The Museum of Television & Radio’s 19th annual William S. Paley Television Festival looks at laffers this year with a lineup that includes a scribe-studded salute to funnyman Fred Allen and an evening with Martin Short.
Fest runs Feb. 26- March 12 at the Directors Guild of America in L.A.
Named for the founder of both the museum and CBS, fest will fete the diverse comedic voices on such sitcoms as “Bernie Mac,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Futurama,” “The King of Queens,” “Scrubs” and “Undeclared” and on media satire “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
Spanish-lingo programming will be featured for the first time with a salute to Cristina Saralegui, host of the popular talkshows “El Show de Cristina” and “Cristina: Edicion Especial.”
Dramas “Queer as Folk,” “Six Feet Under” and “Alias” also will be feted for their portrayals of the intersections between professional and private life. In addition, museum will reunite the producers and cast members of the NBC medical drama “St. Elsewhere.”
Each event includes episodes or highlights of the featured work, followed by a Q&A session.
Tuesday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m.
In the past decade, Cristina Saralegui-the Spanish-language alternative to Oprah Winfrey-became one of the most influential and trusted voices in the Hispanic community through her wildly popular talk shows El Show de Cristina and Cristina: Edicion Especial, where she got to the heart of serious and controversial issues once thought taboo in the Latino world. In Person: Marcos Avila (Executive Producer, The Cristina Show), Jorge Insua (Former Supervising Producer, The Cristina Show), Osvaldo Oñoz (Coexecutive Producer, The Cristina Show), Cristina Saralegui (Host/Executive Producer, The Cristina Show).
AN EVENING WITH MARTIN SHORT
Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Comic chameleon Martin Short imbues his dazzling array of outlandish characters-from sui generis weirdo Ed Grimley to guileless talk show host Jiminy Glick-with an inherent decency that belies their grotesqueness. In Person: Martin Short.
Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, this sci-fi cartoon about a slacker who accidentally flash-freezes himself into the future builds on the satirical foundations of The Simpsons by envisioning 31st-century New York City as a dystopia that is equal parts George Jetson and George Orwell. In Person: David X. Cohen (Executive Producer), John DiMaggio (“Bender” and others), Matt Groening (Creator/Executive Producer), Eric Kaplan (Supervising Producer), Claudia Katz (Animation Producer), Ken Keeler (Executive Producer), Phil LaMarr (“Hermes” and others), Rich Moore (Supervising Director), Bill Odenkirk (Supervising Producer), Katey Sagal (“Leela”), Lauren Tom (“Amy” and others), Patric Verrone (Supervising Producer).
THE BERNIE MAC SHOW
Friday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m.
In a scenario inspired by his own home life, stand-up comic Bernie Mac plays a happily childless comedian who very reluctantly agrees to take in his sister’s three children; while his outrageously hyperbolic approach to parenting is light-years away from the genteel, bumbling television fathers of yore, it’s about as honest a portrait of the American family to be found this side of The Simpsons. In Person: Dee Dee Davis (“Bryanna”), Bernie Mac (“Bernie Mac”), Kellita Smith (“Wanda”), Jeremy Suarez (“Jordan”), Larry Wilmore (Creator/Executive Producer), Camille Winbush (“Vanessa”).
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
Friday, March 1 at 9:30 p.m.
Abetted by a stable of poker-faced correspondents, Jon Stewart presides over a cutting, satirical newscast that is as effective at deflating the conventions and pomposity of the media as it is at shooting down the politicians, celebrities, and eccentric citizens who wander into its crosshairs. In Person: Steve Carell (Correspondent), Stephen Colbert (Correspondent), Ben Karlin (Head Writer), Madeleine Smithberg (Cocreator/Executive Producer), Jon Stewart (Anchor/Coexecutive Producer).
QUEER AS FOLK
Saturday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Unlike so many programs that introduce gay characters as peripheral in a principally heterosexual world, this Showtime production (adapted from a controversial British series) explores the universal search for sex, companionship, and love from the gay point of view with unapologetic explicitness and multidimensional characterizations. In Person: Michelle Clunie (“Melanie”), Ron Cowen (Executive Producer), Thea Gill (“Lindsay”), Sharon Gless (“Debbie”), Gale Harold (“Brian”), Randy Harrison (“Justin”), Tony Jonas (Executive Producer), Daniel Lipman (Executive Producer), Scott Lowell (“Ted”), Peter Paige (“Emmett”), Hal Sparks (“Michael”).
Monday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m.
As might be expected from the executive producer of the late, lamented Freaks and Geeks, creator Judd Apatow charts the uncertain waters of undergraduate life with refreshing charm and wryly articulated empathy while eschewing the hormone-driven hijinks and sentimental “life lessons” that typically plague the coming-of-age genre. In Person: Judd Apatow (Executive Producer), Jay Baruchel (“Steven Karp”), Carla Gallo (“Lizzie Exley”), Victor Hsu (Supervising Producer), Jake Kasdan (Director), Christina Payano (“Tina Ellroy”), Seth Rogan (Writer/”Ron Garner”), Timm Sharp (“Marshall Nesbit”), Loudon Wainwright (“Hal Karp”).
