|Created by||Susan Harris|
|Starring|| Robert Guillaume |
René Auberjonois (1980–1986)
Ethan Phillips (1980–1985)
Caroline McWilliams (1979–1981)
Didi Conn (1981–1985)
Lewis J. Stadlen (1979–1980)
Billie Bird (1984–1986)
|Theme music composer||George Tipton|
|Composer||George Aliceson Tipton|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||158 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers|| Paul Junger Witt |
|Running time||24–25 minutes|
|Production company||Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions|
|Distributor|| Columbia Pictures Television (1984–1986, 1988-1995)|
Coca-Cola Telecommunications (1986-1987)
Columbia TriStar Television (1995–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
|Original release||September 13, 1979 –|
April 19, 1986
Benson is an American sitcom television series that originally aired on ABC from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986. The show stars Robert Guillaume in the title role of Benson DuBois, the head of the household for Governor Eugene X. Gatling, played by James Noble. The show focused on the conflicts and relationships within the Governor's household, with Benson generally providing the sarcastic voice of reason. Inga Swenson, Missy Gold, Didi Conn, Ethan Phillips, and René Auberjonois all played long-term supporting roles.
The series was a spin-off of Soap in which the character Benson first appeared as the wise-cracking yet level-headed African-American butler for the highly dysfunctional Tate family. However, Benson avoided the soap opera format of its parent series for a more conventional sitcom structure, and the lead character eventually moved from his service position to a role as lieutenant governor. The series was created by Susan Harris, and produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions. In 1985, Guillaume won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in the series.
Benson DuBois (Robert Guillaume) is hired to be the head of household affairs for widowed Governor Eugene X. Gatling (James Noble) and his daughter Katie (Missy Gold). Governor Gatling was a cousin of Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) from Soap.
The series revolved around Benson's housekeeping dilemmas and his interactions with German cook Gretchen Wilomena Kraus (Inga Swenson) and John Taylor (David Hedison in the pilot episode, then Lewis J. Stadlen), who assisted Governor Gatling as chief of staff. After the first season, Taylor's job was filled by Clayton Endicott III (René Auberjonois).
The governor's press secretary Pete Downey (Ethan Phillips) was introduced in Season 2, and Benson's secretary Denise Stevens (Didi Conn) was introduced in Season 3. They later married, having a child in the show's fifth season. However, both were written out, with the reason given that Denise secured a job with NASA.
Benson worked his way up the ladder during the series, going from head of household affairs to state budget director, and eventually was elevated to the position of lieutenant governor. During the final episodes of the 1985–86 season, Benson ran for governor against Gatling.
The term-limited Governor Gatling ran for reelection as an independent candidate, with Benson securing the party nomination, setting the stage for the two to go head-to-head in the general election.
At the end of the series' final episode, Benson and Gatling, who had strained relations due to the race, made peace with each other and watched the tight election returns together on television. As the broadcaster began to announce that a winner was at last being projected, the episode ended on a freeze frame of Benson and Gatling, leaving the series with an unresolved cliffhanger. Coincidentally, Guillaume's previous series, and the one from which Benson spun off, Soap, was also canceled with unresolved cliffhangers, though Guillaume had moved on to Benson by that point.
In 2007, Benson showrunner Bob Fraser said that the season ended on a cliffhanger at the request of the network. The show was cancelled after the cliffhanger had aired. Fraser indicated that, had the show continued, Gatling would have won the election and Benson would have become a United States senator.
According to Gary Brown, who directed the finale and 20 other episodes of Benson, three outcomes were filmed, with Benson winning, Gatling winning, and a tie. The intent was to decide over summer break which outcome to use. Brown also stated that, regardless of the outcome, the long-term intent for the next season was for Benson to become the governor.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||24||September 13, 1979||May 8, 1980||23||20.6|
|2||22||October 31, 1980||May 22, 1981||N/A||N/A|
|3||22||November 6, 1981||May 14, 1982||63||N/A|
|4||22||October 22, 1982||March 31, 1983||43||N/A|
|5||22||September 16, 1983||May 4, 1984||39||16.3|
|6||24||September 21, 1984||April 5, 1985||33||15.5|
|7||22||October 4, 1985||April 19, 1986||74||10.0|
|1 (1979–1980)||Thursdays at 8:30–9:00 pm ET on ABC|
|2 (1980–1981)||Fridays at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC|
|3 (1981–1982)||Fridays at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC|
|4 (1982–1983)||Fridays at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC (October 22, 1982 – March 18, 1983)|
Thursday at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC (March 31, 1983)
|5 (1983–1984)||Fridays at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC|
|6 (1984–1985)||Fridays at 8:00–8:30 pm ET on ABC (September 21, 1984 – February 22, 1985)|
Fridays at 9:00–9:30 pm ET on ABC (March 15 – April 5, 1985)
|7 (1985–1986)||Fridays at 9:30–10:00 pm ET on ABC (October 4, 1985 – January 3, 1986)|
Saturdays at 8:30–9:30 pm ET on ABC (January 18 – April 19, 1986)
On July 24, 2007, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Season 1 of Benson on DVD in Region 1.
