Gimme a Break!

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Gimme a Break!
Gimmeabreak.jpg
GenreSitcom
Created byMort Lachman
Sy Rosen
Directed byJohn Bowab
Hal Cooper
Jim Drake
Linda Day
Dick Harwood
Jules Lichtman
Will Mackenzie
Patrick Maloney
Phil Ramuno
Tony Singletary
Oz Scott
Howard Storm
StarringNell Carter
Dolph Sweet
Lara Jill Miller
Lauri Hendler
Kari Michaelsen
Howard Morton
John Hoyt
Joey Lawrence
Telma Hopkins
Jonathan Silverman
Rosetta LeNoire
Matthew Lawrence
Paul Sand
Rosie O'Donnell
Theme music composerJay Graydon
Opening theme"Gimme a Break" performed by Nell Carter
Composer(s)Bob Christianson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes137 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Hal Cooper
Mort Lachman
Rod Parker
Producer(s)Arthur Julian
Coleman Mitchell
Geoffrey Neigher
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Alan Landsburg Productions (1981–1985)
Reeves Entertainment Group (1985–1987)
DistributorMCA TV (1986–1996)
Universal Television Enterprises (1997–1998)
Universal Worldwide Television (1998–2000)
Studios USA (1998–2002)
Universal Domestic Television (2002–2004)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
The Program Exchange (2006–present)
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runOctober 29, 1981 (1981-10-29) – May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)
 
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Gimme a Break!
Gimmeabreak.jpg
GenreSitcom
Created byMort Lachman
Sy Rosen
Directed byJohn Bowab
Hal Cooper
Jim Drake
Linda Day
Dick Harwood
Jules Lichtman
Will Mackenzie
Patrick Maloney
Phil Ramuno
Tony Singletary
Oz Scott
Howard Storm
StarringNell Carter
Dolph Sweet
Lara Jill Miller
Lauri Hendler
Kari Michaelsen
Howard Morton
John Hoyt
Joey Lawrence
Telma Hopkins
Jonathan Silverman
Rosetta LeNoire
Matthew Lawrence
Paul Sand
Rosie O'Donnell
Theme music composerJay Graydon
Opening theme"Gimme a Break" performed by Nell Carter
Composer(s)Bob Christianson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes137 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Hal Cooper
Mort Lachman
Rod Parker
Producer(s)Arthur Julian
Coleman Mitchell
Geoffrey Neigher
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Alan Landsburg Productions (1981–1985)
Reeves Entertainment Group (1985–1987)
DistributorMCA TV (1986–1996)
Universal Television Enterprises (1997–1998)
Universal Worldwide Television (1998–2000)
Studios USA (1998–2002)
Universal Domestic Television (2002–2004)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
The Program Exchange (2006–present)
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runOctober 29, 1981 (1981-10-29) – May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)

Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom which aired on NBC from 1981 until 1987 (a six-season run). The series stars Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief (Dolph Sweet) and his three daughters.

Premise[edit]

The sitcom takes place in Glenlawn, a fictional Los Angeles suburb. Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper (Nell Carter) agrees to be a housekeeper for the Kanisky household as a special favor to her late friend, Margaret Huffman Kanisky (played in flashback by Sharon Spelman), who was the wife of police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet). Nell also served as a parent to the Chief's three daughters, Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha (Lara Jill Miller). A foster son, Joey (Joey Lawrence), was added in Season 3.

Over the six-year run, a number of celebrities appeared on the show, including singers Whitney Houston, Andy Gibb, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Ray Parker Jr.. In some of these episodes, the guest would eventually perform a song with Nell. 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, Helen Hunt, Don Rickles, Gwen Verdon, Dennis Haysbert, Ernie Hudson, Gary Collins, and Elizabeth Berkley.

The episode "Cat Story" was performed and broadcast live on March 2, 1985, as a promotional gimmick, which the cast performed without 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 at Samantha's behest after Nell forbade her to go on an unchaperoned camping trip.[1]

Cast[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Recurring characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Production information[edit]

The show was produced by Alan Landsburg Productions, whose successor-in-interest, Reeves Entertainment Group, took over production in 1985. The American syndication rights are held by NBC Universal Television Distribution, the successor company to original syndication MCA Television and 20th Century Fox Television. FremantleMedia owns the international rights, as they own Thames Television, which acquired Alan Landsburg Productions and Reeves Entertainment Group product in 1990. The creators of the show were Mort Lachman and Sy Rosen.

Carter performed the lyrics in both versions of the theme song. The original version was used for the first two seasons and was replaced with an up-tempo rearrangement with new lyrics for season three onward.

Syndication[edit]

The show has been in off-network syndication since 1985. Reruns have also aired nationally on WWOR EMI Service and the USA Network.[2][3][4][5] Distribution rights are jointly owned by The Program Exchange.

After not being aired on cable in nearly 15 years, the show aired on TV One (which previously aired a day-long marathon on February 11, 2006, just three days before the first season was released on DVD in the United States), usually twice a week on Fridays and Saturdays (with 2-4 episodes airing each day). The reruns began on May 3, 2013 and continued until September 20, at which they had reran all 137 episodes. It is currently unknown if the show will return to the network's schedule in the near future.

DVD releases[edit]

United States[edit]

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.

Canada[edit]

Visual Entertainment 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.[6] VEI released Gimme a Break! The Complete Series on DVD in Canada on July 20, 2010.[7] As of 2013, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

UK/ Eire[edit]

Simply Media TV Ltd will be releasing a 3-disc DVD collection of the complete UK series and the 95-minute Christmas special. It will be released on the 20th September 2013 in the UK.

References[edit]

  1. ^ PRNewswire, "TV Guide and TV Land Join Forces To Count Down The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments", December 1, 2005.[1] Accessed March 23, 2009.
  2. ^ The Intelligencer—September 30, 1991
  3. ^ The Intelligencer—December 31, 1993
  4. ^ TV Guide—September 20–27, 1997
  5. ^ TV Guide—September 5–11, 1998
  6. ^ Lambert, David (2009-10-02). "Gimme a Break! - A Fan Inquiry to Us on Facebook Leads to Some VERY Interesting New Information!". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  7. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Gimme-Break-The-Complete-Series/13768

External links[edit]