1 9 8 8 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
14 x 60 minute episodes
The restaurant business gave Nick Tattinger (Stephen Collins) heartburn in this comedy-drama with a distinctively New York atmosphere. Nick had sold his swank Manhattan eatery and moved to Paris after being shot on the street by crazed drug dealer Sonny (Zach Grenier), but he couldn’t stay away.
Reclaiming the place from his inept successors, he installed Sheila (Mary Beth Hurt) as the new chef, and – with the help of loyal maitre d’ Sid (Jerry Stiller), headwaiter Lou (Roderick Cook), bartender Marco (Rob Morrow), and pianist Billie (Sue Francis Pai) – he set about restoring Tattingers to its former glory.
There was constant banter with his elegant ex-wife Hillary (Blythe Danner), who was now having an affair with boring Norman (Simon Jones), as well as fatherly doting over his two spoiled teenage daughters, Nina (Patrice Colihan) and Winnifred (Chay Lentin, initially, and then Jessica Prunell).
Tattingers was an odd mix of sombre storylines (Sonny lurked in the shadows determined, for some reason, to kill Nick) juxtaposed with comic ones (an elderly gent died at his table in an episode entitled “Rest in Peas”).
New York celebrities frequently came by, among them actress Arlene Francis, basketball’s Patrick Ewing, Broadway producer George Abbott, and pianist Bobby Short.
In an unusual move, NBC cancelled the show in January 1989 but then brought it back in April, completely retooled, as a half-hour situation comedy called Nick & Hillary with most of the cast intact.
Flighty Hillary had taken over the restaurant while Nick was in Brazil and again, almost destroyed it. Careening on the edge of bankruptcy, they were now partners.
After only two episodes in the new format, they beamed off into permanent TV hiatus together.
Tattingers was NBC’s first drama to be filmed in New York since the 1950s.
Mary Beth Hurt
Chay Lentin (1)
Jessica Prunell (2)
Sue Francis Pai