US TV shows not broadcast in the UK
A.D. (ANNO DOMINI) (1985)
The early years of Christianity and the decline of the Caesers with an international and all-star cast that included Anthony Andrews, James Mason, Denis Quilley, Ava Gardner, Jack Warden and Ian McShane among many others. Not well received by the critics. Variety summed it up - "Tries to ignite: it goes phfftt."
Veterans of the Korean war live it up in a ritzy resort and give protection to a criminal lawyer. Failed series that surprisingly starred James Coburn and Telly Savalas.
ACCIDENTAL FAMILY (1967)
Jerry Van Dyke (brother of Dick) starred as a widowed Californian comedian who turns to farming in order to bring up his son.
ACCORDING TO JIM (2001)
This family comedy about a lumpy breadwinner married to a hot-looking wife became a surprise hit in ABC's long tradition of domestic sitcoms. But According to Jim was no Roseanne or Home Improvement in terms of quality. Jim Belushi (brother of the late comic John) played Jim, a macho contractor; his understanding and loving wife was Cheryl, played by Courtney Thorne-Smith, veteran of Melrose Place and Ally McBeal. The couple had three young children--Ruby (Taylor Atelian), Gracie (Billi Bruno) and Kyle (Conner Rayburn), and they all lived together in a Chicago home. (The surname of Jim and his family was never disclosed.) Also in the cast was Andy (Larry Joe Campbell), Jim's brother-in-law and business partner. Cheryl also had an insecure, man-hunting sister named Dana (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) . The show's premise essentially came down to Jim getting into a jam (usually over some "battle of the sexes" issue), with Cheryl forgiving him by the end of the episode. It was all fill-in-the-blank comedy, but it struck a cord with enough viewers to make "Jim" a moderate success (even coming close to beating NBC's more sophisticated "Frasier" in head-to-head competition). But the critical barbs continued. "Entertainment Weekly" wrote in its Fall 2003 TV preview: "And our award for Most Justifiably Paranoid Executive Producer goes to Suzanne Bukinik, who's convinced we're going to mock Jim Belushi's family sitcom, just because we have done it every year before." Belushi had the last laugh: According to Jim ran for eight seasons until it was finally put to rest in 2009–the same year ABC introduced Modern Family, a far funnier and fresher take on domestic life. Which must account as a victory of sorts.
ACE CRAWFORD PRIVATE EYE (1983)
Adventures of an inept detective starring Tim Conway as a private investigator who, in spite of his bumbling ineptitude, always came out on top. Each episode ended with Crawford walking along a wharf, vanishing into the fog and then audibly falling into the water. One critic remarked: "Get Smart it isn't"...the viewers agreed and in spite of 13 episdoes being made only 5 were broadcast before CBS withdrew Crawford's license.
ACTION IN THE AFTERNOON (1953)
Action in the Afternoon was television's first live outdoor Western, originating in the wide open spaces of suburban Philadelphia and telecast five afternoons a week. While other 'live' Western shows were seen on US TV they all relied on pre-recorded action sequences and filmed inserts. Action in the Afternoon did away with these although there were occasions when actors needed more time to get from one set to another. In cases like this the star of the show, Jack Valentine would fill in with a song accompanied by the Tommy Ferguson Trio. The fictional setting for the series was Huberle, Montana - this came from an ad-lib by the programmes creator Charles Vanda during his pitch for the series to the executives at CBS, Hubbell Robinson and Harry Omerle. Produced on the back lot of WCAU-TV, Channel 10, then owned by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin newspaper, the area had a natural creek running through the property. The interior shots were done in the studios and exterior shots outside on the back lot, which was also the parking lot for the station's employees where mock-ups of different western buildings were built. Since it was on a low budget, there was only three to five buildings; the saloon, the newspaper (The Huberle Record) and the sheriff's office/jail. A totem pole concealed a telephone pole. Alongside Jack Valentine was Mary Elaine Watts as Red Cotten, the sassy belle of the saloon and Barry Cassell as the shady Ace Bancroft. The narrator was Blake Ritter. Also featured were Sam Kressen as Sheriff Sam Mitchell and Jean Corbett as the lawman's wife, Amy. Corbett, during the year that Action in the Afternoon was on the air, also portrayed Aunt Molly on a WCAU-TV cookery show, Home Highlights. (Laurence Marcus)
THE ADAMS CHRONICLES (1976)
