Newhart

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Newhart
Newhart (title card).png
Created by Barry Kemp
Developed by Sheldon Bull
Starring Bob Newhart
Mary Frann
Jennifer Holmes
Julia Duffy
Tom Poston
Steven Kampmann
Peter Scolari
William Sanderson
Tony Papenfuss
John Voldstad
Theme music composer Henry Mancini
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes184 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersBarry Kemp
Mark Egan
Mark Solomon
Dan Wilcox
Douglas Wyman
David Mirkin
ProducerSheldon Bull
Running time24 minutes
Production company MTM Enterprises
Distributor MTM Television Distribution Group
(1988-1990)
Release
Original network CBS
Original releaseOctober 25, 1982 (1982-10-25) 
May 21, 1990 (1990-05-21)
Chronology
Preceded by The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978)
Followed by Bob (TV series) (1992-1993)

Newhart is an American sitcom television series that aired on CBS from October 25, 1982, to May 21, 1990, with a total of 184 half-hour episodes spanning eight seasons. The series stars Bob Newhart and Mary Frann as an author and his wife, respectively, who own and operate an inn in a small, rural Vermont town that is home to many eccentric characters. TV Guide , TV Land, and A&E named the Newhart series finale as one of the most memorable in television history. The theme music for Newhart was composed by Henry Mancini. Many scenes that played during the opening credits were taken from the 1981 film On Golden Pond , which was set in neighboring New Hampshire.

Contents

Premise

Bob Newhart plays Dick Loudon, an author of do-it-yourself and travel books. He and his wife Joanna move from New York City to a small town in rural Vermont to operate the 200-year-old Stratford Inn. Although the town's name was never specified in the show, some media sources identified it as Norwich. [1] The outside shot of the house is the Waybury Inn in East Middlebury.

Dick is a sane, mild-mannered everyman surrounded by a community of oddballs in a town that exists in an illogical world governed by rules that elude him. Near the end of the second season, Dick began hosting a low-rated talk show on the town's local television station. As the series progressed, episodes focused increasingly on Dick's television career and the quirky townsfolk.

Cast

Main

Recurring

"The Last Newhart"

(Top) Dick Loudon is hit by a golf ball. (Bottom) Dr. Robert Hartley wakes up and tells his wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette) about the dream he had, of being an innkeeper in Vermont. Newhartfinale.jpg
(Top) Dick Loudon is hit by a golf ball. (Bottom) Dr. Robert Hartley wakes up and tells his wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette) about the dream he had, of being an innkeeper in Vermont.

The series finale of Newhart, titled "The Last Newhart", has been described as one of the most memorable in television history. [2] [3] The entire town is purchased by a visiting Japanese tycoon, who turns the hamlet into an enormous golf course and recreation resort. Dick and Joanna are the only townspeople who refuse to leave. The others accept million-dollar payoffs and leave in a farewell scene that parodies Fiddler on the Roof .

Five years later, Dick and Joanna continue to run the Stratford Inn, which is now located in the middle of the golf course. The other townspeople, now richer and older, unexpectedly return for a reunion. The Darryl brothers also speak for the first time on screen, loudly yelling "Quiet!" at their wives in unison. Dick gets frustrated with the increasingly chaotic scene, and storms out shouting "You're all crazy!", only to be knocked out by an errant golf ball.

The setting of the last scene is nighttime, in the bedroom of Dr. Bob Hartley ( The Bob Newhart Show ) and his wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette). Bob awakens, upset, and he wakes Emily to tell her about the very strange dream he has just had: that he was an innkeeper in a small Vermont town filled with eccentric characters. Emily tells him "that settles it—no more Japanese food before bed." Bob mentions his marriage to a "beautiful blonde," and that Emily should wear more sweaters (in reference to Mary Frann's form-fitting tops) before the credits roll.

Several references are made to Newhart's former show, including the use of its theme song and credits. Although the Bob Newhart Show theme was missing from the final closing credit shot in the series' initial syndication run, the theme has been reinstated in the current version syndicated by 20th Century Fox Television.

The MTM cat logo normally closed the show end credits with Newhart voicing-over the "meow", but for the finale, the cat's voiceover was a reprise of Darryl and Darryl yelling "Quiet!"

