The Bernie Mac Show
|The Bernie Mac Show|
Season 1 DVD cover
|Created by||Larry Wilmore|
Dee Dee Davis
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||104 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Wilmore Films
20th Century Fox Television
|Original run||November 14, 2001– April 14, 2006|
The Bernie Mac Show is an American sitcom featuring comic actor Bernie Mac and his wife Wanda raising his sister's three kids: Jordan, Bryana and Vanessa. The show aired for five seasons (2001–2006), concluding with a half-hour series finale on Fox.
The show was loosely based on Mac's stand-up comedy acts. In real life, Bernie "Mac" McCullough was married with one daughter; Mac's character on the show (a stand-up comedian) was married with no kids of his own. The pilot episode, aired on November 14, 2001, set up the basic premise for the show: the character Bernie Mac takes in his sister's children after she enters rehab (a premise taken from one of Mac's routines in the 2000 film, The Original Kings of Comedy).
Much of the humor in the show was derived from Mac's continual adjustment to and his unique take on parenthood. A frequent motif of the show was the juxtaposition of Mac's acerbic comments, such as his threats to "bust the (children's) heads 'til the white meat shows," and the deep parental affection he felt towards the trio, which often brought him to the verge of tears during happy moments. Towards the end of the series, Bryana's long-lost father (Anthony Anderson) returns and drops by from time to time to help Bernie and Wanda with the kids.
Many of his most emotional scenes occurred in segments in which Mac, while still in character, broke the 'fourth wall' and talked to the television audience. As was also the case during his stand-up routine, Mac habitually addressed the audience as "America" for humorous effect. The lighting of the shots typically appears to be yellowish in color.
Mac's character's celebrity worked as a plot device allowing other celebrities to appear on the show as themselves. Halle Berry, Serena Williams, Chris Rock, Ashton Kutcher, Dom DeLuise, Billy Crystal, Carl Reiner, Don Rickles, Angela Bassett, Ellen DeGeneres, Ice Cube, Isaac Hayes, Lucy Lawless, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Matt Damon, Wesley Snipes, Charles Barkley, Jon Garland, Jules Sylvester, Sugar Ray Leonard, India.Arie, Snoop Dogg, Shaquille O'Neal, Sugar Shane Mosley, Hugh Hefner, and Phil McGraw have all appeared as themselves over the course of the show.
Broadcast history by season 
The show debuted in its time slot on November 14, 2001 with solid ratings in spite of a weak lead-in, Grounded for Life. The show had a very successful first season and in the process won a handful of honors including an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series" and the prestigious Peabody Award. Bernie Mac also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
In Fall 2002, the show aired against the Damon Wayans comedy My Wife and Kids which may have hurt the show's momentum in the ratings during the first half of its second season run. Larry Wilmore, the show's creator and executive producer, was fired at this time. In interviews, Wilmore said he was fed up with the network's creative interference with the show, in addition to Fox constantly shuffling it around the schedule. Fox contended that it wasn't happy with the show's direction under Wilmore in the second season, claiming the show "wasn't delivering enough laughs". With The Bernie Mac Show 's inability to topple My Wife and Kids in the Wednesday 8 p.m. timeslot, Fox eventually aired the show after American Idol, after which it received its highest ratings ever.
The third season was scheduled to start on October 29, 2003 but was postponed due to The O.C. being moved. Instead the show started the season at the late date of November 30, 2003. The ratings were mediocre despite the large ratings of its lead-in, The Simpsons. In March 2004, the show was moved to Monday nights in a plan to boost ratings for the new show Cracking Up, but the ratings were low for both shows. Cracking Up was canceled and The Bernie Mac Show was pulled from May Sweeps with leftover episodes that aired in June (one of which included an episode about Thanksgiving).
The show returned to its original time slot on September 8, 2004 to start the fourth season. The production was shut down a month later due to Bernie's sickness. The show returned on January 14, 2005 with new episodes on Friday nights. Although the ratings were low enough that commentators questioned the show's future (especially when it was postponed from May Sweeps again), the show was renewed for a fifth season.
The fifth season started September 23, 2005 on Friday nights and airings were followed by reruns of the show.
The Bernie Mac Show celebrated its 100th episode on February 3, 2006 despite the fact that the actual 100th episode was not aired until March 31.
American ratings 
|Season||Timeslot (EDT)||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers
|1||Wednesday 9:00 P.M. (November 14, 2001 – May 15, 2002)||November 14, 2001||May 15, 2002||2001–2002||#63||9.5|
|2||Wednesday 8:00 P.M. (September 18, 2002 – December 11, 2002)
Wednesday 9:00 P.M. (January 15, 2003 – May 14, 2003)
|September 18, 2002||May 14, 2003||2002–2003||#74||9.7|
|3||Sunday 8:30 P.M. (November 30, 2003 – February 22, 2004)
Monday 8:00 P.M. (March 7, 2004 – June 29, 2004)
|November 30, 2003||June 29, 2004||2003–2004||#95||7.5|
|4||Wednesday 9:00 P.M. (September 8, 2004 - September 29, 2004)
Friday 8:00 P.M. (January 14, 2005 - April 8, 2005)
|September 8, 2004||April 8, 2005||2004–2005||#110||4.8|
|5||Friday 8:00 P.M. (September 23, 2005 - April 14, 2006)||September 23, 2005||April 14, 2006||2005–2006||#130||3.6|
Regular cast 
- Bernie McCullough (himself) — The show's main protagonist who is loosely based upon the late comedian of the same name. Bernie and his wife took in the three kids when their drug-addled mother, his sister Stacy, was no longer able to be a proper parent. Bernie uses tough-love parenting tactics and he can be both strict and comical. He narrates the series, and between scenes he talks to the audience by addressing them as "America." Although he loves all three kids, his favorite is Bryana (whom he affectionately calls "Baby Girl" because she is the youngest), and always finds himself going head to head with teenage Vanessa, the eldest sibling, whose poor attitude always gives him a hard time.