Multi Emmy award winning PBS series aired in 1976 to commemorate the American Bicentennial, telling how succeeding generations of the Adams political family influenced American history. The story covered a period of 150 years (1750 - 1900) with the most prominent member of the family, John Adams (George Grizzard), signer of the Declaration, accomplished diplomat and the 2nd President, being seen as the most influential of all. His son John Quincy Adams (acclaimed Secretary of State, the 6th President, and prominent abolitionist) was played by Mark Winkworth. The series traces their lives from John Adams early years as a colonial Boston attorney to the rise in prominence of Brookes Adams in the fields of political and social philosophy. (Laurence Marcus)
ADAM'S RIB (1973)
Unsuccessful attempt to transfer the 1949 Spencer Tracy / Audrey Hepburn movie about domestic and professional tensions between a husband and wife who work as opposing lawyers on a legal case. In this updated version Adam Bonner (Ken Howard) is a young assistant DA while his wife, Amanda Bonner (Blythe Danner), is a junior partner in a law firm. Their jobs often put them in conflict within the courtroom and, by extension, at home due to Amanda's crusade for women's rights. (Laurence Marcus)
THE ADVENTURES OF KIT CARSON (1951)
One of the most popular early chidren's Western series on US television, The Adventures of Kit Carson bore very little resemblance nor was it based on any historical research into the man whose name gave the series its title. Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson was an American frontiersman and Indian agent who left home in rural Missouri at the age of 16 and became a mountain man and trapper in the West. Carson explored the west to California, and north through the Rocky Mountains. He lived among and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, was hired by John C. Fremont as a guide, and him through much of California, Oregon and the Great Basin area. Carson later served in the Mexican War, guiding American forces under Stephen Kearney in California from New Mexico, and again during the U.S. Civil War. He achieved national fame through Fremont's accounts of his expeditions and became the hero of many dime novels. Roaming the West seeking to help those in need on his horse named Apache, he was played in the series by Hollywood leading man Bill Williams. His Mexican sidekick, El Toro, was played by Brooklyn born Don Diamond. Williams played Carson for 104 episodes between 1951 and 1955 prompting him to say at the end of it "I never want to see or hear of Kit Carson again." (Laurence Marcus)
ALL AMERICAN GIRL (1995)
Korean-American Margaret Cho was one of many stand-up comics in the 1990's to earn a shot as a situation comedy star. Cho played Margaret Kim, a young woman who lived with her traditional Korean-American family; the setting was apparently San Francisco. She worked in the beauty counter of a department store, and her independent ways about dating, finding a new career and living her own life clashed with her mother and father (Jodi Long and Clyde Kusatusu), who wanted Margaret to settle down with a good Korean man and become a wife and mother. Older brother Stewart (B.D. Wong, who would later go on to co-star on "Law & Order: SVU") was engaged and studying to be a doctor; younger brother Eric (J. B. Quon) looked up to her. Maddie Corman and Judy Gold played her co-workers Ruthie and Gloria. Amy Hill was Grandma, who was generally supportive of Margaret's goals. Cho later wrote in her book "I'm The One That I Want," about her brief experience as a sitcom star. ABC executives thought she was a bit overweight; she went on a starvation diet but by the time the show's pilot was taped, she suffered from kidney problems. Cho was also criticized for being either "too Asian" or "not Asian enough;" producers hired a coach so she could become "more Asian." And the series was blasted by critics for its broad comedy and stereotypical depictions of Koreans and gays. Despite several format changes, the show was cancelled after one season. Cho used her experience on All-American Girl as comic fodder, with her book and a one-woman show that won acclaim. She continues to perform on stage, and in TV and film roles.
AMERICAN DREAMS (2002)
This unique drama explored life and events in the early and mid-1960's through the eyes of a fictional Philadelphia family. The Pryors were devoted Catholics; father Jack (Tom Verica) owned a television and radio store and wife Helen (Gail O'Grady) was a stay-at-home mom. Their oldest son JJ (Will Estes), was a high school football player; youngest daughter Patty (Sarah Ramos), an intelligent but sometimes annoying child; and young son Will (Ethan Dampf) suffered from polio, a source of guilt for Jack and Helen, who refused to let him have the newly-developed Salk vaccine that could have prevented his illness. The show's central figure was the Pryor’s second-oldest child, 15-year-old Meg (Brittany Snow), a typical teen who hung around with her best friend Roxanne Bojarski (Vanessa Lengies), who always seemed to get into trouble. Also in the show's core cast were Henry Walker (Jonathan Adams), a black employee in Jack's store; his son Sam (Arlen Escarpeta) and JJ's girlfriend Beth Mason (Rachel Boston).
When the show began, the time was November 1963-and both Meg and Roxanne were picked to dance on the popular series American Bandstand, which was based in Philadelphia during that period. ("Bandstand" host Dick Clark was one of the producers of American Dreams.) The setting-featuring black-and-white clips from the original show airing on studio monitors--allowed a number of contemporary stars to portray musical acts of the period , such as Usher playing soul singer Marvin Gaye; Duncan Shiek appearing as Bobby Darin and Ashanti as Dionne Warwick. Viewers watched as the Pryors went through major changes-some personal, some related to the issues of the day such as civil rights, the Vietnam war, the generation gap between young and old, women's liberation and the new sexual freedom. The characters were well-rounded and the show's writing was a cut or two above average, even though critics questioned its accuracy on historic and cultural events during the show's time line (1963 to 1966).
American Dreams was never a front-line hit, but managed to run for three seasons. Still, the nostalgia hook and the credible characters helped the show gain a loyal if modest audience by US broadcast standards..
I Love Lucy co-creator Jess Oppenheimer came up with this sitcom about American architect John Smith (Marshall Thompson) and his new bride Angel-that is, Angelique (Annie Farge), a French woman who had just moved to America. She was pretty, strong-willed and new to the ways of the USA; her earnest attempts to fit into suburban Los Angeles culture was the basis for the comedy-much as Cuban-born Ricky's mangling of the English language generated laughs on Lucy. Doris Singleton and Don Keefer played neighbours and friends Susie and George, whose bitter banter toward each other was not unlike Lucy's Fred and Ethel Mertz. In its review of the series, Time magazine accurately noted although the assembly line may soon run the ignorant-immigrant theme into the ground...Farge triumphantly resists being merely Lucille Ball with a French accent. She is easily the brightest newcomer to situation comedy-small, pert, winsome, and somehow giving the impression of being attractively feathered. But up against ABC's new family comedy My Three Sons and NBC's Bachelor Father, not enough viewers gave Angel a chance and CBS gave up after just one season. Thompson went on to star in the adventure series Daktari and appeared in other TV and film roles until his death in 1992. The French-born Farge made guest appearances on several other series before she apparently retired from show business in the mid-1960's.
Donna Pescow, who gained fame as John Travolta's girlfriend in Saturday Night Fever, starred in this opposites attract sitcom. Pescow was Angie Falco, a blue-collar gal working as a waitress in a Philadelphia coffee shop. She began dating customer Bradley Benson (Robert Hays), whom she thought was a struggling student. Far from it: Bradley was a successful paediatrician from one of the city's wealthiest families. Angie's side of the family included her divorced mom Theresa (Doris Roberts), and younger sister Marie (Debralee Scott). Brad had his stuffy father Randall (John Randolph) and his overbearing sister Joyce (Sharon Spelman) to contend with. But Angie and Brad had support from Joyce's daughter Hilary (Tammy Lauren). Naturally, the differences in cash and social class became comic fodder, helping Angie to become an instant hit as a mid-season replacement following Mork & Mindy on Thursday nights. It ended its first season as the fifth most-popular series on television, giving ABC a clean sweep of the top five that year, with Laverne & Shirley in first place, Three's Company second, and Mork and Mindy tied for third with its parent Happy Days. In Season Two, Angie and Theresa ran their own beauty parlour, and Brad and Angie tried to settle in as newlyweds. The sharp comedy that marked the first season was softened-and not for the better; combined with a time slot change, ratings fell drastically and the series was cancelled. Angie's theme song, Different Worlds, was performed over the opening credits by singer Maureen McGovern and became a top-20 hit in 1979. Pescow moved on to other television roles; Hays became known for his work in the 1980 film comedy Airplane! and its sequel; and Doris Roberts would win Emmys playing another meddling mom-Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.
ANNIE OAKLEY (1954)
Television's first Western heroine was played by Gail Davis and co-starred Brad Johnson as Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig and Jimmy Hawkins, as Annie's brother, Tagg. Annie and Tagg lived in the town of Diablo, Arizona, with their uncle, Sheriff Luke MacTavish, who was usually away whenever trouble started. It would then be up to straight-shooting Annie and her "silent suitor" Lofty Craig to rescue law-abiding neighbours and arrest the outlaws. Annie Oakley was not a fictional character. The real Annie was born in 1860 as Phoebe Ann Moses and starred in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as a sharpshooter; her most famous trick being able to repeatedly split a playing card, edge-on with a .22 caliber rifle, at 90 feet, and put several more holes in it before it could touch the ground. Oakley continued to set records into her sixties, and also engaged in extensive philanthropy for women's rights. In 1935, Barbara Stanwyck played Oakley in a highly fictionalized film called Annie Oakley. The 1946 Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun is very loosely based on her life. The original stage production starred Ethel Merman, who also starred in the 1966 revival. A 1950 film version starred Betty Hutton. Gail Davis - who played Oakley in the Gene Autry produced TV series was an adroit horseback rider. Davis also toured North America in Gene Autry's traveling rodeo and went on to manage a number of other celebrities. (Laurence Marcus)
APPLE'S WAY (1974)
The man who created The Waltons, Earl Hammer Junior, tried his hand with another family drama set in contemporary times. Premiering as a mid-season replacement in January 1974, Apple-s Way was the story of George Apple (Ronny Cox), a successful architect who was tired of big city life (Los Angeles, that is) and moved his family to the small rural community of Appleton, Iowa. (The town was founded by George's ancestors.) Wife Barbara (Lee McCain) took to her new surroundings just fine, but it proved to be a big adjustment for the couple's four children Paul (Vincent Van Patten), Cathy (Patti Cohoon), Patricia (Franny Michel; replaced in the second season by Kristy McNichol) and Steven (Eric Olson). Malcolm Atterbury played grandfather Aldon, who lived with the family. Every week, the Apples (especially George) became involved in various causes around the small town, which inevitably led to conflict with both townsfolk and other family members. But while the Depression-era setting of The Waltons drew millions of fans every week, the plots and resolutions of Apple's Way seemed rather hokey and synthetic-especially in the Me Decade. Viewers found it much easier to switch the channel to NBC and enjoy The Wonderful World of Disney. CBS ended the Apple's saga in January 1975.
BACHELOR FATHER (1957)
John Forsythe starred in this hybrid sitcom about a single man who became an instant father after taking in his niece. Forsythe played Bentley Gregg, a successful Beverly Hills attorney who adopted teenager Kelly (Noreen Corcoran) after her parents died in a car accident. Bentley's time was divided between raising Kelly and his career-not to mention the many beautiful women who stopped by his office. (In one episode, a girlfriend of Kelly's became smitten with the older Gregg. She was played by Linda Evans, who would later become Krystal Carrington of Dynasty–and Forsythe's on screen wife--two decades later.) Sammy Tong played Bentley's houseboy Peter Tong, who ran the household (and occasionally got into some predicament, usually over money). Bachelor Father's pilot first aired on CBS' General Electric Theater in May 1957 (with the title A New Girl in His Life). Four months later, the series made its debut on the network, alternating every other week with The Jack Benny Program on Sunday nights. In 1959, "Father" moved to NBC, where it ran until 1961. ABC then picked up the series for one more season, making Bachelor Father one of the few programs to air original episodes on all three major U.S. networks. During its final season, Kelly became engaged to Bentley's junior law partner Warren Dawson (Aron Kincaid); the series ended before the wedding could take place. A rather pleasant if predictable sitcom, "Father" was co-produced by Forsythe's production company and MCA/Universal, allowing the star to enjoy a comfortable life before Charlie's Angels and Dynasty made him a household name again.
THE BING CROSBY SHOW (1964)
By 1964, beloved entertainer Bing Crosby was doing quite well as a television producer with shows such as Ben Casey (and later Hogan's Heroes) under his belt. It made perfect sense for him to produce AND star in his own weekly family sitcom. The Bing Crosby Show was actually a pretty good comedy that couldn't last against strong competition. Crosby played Bing Collins, a former singer who decided to leave show business behind and settle down with wife Ellie (Beverly Garland) and daughters Janice and Joyce (Carol Faylen and Diane Sherry - pictured). But domestic life didn't go according to plan: Ellie wanted to get into show business; Janice was a boy-crazy teen; and Joyce was a ten-year-old brainiac. Frank McHugh played live-in handyman Willie Walters. Of course, Bing sang a song in nearly every episode (he also warbled the theme song and the tune that accompanied the closing credits). And the laid-back Crosby and co-star Garland had good chemistry; one humorous episode had Bing and Ellie trying to recapture the romance Ellie thought was gone from their marriage. But The Bing Crosby Show lasted just one season, thanks to strong competition from CBS' sitcom Many Happy Returns (which also lasted just one year) and the second half of NBC's popular Andy Williams Show. Crosby continued to be a frequent guest on television and film (and a commercial spokesman for Minute Maid orange juice) until his untimely death in 1977.
