It had been more than a decade since Flip Wilson's self-titled variety show had come to an end. In fact, The Cosby Show was occupying Flip's old Thursday night perch by the time his producer, Bob Henry, contacted him about trying a sitcom of his own.
The end result, Charlie & Company, wasn't directly competing with Cosby, airing on a different night on CBS (Cosby Show was on Wilson's old network home, NBC), but viewers saw there were enough similarities, although the setting was different (Chicago as opposed to New York), and made their judgments. Charlie was sent packing after 1 season.
Halfway through, Henry and co-producer Allan Katz called on actress-singer Della Reese to help bolster ratings, and try to convince viewers to give the show another chance. Didn't work. Two of the kids, though, went on to bigger and better things. Kristoff St. John moved on to another CBS series, the long running soap, The Young & The Restless. Jaleel White resurfaced as super-nerd Steve Urkel on Family Matters, and gained icon status as a result. Reese would have two more series on her resume. CBS stuck her on Wednesday nights again, this time with Redd Foxx, in The Royal Family. That also failed to fire, but after the success of the feature film, "Harlem Nights", with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, Reese switched gears to drama, co-starring in Touched by an Angel.
Following is the episode, "Rachel and the Stranger". Seems Aunt Rachel (Reese) is afraid to spend the night alone at home, so Charlie is recruited by his wife, Diana (Gladys Knight, who also sings the theme song), to be a houseguest.