1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 6 (USA)
10 x 30 minute episodes
Lee Grant’s swinging 43-year-old divorcée, Fay Stewart, enjoyed a brief stay on NBC’s schedule in this lusty sitcom.
Stewart, a chicly-turned-out woman of the world, was enjoying unwedded bliss, but her philandering ex-husband, Jack (Joe Silver), missed her and was always hanging around her San Francisco apartment (73416 Langley Avenue), trading insults with Fay’s catty and nosey neighbour Lillian (Audra Lindley).
Meanwhile, Fay was dressing for a date or talking to her prim 23-year-old daughter, Linda (Margaret Willock), and Linda’s plastic surgeon husband, Elliott (Stewart Moss).
Either that or she was leaving for work as secretary to a crusading but insecure young attorney, Danny Messina (Bill Gerber) – who developed a big crush on Fay in the episode titled “Danny Falls in Love” – whose older, more conservative partner, Al Cassidy (Norman Alden), had a black secretary called Letty (Lillian Lehman), whom Fay confided in when she wanted to talk.
Fay was watered down considerably before being axed by NBC after only three weeks on the air. The final episode aired on 23 October 1975.
Lee Grant exacerbated the situation by lambasting NBC for the abrupt cancellation of Fay during a guest appearance on The Tonight Show on 30 October 1975 – and also by “flipping the bird” to the powers-that-be on that same telecast.
The show got another chance to prove itself in prime time during the summer of 1976 but again failed to garner high ratings (even though it was now on Wednesday nights).
Ironically, Lee Grant was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in Fay but lost to Mary Tyler Moore.
Lee admitted years after the show’s demise that working in front of those live studio audiences brought about incredible bouts of stage fright, from which she never fully recovered.
Linda Stewart Baines
Dr Elliott Baines