This 1950's comedy starred a bachelor who pursued nearly every beautiful woman who posed for his camera. But it was all good clean fun, though in those rather repressed times, the humor was considered a bit risque. Bob Cummings played Bob Collins, an Air Force reserve officer who ran a successful photography studio. Veteran sitcom actress Rosemary DeCamp was his sister Margaret McDonald, who tried but failed to get him married to a "respectable" woman. She wanted Bob to set an example for her adolescent son Chuck (Dwayne Hickman) who, not surprisingly, wanted to be like Uncle Bob and get all the girls. At the studio, Bob had an efficient secretary named Charmaine "Schultzy" Schultz (brilliantly played by Ann B. Davis), who pined for Bob even as he dated one woman after another. Another woman competed for Bob’s affections scholarly bird watcher Pamela Livingston (Nancy Kulp). Neither Schultzy nor Pamela was glamorous enough for Bob. But they were far more intelligent than most of his attractive but vapid conquests. The Bob Cummings Show (also known as Love That Bob) was created by Paul Hemming, a writer who would later develop such rural sitcoms as The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres for CBS. The show itself was produced by Henning, Cummings and George Burns' McCadden Productions. It premiered in January 1955 on NBC as one of television's first mid season replacement series. CBS then picked up "Bob Cummings" for two seasons, before NBC took back the show and aired it until 1959. After the series ended, Dwayne Hickman starred in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (and later became a CBS television executive). Davis, who won two Emmy awards for her role as Schulzy, went on to her best-known role as Alice Nelson, The Brady Bunch's wisecracking maid. And Henning would tap Kulp to play no-nonsense bank secretary Jane Hathaway on Beverly Hillbillies. Bob Cummings was a film actor before moving to television in the early 1950's with the sitcom My Hero. He won an Emmy for the live 1954 production of Twelve Angry Men on CBS' Studio One. Cummings appeared in several other films, along with an installment of The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Comedy Hour and the short-lived sitcoms The New Bob Cummings Show and My Living Doll. He died at the age of 80 in 1990.
A weekly drama about the lives and loves of people at a major Hollywood movie studio. John Bracken was the head of Century Studios (he was only heard by intercom or over the phone during the first season and was voiced by Warren Stevens). Eleanor Parker played Bracken's executive secretary Sylvia Caldwell. She relayed her boss' orders and dealt with the various people on the Century payroll, including producer-writer Kevin Grant (Peter Haskell); stuntman Davey Evans (Dennis Cole); studio talent school chief Laura Deane (Elizabeth Allen), and a bevy of beauties and hunks waiting for their one big chance at stardom. The ensemble cast dealt with the pressures of Hollywood-drugs, sex, alcohol, underhanded ethics and so forth. When it returned for its second season, John Bracken was finally seen and heard in the form of veteran actor Leslie Nielsen; Stevens, Parker and Cole were out of the picture. But the new version was no more successful than the first, and was pulled off the air in December 1970. By that time, many of the major film studios were experiencing financial problems due to changing tastes in cinema–so in a way, the demise of Bracken's World was a metaphor for Hollywood's troubles during that era.
