Amen (TV series)

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Amen (TV series - title card).jpg
Created byEd. Weinberger
StarringSherman Hemsley
Clifton Davis
Anna Maria Horsford
Roz Ryan
Jester Hairston
Barbara Montgomery (1986–90)
Rosetta LeNoire (1987–89)
Elsa Raven (1988–90)
Tony T. Johnson (1988–91)
Montrose Hagins (1989–91)
Bumper Robinson (1990–91)
Theme music composerAndraé Crouch
Opening theme"Shine on Me" by Vanessa Bell Armstrong
Composer(s)Bruce Miller
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes110 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)James R. Stein
Bob Illes
David Lloyd
Arthur Julian
Ed. Weinberger
Producer(s)Jim Geoghan
Marilynn Loncar
Peter Noah
Bob Peete
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production company(s)Carson Productions
Stein & Illes Productions
(season 5)
DistributorMCA TV
Original networkNBC
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 27, 1986 (1986-09-27) –
May 11, 1991 (1991-05-11)

Amen is an American sitcom television series produced by Carson Productions that aired on NBC from September 27, 1986, to May 11, 1991. Set in Sherman Hemsley's real-life hometown of Philadelphia, Amen stars Hemsley as the deacon of a church and was part of a wave of successful sitcoms on NBC in the 1980s and early 1990s which featured predominantly black casts – others included The Cosby Show, A Different World, Family Matters , The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and 227.[1]


The series revolves around Ernest Frye, a widower deacon of the First Community Church of Philadelphia, who also works as a lawyer. He is often dishonest and frequently gets into trouble with his many harebrained schemes. Frye has a single daughter named Thelma. Reuben Gregory is the new, young pastor of the church, and also the object of Thelma's affection. The two get married during season four, despite the fact that Gregory and Frye often butt heads.[2] In the series finale, Thelma gives birth to the couple's first child.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Sherman Hemsley as Ernest Frye, a widowed deacon of the First Community Church in Philadelphia
  • Clifton Davis as Reuben Gregory, the new pastor of the Community Church and Thelma's love interest
  • Anna Maria Horsford as Thelma Frye Gregory, the Deacon's daughter and Reuben's eventual wife
  • Roz Ryan as Amelia Hetebrink, the church secretary, Casietta's sister (both were chatterers and known as "the Hetebrink sisters")
  • Jester Hairston as Rolly Forbes, the high-spirited and lively senior citizen, who often acts as the voice of reason
  • Barbara Montgomery as Casietta Hetebrink (1986–90), the church trustee, Amelia's sister
  • Elsa Raven as Inga (1988–90), the Deacon's Swedish housekeeper
  • Rosetta LeNoire as Leola Henderson Forbes (1987–89), Rolly's love interest and eventual wife
  • Montrose Hagins as Leola Henderson Forbes (1989–91), Rolly's wife
  • Bumper Robinson as Clarence (1990–91), a young street kid and protégé of Deacon Frye's


The show often addresses issues of family and community in a humorous manner. Storylines include guest characters dealing with alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, suicide prevention, sexism, jealousy and other issues. These issues are dealt with in a non-preachy manner. Frye's legal career is the subject of many jokes and storylines. A few episodes deal with Frye defending the church or other main characters in legal battles.

Exterior shot location[edit]

During the 1980s, the stone Gothic walls of Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia appeared on prime time television as the fictional "First Community Church". Consequently, the Church became known to the nation as the "Amen Church".[4]



Amen was sold into syndication shortly after finishing its run on NBC and Universal Pictures' MCA Television unit was awarded the syndication rights; it went on to have a prolonged run in off-network syndication that lasted into the 21st century. Syndication rights are now in the hands of Comcast through its NBCUniversal Television Distribution division.

The series has aired on BET, TVOne, BET Her, TBS, Gospel Music Channel and local stations over the years.

Reruns currently air on Starz Encore Black. As of January 2, 2019, the show began airing weekdays on GetTV.


  1. ^ "A Look At New TV Season". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 41 (12): 145. October 1986. ISSN 0012-9011.
  2. ^ Collier, Aldore (February 5, 1990). "Clifton Davis and Anna Marie Horsford Tie Knot On TV's 'Amen'". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 77 (17): 60–61. ISSN 0021-5996.
  3. ^ ""Deliverance" Episode Ends Fifth Season of "Amen"". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 80 (4): 60. May 13, 1991. ISSN 0021-5996.
  4. ^ "Church History". Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  5. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  6. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  7. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.

External links[edit]