1 9 8 4 (USA)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This CBS sitcom was a wild satire on the shenanigans and paranoia of corporate America. Played strictly for laughs, Empire featured back-stabbing, double-dealing, and even an off-handed murder committed as board members jockeyed for power.
Calvin Cromwell (former Avengers star Patrick Macnee) was the despotic chairman of the board at Empire Industries who delighted in making his underlings squirm.
Meredith (Caren Kaye) was the manipulative director of public relations, and Jack Willow (Richard Masur) was the incompetent sales VP whose ambitious wife, Jackie (Christine Belford), had to give him detailed instructions on what to say at board meetings (which sometimes backfired when an unexpected question was asked).
Arthur Broderick (Dick O’Neill) was the over-the-hill head of marketing, who plastered his hair with artificial colouring in a hopeless attempt to look young, Tom Martinson (Howard Platt) was the organisation’s thoroughly unprincipled chief counsel, and Howard Daniels (Edward Winter), the neurotic security chief who kept an oxygen mask by his side during board meetings.
Edward Roland (Michael McGuire) was another board member who was obviously trying to unseat Cromwell and take over the business.
Into this nest of bumbling schemers came affable but naive young Ben Christian (Dennis Dugan), who had just been appointed vice president of research and development. Friendly toward the company’s workers, honest, and with the boss’s confidence, Ben posed a significant threat to the others.
T. Howard Daniels