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|Created by||Susan Harris |
|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"Life Goes On" performed by Billy Vera|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||170 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Original release||October 8, 1988 –|
April 29, 1995 
Empty Nest is an American television sitcom that aired for seven seasons on NBC from October 8, 1988, to April 29, 1995. The series, which was created as a spin-off of The Golden Girls by creator and producer Susan Harris, starred Richard Mulligan as recently widowed pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston, whose two adult daughters return home to live with him.
Produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions in association with Touchstone Television.  
An early version of the series initially appeared in the 1987 Golden Girls episode "Empty Nests" which was intended to act as a backdoor pilot for the spin-off, which was to begin during the fall 1987 TV season.
In the episode, George and Renee Corliss (played by Paul Dooley and Rita Moreno), were introduced as the Girls' neighbors, a middle-aged couple suffering from empty nest syndrome. Their teenage daughter Jenny (Jane Harnick), who had left for college, and Renee's brother Chuck (Geoffrey Lewis), also appeared. The Corlisses also had an annoying neighbor played by David Leisure (although in this version his character was named Oliver).
Rita Moreno later criticized the Empty Nest pilot, calling it a "very, very bad show."  She explained that the script desperately needed rewrites from creator Susan Harris, but she was very sick the week of shooting so it was left to other writers to fix. According to Moreno, "every day they kept changing my character, to the extent that by the time we got to do it in front of an audience I couldn't remember Line 1 because the attitudes had changed so many times. That was the most embarrassing experience...we must have done, I would guess, about 15 takes in front of an audience." 
Ultimately, the series did not go ahead as planned and the premise was later extensively revamped with a new cast before Empty Nest debuted in 1988. The set of the Corlisses' house, however, was exactly the same as the one that later became the Weston residence.
The show's story revolves around Miami pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston, whose life is turned upside down when his wife, Libby, dies tragically and two of his daughters move back into the family house. Early episodes establish that the Golden Girls characters are neighbors of the Westons. Original Golden Girls actors, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty all guest-star as their Golden Girls characters, and Mulligan appear occasionally on The Golden Girls.
In the show, first daughter Carol is a neurotic, high-strung recent divorcée, while second daughter Barbara is a tough undercover police officer. The two sisters frequently bicker and vie for the attention of their dad, whom they call "Daddy", while their father occasionally expresses regret at never having had a son. The Westons' large dog Dreyfuss also prominently features as a member of the household.
In 1992, Kristy McNichol, who played Barbara, left the show and Lisa Rieffel joined the cast to play the third Weston daughter, Emily. Her character had previously not been shown onscreen but had been mentioned as being away at college. Rieffel left after one season, and for the show's final two seasons only first daughter, Carol remained of the Weston children. Kristy McNichol returned for the series finale in 1995.
Another main character is the Westons' neighbor and best friend, Charley Dietz, a womanizing cruise ship employee who frequently barges into the house unannounced to borrow food or make sexist comments. Charley has a father-son relationship with Harry and a love-hate relationship with Carol.
Harry Weston's job is another major focus for the show. For the first five seasons he works at a hospital, where he is assisted by wisecracking Southern nurse Laverne. Laverne and Harry are shown to be good friends, originating with their first on-screen meeting in a sandwich shop where they start an argument over who would get the last Samms Sammich. Shown to consist of turkey, roast beef, salami, pepperoni, ham, grilled chicken, a veggie patty, tuna, meatballs and fake crab meat, this combination became the number one selling sandwich in Tacoma after the airing of this episode. In season six Harry retires, eventually going to work for a struggling inner-city medical clinic run by the tough-talking Dr. Maxine Douglas. Nurse Laverne, having been fired by Dr. Weston's replacement, comes to work there as well.
Another character who make an appearance is Carol's boyfriend, Patrick, an artist who is almost as eccentric as she is. Patrick convinces the Westons to let him use their empty garage as his new painting studio and, when his relationship with Carol becomes serious, he eventually moves in altogether. Carol and Patrick's romantic bliss is short-lived, and they break up at the beginning of season six. However, this leads into another plot line where Carol finds out she is pregnant with Patrick's child. Carol choses to raise the baby, Scotty, on her own.
