The Mary Tyler Moore Hour
|The Mary Tyler Moore Hour|
|Written by||David Axlerod
|Directed by||Robert Scheerer|
|Starring||Mary Tyler Moore|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||11|
|Running time||48 mins.|
|Production company(s)||MTM Enterprises|
|Original run||March 4, 1979– June 10, 1979|
Like her first series, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore's eponymous sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which ran for seven full seasons from 1970 to 1977), had been highly rated, critically acclaimed, and the recipient of many Emmy Awards. Her next effort, the variety series Mary, was unsuccessful in the ratings; CBS pulled it from its 1978 fall lineup after only three broadcasts.
In The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, Moore attempted a blending of the two formats. The Mary Tyler Moore Hour stars Moore as Mary McKinnon, the host of a fictional program, The Mary McKinnon Show. McKinnon was an established star of comedy who could also sing and dance. Also seen were her personal secretary and assistant Iris Chapman (Joyce Van Patten), her producer Harry Sinclair (Michael Lombard), her page Kenneth Christy (Michael Keaton), her maid Ruby (Dody Goodman), and her head writer Mort Zimmick (Bobby Ramsen).
In addition to these regulars, major stars appeared as themselves in the guise of being guest stars on the fictional McKinnon program. Some of these include Lucille Ball, Beatrice Arthur, Nancy Walker, Linda Lavin, Bonnie Franklin, Ken Howard, Mike Douglas, Gene Kelly, Johnny Mathis and, perhaps most notably, long-time former co-star Dick Van Dyke.
Despite having no narrative connection to the earlier Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour featured an instrumental version of the earlier sitcom's theme music.
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The show's premise was to give the audience a fictionalized view into the life of the star of a television variety show, much as The Jack Benny Show had purported to do two decades earlier on the same network. Unlike the Benny show, or Moore's sitcoms, but more like her earlier variety show the previous fall, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour would have trouble attracting a sizable audience.
The Mary Tyler Moore Hour premiered on March 4 and was cancelled after its June 10 broadcast and 11 episodes. Moore announced plans to return in a new sitcom in the fall of 1980, but instead turned to Broadway, where she starred in a revival of Whose Life Is It Anyway? (winning a special 1980 Tony Award for her performance of a role originally played by Tom Conti), and then went back to Hollywood, where she played the emotionally crippled mother in the acclaimed film Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford. Moore did not return to series television and the sitcom format until the fall of 1985, with a sitcom entitled Mary.
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows