Charles in Charge

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Charles in Charge
Charles in Charge.jpg
Title screen for Charles in Charge
Created by Michael Jacobs
Barbara Weisberg
Starring Scott Baio
Willie Aames
Julie Cobb (season 1)
James Widdoes (season 1)
April Lerman (season 1)
Jonathan Ward (season 1)
Michael Pearlman (season 1)
Jennifer Runyon (season 1)
Sandra Kerns (seasons 2-5)
Nicole Eggert (seasons 2-5)
Josie Davis (seasons 2-5)
Alexander Polinsky
(seasons 2-5)
Ellen Travolta (seasons 2-5)
James T. Callahan
(seasons 2-5)
Justin Whalin
(season 4)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 126 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Al Burton
Co-executive producers:
Jane Startz
Michael Jacobs (seasons 2-4)
Producer(s) Michael Jacobs
(season 1)
Roseanne Leto (pilot episode)
Mitchell Bank
Todd E. Kessler (seasons 2-4)
Running time 24:30 (CBS);
22:30 (first-run syndication)
Production company(s) Scholastic Productions
Al Burton Productions
Distributor Universal Television
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004-Present)
The Program Exchange (1998-2008)
Original channel CBS (1984–1985)
First-run syndication (1987–1990)
Original release October 3, 1984 (1984-10-03) – November 10, 1990 (1990-11-10)

Charles in Charge is an American sitcom starring Scott Baio as Charles, a 19-year-old student at the fictional Copeland College in New Brunswick, New Jersey,[1] who worked as a live-in babysitter in exchange for room and board.[2] Baio directed many episodes of the show, and was credited with his full name, Scott Vincent Baio.

It was first broadcast on CBS from October 3, 1984 to April 3, 1985, when it was cancelled due to a struggle in the Nielsen ratings. It then had a more successful first-run syndication run from January 3, 1987 to November 10, 1990, as 126 original episodes were aired in total.


Charles first worked for the Pembroke family: wife Jill, husband Stan, and their three children: Lila, Douglas, and Jason.

When the show ended its run on CBS, and entered first-run syndication in 1987, the story explained that the Pembrokes sub-leased their house and moved to Seattle, and the Powells moved in instead, thereby allowing Charles to live downstairs yet again. This time, the family consisted of grandfather Walter, mother Ellen (whose husband was in the Navy and consequently could only visit his family sporadically), and her three children: Jamie, Sarah, and Adam.


Actor/Actress(s) Role
Scott Baio Charles
Willie Aames Buddence "Buddy" Lembeck
Jennifer Runyon Gwendolyn Pierce
James Widdoes Stan Pembroke
Julie Cobb Jill Pembroke
April Lerman Lila Pembroke
Jonathan Ward Douglas Pembroke
Michael Pearlman Jason Pembroke
James T. Callahan Walter Powell
Sandra Kerns Ellen Powell
Nicole Eggert Jamie Powell
Josie Davis Sarah Powell
Alexander Polinsky Adam Powell
Ellen Travolta Lillian

Michael Pearlman and Jennifer Runyon are the only other actors, besides Baio and Aames, to reprise their roles on the show. Pearlman appeared in the second season premiere, "Amityville". (Lisa Donovan played Jill Pembroke in that episode.) Runyon appeared in "Twice Upon a Time (Part 1)" and "Twice Upon a Time (Part 2)".

In the final two seasons, Sandra Kerns only made three more appearances (once in Season 4 and twice in Season 5).

Charles' mother, Lillian, was played by Ellen Travolta, John Travolta's sister. She also played her sisters (Charles's aunts), Sally and Vanessa. She had previously played the mother of Chachi Arcola, Scott Baio's character on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. Chachi's real name, incidentally, was also Charles.

Nicole Eggert went on to star in Baywatch (1992–1994). Josie Davis also made one appearance in a 1998 Baywatch episode. Both Charles in Charge and Baywatch were TV shows that began on network TV, before moving to first-run syndication.

Baio and Aames are the only two cast members that appear every single episode.

