More Grab Bag: RIP Alex Karras; CBS cancels “Made in Jersey”

December 1984 TV Guide cast cover photo of “Webster”.

– Alex Karras, the Detroit Lions defensive lineman-turned-actor, died Wednesday at his Southern California home  at the age of 77 due to complications from kidney failure. The Gary, Ind. native played his entire NFL career with the Lions from 1958-70, then went into television and film, including a stint with WLS-TV for a local Monday Night Football pregame show and was the third man in the booth for Monday Night Football itself for two years.

Karras later turned to acting, appearing as Mongo in the movie Blazing Saddles, though he’s best known for his role as Emmanuel Lewis’ dad on Webster, the Chicago-set sitcom which ran on ABC from 1983-87. After ABC canceled the show, the series ran in first-run syndication for another two seasons.

Karras is survived by his wife Susan Clark (who also played his wife on Webster) and several children and grandchildren. One of the nicest guys on and off the field and in the business, Karras will be missed.

Quick look at Monday’s ratings: NBC won Monday with another outstanding ratings performance for The Voice (4.8 ratings among adults 18-49), while Revolution (this season’s best new show according to yours truly) easily coasted by ABC’s Castle and CBS’ Hawaii Five-O. CBS’ Partners (1.9) and Fox’s Mob Doctor (0.8) hit season lows, further endangering their survivals.

Oh, I forgot about FM News 101.1 The CW. Well, what about them? 90210, Gossip Girl got smoked, beaten by everything in the free world. Merlin Media has got to do something about this. Oh, they’re not the owner of this abomination?

– Time to board the bus -your next stop: the TV graveyard (and The T Dog Media Hall Of Shame.) CBS officially canceled Friday night legal drama Made In Jersey after just two airings, becoming the first casualty of the 2012-13 season. Jersey averaged only a 0.8/3 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. Other series hearing the “warm up the bus” chant include Partners, Mob Doctor, NBC’s Animal Practice, and ABC’s 666 Park Avenue.

– Even though his Dr. Horrible special bombed in the ratings last night on CW (with just 566,000 viewers tuning in), things are looking up for Joss Whedon as his S.H.I.E.L.D. TV project for ABC and Marvel is taking flight: according to reports, five key characters have already been identified: anti-social Agent Grant Ward; wild woman Skye; weapons expert and ace pilot Agent Althea Rice; and nerdy agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. These are original characters created for the TV project; they have not appeared in any Marvel movie, comic book, or TV show.

Joss Whedon and his brother Jed are listed as executive producers for the project, along with Jeffrey Bell, Jeph Loeb, and Maurissa Tancharoen. S.H.I.E.L.D. (at least in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

While numbers for Dr. Horrible do look depressing, keep in mind this special has been widely available for four years now and is readily available on the web, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, and on Blu-Ray. Everyone who wanted to has watched it already – without the program being hacked to pieces just to fit 25 minutes of commercials in. And here’s some good news: a sequel is being planned.

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