Hometown (TV series)
John Bedford Lloyd
Erin Leigh Peck
|Opening theme||"Sounds From My Hometown"|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Executive producer(s)||Julie Kirgo
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Kingette Productions
Paramount Network Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||August 22, 1985 – October 15, 1985|
Hometown is an American dramedy series than ran on CBS from August 22 to October 15, 1985. The series was a direct adaptation of the smash hit 1983 movie The Big Chill, and centered around the same premise as the film: a group of friends all in their 30s, who had reunited after traveling separate paths following their college days in the 1960s. Upon their reunion, they found that they were even more so an integral part of each other's lives in the 1980s. Julie and Dinah Kirgo served as executive producers, with Barnet Kellman directing most of the episodes. Hometown was produced by Kingette Productions in association with Paramount Television.
Presumably set in the same South Carolina suburb as The Big Chill, as evidenced by the exteriors of historical 19th century landmarks around the "hometown" in the show's title sequence, Hometown opened with the reunion of the seven former college friends, that took place at the wedding of two of them, the longtime couple of Mary Newell (Jane Kaczmarek) and Ben Abbott (Franc Luz). Amid all the nostalgia of radical times and the reminiscing of their youth, the group found their unwaivering network of support was more important than ever, as they faced a more conservative, Reaganized America of the 1980s. Prior to the wedding, Mary and Ben had been living together for 13 years, had started a family of their own out of wedlock, and now were a modern yuppie couple raising young daughters Jennifer (Erin Leigh Peck) and Tess (Donna Vivino). Ben was a successful businessman, running a local bookstore in the city square, and Mary was on the heels of relaunching her long-abandoned dancing career.
All other series principals besides the Newell/Abbott family had now either re-established their ties with the town they all attended college in, or had remained there since college and had not seen their other friends in years. The most internationally known member of the group was Christopher Springer (Andrew Rubin), the wealthy rock star who had a troubled personal life (modeled after Bruce Springsteen). Chris decided to come back to his old hometown to regain the support from his old friends and to repair his problems, while intermittently going back on the road with his band. Completing the circle was Peter Kincaid (John Bedford Lloyd), a quirky college professor; elegant, recent divorcee Barbara Donnelly (Margaret Whitton), who currently lived off her vast settlements yet was insecure about moving on with her life and reentering the dating world; Jane Parnell (Christine Estabrook), also a college professor, but in addition serving as a Presidential advisor to the White House; and Joey Nathan (Daniel Stern), who was more disheveled and less successful than his materialistic friends.
In the intervening years, Joey had settled into the job of a fry cook, and always proved to the gang that he was quite happy with his modest means. Joey was a single parent, raising young son Dylan (Mikey Viso), and at one point his paternity was even in question when Dylan's mother, Joey's ex-girlfriend, showed up with a DNA test. Joey's ex wanted to know who Dylan's father really was, so that if the results proved that someone else was in the picture, she could then possibly give her son a more suitable upbringing than what Joey could provide. In the ninth episode, Ben began his lobbying to run for city council, but nothing more of this development was explored, along with other plot twists, as Hometown was pulled from the CBS schedule permanently after that telecast.
Despite evidence that the show was set in South Carolina, Hometown was actually filmed in Rye, New York.
In an attempt to ensure that the show would find an audience, CBS premiered Hometown just under a month before the official start of the 1985-86 TV season. They immediately ran it in the time slot it was slated to have on the fall schedule, Thursdays at 10/9c. However, by the time of CBS' premiere week in mid-September, the show's ratings were unsatisfactory, resulting in Hometown moving to Tuesdays at 8/7c as of September 24; thus, the show had already failed in its fall schedule slot before the season itself had already begun. The new night and earlier hour for Hometown did little to boost the ratings, so in mid-October, CBS cancelled the series. All nine completed episodes aired on the network before cancellation.
Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows