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2016 season of Essentials

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Every year, if you look at the Oscar schedule in February, you can see several of the titles that will turn up again on Essentials. Here are the ones from this year's Oscar schedule that seem likeliest (in my opinion):

 

THE LONGEST DAY...each May, TCM has a Memorial Day themed Essential. Since they are bringing this one in from the Fox library for Oscar, I would imagine it will air again on Saturday before Memorial Day...in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a large part of that weekend is devoted to John Wayne war films.

 

In a similar vein, there is always a big budget horror film they play as an Essential around Halloween. Looking at the Oscar schedule, I see YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. So that seems like it will be used for Essentials and considering how much they love Mel Brooks at TCM, I may be right. I also think it will be used for Movie Camp (formerly Essentials Jr.).

 

More titles that seems very much like Essentials for 2016 according to this latest schedule include--

 

DAY FOR NIGHT (there's usually an important foreign film as part of Essentials and this one would certainly fit the bill)

 

YOU'RE A BIG BOY NOW...they love Francis Ford Coppola at TCM, and I can see Sally Field selecting this title.

 

HEAVEN CAN WAIT...since he's a huge fan of Tierney, I can see Robert Osborne picking this film.

 

A STAR IS BORN '76...the Streisand version. In fact, my crystal ball tells me this one will be paired with the Garland version for one of those nights when they do two back-to-back Essentials.

 

THE DEER HUNTER...I definitely see Sally picking this one. Don't you?

 

STEEL MAGNOLIAS...I think this one, like NORMA RAE in 2015, will be the Essentials title that stars Sally Field.

 

SABRINA...has Essentials and Robert Osborne written all over it.

 

FRENCHMAN'S CREEK...a possibility?

 

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE...another strong possibility.

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Based on the schedule for March, we now know the first four films that will be airing on the 2016 season of The Essentials.

 

Here's what we have so far:

 

March 5: SABRINA (1954)

March 12: THE STING (1973)

March 19: THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)

March 26: THE GENERAL (1927)

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Based on the schedule for March, we now know the first four films that will be airing on the 2016 season of The Essentials.

 

Here's what we have so far:

 

March 5: SABRINA (1954)

March 12: THE STING (1973)

March 19: THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)

March 26: THE GENERAL (1927)

Thanks Barton. I figured SABRINA was a shoo-in. I still think STEEL MAGNOLIAS will turn up in May for Mother's Day. Nice to see they have included a silent film.

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Based on the April schedule, we now know five more of the 2016 Essentials:

 

April 2: SHANE (1953)

April 9: THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)

April 16: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)

April 23: FUNNY GIRL (1968)

April 30: THE UNINVITED (1944)

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Based on the April schedule, we now know five more of the 2016 Essentials:

 

April 2: SHANE (1953)

April 9: THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)

April 16: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)

April 23: FUNNY GIRL (1968)

April 30: THE UNINVITED (1944)

I predicted YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN based off the Oscar schedule. 

 

I think we can pretty much assume either THE UNINVITED or YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN will be repeated on the Saturday around Halloween. Maybe even both, as an essential horror double-feature. 

 

What's encouraging about this batch is that three of them are Paramount titles, plus we had SABRINA (another Paramount title) in March. So I think they have been reading our complaints that they needed to go outside the TCM library to start including other essential titles. It would be nice if they had a Republic title (something other than THE QUIET MAN which is already frequently played), and if they had a Universal title or two.

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According to Barton, we still do not yet have an official schedule from TCM for all the 2016 Essentials. 

 

But we do know a few more of these titles, which are being featured in May:

 

ALL ABOUT EVE

THE AWFUL TRUTH

DOUBLE INDEMNITY
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI

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Here's what we have so far:


 


March 5: SABRINA (1954)


March 12: THE STING (1973)


March 19: THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)


March 26: THE GENERAL (1927)



April 2: SHANE (1953)


April 9: THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)


April 16: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)


April 23: FUNNY GIRL (1968)


April 30: THE UNINVITED (1944)


May 7: ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)


May 14: THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937)



May 21: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)



May 28: THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)


 



 

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I'm wondering at this point if TCM will be continuing with The Essentials this year after all. Saturday nights on the schedule are no longer being officially billed as such and there is no reference to the series elsewhere on the TCM website. I find this conspicuous absence quite strange, especially after hearing quite explicitly from some TCM people on their cruise last fall that Sally Field would be back for another year.

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I'm wondering at this point if TCM will be continuing with The Essentials this year after all. Saturday nights on the schedule are no longer being officially billed as such and there is no reference to the series elsewhere on the TCM website. I find this conspicuous absence quite strange, especially after hearing quite explicitly from some TCM people on their cruise last fall that Sally Field would be back for another year.

