1 9 7 8 (USA)
3 x 60 minute episodes
1 9 7 9 (USA)
11 x 60 minute episodes
Fresh from her conquest of the sitcom world with the long-running Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary tackled a format that had been the undoing of countless other accomplished performers: the variety hour.
The short-lived show featured Mary and six others working as a kind of repertory company. The others were Dick Shawn, Jim Hampton, Swoosie Kurtz, David Letterman, Michael Keaton and Judy Kahan.
Everything was supervised by Mary’s husband, Grant Tinker, and everyone had high hopes for the show.
Unfortunately, the song-and-dance numbers and cornball sketch comedy were old-fashioned and out of step with the times and the show aired for only three weeks, from 24 September to 8 October 1978.
Eight episodes were scrapped at a cost of $3.2 million.
CBS shelved it, revamped it and brought it back a few months later as The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, with Mary playing variety show star, Mary McKinnon.
Dody Goodman played Mary’s maid, Ruby, Joyce Van Patten was Iris, her secretary, Michael Lombard was her producer, Harry, and Michael Keaton was Kenneth, a network page.
Guest stars such as Dick Van Dyke, Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, Hal Linden, Bea Arthur and Paul Williams played themselves.
Ratings continued to be disappointingly low and the new show was a flop too.