Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Modern Classic (?): Charles in Charge (1984)

Charles in Charge was one of the first series of the modern era to find new life in syndication after failing on a network. The series launched on CBS in 1984 as a sort-of knockoff of NBC's Gimme A Break. How? Gimme A Break was built around a housekeeper (Nell Carter, ex-Lobo) who became a maternal figure for her boss' children. Charles in Charge had its titular housekeeper (Scott Baio, fresh from Happy Days) as a big brother figure for his boss' kids. Complicating matters was that Charles' best buddy (Willie Aames, ex-Eight is Enough) was always dragging him into some get rich quick scheme or crusing for prospective girlfriends.

Unfortunately, CBS placed Charles on the wrong night, and not enough people were paying attention. Baio & Aames were dotting the covers of teen magazines at the time, and it was thought that there could be some carryover after Eight and Days had ended. James Widdoes (ex-Delta House) co-starred.

Three years later, Universal relaunched the series in syndication, and Charles had a new family to work with. In fact, Baio & Aames were the only ones to carry over from the CBS run. The series survived for three seasons in syndication (1987-90), but it was diminishing returns that led to its final demise. How it hasn't turned up on cable, I don't know.

Here's a season 1 intro:

Rating: B.

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