I sincerely doubt they'd just drop it. It has been a major part of their line-up for years. It needs to be revamped a bit but not discontinued. Maybe they are still finalizing some selections for later in the season, and we will get an official 2016 schedule soon.

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I sincerely doubt they'd just drop it. It has been a major part of their line-up for years. It needs to be revamped a bit but not discontinued. Maybe they are still finalizing some selections for later in the season, and we will get an official 2016 schedule soon.

 

I agree that it's highly doubtful the programmers would simply discontinue the series altogether. But given that we're expecting the new season to start on Saturday night, I'm just a bit perplexed by the total lack of publicity surrounding what has typically been 'event' programming for TCM.

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I agree that it's highly doubtful the programmers would simply discontinue the series altogether. But given that we're expecting the new season to start on Saturday night, I'm just a bit perplexed by the total lack of publicity surrounding what has typically been 'event' programming for TCM.

Yes, something is holding them up. Maybe Osborne is about to step down or else go into semi-retirement. Just speculating. Or else it has to do with them still lining up a few selections.

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Yes, something is holding them up. Maybe Osborne is about to step down or else go into semi-retirement. Just speculating. Or else it has to do with them still lining up a few selections.

I figure there's a decent chance you've seen this already, but just in case, from essentials.tcm.com:

"Due to a production delay, The Essentials with Robert Osborne and co-host Sally Field has been delayed. In the meantime, Ben Mankiewicz will be stepping in every Saturday night in March introducing the classic movies you love, along with the ones you will hopefully come to love."

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I figure there's a decent chance you've seen this already, but just in case, from essentials.tcm.com:

"Due to a production delay, The Essentials with Robert Osborne and co-host Sally Field has been delayed. In the meantime, Ben Mankiewicz will be stepping in every Saturday night in March introducing the classic movies you love, along with the ones you will hopefully come to love."

Thanks jody for posting this. I hadn't seen it yet. There has been talk in other threads that Osborne was ill. Not sure how true that might be. If so, then it would explain the delay and why Ben is stepping in.

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Thanks jody for posting this. I hadn't seen it yet. There has been talk in other threads that Osborne was ill. Not sure how true that might be. If so, then it would explain the delay and why Ben is stepping in.

 

Yes, it is true that Robert Osborne was ill. I have it on reasonably good authority that he was sick with the flu during the week he and Sally Field were originally supposed to record their segments for The Essentials in January. This was at about the same time that Eva Marie Saint accepted the William Cameron Menzies Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild on Robert's behalf -- his illness was also given as the reason for his absence at that event.

 

Robert is well now and was apparently back in the studio for TCM in the last couple of weeks recording his segments for March and April. But just at the moment Sally Field is busy doing publicity for her new film HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS, so that temporarily precludes Sally from joining Robert to record their intros and outros for the 2016 season of The Essentials.

 

As I understand it, all of the films scheduled to air in the 8:00PM slot on Saturday nights this month (SABRINA, THE STING, THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE GENERAL) will still air with Essentials wraparounds later in the year, when the series is usually into repeats. So the 'delay in production' which is vaguely referred to at essentials.tcm.com is simply code for scheduling conflicts.

 

Additionally, it seems like a smart move to have Ben Mankiewicz step in to host on Saturday nights in the meantime, since there may be some casual TCM viewers who tend to tune in only for the big-budget mainstream fare seen on The Essentials  and they may not be as familiar with Ben as the folks around here would be.

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Yes, it is true that Robert Osborne was ill. I have it on reasonably good authority that he was sick with the flu during the week he and Sally Field were originally supposed to record their segments for The Essentials in January. This was at about the same time that Eva Marie Saint accepted the William Cameron Menzies Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild on Robert's behalf -- his illness was also given as the reason for his absence at that event.

 

Robert is well now and was apparently back in the studio for TCM in the last couple of weeks recording his segments for March and April. But just at the moment Sally Field is busy doing publicity for her new film HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS, so that temporarily precludes Sally from joining Robert to record their intros and outros for the 2016 season of The Essentials.

 

As I understand it, all of the films scheduled to air in the 8:00PM slot on Saturday nights this month (SABRINA, THE STING, THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE GENERAL) will still air with Essentials wraparounds later in the year, when the series is usually into repeats. So the 'delay in production' which is vaguely referred to at essentials.tcm.com is simply code for scheduling conflicts.

 

Additionally, it seems like a smart move to have Ben Mankiewicz step in to host on Saturday nights in the meantime, since there may be some casual TCM viewers who tend to tune in only for the big-budget mainstream fare seen on The Essentials  and they may not be as familiar with Ben as the folks around here would be.

 

 

Thanks for the confirmation, Barton.  I'm glad that Robert Osbourne is feeling better.

 

It is indeed a good idea to have Ben step into place to introduce the originally scheduled movies in The Essentials spot.

 

I suspected that something was up when for the first time I remember, The Essentials was not included as a theme in the March video promo segment.

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Thanks for the confirmation, Barton.  I'm glad that Robert Osbourne is feeling better.

 

It is indeed a good idea to have Ben step into place to introduce the originally scheduled movies in The Essentials spot.

 

I suspected that something was up when for the first time I remember, The Essentials was not included as a theme in the March video promo segment.

And I have a feeling the guest programmer segment with Lou Gossett Jr was also affected by these scheduling conflicts. It seems to have been indefinitely postponed.

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Guess we still haven't gotten the full 2016 Essentials schedule yet, have we..?

 

Based on the schedule for June, it looks like that is when the new season will begin. Saturday, June 4 is the first evening on the current schedule which is specifically billed as The Essentials. That start date would allow for thirty some-odd Saturday nights between then and the conclusion of this series of The Essentials at the end of January 2017, which is roughly equivalent to the number of Essentials that typically air in a given year (discounting repeats).

 

I'm betting that the films airing on Saturday nights between now and then will still air with Essentials wraparounds later in the year, when the series is usually into repeats anyway; in fact, we can already see this since THE STING is scheduled as an Essential on the last Saturday in June, having already been scheduled earlier in the year.

 

Based on that, the first four films to air with Essentials wraparounds this year will be:

 

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940)

THE STING

 

I can almost guarantee that MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS will repeat on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year.

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Based on that, the first four films to air with Essentials wraparounds this year will be:

 

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940)

THE STING

 

I can almost guarantee that MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS will repeat on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year.

Good detective work. As you suggested, titles like SABRINA will probably be repeated later, with the intended wraparounds. It's nice to know the full Essentials schedule up front, though due to unforeseen circumstances this year that did not happen. In years past, people were able to predict four or five of the Summer Under the Stars honorees. 

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Interesting that in the introduction for tonight's airing of WHITE HEAT, by Ben Mankiewicz and writer Jeremy Arnold (author of the new book The Essentials: 52 Films and Why They Matter) no mention was made of the upcoming season of the program. Probably the segments for tonight were recorded before TCM was able to finalize their plans for 2016.

 

The last I heard was that TCM was planning on launching an abbreviated season of The Essentials in June. That information dates to late March, though, which was before Robert Osborne's announcement that he'd be missing the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival. So for all I know alternate arrangements have been made since then. Nonetheless, Saturday nights starting in June are still billed as The Essentials on the online schedule so we'll see what happens.

 

Tonight marked, I believe, the most explicit on-air reference to Robert Osborne since his extended leave of absence began three months ago. Jeremy Arnold mentioned that Osborne's contribution to his book was integral and cited THIS IS SPINAL TAP as one of Osborne's favorite comedies.

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TCM has posted their monthly promo video for June on social media (see here). No mention whatsoever is made of The Essentials. This striking lack of publicity suggests that the 2016 season will not, in fact, begin on Saturday night. Either that or TCM is intentionally trying to keep the series' return a secret, which seems a rather unlikely scenario.

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So, The Essentials will not be returning to TCM before July, as evidenced by guest host Madeline Stowe's statement in her intro to The French Connection that she's "filling in for Robert Osborne this month."

 

I'm guessing that, at this point, the powers that be have decided to scrap their plans for the current season and are hoping Osborne is well enough for a last hurrah in 2017. It was reported on the TCM Classic Cruise last fall that Sally Field was contractually obligated to TCM for at least one more season of The Essentials.

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So, The Essentials will not be returning to TCM before July, as evidenced by guest host Madeline Stowe's statement in her intro to The French Connection that she's "filling in for Robert Osborne this month."

 

I'm guessing that, at this point, the powers that be have decided to scrap their plans for the current season and are hoping Osborne is well enough for a last hurrah in 2017. It was reported on the TCM Classic Cruise last fall that Sally Field was contractually obligated to TCM for at least one more season of The Essentials.

They should have just had Sally do the season on her own. Or brought Alec Baldwin back to co-host it with her. They would have done a nice job during Robert's absence and provided some sort of on-going continuity. As it is now, the franchise is becoming a little too hit-or-miss.

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I am trying to figure out the Essentials for October using the newest schedule information. 

 

October 1: TWO GUYS FROM MILWAUKEE (does not seem like an Essential)

October 8: MURPHY'S ROMANCE (seems like an Essential and like something Sally Field would introduce)

October 15: THE INNOCENTS (seems like an Essential)

October 22: JAWS (seems like an Essential)

October 29: BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (doesn't seem like an Essential)

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I am trying to figure out the Essentials for October using the newest schedule information. 

 

October 29: BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (doesn't seem like an Essential)

 

It does seem unlikely for TCM. But Blood and Black Lace is considered a classic of the giallo genre, and acknowledging it as such in October, and so close to Halloween, is a possibility.

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