Friday, March 31, 2023

Female-driven shows that are not on streaming

In honor of Women's History Month, ending today let's examine a group of Seventies/Eighties TV shows that remain missing in action on major streaming video platforms.

Kate and Allie: In the latest top ten, we noted the anniversary of the CBS sitcom, which debuted this month in 1984. It was never a huge hit, but it had two appealing stars in Susan Saint James and Jane Curtain, and I think the family comedy has its fans and it ran for 6 seasons. I don't think it has even been in reruns much lately. It's owned by Universal and might make a nice add for Peacock, though not one that fits in with the Bravo and WWE shows, but more with stuff like Home Improvement and Leave It to Beaver.

Alice: What is the deal with this one? It had a cup of chili on Prime Video a few years back but was yanked without fanfare and hasn't been seen since despite Tubi and Roku channel adding some other Warner Brothers shows of the era. This one is available on DVD and for digital purchase, so I am not sure why it isn't streaming somewhere, but I expect it to turn up at some point this year.

The Facts of Life: This is complete on DVD and bounced around some of the free streamers like Pluto and Roku Channel for a while, but has been MIA for a while, all for no apparent reason. Most times it appears, it is only for several seasons at a time, too, not the whole series.

UPDATE: I loaded Tubi mere hours after this post published, and the streamer has added the first 6 seasons of Facts.

Rhoda: This has always lagged behind The Mary Tyler Moore Show and even gets less respect in syndication. It's maybe the highest-profile MTM Enterprises show that didn't make it to Hulu (I think only the first season was there and is long gone) when the service made the deal before the Disney purchase of Fox to get MTM, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, White Shadow, and other shows.

Julia: It figures that even as streamers scrambled to celebrate Black history by adding catalog shows, they focused on recent stuff like Living Single. Meanwhile, Diahann Carroll's gentle groundbreaking sitcom gets no attention, and even obscure cable channel Aspire doesn't show it anymore. It's a Fox show owned by Disney, and prospects seem bleak unless the company gets really aggressive about licensing back catalog. It would have been a nice addition to Disney streaming and still would be--maybe if and when Disney gets full control and has incentive to add to Hulu again.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Top Ten #222: "First list of Spring" edition!

1) Spring: Welcome to my favorite season, except for Summer. You don't hear too many "Spring replacement series" like you used to do the Winter ones.

2) Andy Kaufman: Congratulations to the late comedy legend on the WWE announcing he will be inducted to the company's Hall of Fame. Of course, the question on all our minds is, will he show up for the ceremony?

3) It's a Living: Freevee re-added the 1980s sitcom, or at least some of it. You'd think more than seasons 1, 3, and 4 is coming, but who knows?

4) Vicki Lawrence: Happy birthday to the former Mama, who I don't think inspired this song, but I bet Phil and Vicki have always wanted to do a project together:

5) Cannon: Many detectives of the 1970s had gimmicks--You know, Barnaby was the old one, Baretta was the short one, Cannon was...Hmm, the one with the deepest voice? Well, anyway, the series pilot premiered this night in 1971.

6) Reggie Jackson: With MLB Opening Day coming up this week, it's a nice weekend for Prime Video to debut a new documentary about the Hall of Famer, Jeffersons guest star, and Greatest Sports Legends host.

7) Hotel Ninety: 50 years ago tonight, CBS aired this unusual program, offering, as a display ad touted, "90 minutes of comedy, song, and dance set in a sumptuous luxury hotel." Tim Conway, Jack Gilford, and Bread were in the cast, and Alan Alda and Sally Struthers made "special guest appearances."

8) National Spinach Day: Are you strong to the finich? Do you even want to be strong to the "finich"? Wait, I think I just realized that's supposed to be "finish."

9) Shazam: Oh, a movie came out last weekend?

10) R.I.P. Decades Network: Being rebranded as Catchy Comedy, and it's a shame that the non-sitcom programming the channel has run over the years (like The Mod Squad, which is marathoning this weekend) is disappearing. Word has it some rarer and short-lived sitcoms may appear on the Weekend Binges going forward.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Remind Magazine's Where Are They Now special issue

Just before the holidays, I snagged another special edition of Remind magazine, a budget magazine designed for the older and nostalgic among us. This one is devoted to "Where Are They Now?" a feature that often attracts interest. The Sports Illustrated WATN issues used to excite me each year. Most of the people featured in this Remind haven't exactly gone away, and these are bite-size profiles lacking depth, but it's interesting to see the latest info.