On April 3, 2012, Sony released season 2 on DVD.
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Benson.They re-released the first and second seasons on DVD on September 2, 2014.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|The Complete First Season||24||July 24, 2007|
|The Complete Second Season||22||April 3, 2012|
The exterior shots of the "governor's mansion" are actually of a private home located at 1365 South Oakland Avenue in Pasadena, California.The same house was seen in the movie The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), in a 2006 U.S. television commercial for the RE/MAX real estate company, and in the Columbo episode "Etude in Black", as well as in Season One, Episode 11 of Barnaby Jones , entitled, "To Denise, with Love and Murder", in which it was used as the outside view of the mansion belonging to the married couple played by Louise Troy and Bill Bixby.
The home has some Palladian and Neoclassical features.
Married... with Children is an American television sitcom created by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt for the Fox Broadcasting Company. Originally broadcast from April 5, 1987, to June 9, 1997, it is the longest-lasting live-action sitcom on Fox and one of the longest running live-action sitcoms in television history along side Cheers of NBC and M*A*S*H of CBS and the first to be broadcast in the network's primetime slot. In addition to the show's original run, one episode that was not screened on Fox when originally filmed on January 6, 1989, was aired on FX on June 18, 2002, five years after the series' conclusion.
Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The show depicted the lives, loves, trials, and tribulations of the wealthy and psychotic Collins family of Collinsport, Maine, where a number of supernatural occurrences take place.
Soap is an American sitcom television series that originally ran on ABC from September 13, 1977, until April 20, 1981. The show was created as a night-time parody of daytime soap operas, presented as a weekly half-hour prime time comedy. Similar to a soap opera, the show's story was presented in a serial format, and featured melodramatic plotlines including alien abduction, demonic possession, extramarital affairs, murder, kidnapping, unknown diseases, amnesia, cults, organized crime warfare, a communist revolution and teacher-student relationships. In 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME", and in 2010, the Tates and the Campbells ranked at number 17 in TV Guide's list of "TV's Top Families".
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981, to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, revolves around the Carringtons, a wealthy family residing in Denver, Colorado. Dynasty stars John Forsythe as oil magnate Blake Carrington, Linda Evans as his new wife Krystle, and later Joan Collins as his former wife Alexis.
The Colbys is an American prime time television soap opera that originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985, to March 26, 1987. Created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and Eileen and Robert Pollock and produced by Aaron Spelling, it is a spin-off of Dynasty and revolves around the Colbys, another vastly wealthy family who own a large multinational conglomerate and are connected to the Carringtons of Dynasty. Intended to surpass its predecessor in opulence, the series' producers were handed an immensely high budget for the era, and cast a handful of well-known movie stars among its leads.
Walker, Texas Ranger is an American action crime television series created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis. It was inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade, with both this series and that film starring Chuck Norris as a member of the Texas Ranger Division. The show aired on CBS in the spring of 1993, with the first season consisting of three pilot episodes. Eight full seasons followed with new episodes airing from September 25, 1993, to May 19, 2001, and reruns continuing on CBS until July 28, 2001. It has been broadcast in over 100 countries and spawned a 2005 television film entitled Trial by Fire. The film ended on a cliffhanger, which was never resolved. DVD sets of all seasons have been released. At various times since 1997, reruns of the show have aired, in syndication, on the USA Network and Action in Canada. Reruns are currently seen on CBS Action, WGN America, CMT, INSP, getTV, Pluto TV, TV Land, and Grit, 10 Bold, being part of Network Ten in Australia and now also airing on Charge!
The Practice is an American legal drama television series created by David E. Kelley centering on partners and associates at a Boston law firm. Running for eight seasons on ABC from March 4, 1997 to May 16, 2004, the show won the Emmy in 1998 and 1999 for Outstanding Drama Series, and spawned the spin-off series Boston Legal, which ran for five more seasons, from 2004 to 2008.