Reception to the finale

Interviews with Newhart, Pleshette, and director Dick Martin [4] reveal that the final scene was kept a secret from the cast and most of the crew. A fake ending was written to throw off the tabloids that involved Dick Loudon going to heaven after being hit with a golf ball and talking to God played by George Burns or George C. Scott. Pleshette was kept hidden until her scene was shot. When the scene began, many people in the live audience recognized the bedroom set from The Bob Newhart Show and burst into spontaneous applause. Pleshette and Newhart performed the scene in one take. [4]

In 1991, the cast of The Bob Newhart Show reunited in a primetime special. One of the things they did was analyze Bob's dream. During the discussion, the Hartleys' neighbor, Howard Borden (Bill Daily), quipped, "I had a dream like that once. I dreamed I was an astronaut in Florida for five seasons", while scenes were shown from I Dream of Jeannie , which featured Daily in all five seasons. At the end of the reunion special, Dr. Bob Hartley gets on the elevator only to see three familiar workmen doing repairs in the elevator and one of them says to Bob, "Hi. I'm Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl."

Entertainment Weekly claimed in 1995 that Newhart's wife Ginny had conceived the idea for the finale, but the show's executive producers, Mark Egan, Mark Solomon, and Bob Bendetson, denied this in a letter to the editor, "[T]he final episode of Newhart was not 'dreamed up' by Bob's wife, Ginny. She had absolutely no connection with the show. ... We wrote and produced the Emmy-nominated script (with special thanks to Dan O'Shannon)." [5]

Newhart himself, in his 2006 book I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! And Other Things that Strike Me as Funny, stated that his wife had indeed proposed the ending of Newhart. [6] He reiterated this in a 2013 interview with director and comedian David Steinberg, saying,

That was Ginnie's idea. ... She said, 'You ought to end in a dream sequence because there was so much inexplicable about the show.' She said, 'You should wake up in bed with Susie and explain what's so—" and I said, 'What a great idea,' and I gave the idea to the writers and they fleshed it out with the Japanese buying the town and our not selling." [7]

Suzanne Pleshette, in a Television Academy interview, also avers that the idea was Ginny's, having heard it from Ginny over dinner with the Newharts several years before the finale was shot. [8]

In November 2005, the series finale was named by TV Guide and TV Land as the most unexpected moment in TV history. [9] The episode was watched by 29.5 million viewers, [10] bringing in an 18.7/29 rating/share, and ranking as the most-watched program that week. [11]

In 2011, the finale was ranked number four on the TV Guide Network special, TV's Most Unforgettable Finales, [12] and in 2013 was ranked number 1 in Entertainment Weekly's 20 Best TV Series Finales Ever. [13]

On the February 11, 1995, episode of Saturday Night Live which was hosted by Bob Newhart, the episode's closing sketch ended with a redux of Newhart's final scene, in which Bob Hartley again wakes with his wife Emily (special guest Suzanne Pleshette) and tells her that he had just had a dream of hosting Saturday Night Live. Emily responds, "Saturday Night Live, is that show still on?"—this during a period when SNL was heavily criticized for its declining quality. [14] [15]

In 2010, Jimmy Kimmel Live! presented several parody alternate endings to the television show Lost , one of which mirrored the finale of Newhart complete with a cameo appearance by Bob Newhart and with Lost star Evangeline Lilly in place of Emily/Pleshette. [16]

The final scene with Newhart and Pleshette was later parodied in an alternate ending to the television series Breaking Bad where actor Bryan Cranston wakes from a dream next to his Malcolm in the Middle co-star Jane Kaczmarek where they assume their respective roles of Hal and Lois. Hal recounts the events of Breaking Bad in humorous fashion as though he is horrified that he could do those things albeit as Walter White. Lois reassures him that everything is all right and the final shot is of Walter's hat. [17]

The final scene of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson parodied this, as well. After revealing that Bob Newhart had been playing the on-set pantomime horse Secretariat, Ferguson wakes up as his The Drew Carey Show character Nigel Wick, in bed with his co-star Drew Carey. The two then discuss the crazy possibility of Wick being a talk show host and Carey losing weight and becoming a game show host. (The shot continued with a parody of the twist ending of St. Elsewhere and then the closing song from The Sopranos finale.)