To be honest, the biggest apppeal of the feature is the quick glance at the ages of all the stars. Shelley Fabares is 78! Maureen McCormick is 66! Justin Timberlake is 41!

Wait, Justin Tim--Oh, yes, they have some Nineties stars in there, too.

It's all fluff, yes, but entertaining fluff, and the Time Capsule feature focusing on 1983 is cool You also get the usual mix of trivia (1960s child stars!), puzzles, and random cartoons like a 1971 Hi and Lois, all on (let's face it) cheap newsprint.

The big story for me is in the Erik Estrada (he's 73!) story: A note that Marie Osmond admitted in a TV interview a few years ago that she briefly dated Erik! Hey, that makes me want to watch this again!

It's all well worth a buck or so, and you may not find it anymore, but I thought it was worth mentioning even though I misplaced it for 3 months delayed production of this post.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Top Ten #221: "What, no awards tonight?" edition

1) NCAA Basketball: I am not participating in any bracket pools this year, but I have spent a lot of equivalent time trying to predict what Tubi will add in April.

2) James Hong: Did he own it at the Oscars last week or what? A: Yes! Yes, he did!

3) Still the Beaver: 40 years ago, the Beav returned to prime time in a CBS TV movie. We touched on the extended Beaververse (I will never write that again) in our TBS episode.

4) Bruce Willis: Hang in there, Bruno!

5) National Backyard Day: What was the grooviest backyard in TV history? I have a nomination:

6) Kate and Allie: The sitcom premiered on this date in 1984 but remains MIA on streaming.

7) National Poultry Day: This is your day, Chicken! I expect wacky but ultimately harmless mayhem.

8) Renee Taylor: Happy 90th birthday! Can someone create a project for her and James Hong?

9) Triple Play: 50 years ago tonight, NBC presented Triple Play '73, a trio of unsold comedy pilots. I question the title considering hitting into a triple play in baseball means 3 outs and the end of an inning--ultimate failure. Maybe they were looking at it from the defensive side.

Anyway, the pilots included a Topper revival with Roddy McDowell, a show about a struggling NYC writer with Todd Susman and Norman Fell, and Barney and Me. From the original newspaper summary: "Soupy Sales as television personality who discovers talking bear." 

Anyone else want to see that?

10) R.I.P.: On this day in 1979, British actor Richard Beckinsale, star of Porridge and Rising Damp, died at the age of 31.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Top Ten #220: Special "Awards again tonight" Edition

1) The Oscars: Tonight the Academy Awards honor a bunch of movies, but I get the feeling that most people are more anxious about the final ratings number than about any of the individual awards.

2) Flamingo Road: Finally, the 1980s NBC primetime soap comes to Blu-Ray this Tuesday! Wait, being told it's the 1949 Joan Crawford film. Yeah, I guess that makes more sense.

3) Frank Welker: Happy birthday to the voice of...everything.

4) A&E Network: They touted starpower at their upfront presentation this week, but I keep thinking about the old days when they were small time and proud of it:

5) Columbo: You know what IS getting a Blu-Ray release this year? Yes, Columbo, and Kino Lorber will pack it with extras, but better start saving now.

6) Girl Scouts Day: They're more than just thin mint vendors! The tagalongs are great, too!

7) Jane Doe: The TV movie about a hunt for a serial killer premiered 40 years ago tonight and starred Karen Valentine and William Devane along with Eva Marie Saint.

8) Larry Hankin: The character actor has a new memoir from Bear Manor Media, which has a Q&A with him in its latest e-newsletter.

9) Caren Kaye: Happy birthday! May Crackle honor you by adding the remaining It's Your Move episodes. Or how about this:

10) R.I.P.: Robert Blake, Topol, Bert I. Gordon: Gordon didn't have much to do with TV (except maybe MST3K), but he was 100! ANd he didn't kill anyone (that I know of). Here's a quick look at Topol in The Winds of War:

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Top Ten #219

1) Silver Spoons: It's the 40th anniversary of the NBC premiere of the episode Mike wrote about right here. Yes, it's the return of BOB DANISH on the show!

2) Doc Elliot: The pilot for the show premiered 50 years ago tonight on ABC, with the series proper joining ABC's lineup that Fall (and leaving the next Spring). James Franciscus stars as a big-city doc who relocates to rural Colorado for a simpler life. Noah Beery, Bo Hopkins, and Neva Patterson co-starred, and the pilot featured Joe Don Baker!

3) Mrs. Columbo: The ill-fated, ill-conceived sort-of spinoff just showed up on Tubi.

4) SAG Awards: Congrats to some of the big winners at last weekend's SAG Awards, like Sam Elliott (The Yellow Rose), Jason Bateman (It's Your Move), Jean Smart (Teachers Only), Jamie Lee Curtis (Operation Petticoat).

5) National Multiple Personalities Day: Maybe a good day to rewatch the Mork and Mindy we talked about? Mork's emotions all came out in this one, and--OK, maybe it's not so appropriate, but wasn't every day on that show Multiple Personalities Day?

6) Marsha Warfield: Happy birthday!

7) Allan Melvin: MeTV ran a big story about the prolific character actor last week.

8) Fred Williamson: Happy 85th to The Hammer!

9) Courteney Cox: Let's pretend that at least one point of the star she just got on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is for Misfits of Science.

10) R.I.P. Tom Sizemore:

Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Season 11 BOTNS Polls Control Center is live!

Hello, everyone. Reporting live (when you read this) from the Battle of the Network Shows Season 11 Polls Control Center, this is Hector Ramirez.

Voting is underway now to determine the series covered on two key Season 11 episodes on the podcast. You can go to our official Facebook group or send an email to after checking out the candidates here.

Voting will close this weekend, so act now!

We won't disclose individual votes unless someone gives permission, but I have a few early ones with comments that I will share now.

*J. Tesh votes for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, saying, "My wife always thought Robin Leach was the sexiest man on TV!"

*S. Grundy supports the selection of Star Search, or at least we think. His email read, "Grundy crush Budweiser man on Star Search just like on roast show!"

*An anonymous listener urges Entertainment Tonight, "but only if it's a Robb Weller episode."

*I investigated the Internet rumor of an influx of Donny and Marie votes from Utah ISPs but found no evidence to substantiate it.

*A Mr. Osbourne from Los Angeles says, "Captain and Tennille all the bloody way!"

*For another point of view, there is a W. Jack, who says, "Arooooooo! Gimme Sonny and Cher, daddy!"

*One Rip T. sent us a ballot that we had to disqualify for several reasons: 1) It was a printed ballot, which we aren't accepting (I plan to launch an investigation into how he got our address) 2) It was in the form of confetti 3) It was for Tony Orlando and Dawn, which isn't even part of the poll.

Let your voice be heard, if not read, by telling us the infotainment and variety shows you want to see in the Season 11 lineup!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

What's new on streaming for March? Not much so far

I love the first of the month. Scanning the various streaming services for surprises satisfies me.

It's less fun now that so many companies have given up on adding library shows (Crackle?) or just decided to scatter them throughout the month (Prime Video). And what really vexes is when you go to a SVOD outlet to see what's new and it still has the "What's New in February" up (Shout! Factory TV until a short while ago).

The biggest surprise of the month is Tubi adding, of all things, Mrs. Columbo! Also "new" (I believe it was on there before and is now returning) is the late Seventies' How the West Was Won with James Arness.

Another surprise is Miami Vice, all 5 seasons' worth, appearing on Tubi. This is the only place the Eighties classic is streaming right now. Now, you might ask, why is that not on Peacock, which is asociated with NBC, and which is owned by Universal, which produced the series and retained the rights? Well, this is streaming in 2023: Rotational streaming! Watch it on Tubi while you can, or maybe just buy the discs if yo are tired of following programs around.

One Day at a Time joins Tubi, too, and notably it's all 9 seasons. In recent years, outlets have licensed a few seasons at a time.

Unfortunately, Tubi taketh away, too. Leaving this month and with little notice as far as I know: The Super Globetrotters, Maverick, McCloud, and The Man from Atlantis, none of which is available elsewhere. Of those, McCloud was on FreeVee/Amazon before.

Other than that, it's quiet so far, but we will have to look out for stuff to be sprinkled in throughout the month. In particular, I believe we can expect more Warners library shows on Tubi, and wasn't Roku Channel supposed to be adding some of that, too? We can hope for a surprise or two on Prime as well.