In 1987, NBC attempted to create a pre-primetime checkerboard block of programming to lead into their 8-11 pm (ET) evening block. Five sitcoms on five different nights, all with familiar or soon-to-be-familiar faces.
Over at Saturday Morning Archives, we took a look at Out of This World, which was a comeback vehicle for Donna Pescow (ex-Angie), and was the most successful of the block, lasting four seasons. The trick was that stations not affiliated with NBC were able to acquire these shows as well, hence the varying results. World will turn up here, too, ere long, as we honored co-star Joe Alaskey, a local native, who passed away earlier this week, and is better known for his work as a voice actor post-World.
Next up, then, is Marblehead Manor, which, to be fair, was an attempt at creating a British sitcom of a sort on American shores. As would be the fate of the bulk of the block, Marblehead lasted one solitary season, but three of its stars are quite known. The series, first & foremost, marked the return of actress Linda Thorson (ex-The Avengers) to American television, 14 years after her Avengers predecessor, Diana Rigg, had toplined a sitcom of her own that also lasted a season. The network? Wouldn't you know, it was NBC. Next, you had second generation actor Phil Morris, trying his hand at comedy. Marblehead's failure enabled Phil to move on to the revival of the show that made his father, Greg, famous, Mission: Impossible, the very next season. Finally, there is Michael Richards (ex-Fridays), already playing the kind of goofball characters that would lead to his iconic role as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. Richards moved on from Marblehead to the "Weird" Al Yankovic movie, "UHF".
Let's scope out a sample episode:
This is best filed under, what were they thinking?