Back to You

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This article is about the situation comedy. For other uses, see Back to You (disambiguation).
Back to You
Back To You Title Card.png
The Back to You title card
Genre Situation comedy
Created by Christopher Lloyd
Steven Levitan
Directed by James Burrows
Starring Kelsey Grammer
Patricia Heaton
Ayda Field
Laura Marano
Lily Jackson
Josh Gad
Ty Burrell
Fred Willard
Theme music composer Adam Anders
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 18 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Christopher Lloyd
Steven Levitan
James Burrows
Kelsey Grammer
Producer(s) Maggie Randell-Blanc
Editor(s) Ron Volk
Location(s) Pittsburgh,
20th Century Fox Studios,
Los Angeles, CA
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
Picture Day Productions
Distributor 20th Television
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original run September 19, 2007 (2007-09-19) – May 14, 2008 (2008-05-14)

Back to You is an American situation comedy series, which aired on Fox from September 19, 2007 to May 14, 2008. The creators and executive producers were Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, and the director was James Burrows.[1] The series starred Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as squabbling anchors of a news program.[2]

Plot[edit]

Chuck Darling (Grammer) and Kelly Carr (Heaton) were co-anchors of Pittsburgh news program WURG News 9 that had great on-screen chemistry, despite constant quarreling off-screen. However, Chuck left to take a job elsewhere. After an embarrassing comment he makes results in his dismissal from a large market LA newscast, Chuck returns to Pittsburgh after 10 years to become anchor on the newscast he originally left.[3][4] Chuck also learns that he is the father of Carr's 10-year-old daughter. Their daughter, Gracie, turns 11 years old in the episode, "Something's Up There".

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Chuck Darling (Kelsey Grammer) is the co-anchor at WURG-TV, News 9, and also the former co-anchor of WURG until New Year's Eve 1996,[5] until he left for a better job, moving through different markets before finally moving to an anchor job in Los Angeles. Ten years later, he made a curse-filled outburst towards a co-worker, Darcy Tanner, which became a massive YouTube sensation.[5] He has now returned to WURG-TV and is once again co-anchor with Kelly Carr. He later finds out he has a child with Kelly named Gracie, a result of a one night stand the night before Chuck left.[5] He and Gracie get along well, and despite the fact that Gracie is oblivious to his paternity, it seems that Chuck has passed on some of his personality traits to his daughter, which include their mutual dislike for Kelly.[6] He was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut.
  • Kelly Marsha Carr (Patricia Heaton) is Chuck's co-anchor, and was formerly until New Year's Eve 1996 when he left WURG.[5] As a result of getting drunk while doing a report on drunk driving, and later having sex with Chuck, she now has a daughter with Chuck.[5] When Chuck returned, she wasn't happy, taking every chance to get angry at him. She revealed that her daughter Gracie is in fact Chuck's child.[5]
  • Montana Diaz Herrera (real name Sally Lerner) (Ayda Field) was WURG's purportedly Latina weatherwoman until episode 13 when she was fired. Montana isn't the most well educated person, but she will do a lot to make sure people in power like her. She also has a difficulty pronouncing "Monongahela".[7] Her name has disappeared from the credits as of episode 10, because in the plot line for episode 13, she was fired. It is revealed her real name is Sally Lerner. She pretended to be Hispanic because most stations "only wanted to hire minorities." She chose the alias Montana because it was where she used to ice skate, and she chose Diaz Herrera only after mistaking it for "Happy Days" in Spanish. It has been alluded that she is Marsh's daughter. Montana/Sally's mother is named Louise Lerner.
  • Ryan Church (Josh Gad) is the news director at WURG. He stated in the pilot that he is 26 (and a half) years old, and his birthday falls in the month of March. He also has a crush on Montana, and repeatedly tries to impress her by doing stupid and dangerous things.[5] He formerly ran the station's internet division.[5]
  • Gracie Carr (Laura Marano then Lily Jackson) is Chuck and Kelly's daughter, though she was unaware that Chuck is her father until episode 11. She and her father Chuck seem to share many qualities, such as their sense of humor and their allergy to pistachios.[6] She recently turned eleven.[8] Lily Jackson replaced Laura Marano starting with the tenth episode, "The Wall of Fame", and Gracie reverted to the age of 10.
  • Gary Crezyzewski (pronounced "Sure-shwoov-ski") (Ty Burrell) is WURG's field reporter, a position he has held for 12 years.[5] His ambition is to become an anchor, and it has been hinted that he holds a grudge against Chuck because Gary hoped to be the new anchor.[5] He always ends up in awkward and unwanted situations while reporting,[5][9] which have included, as he explains, "every freeway chase, toxic spill, and record snowfall". He was also seen to have been used as a test subject in a taser demonstration.[9] His name is often mis-pronounced by his co-workers, especially Chuck. Gary is married to a woman named Kitty, and their marriage is described as somewhat antagonistic, but loving. Kitty is often mentioned, and usually described as behaving outlandishly, but is never seen on camera - much like Maris from Frasier or Vera from Cheers, both programs from Back to You producer Christopher Lloyd. Gary is of Polish descent.[8]
  • Marsh McGinley (Fred Willard) is WURG's fairly dim-witted sports anchor. He throws up before the beginning of each show.[5] He also breaks down while reading Casey at the Bat, because his father used that poem to break his stutter. Could possibly be the father of Montana.

Guest stars[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
Title Written by Directed by Original air date Production
code
1 "Pilot" Steven Levitan & Christopher Lloyd James Burrows September 19, 2007 (2007-09-19) 1ANX79
The pilot episode sees Chuck Darling returning to his old Pittsburgh TV news co-anchor job, re-partnering with his former co-anchor Kelly Carr, and their frequent off-screen quarrelling.
2 "Fish Story" Dan O'Shannon James Burrows September 26, 2007 (2007-09-26) 1ANX01
Chuck is given a fish and attempts to use it as an opportunity to prove to Kelly he can handle responsibility.
3 "First Supper" Gail Lerner James Burrows October 3, 2007 (2007-10-03) 1ANX02
When Chuck's dinner date is called off, he meets Kelly and Gracie at a nearby restaurant and awkwardly joins them for a meal. Chuck and Gracie bond as they swap offensive quips about Kelly. Despite her disdain, Kelly starts to think having Chuck around wouldn't be such a bad thing after all. Meanwhile at WURG-TV, Marsh helps Gary create a promo after some failed attempts; Montana learns about her broken relationship while she is on the air and Ryan has to hide his infatuation for her in time for the night's broadcast.
4 "A Gentleman Always Leads" Christopher Lloyd James Burrows October 10, 2007 (2007-10-10) 1ANX03
After hearing some of his old friends, who used to work at WURG, talking about him getting fired in Los Angeles, Chuck tries to prove he's still got what it takes to be a big network anchor. As the night's lead story continues to change, Chuck and Kelly argue over who will be taking the lead story, Chuck knowing his old friends will be watching the broadcast. Kelly finally ends up giving the lead story to Chuck, but unknown to him, the victim of the bear attack, which was the lead story, has a helium sounding voice. Also, after stealing Montana's intern to work in the Sports Department, Marsh tries to find her a replacement. When the intern is older than they both expected, Montana and Marsh must figure out how to fire him.
5 "A Night of Possibilities" Andy Gordon James Burrows October 17, 2007 (2007-10-17) 1ANX04
Kelly accuses Chuck of being selfish and rude after he declines a dinner invitation from Ryan in order to reinstate a Friday tradition, his "night of possibilities", in which he does five activities: goes for a walk, smokes a Cuban cigar, drinks a scotch, has a steak, and "Destiny knocks". In rebuttal, Chuck states that Kelly is uptight and rigid. The pair try to prove each other wrong leading Chuck to go to dinner with Ryan and Kelly going for a night out with Montana. Meanwhile, Gary tries carpooling with Marsh, who is a disaster waiting to happen while behind the wheel.
6 "Gracie's Bully" Jeffrey Richman James Burrows November 7, 2007 (2007-11-07) 1ANX05
Gracie's class take a field trip to WURG and Kelly tells Chuck that Gracie has been having problems with a bully. While Kelly tries to take the rational approach to dealing with the problem, by calling the school principal and organizing a conflict resolution session, Chuck tells Gracie to take the problem into her own hands with a more corporeal approach. This leads to Kelly taking Chuck's advice and threatening the bully, Xander. Meanwhile, Marsh tries to prove to Gary he can read the poem "Casey at the Bat" to the children without crying. Also, Montana has to deal with a precocious young weathergirl, who upstages her when the young weathergirl can successfully pronounce Monongahela River, and Ryan encounters a younger version of himself.
7 "Something's Up There" Steven Levitan James Burrows November 14, 2007 (2007-11-14) 1ANX06
A vicious raccoon causes havoc at Gracie's birthday party.
8 "Cradle to Grave" Abraham Higginbotham & Steven Levitan James Burrows February 26, 2008 (2008-02-26) 1ANX09
Kelly attends a funeral of a former anchor and leaves Chuck to babysit Gracie.
9 "Business or Pleasure" Sally Bradford James Burrows February 27, 2008 (2008-02-27) 1ANX07
Another anchor from a rival news program asks Kelly out on a date, which makes Chuck jealous. Meanwhile, Gary chastises the members of Anthrocon
10 "Wall of Fame" Andy Gordon James Burrows April 16, 2008 (2008-04-16) 1ANX12
When Marsh decides to throw Chuck a surprise party, Chuck and Kelly discover an incriminating photograph on Marsh's wall portraying them in a compromising position in the background and they try to find a way to remove it without anyone's knowledge. Meanwhile, Gary and Ryan stumble into Marsh and Peg's bedroom and are disturbed by what they see.
11 "Hug & Tell" Gail Lerner & Chuck Tatham James Burrows April 23, 2008 (2008-04-23) 1ANX13
Everyone's favorite security guard won't hug Gary.
12 "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (2)" Christopher Lloyd & Dan O'Shannon James Burrows April 30, 2008 (2008-04-30) 1ANX14
When Gracie reacts badly to the announcement that Chuck is her father, Chuck and Kelly remember the night Gracie was conceived.
13 "The New Boss" Sally Bradford & Jeffrey Richman James Burrows May 7, 2008 (2008-05-07) 1ANX10
Shockwaves reverberate through the newsroom, as major changes are expected when a tenacious station manager (played by Suzy Nakamura) takes over at WURG. Meanwhile, Gary worries about taking a much needed vacation under the new regime.
14 "Chuck and Kelly, Doin' It Again" Teleplay: Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman
Story: Chuck Tatham
James Burrows May 14, 2008 (2008-05-14) 1ANX15
In the First Season Finale, Chuck and Kelly seek the best way to publicly disclose their parenthood, but an unfortunately timed new ad campaign for the station complicates their efforts. Meanwhile, Marsh bestows a gift upon Gary but immediately regrets his generosity.
15 "Date Night" Gail Lerner James Burrows July 2, 2008 (Australia) 1ANX08
After Chuck accuses Kelly of dating a rival anchor because he's a younger version of himself, Kelly gets even by redirecting a dinner invitation Chuck intended for a specific co-worker. When both couples end up dining at the same restaurant, the evening turns into a showdown. Gary and Marsh help Ryan get ready for his cyber date.[10]
16 "House of Tomorrow" Abraham Higginbotham James Burrows July 9, 2008 (Australia) 1ANX11
Chuck decides to buy a state-of-the-art technologically-advanced house, while Kelly vacillates between liking and hating the new, more mature Chuck. Meanwhile, Gary wants the chief weatherman position, which is now vacant since Montana was fired.
17 "Hostage Watch" Chuck Tatham James Burrows July 31, 2008 (Australia) 1ANX16
The team brainstorm ways to increase their ratings. Meanwhile, there is a hostage situation at the local bank and the gunman insists Chuck Darling must act as the mediator.

Production history[edit]

Conception[edit]

It was reported in January 2007 that Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton were in talks to lead the cast of the series, originally titled Action News, which only had a script commitment with 20th Century Fox Television at the time.[11] The script was reportedly a hot commodity with numerous networks interested before Fox outbid the competition and gave it a blind thirteen-episode commitment in February 2007. Upon its pick-up, it also became Levitan and Lloyd's first project under their production banner, Levitan-Lloyd Productions. Grammer and Heaton were also confirmed to star in the series in the same month.[12] It was renamed Back to You in April 2007 because Pittsburgh has a real life Channel 4 Action News.[13] (The show was originally to be set in Buffalo, New York, which, at least in name, did not have an Action News station, but Lloyd felt that having a major-market news personality fall from Los Angeles (market #2) to Buffalo (market #49) was implausible. This was despite the fact that several prominent Los Angeles news anchors, including John Beard, Nick Clooney, Maria Genero, Kevin O'Connell, Brian Kahle, and John Stehlin have all moved from the Los Angeles to the Buffalo markets; all but Clooney and Stehlin remain there to this day, though Kahle has since died, and Stehlin has moved to an even smaller market in neighboring Erie, Pennsylvania.) The series was officially greenlit on May 11, 2007.[14] James Burrows, who had directed all the episodes of the show joined the staff as an executive producer in June 2007.[15]

Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Levitan-Lloyd Productions, the series premiered on September 19, 2007.[16] The show aired on Wednesday nights at 8:30/7:30c on Fox, leading out King of the Hill, which features Heaton's former Everybody Loves Raymond co-star, Brad Garrett. The first episode rated a promising 9.44 million viewers for Fox.[14]

On October 24, 2007 the show was picked up for an additional 11 episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to 24.[17]

Also, despite the show's cancellation, and no guarantee of its renewal, Channel 4 in the United Kingdom picked up the show.[18] The series premiered in the UK on Wednesday, 11 June 2008 on More4 at 9.30pm. It then moved onto Channel 4 on early morning weekdays comedy slot at 8:00.

Production notes[edit]

Back to You was filmed at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California.[19]

Casting[edit]

After the first two leads were found, Paul Campbell and Aimee Garcia were originally cast as Ryan Church and Montana Diaz Herrera respectively in February 2007 but the roles were re-cast in April 2007 with Josh Gad and Ayda Field replacing them.[13][20] Fred Willard was also cast as Marsh McGinley in February.[20] Casting continued throughout March with Ty Burrell and Laura Marano landing the last two regular spots in the series.[21][22] There was also talk of casting Sung Hi Lee in a recurring role as Chuck Darling's love interest, but the producers decided in April to go in a different direction.[23] She did appear in the Pilot.

The role of Gracie Carr was re-cast starting the tenth episode, "The Wall of Fame", and was played by Lily Jackson. Ayda Field was also dropped from the show after the tenth episode. The background used for Ayda Field's credit in the title sequence, a weather map of the United States, was still briefly shown but her image was replaced by a silhouette of a man.

Writers’ strike[edit]

Production on the show was halted on November 6, 2007 due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[24]

The show went on hiatus on November 14 but returned on Tuesday February 26, 2008 at 9:30/8:30c. It aired a new episode that night and another on Wednesday February 27, 2008, the following day, and new episodes began airing weekly, starting Wednesday April 16, 2008. On this day, Back to You moved to its new time slot at 8:00/7:00c, following King of the Hill, and replacing The Moment of Truth.[25]

Cancellation[edit]

Despite having better ratings and reviews than its comedy companion King of the Hill,[citation needed] the series was not renewed by the network on May 9, 2008, while 'Til Death was renewed.[26]

The comedy was shopped around for a new home, under Grammer's request, and CBS was interested in picking up the comedy for a second season. With this, CBS was also interested in using the comedy to open an extension night of comedy beyond Monday night, giving the series as a solid anchor for the extension.

However, Grammer was already searching for a new show and ABC had given him some new projects (one was an overseas remake of Roman's Empire, which failed to pick up, and Hank, which premiered Fall 2009, but was canceled after five episodes). Heaton also was interested in an ABC project (The Middle, which also premiered in fall 2009 and is currently in its Fifth season). As a result, Back to You was never renewed.

In a somewhat related note, the creators of the show, Lloyd & Levitan, would go on to create another fall 2009 series for ABC, Modern Family, which features fellow Back to You star Burrell, as well as Willard as Burrell's character's father, and even airs after The Middle (which aired after Hank from September–November 2009). When originally pitching their show, Lloyd & Levitan never offered Modern Family to Fox because of their issues dealing with that network over Back to You.[27]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

Back to You received generally mixed reviews, receiving a rating of 58 from Metacritic.[28]

