Mom airing on TBS; new CBS run starts Sept. 29
Posted: August 28, 2014 at 2:06 a.m.
One good use of air conditioning when it's blistering outside is to revisit TV series overlooked in the chaos of last fall.
Revisit, that is, if they're still around. The networks are so quick to pull the trigger these days that it's rare for a struggling series to be given a chance to find an audience.
An example of a beloved show that would have been canned in today's climate is Cheers, which was critically acclaimed in its first season, but ranked 74th out of 77 shows.
But NBC entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff believed in Cheers and the rest is comedy history.
Another example is NBC's Seinfeld, the best comedy of all time. Debuting in 1989 as The Seinfeld Chronicles, the series did so poorly that NBC offered it to Fox, which declined. Seinfeld was only rescued by creative financing, support by TV critics and a new post-Cheers time slot.
Still, it took four seasons for the show to even break into the Top 30. Most sitcoms these days would be long gone by then.
The audience finally caught up with the critics and from 1994 to 1998 Seinfeld was in Nielsen's Top 2 (along with ER), ranking No. 1 in its sixth (1994-95) and ninth (1997-98) seasons.
All of that to say this: Who knows what potential greats were cut short when the plug was untimely pulled? Maybe Heather Graham was actually brilliant in Emily's Reasons Why Not (killed after one episode in 2006), or maybe The Mike O'Malley Show (1999) had something to offer beyond two episodes.
Last season saw the terminations of one-season wonders Dads; Friends With Better Lives; the late Robin Williams' The Crazy Ones; Enlisted; Growing Up Fisher; The Michael J. Fox Show; Mixology; Rake; Sean Saves the World; Super Fun Night; Surviving Jack; and Trophy Wife. Welcome to the Family died after three episodes; We Are Men lasted two episodes; and Us and Them was one and out.
Which brings us to the CBS sitcom Mom, which has been renewed for a second season. I was unimpressed with the pilot last fall. Here's what I wrote:
"An example of a middling series that has strong component parts is CBS' new Mom, starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, with the venerable Chuck Lorre as its producer. Lorre is the guy behind Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory."
That's "middling," as in mediocre or average. But somebody at CBS must like it, or want to keep uber producer Lorre happy. And Lorre has convinced the suits at TBS to give the series a boost before the CBS premiere at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29, by repeating the entire first season.
The TBS encores began Monday at 6:30 p.m. and will run weekdays through Sept. 19 immediately following Big Bang Theory, which is still TV's No. 1 comedy and syndication's top-scripted sitcom.
"It's my hope that this incredible platform will allow people who might not have seen the show on CBS a chance to get acquainted with it," Lorre said in a TBS news release. "And perhaps that acquaintance can turn into an ongoing relationship. Unlike other shows I've worked on, Mom has a certain darkness about it. But just like with Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly and The Big Bang Theory, the goal is always laughter."
To The Hollywood Reporter, Lorre said, "I love the challenge of trying to find stories that explore what happens in life versus what happens in television. I love what the other shows do, but Mom is an opportunity to do something else. It's a great opportunity to write stuff that maybe touches on some real serious stuff and hopefully find a way to somehow make it funny as well. Having the first year under our belt gave us a little more confidence."
Tonight's TBS Mom episode, "Six Thousand Bootleg T-Shirts and a Prada Handbag," guest stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.
Trivia: The 54-year-old Janney is a lithe 6 feet tall; Faris, 37, looks short next to her "mom," but is actually 5-foot-5.
• The Simpsons. Speaking of repeats, cable's FXX channel (note the two Xs) is airing each and every Simpsons episode in chronological order -- all 522 episodes and 25 seasons. The 12-day, 24-hour marathon began at 9 a.m. Aug. 21 and will run through Sept. 1.
Taking a break from the episodes, FXX will air The Simpsons Movie at 5 p.m. Friday.
Season 26 of The Simpsons debuts Sept. 28 on Fox and will feature "the death of a major character." Speculation is that Krusty the Clown will bite the dust.
After all this madness is over, FXX will air Simpsons repeats in a regular time slot, plus the occasional marathon.
Trivia: While Bart Simpson has remained 10 years old for 25 years, his voice actor, Nancy Cartwright, has aged gracefully from 31 to 56 and is still going strong.
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Weekend on 08/28/2014