Mailbag: ‘Whitney’ is done but Wendy is back

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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Whitney Cummings shown during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jan 29. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: Can you tell me if “Whitney” will be back? Also, what happened to “Happily Divorced”? Those two shows really made me laugh!

A: Unfortunately, not enough other people felt the same way. Whitney, the NBC comedy starring Whitney Cummings, and Happily Divorced, a TV Land comedy starring Fran Drescher, have both been canceled.

Q: Will “The Wendy Williams Show” return this fall?

A: The daytime talk show will have new episodes beginning Monday. It airs locally at 11 a.m. weekdays on WJW (Channel 8).

Q: Last summer, there was a major media announcement that the ’60s “Batman” TV series is due out on DVDs. It’s over a year later, and I can’t find it. Some of these new “Batman” characters are less-than-to-be-desired role models for kids; they should have a chance to see the old Batman vs. the new one and judge who their role models are.

A: As I mentioned in a mailbag a few months ago, fans of the 1966-68 Batman series starring Adam West hoped there would be a DVD release when 20th Century Fox, which owns the TV show, and Warner Bros., which owns Batman generally, worked out a deal for merchandise tied to the old series. But that did not open the door all the way to a DVD release because getting the rights to the guest stars and other elements of the old show is extremely complicated; one report called the situation “an absolute nightmare.” So it still seems too soon to expect any such release.

Q: I would dearly love to find episodes of “Open House.” It was on TV many years ago. It is not the one from 2004. It was about a real estate office. It was a comedy. I am a Realtor and I would love to be able to see the show again, and to show it to my colleagues. I hope that you can help me find it.

A: The Open House that you remember aired on Fox in 1989-90 and was a spin-off of an earlier Fox series, Duet (1987-89). The previous show had focused on the romantic life of a couple played by Mary Page Keller and Matthew Laurance and, somewhat secondarily, on a married pair played by Alison LaPlaca and Chris Lemmon. Open House had Keller divorced from Laurance and LaPlaca at center stage as a former movie-studio executive now selling real estate. (Lemmon, part of the cast when the new show began, left before the first and only season was completed.) Keller also worked at the real-estate agency, and the new cast members included Philip Charles MacKenzie (who later married LaPlaca in real life), impressionist Danny Gans and Ellen DeGeneres, among others. This was DeGeneres’ first regular role on a TV series; she played Margo Van Meter, “the marginally competent man-hungry receptionist,” says The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Unfortunately, I do not know of an authorized release of either series on video. I did see a couple of clips from the show’s credits on YouTube, but that’s about it.

Q: I recently saw a picture in People Magazine pertaining to the new season premiere of “Parenthood.” It looks like there has been a cast change. Have Bonnie Bedelia (Camille) and Miles Heizer (Drew) been replaced?

A: No. Both actors are still on the show; an NBC rep said the cast as a whole is intact for the new season, which begins Sept. 26 on NBC. (The drama, which also features Cleveland’s Monica Potter, is moving from Mondays to Thursdays.)

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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