Guest cast[edit]

  • Ben Stein guest starred as "Stanley Willard", a malevolent loan officer, guidance counselor, college professor and mental patient throughout the series.

Season 1[edit]

  • During the first season, Jerry Levine had a recurring role as Elliott Pembroke, Stan's nephew.
  • Meg Ryan guest starred as "Meagan Parker" in two episodes of the show's first season: "War" on October 24, 1984[3] and "Charles 'R' Us" on February 13, 1985.[4]
  • Rue McClanahan (from Maude & The Golden Girls) guest starred as "Irene Pembroke," the children's paternal grandmother, in "Home for the Holidays," aired on December 19, 1984, and in "Pressure from Grandma," aired on January 30, 1985.
  • Matthew Perry portrayed Lila Pembroke's mistaken date, "Ed Stanley," in the episode "The Wrong Guy".
  • Christina Applegate portrayed Lila's friend Stacy in the episodes "Slumber Party" and "Snowed In."
  • Samantha Smith portrayed Lila's friend Kim in the episode "Slumber Party".[5][6]
  • The episode "Snowed In" on February 6, 1985, had a minor role for Kathy Ireland.

Season 3[edit]

Season 4[edit]

  • For a few episodes of this season, Justin Whalin played Lillian's nephew Anthony.
  • Erika Eleniak, who played Charles' girlfriend on three episodes, later went on to star in Baywatch (1989–1992), to later be replaced by Nicole Eggert herself.[7][8]
  • Donny Most, who played Ralph Malph on Baio's other show Happy Days, made a cameo appearance in "It's a Blunderfull Life".
  • Sally Struthers who played Gloria Stivic on All in the Family guest starred as Jamie's teacher in episode "Sill at Large".

Season 5[edit]

  • Samantha Fox appeared in one episode playing a famous singer named Samantha Steele on "Paper Covers Rock".
  • Paul Walker plays an illiterate friend of Sarah Powell on "Dead Puck Society".
  • Ami Foster plays a snobbish friend of Jamie's on "Out with the In Crowd".
  • Tiffani-Amber Thiessen plays Charles' girlfriend Jennifer on "There's a Girl in My Ficus".

Theme song[edit]

The theme song was composed by David Kurtz, Michael Jacobs, and Al Burton, and performed by Shandi Sinnamon. The theme music was mellower in the first season, and was remixed for the syndication run.

Home media[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released a 3-disc set of the first season of Charles in Charge on DVD in North America on February 14, 2006. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released.

In September 2007, it was announced that Arts Alliance America (which subsequently changed its name to Virgil Films & Entertainment during the summer of 2007) had acquired the rights to the series.[9] They subsequently released seasons 2-5 on DVD. Seasons 4 and 5 were Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through[10][11]

As of 2011, the Arts Alliance releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 22 February 14, 2006
The Complete Second Season 26 November 20, 2007
The Complete Third Season 26 May 20, 2008
The Complete Fourth Season 26 March 24, 2009
The Complete Fifth and Final Season 26 July 28, 2009


All five seasons of the series were made available for streaming through Amazon Instant Video.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Charles in Charge - The Complete First Season DVD Review". Sitcoms Online. Retrieved March 25, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Charles in Charge (TV Series) Overview". Allmovie. Retrieved March 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ Charles in Charge "War." IMDb.Retrieved 30 June 2007
  4. ^ Charles in Charge "Charles 'R' Us." IMDb. Retrieved 30 June 2007
  5. ^ YouTube: Samantha Smith in Charles in Charge Retrieved January 16, 2013
  6. ^ Charles in Charge: The Complete First Season (1984) DVD, Released February 14, 2006
  7. ^ accessed 6/23/2009
  8. ^ accessed 6/23/2009
  9. ^
  10. ^ Where Does the 4th Season of the Scott Baio Series Currently Stand? January 28, 2009.
  11. ^ Charles in Charge - The 5th and Final Season is Available on DVD in July! June 5, 2009
  12. ^ Amazon Instant Video: Charles in Charge Retrieved January 23, 2013

External links[edit]