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|Gimme a Break!|
|Created by||Mort Lachman|
|Directed by|| John Bowab |
|Starring|| Nell Carter |
Lara Jill Miller
|Theme music composer||Jay Graydon|
|Opening theme||"Gimme a Break" performed by Nell Carter|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||137 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Hal Cooper|
|Running time||24–25 minutes|
|Production company(s)|| Alan Landsburg Productions |
Reeves Entertainment Group
|Audio format||Monaural (1981-1984)|
|Original release||October 29, 1981 –|
May 12, 1987
Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom that aired on NBC for six seasons from October 29, 1981, until May 12, 1987. The series starred Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief (Dolph Sweet) and his three daughters.
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.
Nell Carter was an American singer and actress.
Adolphus Jean Sweet was an American actor, credited with nearly 60 television and film roles as well as several roles in stage productions before his death from stomach cancer in 1985.
The sitcom takes place in Glenlawn, a fictional suburb, located in either central or northern California. Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper (Nell Carter) agrees to look after the Kanisky household as a special favor to her dying friend Margaret Huffman Kanisky (played in flashback by Sharon Spelman), who was the wife of police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet), serving as a parental figure to the Chief's three teenage daughters, Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha (Lara Jill Miller). A foster son, Joey (Joey Lawrence), was added to the Kanisky household in Season 3.
A suburb is a mixed-use or residential area, existing either as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city. In most English-speaking countries, suburban areas are defined in contrast to central or inner-city areas, but in Australian English and South African English, suburb has become largely synonymous with what is called a "neighborhood" in other countries and the term extends to inner-city areas. In some areas, such as Australia, India, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and a few U.S. states, new suburbs are routinely annexed by adjacent cities. In others, such as Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, and much of the United States, many suburbs remain separate municipalities or are governed as part of a larger local government area such as a county.
Kari Michaelsen is an American actress and motivational speaker. As an actress, she is best known for her role as Katie Kanisky on sitcom Gimme a Break! (1981–1987).
Lauri Hendler is an American actress, best known for her role as middle child Julie Kanisky on Gimme a Break!
Five episodes into the sixth and final season, the show changed locales from Glenlawn to New York City, when Nell, concerned for Joey's welfare after he moved there with his absentee father, traveled there to check on him. She subsequently assumed guardianship of Joey and his younger brother Matthew (played by Joey Lawrence's real-life brother Matthew Lawrence) at their father's request and was forced to permanently relocate there after Chief Kanisky's father Stanley (John Hoyt) sold the family's Glenlawn home.
Matthew William Lawrence is an American actor and singer best known for his roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and Boy Meets World. Lawrence also starred in the series Brotherly Love with his real-life brothers Joey and Andrew.
John Hoyt was an American film, stage, and television actor.
Over the six-year run, a number of celebrities appeared on the show, including singers Whitney Houston, Andy Gibb, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ray Parker Jr., and The Pointer Sisters. More often than not, the guest singers would perform a song with Nell on the episodes. During the third season, Pat Sajak guest-starred as himself when Nell and her friend Addy (Telma Hopkins) were contestants on Wheel of Fortune . Other notable guest stars included Milton Berle, Danny Glover, Rue McClanahan, Tony Randall, Helen Hunt, Don Rickles, Gwen Verdon, Dennis Haysbert, Ernie Hudson, Gary Collins, and Elizabeth Berkley.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts—as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know"—influenced several African-American women artists who followed in her footsteps.
Andrew Roy Gibb was an English singer, songwriter, performer, and teen idol. He was the younger brother of the Bee Gees: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.
Ray Erskine Parker Jr. is an American guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor, best known for writing and performing the theme song to the 1984 movie Ghostbusters, for his solo music, and for performing with his band, Raydio, and with Barry White.
The episode "Cat Story" was performed and broadcast live on March 2, 1985, as a promotional gimmick, which the cast performed without major incident. An earlier episode (from the 1984–85 season), "Baby of the Family," ranked No. 38 on TV Land's list of "The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments;" it depicted Joey dressing and performing in blackface at Nell's church benefit, a plan hatched by Samantha to retaliate for Nell forbidding her to go on an unchaperoned camping trip.
TV Land is an American pay television channel that is owned by Viacom through its Viacom Global Entertainment Group. Originally consisting exclusively of classic television shows, the channel now airs a combination of recent and classic television series, original scripted series, and limited theatrically released movies. The network is headquartered at One Astor Plaza in New York City.
Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon". By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. In the United States, blackface had largely fallen out of favor by the turn of the 21st century, and is now generally considered offensive and disrespectful, though the practice continues in other countries.
The location of Glenlawn is never fully clarified, and various contradictory location information is presented during the series. Seaons 3 episode "James Returns" states that Glenlawn is "over 300 miles" from Santa Barbara, and "The Mayor", an episode from the same season, shows the chief boasting that a new police car could make it to Sacramento in 23 minutes. These would place Glenlawn somewhere near Stockton. However, another episode from Season 3, "Flashback", placed the town an hour away from Fresno, in the direction of Bakersfield. In another episode where exterior shooting took place, GlenLawn is on the ocean with palm trees. The proximity to the Bay Area is supported by later season episodes where Katie moves to San Francisco and Julie moves to nearby San Jose.
Stockton is the county seat of San Joaquin County in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. Stockton was founded by Captain Charles Maria Weber in 1849 after he acquired Rancho Campo de los Franceses. The city is named after Robert F. Stockton, and it was the first community in California to have a name not of Spanish or Native American origin. The city is located on the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley and had an estimated population of 320,554 by the California Department of Finance for 2017. Stockton is the 13th largest city in California and the 63rd largest city in the United States. It was named an All-America City in 1999, 2004, 2015 and again in 2017.
Fresno is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.
Bakersfield is a city in and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 151 sq mi (390 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is around 380,000, making it the 9th-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale, and Rosedale, has a population of over 520,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
|1981–82||Thursday at 9:30–10:00|
|1982–83||Saturday at 9:00–9:30 (1982)|
Thursday at 9:00–9:30 (1983)
|1983–84||Thursday at 8:00–8:30|
|1984–85||Saturday at 8:30–9:00 (Episodes 1–9)|
Saturday at 9:00–9:30 (Episodes 10–25)
|1985–86||Saturday at 8:00–8:30|
|1986–87||Wednesday at 9:00–9:30 (Episodes 1, 3–15, 17–21)|
Wednesday at 9:30–10:00 (Episodes 2, 16, 22)
Tuesday at 9:00–9:30 (Episodes 23–25)
The show was produced by Alan Landsburg Productions (renamed as Reeves Entertainment Group in 1985). The American syndication rights are held by NBCUniversal Television Distribution, the successor company to original syndicator MCA TV. FremantleMedia owns the international rights, as they own Thames Television, which acquired Reeves Entertainment Group in 1990. The creators of the show were Mort Lachman and Sy Rosen.
Over its run, the series used two different theme songs. The first was composed by Bob Christianson with lyrics by Bob Garrett and Marley Sims; two versions of this song were used, one for the first season and a new recording for the second. A new theme, with music by Jay Graydon and lyrics by Richard Page, was introduced in the third season and used for the remainder of the show's run. The new theme has similarities to the first but with a more positive attitude. Carter performed both themes.
The show has been in syndication since 1985. Reruns have also aired nationally on WWOR EMI Service and USA.Distribution rights are jointly owned by The Program Exchange and NBCUniversal Television Distribution, successor in interest to previous syndicator MCA Television. Reruns of the series are a mainstay of many of Sinclair Broadcast Group's The CW and MyNetworkTV stations, especially in low-traffic time periods, due to the low-cost barter setup of The Program Exchange.
Antenna TV has aired the show since January 2, 2018.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment released a three-disc DVD of the complete first season of Gimme a Break! on February 14, 2006, available in the United States only. The Complete Series is now available in the US.
Visual Entertainment (under license from FremantleMedia) released the first two seasons of Gimme a Break! on DVD in Canada between 2006–07. In 2009, VEI announced that they plan on releasing the entire series in a complete series box set in 2010.VEI released Gimme a Break! The Complete Series on DVD in Canada on July 20, 2010. As of 2013, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
Simply Media TV Ltd released the first and second series in the UK, although the series has never been broadcast on British television.
Nell Carter received two Emmy nominations as Best Actress in a Comedy Series (1982, 1983)and two Golden Globe nominations as Best Actress in a Television Series-Comedy or Musical (1983, 1985).
Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Kevin S. Bright, Kauffman, and Crane.
Spin City is an American television sitcom that aired from September 17, 1996 until April 30, 2002 on ABC. Created by Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence, the show was set in a fictionalized version of the New York City mayor's office, and originally starred Michael J. Fox as Mike Flaherty, the Deputy Mayor of New York. Fox departed in 2000 at the conclusion of Season 4 due to his battle with Parkinson's disease, and Charlie Sheen assumed the lead role of Charlie Crawford for the remaining two seasons. The series was cancelled in May 2002 after a decline in ratings.
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Telma Louise Hopkins is an American singer and actress. Hopkins rose to prominence as a member of the 1970s pop music group Tony Orlando and Dawn, which had several number one songs. She also performed on the CBS variety show Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1974 until 1976 along with Tony Orlando and Joyce Vincent Wilson. In the late 1970s, Hopkins began working as an actress, playing roles on various sitcoms, including Isabelle Hammond on Bosom Buddies (1980–82), Adelaide "Addy" Wilson on Gimme a Break! (1983–87) and Family Matters (1989–1997) as Rachel Baines–Crawford. As lead actress, Hopkins starred on Getting By from 1993 to 1994. In recent years, Hopkins was a regular cast member on Half & Half (2002–06) portraying Phyllis Thorne, Are We There Yet? (2010–13), and short-lived Partners (2014). In film, Hopkins co-starred in 1984 science fiction film Trancers and in its sequels Trancers II (1991) and Trancers III (1992), and well as appearing in The Wood (1999) and The Love Guru (2008).
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