The Associates (American TV series)

Last updated
The Associates
Genre Sitcom
Created by
Developed by Michael Leeson
Directed by
Theme music composer Albert Brooks
Opening theme"Wall Street Blues"
performed by B.B. King
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (4 unaired)
Executive producers
Producer Michael Leeson
Production location Paramount Studios
CinematographyLeonard J. South
  • Douglas Hines
  • C. Cory M. McCrum-Abdo
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original releaseSeptember 23, 1979 (1979-09-23) 
April 17, 1980 (1980-04-17)

The Associates is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC from September 23, 1979 to April 17, 1980. Based on the novel of the same name by John Jay Osborn Jr., the series stars Wilfrid Hyde-White, Martin Short, Alley Mills, Joe Regalbuto, Shelley Smith, and Tim Thomerson. Despite being cancelled after nine of its thirteen episodes aired, it was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards.


The Associates, from the producers of Taxi, was critically acclaimed in the fall of 1979. But, ABC-TV fell from its ratings perch that fall when they moved their schedule around. Mork & Mindy was moved to Sunday night to challenge CBS's most established night of the week. The Associates was scheduled to follow Mork as a promising new comedy series. Mork, however, was crushed by CBS's Archie Bunker's Place . ABC moved Mork back to Thursday, but it would never recover its ratings glory. One Day at a Time was the direct competition to The Associates. Meanwhile, The Associates was not given another chance and was canned by the network. The press heavily criticized ABC for not giving the show a chance in another time slot.


The show was the first bonafide starring vehicle for Short and centered on a small group of young novice lawyers who worked at a Wall Street law firm. One of the creators of the series was John Jay Osborn, Jr., author of The Paper Chase . Episode seven featured guest star John Houseman reprising his role as Professor Kingsfield.



TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The First Day" James Burrows Story by: Charlie Hauck
Teleplay by: Michael Leeson
September 23, 1979 (1979-09-23)
The associates learn the ropes on their first day at the firm while the founder decides between two attorneys seeking partnership.
2"Is Romance Dead?" Tony Mordente David Lloyd September 30, 1979 (1979-09-30)
Tucker uses tips from a book on romance to try and impress Sara.
3"Tucker's Courtroom Coup"Tony MordenteDavid LloydOctober 7, 1979 (1979-10-07)
Marshall asks Eliot to defend a client whose ex-lover is suing him.
4"Mr. Marshall's Love Affair"Tony MordenteDavid LloydOctober 14, 1979 (1979-10-14)
Marshall's intended helpmate flirts with Eliot.
5"The Deadly Serve"Tony MordenteJohn Steven OwenOctober 28, 1979 (1979-10-28)
Eliot accidentally kills a partner in a game of squash.
6"Eliot's Revenge"James BurrowsStory by: Rich Reinhart
Teleplay by: David Lloyd
March 27, 1980 (1980-03-27)
Eliot argues with his former professor about a case.
7"Danko's a Daddy"James BurrowsDavid LloydApril 3, 1980 (1980-04-03)
Johnny tries to see his illegitimate son over the mother's objections.
8"The Censors"Tony Mordente Stan Daniels &
Ed. Weinberger
April 10, 1980 (1980-04-10)
Tucker defends a network censor being sued by a producer.
9"The Party"James Burrows Earl Pomerantz April 17, 1980 (1980-04-17)
Leslie falls for a teacher who despises conservative lawyers.
10"A Date with Johnny"Tony MordenteEarl PomerantzN/A
Johnny goes on a date with a married co-worker.
11"Tucker's Co-Op"Charlotte BrownDavid LloydN/A
Tucker moves into the apartment below Marshall, who shows up unexpectedly.
12"Inferno"Charlotte BrownDavid LloydN/A
The lawyers try to find escape routes when a fire starts in the building.
13"The Out of Town Trip"Tom TrbovichRich ReinhartN/A
The associates defend the head of a tire company accused of misusing funds, while Leslie quits the firm thinking it represents criminals.


The series had a complete run on BBC Two in the UK in 1982. The series was rerun on A&E in 1988, followed by runs on Comedy Central and TV Land in the 1990s.

In Italy, the series aired on Rete 4 as I novellini (Newbies) in 1982.

Award nominations

1980 Emmy Award NominatedOutstanding Writing in a Comedy SeriesStan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger (for episode "The Censors")
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy SeriesMichael Leeson and Charlie Hauck (for episode "The First Day")
Golden Globe AwardBest TV-Series - Musical/Comedy
Best TV Actor - Musical/ComedyWilfrid Hyde-White

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