Now that we’ve come to grips with the fact that According to Jim is actually going to return for another breathtaking season — its eighth! — on ABC, we have some other news to report: Hollywood veteran Penny Marshall (A League of Their Own) has agreed to lend a hand in the directing department. She may helm a few episodes when the sitcom starring Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith (pictured) returns mid-season — if not sooner, should one of ABC’s new or returning shows falter this fall. Jim already has a head start; it is currently shooting episode five of the new season.
Though the family comedy isn’t exactly breaking Nielsen records (its five telecasts last winter averaged only 5.3 million viewers), According to Jim has value in syndication, and an extra season can only add to the company coffers. And Belushi shows no signs of fatigue. In fact, the actor made headlines at the beginning of the 100-day writers strike last November when he decided to continue production on his sitcom, even though his writers were walking the picket line and the rest of TV had pretty much shut down. No, Belushi didn’t step up to write the show he also executive produces; he had five scripts in hand that had yet to be shot.