Robert CulpWelcome 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.

Since I've already done a list of the greatest police detectives and the greatest private eyes, the next list is a natural: Greatest Spies and Agents!

The guidelines for this list? A spy that worked for an agency or someone that worked in an official governmental capacity, such as the FBI or CIA. Here we go:

1. Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott (I Spy): These two guys weren't only resourceful, but they were the coolest cats around. Robinson and Scott were spies, but they travelled the world working on cases disguised as a tennis pro and his trainer. How awesome is that? The show was filmed on location (you hardly ever see that), and a lot of the dialogue was improvised and casual. Great theme song too.

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Video of Steve Irwin's death to be destroyed

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 5th 2007 9:31AM
steve irwinAustralian police are doing everything possible to ensure that the video tape of Steve Irwin's death never becomes public. The officers who investigated the Crocodile Hunter's death have destroyed all copies of the video tape that shows him being stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb and dying. The original copy of the video has been handed over to Terri Irwin, Steve's widow. According to the Australian press, Terri plans to destroy the original copy because no one should ever have to see it.

I hope that this truly is the end of the videotape and I hope that the Australian police really did keep the tape tightly secure during their entire investigation. When I first heard that Irwin's death was filmed, I pictured it showing up on YouTube (like the Saddam hanging). Terri Irwin is right: that's not something that the public needs to see.

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Steve Irwin's final documentary to air in January

by Anna Johns, posted Dec 2nd 2006 4:45PM
steve irwin; crocodile hunterAnimal Planet and the Discovery Channel are planning on simultaneously airing a two-hour tribute to Steve Irwin on Sunday, January 21. The first hour-and-a-half will be the world premiere of Irwin's final documentary, called Ocean's Deadliest. This is the special that he was filming with adventurer Philippe Cousteau when Irwin was struck in the heart by a stingray barb and died. Thankfully, the video of his death will not air. Instead, the special is about Irwin and Cousteau's expedition to find the deadliest sea creature off the Australian coast. Ocean's Deadliest will take them on different adventures that include wrangling a giant crocodile, watching great white sharks feast, and capturing deadly sea snakes. Cousteau narrates. As with all of Irwin's work, the documentary is meant to raise awareness about the roles of these dangerous creatures in our ecosystem.

The last half-hour of the special will be a tribute to Steve Irwin's life and legacy, featuring interviews with his wife and daughter, and others who knew him. It will also include some of his most exhilirating moments on film and some never-before-seen footage.

The tribute to Steve Irwin airs January 21 at 8 pm on both Animal Planet and Discovery.

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South Park: Stanley's Cup

by Adam Finley, posted Nov 16th 2006 9:31AM

south park(S10E14) After relentlessly satirizing current events for several episodes, the minds behind South Park took a nice departure with this episode, offering up a hysterical take on mainstream movie conventions, complete with a voiceover and musical score provided by a man who follows Stan around to clue everyone in on what's happening while he plays music on a portable record player.

Following the old comedy standby that pain is always funny, this episode sees Stan trying to become responsible, but having more pressure put on him from the town's adults than he can handle. First his bike is towed (that's right, I said "towed"), so he can't do his paper route, and if he can't make money from the paper route, he can't get his bicycle back. He ends up enlisted to coach the pee-wee hockey team, a group of toddlers who can barely skate and never score a single goal.

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Steve Irwin criticized by former producer

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 2nd 2006 2:29PM
Steve IrwinAs if Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's death hasn't raised enough ire thanks to the "too soon to joke" camp versus Bill Maher and South Park, Irwin's former BBC boss has added more fuel to the fire.

Executive producer of BBC's Planet Earth Alastair Fothergill must have had it with the Irwin-as-saint treatment when he stated to the press that he didn't have much sympathy for Irwin because he believed Irwin was more interested in his own stardom than animals.

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UK TV watchdog angry with South Park's Croc Hunter parody

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 27th 2006 9:50PM

south parkI suppose it was inevitable. The most recent episode of South Park, "Hell on Earth 2006," featured a Halloween bash thrown by Satan. When Satan finds out one of the guest has come dressed as the late Steve Irwin, who was killed last month when a stingray stung him through the heart. Satan approached the guest to tell him his costume, complete with a stingray hanging from the chest, was inappropriate and it was "too soon," but it turns out the guest is actually the Crocodile Hunter himself. Satan then kicks him out for not having a costume.

Mediawatch, a UK TV watchdog, called it "grossly insensitive." Comedy Central defended the episode, saying that fans have come to expect such things from the series, and that this is neither the first nor the last time people will be offended by the show.

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Croc Hunter's widow says death footage won't air

by Anna Johns, posted Sep 27th 2006 9:17AM
terri irwinTerri Irwin sure is an admirable person. She recently gave an interview to Barbara Walters, saying that the footage of her husband's death will never make air. She hasn't seen the video herself, which shows Steve Irwin being stabbed in the heart by the barb of a stingray while filming a television special along Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Irwin tells Walters that no one should have to see it and I couldn't agree more.

In the interview, which airs tonight on ABC, Irwin also talks about how she and her family are handling their grief and what she was doing when she learned of her husband's death. It airs at 10 pm on 20/20.

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