  • I'd rather just watch Grammer and Heaton trade barbs in the newsroom. — Entertainment Weekly[28]
  • Fox's Back to You is back to TV comedy basics: multiple cameras, live audiences but, mostly, laughs. — Los Angeles Times[28]
  • Grammer and Heaton slip easily into characters who won't be easily mistaken for Frasier Crane or Debra Barone, the writing's professional, the supporting cast dependable (and in the case of Fred Willard, another Raymond veteran, dependably hilarious). — Philadelphia Daily News[28]
  • You have to admire Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton for holding up their end of the bargain, even if the material in their show, Back to You, is such a drop from "Frasier" and "Everybody Loves Raymond". — Philadelphia Inquirer[28]
  • The pilot's plot leads them in a direction where "this just in" becomes an obvious sexual metaphor—some of it is funny, but there's just too much. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[28]
  • Absolutely nothing about it is original or seeks to transform the half-hour genre. Still, the fact that it is executed by sure-footed comedy veterans more than makes up for the sin of familiarity. — Seattle Post-Intelligencer[28]

Controversy[edit]

The episode "Something's Up There" (aired November 14, 2007) involved Marsh trying to convince the show's lone Polish-American character, Gary, to go bowling after work by saying: "Come on, it's in your blood, like kielbasa and collaborating with the Nazis." Fox later apologized on November 20, 2007. They vowed never to air the line of dialogue again in repeats and/or syndicated broadcasts. Fox stated that, "The line was delivered by a character known for being ignorant, clueless, and for saying outlandish things. Allowing the line to remain in the show, however, demonstrated poor judgment, and we apologize to anyone who was offended."[29]

U.S. television ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st Wednesday 8:30PM September 19, 2007 May 14, 2008 2007–2008 #109[30] 6.54[30]

Home release[edit]

Season 1
Set Details Special Features
  • 17 episodes
  • 3-disc set
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Languages:
    • English
    • English subtitles
    • Spanish subtitles
    • French subtitles
  • Behind the Scenes with Back to You Featurette
  • This Just In Featurette
  • Gag Reel Featurette
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 4
October 14, 2008 October 22, 2008

Back to You is also available on the iTunes Store.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Back to You at the". The Futon Critic. 
  2. ^ "Frasier star makes sitcom return". BBC News. 2007-05-18. Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  3. ^ "Fox's New Shows for the 2007-08 Season". zap2it.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  4. ^ "Fox's fall schedule". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Pilot". Back to You. Season 1. Episode 1. 2007-09-19. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  6. ^ a b "First Supper". Back to You. Season 1. Episode 3. 2007-10-03. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  7. ^ "Gracie's Bully". Back to You. Season 1. Episode 6. 2007-11-07. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  8. ^ a b "Something's Up There". Back to You. Season 1. Episode 7. 2007-11-14. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  9. ^ a b "Fish Story". Back to You. Season 1. Episode 2. 2007-09-26. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  10. ^ "Listings – BACK TO YOU on FOX". Thefutoncritic.com. 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  11. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, The Futon Critic
  12. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, The Futon Critic
  13. ^ a b "Development Update: Thursday - Friday (April 12–13)". The Futon Critic. 2007-04-13. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  14. ^ a b FOX RENEWS 'HILL' VOWS, PICKS UP SEXTET, The Futon Critic
  15. ^ "WHO'S IN & WHO'S OUT NEXT SEASON". The Futon Critic. 
  16. ^ Boedeker, Hal (2007-07-10). "Fox announces premiere dates; "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" returns Aug. 30". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  17. ^ Fox (2007-10-25). "FOX ORDERS ADDITIONAL EPISODES OF "BACK TO YOU"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  18. ^ TV Scoop: New Kelsey Grammer comedy Back To You on Channel 4 in a few weeks time
  19. ^ "Free tv studio audience tickets" (in English). Audiences Unlimited. 2007. Archived from the original on 23 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  20. ^ a b DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, The Futon Critic
  21. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: TUESDAY, MARCH 13, The Futon Critic
  22. ^ 2007 Fox PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT GUIDE - COMEDY SERIES, The Futon Critic
  23. ^ Sung-hi.com[dead link]
  24. ^ "Production Stops on at least 6 Sitcoms". Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  25. ^ Breaking News - Fox RETURNS SERIES TO PRODUCTION | TheFutonCritic.com
  26. ^ "FOX Cancels King of the Hill, Renews Back to You". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  27. ^ Pond, Steve. "It's a 'Modern Family' Affair at the Emmys". The Wrap. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g "Back to You SERIES: Fox, Wednesday 8:30p (30 minutes)". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  29. ^ Huff, Richard (2007-11-21). "Shamed Fox apologizes for Polish slur on 'Back to You'". NY Daily News. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  30. ^ a b "Season Program Rankings from 09/24/07 through 05/25/08". ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 

External links[edit]