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m.
True to the Aristotelian adage that character is story, this daring off-the-cuff romp through the banality of Hollywood casts Seinfeld cocreator Larry David as Larry David, a neurotic, self-loathing, semiretired writer/producer whose incredible success hasn’t brought respite from the random absurdity of everyday life. In Person: Larry David (Creator/Executive Producer/”Larry David”), Jeff Garlin (“Jeff”), Cheryl Hines (“Cheryl”), Robert B. Weide (Coexecutive Producer/Director).
A SALUTE TO FRED ALLEN
Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m.
A panel of leading Hollywood writers and others will pay tribute to Fred Allen, one of radio’s leading humorists whose his biting wit, verbal wizardry, and sly satire influenced a generation including Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Garrison Keillor. In Person: Stuart Canin (Concertmaster, Los Angeles Opera Orchestra), Dick Cavett (Television Host), Norman Corwin (Radio Writer/Producer/Director), Larry Gelbart (Producer/Writer), Stuart Hample (Author/Cartoonist), Hal Kanter (Writer), Norman Lear (Producer/Writer), Dick Martin (Comedian/Director), Herman Wouk (Novelist).
Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m.
In its six years on NBC, this quirky Emmy Award-winning medical drama consistently challenged the conventions of dramatic television. At St. Eligius, the decaying inner-city Boston hospital in which it was set, even the most heroic physicians were fallible, humor and tragedy coexisted, and medicine often lost the duel with death. In Person: Tom Fontana (Writer/Producer), Eric Laneuville (“Luther Hawkins”), John Masius (Writer/Producer), Bruce Paltrow (Executive Producer), Christina Pickles (“Nurse Helen Rosenthal”), Mark Tinker (Producer/Director). Additional panelists to be announced.
Friday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m.
In exploring the high-stress world of neophyte medical interns encountering the real-life (and death) responsibilities of upholding the Hippocratic oath, this buoyantly original and funny new series shifts from rib-splitting surrealism to heady reality, with healthy doses of sincerity and compassion. In Person: Zach Braff (“John ‘J. D.’ Dorian”), Sarah Chalke (“Elliott Reid”), Donald Faison (“Chris Turk”), Ken Jenkins (“Dr. Bob Kelso”), Bill Lawrence (Creator/Executive Producer), John C. McGinley (“Dr. Perry Cox”), Judy Reyes (“Nurse Carla Espinosa”).
SIX FEET UNDER
Saturday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m.
The secrets and lies of the fraying Fisher family-who as mortuary owners have mastered the art of euphemizing the unspeakable-form the dark heart of this sardonic drama from Alan Ball (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty), which unearths the parallels between the “death-care” profession and the formaldehyde effect of living an inauthentic life. In Person: Lauren Ambrose (“Claire Fisher”), Alan Ball (Creator/Executive Producer), Frances Conroy (“Ruth Fisher”), Rachel Griffiths (“Brenda Chenowith”), Michael C. Hall (“David Fisher”), Peter Krause (“Nate Fisher”), Freddy Rodriguez (“Frederico Diaz”), Mathew St. Patrick (“Keith Charles”).
Monday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m.
Dubbed “La Coed Nikita” by creator J. J. Abrams, this kinetic series about a grad student moonlighting as a licensed-to-kill government agent supplements the ingredients of the spy genre with the poignancy of a young woman struggling to come to terms with her estranged father, himself a rogue operative. In Person: J. J. Abrams (Creator/Executive Producer/Director, pilot episode), Bradley Cooper (“Will Tippin”), Merrin Dungey (“Francie”), John Eisendrath (Executive Producer), Victor Garber (“Jack Bristow”), Jennifer Garner (“Sydney Bristow”), Greg Grunberg (“Agent Weiss”), Carl Lumbly (“Agent Dixon”), Ken Olin (Coexecutive Producer/Director, multiple episodes), Ron Rifkin (“Arvin Sloane”), Michael Vartan (“Agent Vaughn”), Kevin Weisman (“Marshall”)
THE KING OF QUEENS
Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.
A split-level brick castle in the kingdom of Queens gets the royal treatment in this sardonic comedy about a Ralph Kramden-esque couch potato (Everybody Loves Raymond alumnus Kevin James) who juggles a brassy wife and a loudmouthed jester of a father-in-law. In Person: Josh Goldsmith (Executive Producer), Kevin James (Executive Producer/”Doug Heffernan”), David Litt (Cocreator), Patton Oswalt (“Spence Olchin”), Leah Remini (“Carrie Heffernan”), Tony Sheehan (Executive Producer), Jerry Stiller (“Arthur Spooner”), Gary Valentine (“Danny Heffernan”), Michael Weithorn (Cocreator/Executive Producer), Victor Williams (“Deacon Palmer”), Cathy Yuspa (Executive Producer).