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Alice (CBS 1976-1985, Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback)

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“There’s a new girl in town, and she’s lookin’ good,
There’s a fresh freckled face in the neighborhood…”

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, this is the sitcom where the waitress said, “Kiss my grits.” Unfortunately, that’s all some people remember about Alice, but there was much more. Alice was the story of a New Jersey single mother transplanted to a Phoenix diner, but it was also the story of how a Martin Scorsese filmed melodrama turned into one of the most successful sitcoms of the 70’s and 80’s. The Scorsese film was 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Ellen Burstyn as Alice. Linda Lavin took over the lead role for the sitcom, which kept the Arizona setting but upped the comedy quotient.

Alice’s real dream was to become a singer, but to make ends meet for herself and her 12-year-old son Tommy, she took a waitressing job at Mel’s Diner, owned by none other than Mel himself (played by Vic Tayback, the only actor to reprise his film role). The crusty Mel made a mean pot of chili, but he was a bit of a tightwad and quick with the sarcasm. But just as quick with the snips was Alice’s fellow waitress Flo, a Southern-fried redhead with oodles of sass and clever put-downs (such as the aforementioned “Kiss my grits”). The third member of the waitressing trio was mousy Vera, who earned the Mel nickname “dingy” for her klutzy and naïve ways.

Most of the show’s action took place at Mel’s, where the cast of characters was filled out by regulars with names like Andy, Henry, Chuck and Ralph. But no matter who passed through the doors of Mel’s, the real comic interplay was always between the hard-nosed owner and his trio of employees. That kind of workplace banter made Alice a ratings hit, enough so that CBS decided to spin Flo off into her own 1980 series, appropriately titled Flo. Diane Ladd (who had played Flo in the movie version) signed on as Mel’s new waitress, Belle Dupree, that same year.

Alice

The new mix worked just as well as the old, and Alice continued to score Top-10 ratings. Ladd left after one season, opening the way for the show’s final waitress co-star, Jolene. At the start of the 1982 season, Mel’s bossy mother Carrie moved in with her son, and life at the diner got even more hectic. Vera eased the pressure by meeting and marrying cop Elliot Novak, but Alice just didn’t have that kind of relationship with off-and-on boyfriend Earl Hicks (Tommy’s basketball coach).

After nine seasons, Alice finally hung up its aprons in 1985, bowing out with a memorable farewell. Mel sold his diner, Vera retired to make time for her impending baby, Jolene decided to open a beauty shop, and Alice finally chased that dream of becoming a singer. Watch out, Nashville—there’s a new girl headed to your town now.

“There’s a new girl in town with a fresh attitude,
She was just passing through,
But if things work out she’s gonna stay awhile…”

production details
USA / CBS – Warner / 202×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 29 September 1976 – 2 July 1985

Creator: Robert Getchell / Producers: Bruce Johnson, Madelyn Davis, Bob Carroll Jnr, Noam Pitlik,

cast
LINDA LAVIN as Alice Hyatt
VIC TAYBACK as Mel Sharples
PHILIP McKEOWN as Tommy Hyatt
BETH HOWLAND as Vera Louise Gorman
POLLY HOLLIDAY as Flo Castleberry (1976-80)
CELIA WESTON as Jolene Hunnicutt (1981-85)
DIANE LADD as Belle Du Pree (1980-81)
MARTHA RAYE as Carrie Sharples (1982-84)
PAT CRANSHAW as Andy (1976-78)
CHARLES LEVIN as Eliot Novak (1983-85)
MICHAEL DURRELL as Nicholas Stone (1984-85)
MARVIN KAPLAN as Henry (1977-85)

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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