You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Unusually Thicke’

With: Alan Thicke, Tanya Thicke

Look at it from TV Guide Network’s perspective: The channel can’t afford “Modern Family” reruns, much less a scripted approximation. So it has replicated a small part of that hit on the cheap in “Unusually Thicke,” a reality-sitcom hybrid that casts 67-year-old TV personality Alan Thicke as the irascible husband, and his 28-years-younger (and more curvaceous) third wife, Tanya, as his sparring spouse. Filled with celebrity cameos, the show works so far as viewers are willing to play along, although for the target demo, Thicke has probably been relegated to, “Oh, you mean Robin’s dad?” consideration.

As has become status quo in these shows, the program dispenses with formal introductions and dives right in, gradually doling out information about the couple and Thicke’s young son, Carter, who lives with them.

In the premiere, Tanya gripes about Alan’s pack-rat ways, pushing him to get rid of all the junk he’s collected. (Of course, being Canadian — the show also benefits from Canadian financial credits — his hockey skates are immediately deemed off-limits.)

Carter, meanwhile, sees a garage sale as both a solution to the clutter and a money-making scheme for himself, before it’s decided all proceeds should go to charity. For her part, Tanya grouses about Alan to a “Real Housewives”-like cadre of friends that includes actress Minnie Driver, while Alan enlists pal Bob Saget to drop by the sale, a bit like those old cameos on “I Love Lucy.” (As was true then, a performer’s willingness to play along would seem to offer a small referendum on the present state of their career.)

In most respects, “Unusually Thicke” is more staged than most sitcoms, and Thicke’s history as a sitcom dad (“Growing Pains”) and latenight host (honest, kids, he had his own show back before you were born) has helped him cultivate his repertoire of deadpan looks and direct-to-camera winks.

The show also finds TV Guide at something of a crossroads, with deep-pocketed owners in Lionsgate and CBS that obviously have bigger plans for the low-key but widely distributed channel.

So although it represents only a small dab of powder in a larger makeover, “Unusually Thicke” is a signal the host network won’t be content just to round up the usual suspects.

TV Review: 'Unusually Thicke'

(Series; TV Guide Network, Wed. April 16, 10 p.m.)

Production: Produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment and Thicke of Things One Inc.


Executive producers, Carrie Mudd, Alan Thicke; series producer, Christopher Nelson; producer, Daniel Oron; director, Ian Macdonald; story producer, Catherine Peterson; camera, Stephen Chung; supervising editor, Michael Henry; theme, Thicke; music, Jingle Punks. 30 MIN.

Cast: With: Alan Thicke, Tanya Thicke

More TV

  • 'Live P.D.' Host Dan Abrams Brings

    'Live P.D.' Host Dan Abrams Brings New Order to Law-Focused Media

    Each weekday at 2 p.m., Dan Abrams talks to America for an hour about the law, politics and media. He’s been working steadily to expand the conversation. Abrams hosts an afternoon show on satellite-broadcaster SiriusXM, where he holds forth on the Mueller Report (if you haven’t read it, don’t try to debate him on what [...]

  • Sky takeover. Undated file photo of

    Katie Keenan to Head Sky Cinema Acquisitions

    Katie Keenan is joining Sky as head of acquisitions at Sky Cinema, and will oversee film deals for the pay-TV giant’s channels. Keenan is a seasoned buyer. Most recently she was at Viacom’s international division and acquiring programming for its free-TV Channel 5 operation in the U.K., as well as for cable channels including Comedy [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side in Manhattan, Variety’s cover stars and luminaries gathered for cocktails and the unveiling [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer “Raw,” “Smackdown” and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]


    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content