A Different World is an American sitcom television series that aired for six seasons on NBC from September 24, 1987 to July 9, 1993. The series originally centered on Denise Huxtable and the life of students at Hillman College, a fictional historically black college in Virginia. It was inspired by student life at historically black colleges and universities. After Bonet's departure in the first season, the remainder of the series primarily focused more on Southern belle Whitley Gilbert-Wayne and math whiz Dwayne Cleofis Wayne.
Falcon Crest is an American prime time television soap opera that aired for nine seasons on CBS from December 4, 1981, to May 17, 1990. The series revolves around the feuding factions of the wealthy Gioberti/Channing family in the California wine industry. Jane Wyman stars as Angela Channing, the tyrannical matriarch of the Falcon Crest Winery, opposite Robert Foxworth as Chase Gioberti, Angela's nephew, and later David Selby as Richard Channing, the illegitimate son of Angela's ex-husband. Other notable series regulars include Lorenzo Lamas as Angela's grandson Lance Cumson; William R. Moses as Chase's son Cole Gioberti; Abby Dalton as Angela's daughter and Lance's mother Julia Cumson; Susan Sullivan as Chase's wife Maggie Gioberti; Ana Alicia as heiress Melissa Agretti; and Margaret Ladd as Angela's younger daughter Emma Channing. The series is set in the fictitious Tuscany Valley northeast of San Francisco.
Boston Legal is an American legal comedy-drama television series created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC. The series aired from October 3, 2004, to December 8, 2008. The series starred James Spader, William Shatner, and Candice Bergen, and is a direct follow-on spin-off to the TV series The Practice, with several characters from that series' eighth season moving to Boston Legal.
Inga Swenson is an American actress.
The Rookies is an American police procedural series that aired on ABC from 1972 until 1976. It follows the exploits of three rookie police officers working in an unidentified city for the fictitious Southern California Police Department (SCPD).
Angie is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC from February 8, 1979, to September 4, 1980. The series was created by Garry Marshall and Dale McRaven, and produced by Miller-Milkis Productions in association with Paramount Television.
A World Apart is an American daytime drama that ran from March 30, 1970, to June 25, 1971, on the ABC television network.
Sons and Daughters is an Australian Logie Award-winning soap opera/drama serial created by Reg Watson and produced by the Reg Grundy Organisation between 1981 and 1987. The first episode aired on Monday 18 January 1982, during the Christmas/New Year non-ratings period in both Sydney and Melbourne, and the following week in Brisbane and Adelaide. The final episode was screened in Sydney on Sunday 27 December 1987 and in Melbourne on Sunday 10 January 1988. Adelaide station ADS7 was one of the first to complete the series, showing the final episodes in a two-hour special on Monday 16 November 1987.
Grosse Pointe is an American sitcom television series which aired on The WB from September 22, 2000 to February 18, 2001, during the 2000–2001 television season. Created by Darren Star, it was a satire depicting the behind-the-scenes drama on the set of a television show, and was inspired in large part by Star's experiences as the creator and producer of the nighttime soap Beverly Hills, 90210.
Season one of Seinfeld, an American television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on July 5, 1989 on NBC. Originally called The Seinfeld Chronicles, the series' name was shortened to Seinfeld after the pilot to avoid confusion with another sitcom called The Marshall Chronicles. The season finale aired on June 21, 1990.
In television and radio programming, a serial is a show that has a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode-by-episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the complete run of the series, and sometimes spinoffs, which distinguishes them from episodic television that relies on more stand-alone episodes. Worldwide, the soap opera is the most prominent form of serial dramatic programming. In the UK the serial began as a direct adaptations of well known literary works, usually consisting of a small number of episodes.
Getting On is an American television comedy series based on the British series of the same name, created and written by Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer. The series aired on HBO from November 24, 2013, to December 13, 2015, for three seasons each containing six episodes. The show has garnered positive reviews from critics. It stars Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, and Mel Rodriguez.
Young Sheldon is an American period sitcom television series for CBS created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro. The series, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory and begins with the character Sheldon Cooper at the age of nine, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. Iain Armitage stars as young Sheldon, alongside Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Montana Jordan, Raegan Revord, and Annie Potts. Matt Hobby was promoted to the main cast starting with the third season. Jim Parsons, who portrays the adult Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, narrates the series and serves as an executive producer.