BRAVE EAGLE (1957)
Made by Roy Rogers Productions and filmed (mostly) on Rogers' own 130 acre ranch in Chatsworth, California, Brave Eagle was a departure from the standard Western series in so much as it featured an American Indian as the good guy. Keith Larsen, who was of Norwegian descent, starred as the central character, a young Cheyenne chief faced with the prospect of the white settlers expansion into the American Southwest during the middle of the 19th century. Brave Eagle also had to deal with other Indian tribes, the ever present prospect of war and matters of the heart. His love interest was Morning Star (played by Kim Winona) an attractive young Indian girl. The half-breed Smokey Joe (Bert Wheeler) was the wise old dog who would tell tribal tales and impart his wisdom. Keena, his foster son was played by an actor billed as Keena Nomkeena, although his real name was Anthony Earl Numkena, a full-blooded Indian of Hopi and Klamath descent. Brave Eagle rode a stallion named White Cloud. Set in the Black Mountain region of Wyoming, Brave Eagle (sometimes billed as Brave Eagle: Chief of the Cheyennes) ran for just one season. (Laurence Marcus)
CHARLES IN CHARGE (1987)
Scott Baio became a TV heartthrob on both Happy Days and its spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi. He was able to grow up a bit on this pleasant if predictable sitcom. Baio starred as Charles (his last name was never revealed), a 19-year-old student at New Jersey's Copeland College who also worked as a live-in babysitter for the Pembroke family. In exchange for room and board, plus some spending money, Charles cared for the three Pembroke children, pre-teen Lila (April Lerman), sarcastic 12-year-old Douglas (Jonathan Ward), and youngest son Jason (Michael Pearlman). Julie Cobb and James Widdoes played busy parents Jill and Stan; Charles' best friend was somewhat dense and girl-crazy Buddy Lembeck (Willie Ames); Jennifer Runyon played co-ed Gwendolyn Pierce, whom Charles had a crush on. CBS cancelled the series after one low-rated season-but nearly two years later, Charles In Charge returned with new episodes for local stations eager for fresh sitcoms. When the syndicated version began in January 1987, the Pembrokes had moved to Seattle and sold their home to a new family-the Powells. Grandfather Walter Powell, (James T. Callahan) was a retired Navy Man and headed the household. Sandra Kerns played his daughter-in-law Ellen (her husband was a Navy commander stationed in the South Seas). She had three children-daughters Jamie and Sarah (Nicole Eggert and Josie Davis) and son Adam (Alexander Polinsky). Only Baio and Ames carried over from the CBS version: Charles was still caretaker and college student; while Buddy was as girl-crazy as ever. During the syndicated run, Ellen Travolta (sister of John) played Charles' mother Lillian (again, no last name), who owned a pizza parlour and meddled in Charles' life. The series ended in late 1990 with Charles being accepted to Princeton University. The show's catchy theme song (Charles in charge of our days and our nights...I want Charles in charge of me!) was written by David Kurtz, Michael Jacobs and Al Burton, and performed by Shandi Sinnamon.
THE CISCO KID (1950)
The Cisco Kid has the distinction of being the first television series to be filmed in colour, although few viewers were able to enjoy it in this format until the 1960s. The series starred Duncan Renaldo as Cisco, Leo Carillo as Pancho, and Diablo as the Kid's horse. Cisco was created by US short story writer O. Henry in 1907 as a particularly vicious outlaw and it was only when the character was adapted for radio in 1942 that he was depicted as a Robin Hood figure who assisted the downtrodden against corrupt officialdom. From then on television and films have presented the Kid as a heroic Mexican caballero. The TV series began production in 1949, and was filmed by ZIV Productions at the Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley in Ventura County, California. Renaldo, a native of Spain, and Carrillo, a native of Los Angeles, were the first regular Hispanic television stars, beating Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy fame by almost a year. When the series began, Renaldo was already 46 years of age but he still had the edge on his sidekick who was 70. The Cisco Kid was nominated in 1953 for an Emmy Award for children's programming. By 1955 it was the most popular filmed television series among American children. Because the 156 episodes were filmed in colour, the series was in demand until the 1970s. (Laurence Marcus)
Barry Kemp, who created Newhart, scored again with this football-based sitcom. Craig T. Nelson starred as Hayden Fox, the coach of the fictional Minnesota State University team (known as the "Screaming Eagles"). His assistant coaches were pleasant but clueless Luther Van Dam (Jerry Van Dyke) and Michael "Dauber" Dybinski (Bill Fagerbakke), a perennial college student. Luther's girlfriend (and later wife) was television news anchor Christine Armstrong, played by veteran sitcom actress Shelley Fabares (The Donna Reed Show and others). Fox tried to mold his team into a winning force while juggling a social life and raising his daughter Kelly (Clare Carey), who eventually married a mime, Stewart Rosebrock (Kris Kamm); the pair eventually divorced. In 1995, Hayden left Minnesota State to coach the Orlando Breakers, a professional expansion football team owned by millionaire Doris Sherman (Katherine Helmond), who butted heads with Fox more than once. The final season had Hayden turn down other coaching offers to help Christine build her TV career in Minnesota. Known as a dramatic actor before Coach began, Nelson proved to be a fine comic and won an Emmy for his Hayden Fox role. (The series also proved to be the most successful of Jerry Van Dyke's sometimes-checkered career.) A mainstay of ABC's comedy lineup in the early and mid-1990's, Coach spent most of its run in television's top 20. Touchdown!