Estelle Getty reprised her Golden Girls character Sophia Petrillo during Empty Nest's final two seasons (after the cancellation of The Golden Palace). In the show, it is explained that Sophia has moved back into the nearby Shady Pines retirement house.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||October 8, 1988||April 1, 1989||9||19.2|
|2||24||September 30, 1989||April 28, 1990||9||18.9|
|3||24||September 22, 1990||May 11, 1991||7||16.7|
(Tied with America's Funniest Home Videos )
|4||24||September 21, 1991||May 2, 1992||23||14.3|
|5||26||September 19, 1992||May 22, 1993||48||10.8|
|6||26||September 25, 1993||April 23, 1994||66 ||9.8 |
(Tied with Sisters, Byrds of Paradise, Angel Falls)
|7||24||September 24, 1994||April 29, 1995||118||6.9|
In 1991, Empty Nest spawned its own spinoff, Nurses , a sitcom about a group of nurses working in the same hospital as Dr. Weston. The three series (Empty Nest, The Golden Girls and Nurses) represented one of the few times in American television history that three shows from the same producer, all taking place in the same city and explicitly set up with the characters knowing each other from the very beginning, aired on the same network in one night. On at least two occasions, Harris wrote storylines which carried through all three series as fictional crossovers.
Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff (who depict father Harry and daughter Carol in Empty Nest) had previously appeared as onscreen father-in-law and daughter-in-law characters in the show Soap , created by the same production team. Jay Johnson, who had appeared on Soap as Mulligan's son, also made a guest appearance.
The show's theme song is "Life Goes On", written by John Bettis and George Tipton and performed by Billy Vera. For the first three seasons, the song is presented in a slower, more melancholy yet comical arrangement. The original opening titles sequence show Harry Weston taking Dreyfuss for a walk around town, with still images of the other regular cast members shown as they are credited.
When the third season began, a new opening sequence debuted, made up of footage from the series' episodes and showing each of the regular cast members.
For the final four seasons the theme song is presented in a higher, more upbeat arrangement with female backup singers, and the same title sequence introduced in the third season.
The following is a list of Empty Nest episodes featuring characters from The Golden Girls or Nurses .
Episode 4: "Fatal Attraction" – Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls
Episode 10: "Libby's Gift" – Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls
Episode 14: "Strange Bedfellows" – Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls
Episode 17: "Dumped" – Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls
Episode 6: "Rambo of Neiman Marcus" – Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls
Episode 8: "Windy" – Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls
Episode 20: "Dr. Weston and Mr. Hyde" – Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls
Episode 20: "Love and Marriage" – Jack Trenton from Nurses
Episode 2: "Bye-Bye, Baby... Hello: Part 1" – Casey MacAfee from Nurses
Episode 7: "Mother Dearest" – Casey MacAfee from Nurses
The series was unsuccessful when it was first syndicated, running in local syndication from September 1993 to September 2000, shortly before the death of star Richard Mulligan. During this time, Empty Nest aired on TBS from September 9 to December 6, 1996, and on WGN from September 9, 1996, to March 26, 1999, with both stations airing the series as part of the regular syndication run (both TBS and WGN were superstations).   
In the subsequent decade, the series did not air on American television. Hallmark Channel, which also licenses the rights to The Golden Girls, picked up the rights to the show in early 2011 and aired it from February 26 to June 26 of that year, but eventually removed it altogether.
Upon its launch on April 15, 2015, the new digital sub channel Laff began airing the series, and continued until March 30, 2018.
In Canada, the series was rerun on CBC Television during the 1990s.
In Italy, the series aired on Rai Uno (or Rai 1) under the name il Cane di Papà (Daddy's Dog) during the 1990s.
In 1989, Richard Mulligan won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The series received a number of other Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations over the years, especially for Mulligan and for Park Overall, who was nominated three times for a Golden Globe Award.
|1989||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Richard Mulligan||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|Viewers for Quality Television||Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Park Overall||Won|
|1990||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Richard Mulligan||Nominated|
|Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy||Empty Nest||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Richard Mulligan||Nominated|
|Viewers for Quality Television||Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Park Overall||Won|
|1991||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Richard Mulligan||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Park Overall||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series||Danny Thomas||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Richard Mulligan||Nominated|
|Viewers for Quality Television||Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series||Park Overall||Won|
|1992||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Park Overall||Nominated|
The Golden Girls is an American sitcom created by Susan Harris that aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992, with a total of 180 half-hour episodes, spanning seven seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, the show is about four older women who share a home in Miami, Florida. It was produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, in association with Touchstone Television. Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, and Harris served as the original executive producers.
Richard Mulligan was an American character actor known for his roles in the sitcoms Soap (1977–1981) and Empty Nest (1988–1995). Mulligan was the winner of two Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award (1989). Mulligan was the younger brother of film director Robert Mulligan.
Nancy Walker was an American actress and comedian of stage, screen, and television. She was also a film and television director. During her five-decade-long career, she may be best remembered for her long-running roles as Mildred on McMillan & Wife and Ida Morgenstern, who first appeared on several episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later became a prominent recurring character on the spinoff series Rhoda.
Sophia Petrillo is a character from the sitcom television series The Golden Girls and its spin-offs The Golden Palace andEmpty Nest. She also appeared in episodes of the series Blossom and Nurses. Her character was played by the actress Estelle Getty for 10 years and 258 episodes.
