Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A copycat spinoff plot: Phyllis (1975)

 When Rhoda was spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the title character (Valerie Harper) had moved back to New York from Minneapolis.

Ed. Weinberger & Stan Daniels decided to copy that idea when Phylllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) was granted her own series. Problem was, Phyllis lacked the charismatic appeal of the other shows.

After having been widowed, Phyllis and her daughter, Bess (Lisa Gerritsen), return home to San Francisco to start a new life. Henry Jones (ex-Channing) co-stars.

Here's the opener.

Barbara Colby had filmed three episodes before being murdered by an unknown assailant in Los Angeles. Her part was recast with Liz Torres taking over the role. 

Unfortunately, Phyllis was bleeding ratings from having Rhoda as a lead-in, and during season 2, both series were moved to Sunday nights in an effort to change the downward slide. It didn't work, and Phyllis was history after 2 seasons.

In memory of Cloris Leachman, whom we have learned has passed away at 94 after a lengthy career that saw her earn an Oscar (1971's "The Last Picture Show"), and 8 Emmy awards for her work on Moore and other projects.

No rating out of respect.

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