Reception

Newhart was a solid ratings winner, finishing its first six seasons in the Nielsen top 25. Despite not finishing in the top 30 for its last two seasons, Bob Newhart stated in an interview with the Archive of American Television that CBS was satisfied enough with the show's ratings to renew it for a ninth season in 1990. However, Newhart, who was anxious to move on to other projects, declined the offer, promising CBS that he would develop a new series for the network, which he was under contract to do. This resulted in the 1992 series Bob , which lasted for two seasons.

Newhart season rankings in the U.S. television market
SeasonEpisodesOriginal air datesTV season Nielsen ratings
Season premiereSeason finaleRankRatingHouseholds [lower-alpha 1] / Viewers [lower-alpha 2] (in millions)
1 22October 25, 1982April 10, 19831982–1983#1220.016.66
2 22October 17, 1983April 16, 19841983–1984#2318.015.08
3 22October 15, 1984May 28, 19851984–1985#1618.4N/A
4 24September 30, 1985May 12, 19861985–198619.616.84
5 24September 29, 1986April 13, 19871986–1987#1219.517.04
6 24September 14, 1987April 9, 19881987–1988#2516.5N/A
7 22October 24, 1988May 22, 19891988–1989#5012.8
8 24September 18, 1989May 21, 19901989–1990#4813.119.34
  1. 1982–1987
  2. 1989–1990

Awards

Nominations

Emmy Awards

The show was nominated for 25 Emmy Awards but never won.

1983
  • Outstanding Comedy Series – Sheldon Bull, Producer; Barry Kemp, Executive Producer
  • Outstanding Video Tape Editing For a Series – Andy Ackerman
1984
  • Outstanding Comedy Series – Sheldon Bull, Producer; Barry Kemp, Executive Producer
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Tom Poston
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
1985
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Bob Newhart
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
1986
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Bob Newhart
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing For a Comedy Series or Special – Andrew MacDonald, Sound Mixer; Bill Nicholson, Sound Mixer; Craig Porter, Sound Mixer; Richard Wachter, Sound Mixer
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Tom Poston
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
1987
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Bob Newhart
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
    • Tom Poston
    • Peter Scolari
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
  • Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series – David Mirkin ("Co-Hostess Twinkie")
1988
  • Outstanding Editing For a Series (Multi-Camera Production) – Michael Wilcox, Editor
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Peter Scolari
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
1989
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Eileen Brennan
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Peter Scolari
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
1990
  • Outstanding Editing For a Series (Multi-Camera Production) – Michael Wilcox, Editor
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Duffy
  • Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series – Bob Bendetson, Mark Egan and Mark Solomon ("The Last Newhart")

Golden Globe Awards

Newhart earned six nominations for Golden Globe Awards.

  • Television Series – Musical or Comedy (1984)
  • Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy: Bob Newhart (1983–1986)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Julia Duffy (1988)

Other awards

Newhart was nominated for one Casting Society of America award and four nominations for TV Land Awards. Newhart won a total of four Viewers for Quality Television Awards.

Home media

20th Century Fox released season one of Newhart on DVD in Region 1 on February 26, 2008.

In November 2013, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series. They have since released the entire series in individual season sets. [18] [19] [20]

DVD NameEp NoRelease Date
The Complete First Season22February 26, 2008
The Complete Second Season22February 11, 2014
The Complete Third Season22April 22, 2014
The Complete Fourth Season24August 19, 2014
The Complete Fifth Season24May 10, 2016
The Complete Sixth Season24September 13, 2016
The Complete Seventh Season22December 13, 2016
The Complete Eighth Season24March 14, 2017

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References

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  2. "100 most memorable TV moments". Archived from the original on December 15, 2004. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
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  5. "Mail Page". Entertainment Weekly (ew.com). June 2, 1995. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
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  7. "Bob Newhart and Louis C.K.". Inside Comedy . Season 2. Episode 1. February 16, 2013. Showtime.
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KmGeX8nyck
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  11. Margulies, Lee (May 31, 1990). "TV RATINGS : 'Newhart' Comes in First but CBS Is Still Last". latimes.com. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  12. TV's Most Unforgettable Finales. May 22, 2011. TV Guide Network.
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