- Wanda "Baby" McCullough (Kellita Smith) — Bernie's loving wife, a very intelligent woman who is VP for AT&T. She loves raising the kids with Bernie, but periodically her patience is tested. Whenever Bernie has a problem, she does her best to help, though her assistance can be stubbornly overbearing and unnecessary at times. She plays a minor role in the series finale.
- Bryana "Baby Girl" Thomkins (Dee Dee Davis) — Bernie and Wanda's younger niece, the youngest child and the half-sister of Jordan and Vanessa. Bryana is a friendly little girl who is sweet, innocent, and quite naive, though she is often more bratty and obnoxious as the series progresses. Bryana is her uncle's favorite (although he loves all three). Bryana is playful and always trusts her Uncle Bernie. One of her favorite TV characters was Drooby (a parody of Barney) until she found out that he was only a man in a costume (David Faustino in a guest role). Bryana is known for always attacking and successfully beating up her older brother Jordan.
- Jordan Thomkins (Jeremy Suarez) — Bernie and Wanda's nephew, the middle child. Jordan is very nerdy and peculiar. He is interested in collecting bugs and conducting odd science experiments. He is always getting beat up by his little sister, Bryana; though on very minor occasions, he has been able to scare her in retaliation and make her cry. Early on in the series, Jordan would always cry and urinate on himself. As the series progressed, he gets tougher and more masculine. He took an interest in magic and even began trying to date girls. Although he knows that there is nothing wrong with Jordan, Bernie tries to his best to make him more masculine.
- Vanessa "Nessa" Thomkins (Camille Winbush) — Bernie and Wanda's elder niece, the eldest of the three children, and the show's main antagonist. Vanessa always purposely gives Bernie trouble with her nasty attitude, but most of this attitude comes from the pressure of being the eldest and having to take the parent role with her younger siblings. As the series progresses, she gets along better with Bernie and grows up into a young woman preparing for college. In the final season, she spends most of her time trying to find the perfect college and rejecting Bernie's help with that.
Recurring cast 
- Reginald Ballard — W.B.
- Carlos Mencia — Chuy (pilot only)
- Lombardo Boyar — Chuy
- Michael Ralph — Kelly
- Rick Hoffman — Jerry Best
- Wade Williams — Father Sean Cronin - The Dean of Discipline
- Anthony Anderson — Bryan, Bryanna's father (Season 5)
- Naya Rivera — Donna (Seasons 2-5)
- Ashley Monique Clark — Teri (guest star in season 3, recurring seasons 4-5)
Unseen/Mentioned Characters 
Main crew 
- Creator: Larry Wilmore
- Executive Producers: Pete Aronson, Warren Hutcherson.
- Co-Executive Producers: Bernie Mac, Richard Appel, Teri Schaffer, Michael Benson, Marc Abrams.
- Producers: Michael Petok, Steven Greener
After five seasons and 104 episodes, Fox announced the cancellation of The Bernie Mac Show.
The series finale titled "Bernie's Angels" focused on Bernie getting an electrical shock and ends up traumatized. After he recovers, he begins to teach Jordan and Bryanna how to do certain things on their own. Also, Vanessa doesn't want Bernie to be involved in her choosing a college. Meanwhile, Jordan takes advantage of Bernie's kindness. In the end, Vanessa and Bernie make up (mainly due to her writing an essay about who inspires her most: which is him). In the final scene of the series, Bernie goes back to his normal self and takes back the iPod he bought Jordan since he was taking advantage of him. Bernie's final line is a farewell message to the viewers and stating that he is going to continue to raise and teach the kids for as long as they need it and he also wishes the viewers luck. The scene pans out with Jordan on his knees sobbing and begging for the iPod while Bernie laughs and teases him.
On various television stations the show's title is shortened to simply Bernie Mac.
Despite being in worldwide syndication, Bernie Mac's hometown Chicago exclusively airs the show on the city's independent station The U. The show has been on that station since 2005 but after Mac's death in 2008, the show remains a part of the channel in honor of Mac. However, at the beginning of fall 2009, the show was moved to The U's sister station Me-TV. In 2010, the show was removed from the lineup of both stations.
On the day of Bernie Mac's funeral, WCIU-TV aired a retrospective TV special called A Tribute to Bernie Mac, which featured clips from the show and an interview with Camille Winbush, who portrayed Vanessa. also, as of 2011 , Cable channels BET and Centric have begun airing the show.
DVD releases 
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Season 1||May 4, 2004||22||Bonus features include commentary on the pilot episode from Bernie Mac and a 60 minute A & E Tvography.|
The Season One DVD boxset was released on DVD May 4, 2004. There have been no announcements regarding further seasons possibly due to music licensing issues.
Netflix began streaming seasons 1-5 on October 1, 2011.
The Bernie Mac Show won the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize, a Writing in a Comedy Series, three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, and was honored by the Television Critics Association.
For his role in the show, Bernie Mac was honored by the Television Critics Association for Individual Achievement in a Comedy as well as the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series four years in a row: 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
- "The Bernie Mac Show" (2001)
- "FX Fall 2011 Schedule Has How I Met Your Mother; The Nanny Reunion on Happily Divorced". Sitcoms Online. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- The Bernie Mac Show at epguides.com
- The Bernie Mac Show at the Internet Movie Database
- The Bernie Mac Show at TV.com