Mary (1985 TV series)

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For the 1978 variety series, see Mary (1978 TV series).
Mary (1985 TV series).jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by David Isaacs
Ken Levine
Written by David Isaacs
Dennis Koenig
Ken Levine
Emily Marshall
Merrill Markoe
Tom Straw
Douglas Wyman
Directed by Peter Baldwin
Jeff Chambers
Rod Daniel
Danny DeVito
Ellen Falcon
Dolores Ferraro
Nick Havinga
Will Mackenzie
Starring Mary Tyler Moore
James Farentino
John Astin
David Byrd
Katey Sagal
James Tolkan
Carlene Watkins
Derek McGrath
Harold Sylvester
Theme music composer Dan Foliart
Howard Pearl
Composer(s) Dan Foliart
Howard Pearl
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) David Isaacs
Ken Levine
Producer(s) David Isaacs
Ken Levine
Editor(s) Andrew Chulack
Camera setup Multi-camera setup
Running time 22 min
Production company(s) MTM Enterprises
Distributor 20th Television
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original run December 11, 1985 (1985-12-11) – April 8, 1986 (1986-04-08)

Mary is an American sitcom that aired on CBS during the 1985-86 television season. The series stars Mary Tyler Moore in her return to series television after an absence of over six years, during which time she appeared on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway? and in the dramatic film Ordinary People. After The Mary Tyler Moore Show, her subsequent ventures into series television, the variety show Mary and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour had been short-running ratings disasters, and Moore decided to return to the sitcom format which had brought her the greatest television success.


In Mary, Moore plays Mary Brenner, a 40-ish divorcée working at a second rate tabloid, the Chicago Eagle. She had formerly been a high-profile writer at a fashion magazine which had recently gone out of business and was now reduced to writing a consumer-assistance column, "Helpline", helping to expose substandard business practices and products and the often uncaring reaction of government to these problems. Her boss, Managing Editor Frank DeMarco (James Farentino), concentrated on sensationalism as he was convinced as that was what really sold papers. He was also quite a ladies' man, and was attracted to Mary, as she was to him, but she found dealing with that situation to be quite awkward.

Also working at the Eagle were the cynical, chain-smoking columnist Jo Tucker (Katey Sagal), the condescending theater critic Ed LaSalle (John Astin), and Tully (David Byrd), a copy editor who could scarcely function because he was going blind but knew he wasn't going away; his job had strong protection from the union. Neighbors included Susan Wilcox (Carlene Watkins), Mary's good friend, whose fiancé Lester Mintz (James Tolkan) seemed to be somehow "connected".


Throughout its run, Mary was paired with the sitcom Foley Square starring Margaret Colin, which also premiered on December 11, 1985, and aired at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays immediately after Mary at 8:00 p.m. Neither show ever really found much of an audience, and after Mary '​s tenth episode aired on February 19, 1986, Mary went into hiatus, as did Foley Square after its eleventh episode was broadcast on February 26, 1986. Still paired, the two shows moved to Tuesdays and a later time slot in the hope of boosting their ratings. Broadcasts of both shows at the new day and time resumed on March 25, 1986, with Mary at 9:00 p.m. and Foley Square at 9:30 p.m. On Mary, Susan and Lester were written out and Mary '​s personal life was generally downplayed in favor of her business one. There were some favorable reviews, although some critics pronounced it as more or less a clone of her previous sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. With the two shows still suffering from poor ratings in their new time slots, CBS broadcast only three more episodes of each before cancelling both of them after the thirteenth episode of Mary and fourteenth episode of Foley Square aired on April 8, 1986.[1][2][3]



Episode # Episode title Original airdate
01 "From Pillar to Post" December 11, 1985
02 "Make My Day" December 18, 1985
03 "Chicago Hi-Lo" December 25, 1985
04 "Everyone's a Critic" January 1, 1986
05 "The Death Threat" January 8, 1986
06 "Forest for the Trees" January 15, 1986
07 "Same Old Song" January 22, 1986
08 "Beans" January 29, 1986
09 "Table for Two" February 12, 1986
10 "Mr. Lucky" February 19, 1986
11 "And the Winner Is..." March 25, 1986
12 "Little Jo" April 1, 1986
13 "Steppin' Out with Mary Brenner" April 8, 1986


  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 861–862. ISBN 0-345-49773-2. 
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 293.
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-345-39736-3, p. 364.

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