Down to Earth (American TV series)

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Down To Earth
Down to Earth title screen.jpg
Created bySam Harris
Bruce H. Newberg
StarringCarol Mansell
Stephen Johnson
Dick Sargent
David Kaufman
Kyle Richards
Randy Josselyn
Marla Rubinoff
Lester Fletcher
Ronnie Schell
Michael Delano
Rip Taylor
Composer(s)Tom Wells
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7 (4 Years)
No. of episodes106
Executive producer(s)Arthur Annecharico
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Arthur Company
Procter & Gamble
DistributorWarner Bros. Television (1996-present)
Original networkTBS
Original release1984 –

Down to Earth is an American fantasy sitcom series that ran on Superstation TBS from 1984 to 1987. The series was originally produced by The Arthur Company, and later, by Procter & Gamble Productions and was the Superstation's first original series.[1][2]


The series revolved around Ethel MacDoogan, a free-spirited woman who lived the "Roaring 1920s" era. However, in 1925 she suffered a fatal accident, colliding with a trolley. Ethel waits in Heaven for 60 years for a chance to earn her wings, until finally she is sent to earth in the 1980s to help the Preston family.[3]

The Prestons are a typical modern-day family with modern-day situations: widowed father Richard is a realtor, though he retired a few months after and began working as a licensing agent for new inventors; older son Duane is very class-conscious; daughter Lissy is very opinionated; Jay Jay, the youngest, just wants someone who can fill their late mother's void. It is Jay Jay's prayer for an angel to come into their lives that summons Ethel, and he is the only one who knows her true identity.

Infiltrating the household as housekeeper/maid, Ethel is clueless about even the simplest conveniences of modern-day life. Jay Jay helps cover for her when it comes to adapting to the newfangled inventions of the past 60 years, and she eventually wins over the Prestons by helping them deal with their problems.

Popping in from time to time is the Prestons' ditsy next-door neighbor Candy Carlysle, who became a regular character in 1985.

In addition to her earthly employer, Ethel is under the constant eye of her heavenly boss and their successors, who watch her every move—and her every mistake. Her first overseer, Mr. Divine, kept a close eye on her. He was moved to another position in Heaven a few months after, and the very concerned but comical Lester Luster took over, followed by her ex-fiancé/con-man Jake, with the outrageous Stanley McCloud (played by Rip Taylor) taking over in the show's final years.

A few months after the show's beginning, a turning point occurred: Ethel's mission on Earth proved successful and she was ordered back to Heaven. Realizing how much the Prestons meant to her and vice versa, she begged Lester Luster to postpone her return to Heaven. Together, they created a deal that she would help him with any crises on Earth that he brought to her attention and that she would have to return to Heaven if she was unsuccessful.

Production notes[edit]

The series made several changes to its cast. Besides the ethereal bosses, it changed the earthly father as well, becoming the second series in which Dick Sargent replaced another actor in the same role.[4]

The show's central characters were jointly created, and the core format was jointly developed, by Star Search winner, singer, actor and AIDS activist Sam Harris, who collaborated with Arthur L. Annecharico to do so. Harris also wrote several episodes of the show.

In addition to having run on TBS, Down to Earth also had subsequent runs on Good Life TV in 2007.


The Ocala Star-Banner called Down to Earth "one of the better sitcoms on the air nowadays".[5]


Season 3 main cast of Down to Earth
(l–r) Kyle Richards, Dick Sargent, Carol Mansell, David Kaufman, Randy Josselyn and Marla Jeanette Rubinoff.
Actor Character
Carol Mansell Ethel MacDoogan[3]
Stephen Johnson Richard Preston, 1984
Dick Sargent Richard Preston, 1984–87
David Kaufman Duane Preston
Kyle Richards Lissy Preston[6]
Randy Josselyn Jay Jay Preston
Marla Rubinoff Candy Carlysle, 1985–87
Lester Fletcher Mr. Divine, 1984
Ronnie Schell Lester Luster, 1984–85
Michael Delano Jake Fiore, 1985–86
Rip Taylor Stanley McCloud, 1985–87
Annie Golden Starr Gardner, 1986


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Associated Press (June 4, 1985). "Author Co. makes cable comedies". The Madison Courier.
  2. ^ John Carman (September 2, 1985). "Latest comedy has 'Rocky Road' to hoe on WTBS". The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  3. ^ a b Rothenberg, Fred (March 9, 1984). "Ted Turner's first sitcom makes its debut Saturday". The Beaver County Times. Beaver, PA. Associated Press. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "Cable capers". The Ledger. Lakeland, FL. November 30, 1984. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  5. ^ "Impersonator Prefers Mondale". Ocala Star-Banner. May 26, 1984. p. 51.
  6. ^ TBS promotional campaign

External links[edit]