||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2013)|
|Created by||Norman Lear|
|Written by||Rod Parker
|Directed by||Jeff Bleckner|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||3 (Never aired)|
|Executive producer(s)||Norman Lear|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||TAT Communications|
|Related shows||Hanging In|
In early 1978, producer Norman Lear felt his long-running comedy Maude was getting stale, so he decided to enliven things by moving the show to Washington, D.C. and making the title character a Congresswoman. After two episodes in this new setting, star Beatrice Arthur decided not to continue, and the show abruptly left the air. Lear, however, still believed in the concept, and filmed a new pilot tilted Onward and Upward, with essentially the same script and cast—except with John Amos (as a black former pro football star running for the United States Congress) replacing Arthur. Creative differences between Amos (who had co-starred in Lear's Good Times) and the producers led to Amos bowing out; the show was renamed Mr. Dooley and finally Mr. Dugan. Cleavon Little (best known as the sheriff in the classic movie comedy Blazing Saddles) was hired as the title character, a fledgling black Congressman. The supporting cast remained the same.
Mr. Dugan had been scheduled for a March 11, 1979 premiere, and was heavily promoted by its network, CBS. A special screening for real black Congressmen, however, proved to be an unmitigated disaster; many found the show "demeaning" and threatened a boycott of CBS if the program aired. Lear subsequently pulled the plug on Mr. Dugan, saying "we have not yet totally fulfilled our intention for the series."
The series was eventually reworked into the short-lived series, Hanging In, which aired on CBS in the summer of 1979.