Friends and Lovers (TV series)

Last updated
Friends and Lovers
Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers title.JPG
Title card with text "Friends & Lovers." A card with the text "Paul Sand in" immediately preceded it in the opening credits.
Genre Situation comedy
Created by James L. Brooks
Allan Burns
Starring Paul Sand
Michael Pataki
Penny Marshall
Dick Wesson
Steve Landesberg
Craig Richard Nelson
Jack Gilford
Jan Miner [ citation needed ]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes15 (list of episodes)
Executive producersJames L. Brooks
Allan Burns
Running time30 minutes
Production company MTM Enterprises
Distributor 20th Television
Original network CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1974 (1974-09-14) 
January 4, 1975 (1975-01-04)

Friends and Lovers (also known as Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers) is an American sitcom starring Paul Sand which centers on a musician in Boston, Massachusetts, and his personal relationships. It was Sand's only starring role in a television series. The show aired from September 14, 1974, to January 4, 1975. [1] [2]




Robert Dreyfuss is a young bachelor and double-bass player who returns to Boston after living in Denver, Colorado, for three years and wins a job playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is a romantic who falls in love easily with the women he meets, but he has little luck with them because he is shy, passive, dour-faced, and tends to say the wrong things at the wrong time. In sharp contrast, his older brother Charlie is aggressive, loud, physically fit, and athletic. Charlie is protective of Robert, while Charlie's affection-starved wife Janice constantly mocks Robert for his romantic failures, and Robert often gets caught in the middle of the arguments to which Charlie and Janice are prone. Charlie and Janice have a three-year-old son named Brendan who is mentioned in the first episode, but Brendan never appears in the show and is never discussed in any other episode. Ben and Marge are Robert's and Charlie's parents. [1] [2] [3] In the orchestra, Robert makes friends with an Austrian violinist, Fred Meyerbach, who has a strained relationship with his father. They must deal with the young, sarcastic, and overweight conductor, Mason Woodruff, and the antagonistic orchestra manager, Jack Riordan. [1] [2] [3]


Paul Sand was a rising star – he had won a Tony Award on Broadway and received good reviews for his appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show – when MTM Enterprises decided to give him his own situation comedy in 1974. In order to give the show the maximum possible exposure to new viewers, CBS aired Friends and Lovers on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. between two blockbuster hit situation comedies, All in the Family at 8:00 p.m. and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 9:00 p.m. – arguably the best time slot for a new series in the autumn of 1974.[ citation needed ] The show also received much publicity, touted as the "sleeper" hit of the fall 1974 season.[ citation needed ]

James L. Brooks and Allan Burns created and were the executive producers of the show. Writers included Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Gordon Farr, Lowell Ganz, Steve Gordon, Andrew Johnson, Monica Mcgowan Johnson, Arnold Kane, Allan Leicht, Coleman Mitchell, Phil Mishkin, Geoffrey Neigher, Mary Kay Place, Steve Pritzker, and Bud Wiser. Episode directors were Peter Bonerz, Bob Claver, Tim Kiley, Robert Moore, Alan Rafkin, and Jay Sandrich.[ citation needed ]

The show was filmed in color before a studio audience. [3]


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Getting to First Bass"September 14, 1974 (1974-09-14)
Robert returns to Boston from Denver, auditions for the orchestra, lands a job with it, meets Fred, reconnects with his ex-girlfriend, and falls for an untalented new student. Henry Winkler guest-stars as an egotistical cellist; [1] [3] Bo Hopkins and Lynne Lipton also guest-star.
2"The Big Fight"September 21, 1974 (1974-09-21)
Robert shushes a muscled loudmouth and gets egged into a fight with him. Max Gail guest-stars.
3"Love Thy Neighbor"September 28, 1974 (1974-09-28)
Robert wants romance with a neighbor who broke up with her husband.
4"Fiddler in the House"October 5, 1974 (1974-10-05)
Robert's life is disrupted when Fred's father, a violin virtuoso who is affable but feels superior to those around him, comes to visit.[ citation needed ] Teri Garr and Leon Askin guest-star.[ citation needed ]
5"The Cinderella Story"October 12, 1974 (1974-10-12)
Robert falls for a ballerina dancing the part of Cinderella. Andrea Marcovicci guest-stars.[ citation needed ]
6"Ben and Marge Are Back"October 19, 1974 (1974-10-19)
Robert and Charlie's parents Ben and Marge return from Arizona and reveal that they have lost all of their money and will be staying in Boston.[ citation needed ]
7"Moran's the Man"October 26, 1974 (1974-10-26)
A friend invites Robert to date the same woman he has been dating, creating a romantic triangle.[ citation needed ] Robert Klein, Mariette Hartley, and Pamela Bellwood guest-star.[ citation needed ]
8"A Date with Robert"November 2, 1974 (1974-11-02)
Attempting to find a classy date to take to an important dinner, Robert can do no better than a woman who works as a part-time bus driver.[ citation needed ] Beverly Sanders and Dena Dietrich guest-star.[ citation needed ]
9"Dreyfuss and Dreyfuss, Associates"9 November 1974 (1974-11-09)
Charlie designs a gas station and enters an architectural competition. Gordon Jump guest stars. [4] [ better source needed ]
10"Smart Move"16 November 1974 (1974-11-16)
Robert feels that everyone around him is pressuring him to get married and buy a house.[ citation needed ] Sharon Spelman guest-stars. [4]
11"Maid in the Snow"23 November 1974 (1974-11-23)
Janice plans a romantic Thanksgiving holiday with Charlie at a ski resort, but Charlie ruins it by inviting Robert, Fred, and Fred's girlfriend Trudy – then Robert comes down with a cold and hurts his back and Janice must care for him in the cabin while the others are out skiing. [3] Karen Morrow guest-stars.[ citation needed ]
12"All's Well That Ends"30 November 1974 (1974-11-30)
Robert plays coach in a romance between a baseball player and a stewardess.
13"Just the Ticket"7 December 1974 (1974-12-07)
Robert gets his father Ben a job at the orchestra's ticket office.
14"The Groupie"14 December 1974 (1974-12-14)
A determined 14-year-old flutist announces to Robert that she is his groupie and pursues him both at work and at home.[ citation needed ] Susan Neher and Robin Strasser guest-star.[ citation needed ]
15"From Russia with Lust"4 January 1975 (1975-01-04)
A girl-crazy Soviet pianist moves in with Robert.


Some critics expressed disappointment in Friends and Lovers – the Boston Herald American 's Anthony La Camera called it "a downright disappointment" and the Boston Globe 's Percy Shain said it was "mundane and average, with few laughs"[ citation needed ] – but others gave it more favorable reviews. The premiere episode on September 14, 1974, was the 14th-most-watched show of the week, and during its run the show had good ratings – for example, a 36 share in early October 1974 – and was the 25th most-viewed television show of the season. However, its ratings paled in comparison to those of the shows before and after it; it lost viewers from All in the Family, which had a 51 share in early October 1974, and network executives believed that it did not provide a good lead-in audience for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, viewership of which fell from previous seasons to a 39 share by early October 1974.[ citation needed ] Especially given the high hopes the network had had for the show, it was considered a ratings disappointment for its highly advantageous time slot and, in fact, one of the bigger disappointments of the fall 1974 season.

CBS cancelled the show after only 15 episodes, the last of which was broadcast on January 4, 1975. Along with The Texas Wheelers , Friends and Lovers was one of the first two MTM Enterprises shows ever to be cancelled.

In January 1975, two weeks after it last aired, Friends and Lovers was replaced in its time slot by a new show, The Jeffersons . A better fit for CBS's Saturday-evening line-up,[ citation needed ]The Jeffersons was a major hit which aired in first-run production for the next ten years. [2]

Related Research Articles

Mary Tyler Moore American actress and television producer (1936–2017)

Mary Tyler Moore was an American actress, producer, and social advocate. She is best known for her roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), which "helped define a new vision of American womanhood" and "appealed to an audience facing the new trials of modern-day existence". Moore won seven Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Ordinary People. Moore is also known for her supporting role in the musical film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Moore was an advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism and diabetes prevention.

<i>The Mary Tyler Moore Show</i> American television series

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns and starring actress and namesake Mary Tyler Moore. The show originally aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. Moore portrayed Mary Richards, an unmarried, independent woman focused on her career as associate producer of a news show at the fictional local station WJM in Minneapolis. Ed Asner co-starred as Mary's boss Lou Grant, alongside Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, and Betty White, with Valerie Harper as friend and neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern, and Cloris Leachman as friend Phyllis Lindstrom.

<i>Rhoda</i> American television sitcom

Rhoda is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns starring Valerie Harper that originally aired on CBS for five seasons from September 9, 1974, to December 9, 1978. The first spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Harper reprised her role as Rhoda Morgenstern, a spunky and flamboyantly fashioned young woman seen as unconventional by the standards of her Jewish family from New York City.

Penny Marshall American actress, director and producer (1943–2018)

Carole Penny Marshall was an American actress, director and producer. She is best remembered for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), receiving three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal.

<i>The Jeffersons</i> American sitcom

The Jeffersons is an American sitcom television series that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, to July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The Jeffersons is one of the longest-running sitcoms in history, the second-longest-running series with a primarily African American cast by episode count and the first to prominently feature a married interracial couple.

<i>Lou Grant</i> (TV series) American drama television series

Lou Grant is an American drama television series starring Ed Asner in the title role as a newspaper editor that aired on CBS from September 20, 1977, to September 13, 1982. The third spin-off of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant was created by James L. Brooks, Allan Burns, and Gene Reynolds.

Allan Burns American television producer (1935–2021)

Allan Pennington Burns was an American screenwriter and television producer. He was best known for co-creating and writing for the television sitcoms The Munsters and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

James Edward Burrows, sometimes known as Jim "Jimmy" Burrows, is an American television director who has been working in television since the 1970s. Burrows has directed over 50 television pilots and co-created the long-running television series Cheers. He has also formed 3 Sisters Entertainment, a joint venture with NBC that is known for Will & Grace as well as the CBS Productions show Caroline in the City.

Robert Moore was an American stage, film and television director and actor.

The John Charles Walters Company was a production company formed in 1978 by four former employees of MTM Enterprises: James L. Brooks, David Davis, Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger. The company existed from 1978 until 1983 and produced the TV show Taxi.

Paul Benedict American film & television actor (1938-2008)

Paul Benedict was an American actor who made numerous appearances in television and films, beginning in 1965. He was known for his roles as The Number Painter on the PBS children's show Sesame Street and as the English neighbor Harry Bentley on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons.

Jay Henry Sandrich was an American television director who primarily worked on sitcoms. In 2020, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Lynda Goodfriend is an American actress who is best known for playing Lori Beth Cunningham, Richie's girlfriend then wife on the TV sitcom, Happy Days.

The Mary Tyler Moore Hour is an American sitcom-variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore, Dody Goodman, Michael Keaton and Joyce Van Patten that aired on CBS from March 4, 1979 to June 10, 1979, with a total of 11 episodes spanning over one season.

Paul Sand is an American actor and comedian.

Caren Kaye is a retired American television and film actress who has appeared in dozens of films and guest-starred in many TV series. She attended Carnegie Mellon University and holds a Ph.D. in psychology. She is best known for her roles in the 1983 film My Tutor and the short-lived sitcoms The Betty White Show (1977–1978), Who's Watching the Kids? (1978), and It's Your Move (1984–1985).

<i>Doc</i> (1975 TV series) American sitcom

Doc is an American sitcom produced by MTM Enterprises which aired on CBS from August 16, 1975, to October 30, 1976.

Alan Rafkin was an American director, producer, and actor for television.

<i>The Ted Knight Show</i> (1978 TV series)

The Ted Knight Show is an American sitcom television series starring Ted Knight which centers on the owner of an escort service in New York City. The series aired on CBS from April 8, 1978 to May 13, 1978.

<i>Loves Me, Loves Me Not</i> (TV series)

Loves Me, Loves Me Not is an American sitcom starring Susan Dey and Kenneth Gilman, which centered on a young couple who had just started dating. It aired on CBS from March 20 to April 27, 1977.


  1. 1 2 3 4 McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, pp. 305–306.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN   0-345-39736-3, p. 804.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Leszczak, Bob, Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Publishers, Inc., 2012. ISBN   978-0-7864-6812-6.
  4. 1 2 "". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-26. Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers