Introduced to NBC's Wednesday-night schedule as a mid-season replacement on January 4, 1984, the weekly 30-minute sitcom Night Court quickly built a large and appreciative audience, enabling the series to remain on the network for nine seasons. Harry Anderson, a comedian who had established his reputation as a smooth-talking, nimble-fingered street magician and self-styled con artist, was perfectly cast as affable, irreverent Manhattan night-court judge Harry T. Stone. Although he came across as an iconoclastic jokester who held standard legal procedure in contempt (in one episode, his verdict was based on the flip of a coin), Harry was a highly successful jurist with a well-honed sense of fair play, whose handling of the oddballs that paraded in and out of his court resulted in a gratifyingly low "return" rate and quite a few reformations. Even those who'd never stood before Judge Stone in court were familiar with his lovable eccentricities, including his fondness for faded blue jeans and his adoration of singer Mel Tormé. The supporting cast included John Larroquette as Assistant DA Dan Fielding, who spent as much time trying to score with the ladies in night court as he did trying to secure convictions, and Richard Moll as bald-headed bailiff "Bull" Shannon (Richard Moll), whose bark was worse than his bite, but not by much. During the series' first season, Paula Kelly was seen as legal-aid defense lawyer Liz Williams, who was alternately appalled and fascinated by Harry's unorthodox tactics; Karen Austin also appeared as court clerk Lana Wagner, who harbored a not-so-secret crush on Harry. In subsequent seasons, Liz was replaced by Billie Young (Ellen Foley), who in turn was replaced by Christine Sullivan (Markie Post); as for Lana, her replacement was Mac Robinson (Charles Robinson). Both Christine and Mac remained for the rest of the series; not so with Selma Diamond as abrasive jail matron Selma Hacker, a character who lasted only until Diamond's death. The actress' replacement, Florence Halop as Florence Kleiner, likewise passed away after only a short time on the series; she in turn was replaced by Marsha Warfield as Roz Russell, a character who stayed in place until the series' own demise. The on-again, off-again romance between Harry Stone and Christine Sullivan was definitely "off" during seasons seven and eight, when Christine was wed to undercover cop Tony Guillano (Ray Abruzzo), a union which produced a baby. After Christine divorced Tony, her relationship with Harry heated up considerably, but before long the ardor had cooled. Eventually, Christine was elected to congress, whereupon she was pursued not by Harry but by the ever-libidinous Dan Fielding. The final episode of Night Court, which set something of a record for the number of bizarre, surrealistic incidents occurring within a single half-hour, was broadcast on July 1, 1992.
Debuting October 29, 1981, on NBC, the half-hour sitcom Gimme a Break was originally set in the suburban community of Glen Lawn, CA. Nell Carter starred as Nell Harper, a feisty, pleasantly plump black housekeeper who ruled the roost in the home of corpulent white police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet). Recently widowed, the cantankerous chief had three growing daughters: Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha (Lara Jill Miller), aka "Sam," who came to look upon the outspoken but warmhearted Nell as a surrogate mom. The same could be said of Joey Donovan (Joey Lawrence), a six-year old orphan who joined the household during the series' third season. And although Nell and The Chief were frequently at each other's throats, it was crystal clear that there was a strong and affectionate bond between them. In the early episodes, Howard Morton was seen as The Chief's doltish subordinate Officer Ralph Simpson, while Alvernette Jimenez showed up as Nell's goofy friend Angie. By and by, John Hoyt joined the cast as Carl's crusty Polish-born dad, "Grandpa" Stanley Kanisky, who moved in with the family after the death of his wife; several episodes also featured Pete Schrum as Carl's brother Ed, a mortician. And after Angie left the show, her place as best-friend-severest-critic of Nell was taken over by the heroine's childhood pal Dr. Addy Wilson, played by Telma Hopkins. Following the death of actor Dolph Sweet in 1985, it was established that Carl Kanisky had also passed away, leaving Nell to take care of the family by herself. By this time, middle daughter Julie had impulsively married archeologist Jonathan Maxwell (Jonathan Silverman), and the couple eventually had a baby which they named after Nell. At the beginning of the series' sixth and final season, the Kanisky girls had moved out of the house, whereupon Nell, Addy, Joey, and Grandpa relocated to New York City, where Joey was reunited with his younger brother Matthew (played by Joey Lawrence's real-life kid brother Matthew Lawrence). The cast of regulars now included Rosetta Le Noire as Nell's mother Maybelle Harper, Paul Sand as Nell's wacky landlord Marty, and Rosie O'Donnell as street-smart neighbor kid Maggie O'Brien. Gimme a Break closed out its NBC run on May 12, 1987.
A Different World is an American television sitcom which aired for six seasons on NBC. It is a spin-off series from The Cosby Show and originally centered on Denise Huxtable and the life of students at Hillman College, a fictional mixed but historically black college in the state of Virginia. After Bonet's departure in the first season, the remainder of the series primarily focused more on Southern belle Whitley Gilbert and mathematics whiz Dwayne Wayne. The series frequently depicted members of the major historically black fraternities and sororities.While it was a spin-off from The Cosby Show, A Different World would typically address issues that were avoided by The Cosby Show writers. One episode that aired in 1990 was one of the first American network television episodes to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The NBC sitcom Good Morning, Miami was co-created by Max Mutchnick (Will & Grace) and David Cohen, who drew upon their own experience while working on a local TV news-and-variety program. Mark Feuerstein starred as hotshot young TV executive Jake Silver, who dedicated himself to "rescuing" Miami television's lowest-rated morning show. Initially, Jake balks at the assignment, figuring that the show's overly unctuous station manager Frank Alfonso (Jere Burns) and terminally stupid co-anchors Gavin (Matt Letscher) and Lucia (Tessie Santiago) are beyond redemption. Even worse, the show's only real selling card is its zany "weather nun," Sister Brenda Dillman (Brooke Dillman). But spurred on by his affection for the show's hairstylist Dylan Messigner (Ashley Williams) -- not to mention his fear of his trash-mouthed grandmother Claire (Suzanne Pleshette) -- Jake agrees to make the best of a deplorable situation. Good Morning, Miami debuted September 26, 2002.