I hope you all had a happy holiday weekend and survived Black Friday if you ventured out. Here are some TV tidbits to start off your week…
Writer, director, and producer Walter Doniger passed away on Thanksgiving at the age of 94. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Doniger wrote several scripts for the big screen and directed many episodes of dramatic television shows, including 64 installments of Peyton Place. During the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, he also helmed episodes of shows like Cheyenne, Bat Masterson, Kung Fu, McCloud, Black Sheep Squadron, and Marcus Welby, MD. He is survived by his wife, Susan Stafford Doniger.
A prolific writer for Broadway, movies, and television, Irving Elman died on November 22nd. He passed away in La Jolla, California, of cardiopulmonary arrest at the age of 96. He wrote 17 plays and musicals for Broadway and Off-Broadway during his career. He became a television writer in the early days of live television, writing more than 2,000 teleplays for shows like Studio One, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Eleventh Hour. With his wife Tex (who died in 2006), Elman was also head writer of daytime soaps Search for Tomorrow and General Hospital. The couple are credited with creating Luke (of Luke and Laura) and for helping to reinvigorate the struggling series. Elman also produced five television series; The Eleventh Hour, Ben Casey, High Chaparral, Slattery’s People, and Matt Lincoln. He is survived by two sons; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Kermit and company didn’t win the weekend at the box office but they still did very well. The Muppets feature film, which recreates many of the sets and elements from the original Muppet Show, drew $42 million for the holiday weekend. It was in second place, behind The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 ($62.2 million). Other family films — Happy Feet Two, Arthur Christmas, and Hugo — grossed less than half of what The Muppets did. The five-day weekend was down by 12% when compared to last year’s box office.
With One Life to Live set to air its final episode on January 13th, ABC is getting ready to launch its replacement. Debuting on January 16th, The Revolution is a daily lifestyle talk show geared towards women. Ty Pennington, Tim Gunn, Harley Pasternak, Dr. Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry will be giving viewers tips to transform their lives.
Flight of the Conchords
Speaking of The Muppets, the movie’s music supervisor was Bret McKenzie. He and director James Bobin created the short-lived Flight of the Conchords series for HBO. At the film’s premiere, McKenzie told THR that it was great to work with Bobin again and noted that they’ve developed a short-hand style for working with one another. McKenzie also noted that there might be a Conchords feature in the future, saying, “We’re gonna try and do a movie… We just need a story.” He then joked, “I’m gonna go back to New Zealand tomorrow, maybe film it next week. And then edit it the week after.”
ON THIS DAY
2007: NBC aired the last episode of the Bionic Woman remake.
2006: On TBS, My Boys premiered and ran for four seasons and 49 episodes.
2005: ABC’s Big Day sitcom debuted and aired for one season. Thirteen episodes were produced but one didn’t air.
2004: Nasty Martha Huber was killed by Paul Young on Desperate Housewives. Last season, he admitted that he killed her and went to prison.
1976: Known as one of the worst shows in TV history, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour debuted on ABC. It ran for just nine episodes and was the first and last official Brady project that didn’t have creator Sherwood Schwartz’s direct involvement.
What do you think? Did you see The Muppets this weekend? If so, what did you think? Would you be interested in a Flight of the Conchords feature? Will you be watching The Revolution?