The Golden Palace is an American sitcom television series produced as a sequel to The Golden Girls, a continuation without Bea Arthur that originally aired on CBS from September 18, 1992 to May 7, 1993. It starred Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, Cheech Marin, and Don Cheadle. Billy L. Sullivan also co-starred for the first half of its run. Not as popular as its predecessor, the series aired for a single 24-episode season and was canceled by CBS.
Blanche Devereaux is a character from the sitcom television series The Golden Girls, and its spin-off The Golden Palace. Blanche was portrayed by Rue McClanahan for 8 years and 204 episodes across the two series. The character was inspired by Blanche DuBois and Scarlett O'Hara.
Lynne Marie Stewart is an American actress, best known for her performance as Miss Yvonne, the Most Beautiful Woman in Puppet Land. She originated the role in the 1981 stage show The Pee-wee Herman Show, continuing it on the CBS television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, the 2010 Los Angeles stage revival, and the Broadway production which opened in November 2010 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
Elinor Donahue is a retired American actress, best known today for playing the role of Betty Anderson, the eldest child of Jim and Margaret Anderson on the 1950s American sitcom Father Knows Best.
Dinah Beth Manoff is an American stage, film, and television actress and television director. She is best known for her roles as Carol Weston on Empty Nest, Elaine Lefkowitz on Soap, Marty Maraschino in the film Grease, and Libby Tucker in both the stage and film adaptations of I Ought to Be in Pictures, for which she won a Tony Award.
Nurses is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC from September 14, 1991, to May 7, 1994, created and produced by Susan Harris as a spin-off of Empty Nest, which itself was a spin-off of The Golden Girls.
Dorothy Zbornak is a character from the sitcom television series The Golden Girls, portrayed by Bea Arthur. Sarcastic, introspective, compassionate, and fiercely protective of those she considers family, she is introduced as a substitute teacher, and mother. At the time, Dorothy was recently divorced from her ex-husband Stanley. She, her mother Sophia Petrillo, and housemate Rose Nylund all rent rooms in the Miami house of their friend Blanche Devereaux. Dorothy often acted as den mother and voice of reason among the quartet, "the great leveler" according to Bea Arthur, though at times she also acted foolishly or negatively and would need her friends and family to help ground her again. Arthur also considered her the "great balloon pricker," someone who openly defied and called out hypocrisy, injustice, cruelty, delusion, short-sighted remarks, and behavior she simply found dull, ill-considered, rude, or unreasonable.
Rose Nylund is a character from the sitcom television series The Golden Girls and its spin-off, The Golden Palace. She was portrayed by Betty White for 8 years, totalling 204 episodes.
Nan Martin was an American actress and comedian who starred in movies and on television.
Park Overall is an American actress, environmental and women's rights activist, and former U.S. Senate candidate, known for her trademark heavy Southern accent. Her best-known role was as nurse Laverne Todd in the sitcom Empty Nest, though she has appeared in a number of feature films, including Biloxi Blues, Mississippi Burning, Talk Radio, and In the Family.
Richard Stahl was an American actor who mostly appeared in comic roles on television and in films.
Estelle Gettleman, known professionally as Estelle Getty, was an American actress and comedian best known for her portrayal of Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls (1985–92), for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She reprised the role for appearances on Empty Nest (1993–95), The Golden Palace (1992–93), Blossom (1990–95), and Nurses (1991–94). Notable films in which she appeared include Mask (1985), a semibiographical film in which she played the grandmother of Roy L. Dennis, Mannequin (1987), and Stuart Little (1999). She retired from acting in 2001 due to failing health, and died in 2008 from dementia with Lewy bodies.
Hurricane Saturday is a one-off programming block of a three-way, two-hour crossover event on NBC which involved three television sitcoms created by Susan Harris: The Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Nurses. The event depicts a fictional hurricane storming into the storylines of the three series set in Miami, Florida. The episodes aired back-to-back on Saturday, November 9, 1991 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST.
The first season of the American television comedy series The Golden Girls originally aired on NBC in the United States between September 14, 1985, and May 10, 1986. Created by television writer Susan Harris, the series was produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions and ABC Studios It starred Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty as the main characters Dorothy Zbornak, Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund, and Sophia Petrillo. The series revolves around the lives of four older women living together in a house in Miami.
Full Moon Over Miami is a one-off programming block of a three-way, two-hour crossover event on NBC which involved three television sitcoms created by Susan Harris: The Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Nurses. The event depicts a fictional full moon on Leap Day storming into the storylines of the three series set in Miami, Florida. The episodes aired back-to-back on Saturday, February 29, 1992 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST.