Something Wilder

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Something Wilder
Genre Sitcom
Created by Lee Kalcheim
Barnet Kellman
Starring Gene Wilder
Hillary Bailey Smith
Ian Bottiglieri
Carl Michael Lindner
Gregory Itzin
Jake Weber
Raegan Kotz
Cleavant Derricks
Opening theme "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me"
Composer(s) Mason Daring
Ed Alton
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 18 (3 unaired)
Executive producer(s) Barnet Kellman
Tom Anderson
Ruth Bennett
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) The Kellman Company
Warner Bros. Television
Original network NBC
Original release October 1, 1994 – June 13, 1995

Something Wilder is an American sitcom starring Gene Wilder that ran on NBC from October 1, 1994 to June 13, 1995. The series was created by Lee Kalcheim and Barnet Kellman. A total of 18 half-hour episodes were produced over one season.


A fifty-something husband, Gene Bergman (Wilder), and his wife, Annie (Hillary Bailey Smith), who is in her thirties, are learning to cope with raising 4-year-old fraternal twin sons, Sam and Gabe (Carl Michael Lindner and Ian Bottiglieri). Sensitive, emotional Gene was especially unprepared for the prospect of fatherhood this much later in his life, and couldn't fathom how the generation gap was going to play out with the kids once they grew older. Sensible Annie pulled him through all the obstacles, and in the meantime, the Bergmans were just settling in for the joy of Sam and Gabe's innocent years. Gene ran an advertising agency with his partner, crabby best friend Jack Travis (Gregory Itzin), whose offices were located adjacent to both their homes. Jack, whose kids were grown, was at first unsure about Gene's newfound habit of dropping work frequently throughout the day to play with the twins, but eventually adjusted and sometimes found himself babysitting Sam and Gabe whenever some situation (usually comedic and slapstick) caused Gene and Annie to be away. Also working for the agency was Annie's irresponsible younger brother, Richie Wainwright (Jake Weber), who doted on the kids almost as much as Gene. Others seen were Annie's niece from another of her siblings, boy crazy teen Katy Mooney (Raegan Kotz), and Caleb (Cleavant Derricks), the neighborhood handyman.

The intended wit and charm of the show was drawn from Gene Wilder's comedic intuitiveness and the frantic mimicry and mugging he put on with his two young co-stars. Wilder and on-screen wife Hillary Bailey Smith also developed a "comedic supercouple" repertoire, as they often found themselves in situations ribbed with slapstick every week, slightly reminiscent of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball; at the same time, they were found to depict the smart, modern career couple of the 1990s. However, Something Wilder failed to catch on with viewers, which led to cancellation by March 1995.



No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Hell No, They Won't Go"TBATeleplay by: Lee Kalcheim
Story by: Lee Kalcheim & Barnet Kellman
October 1, 1994 (1994-10-01)
2"All in the Game"Barnet KellmanGail HonigbergOctober 8, 1994 (1994-10-08)
3"No Kids Allowed"Barnet KellmanLee KalcheimOctober 15, 1994 (1994-10-15)
4"Buster Beefy"Barnet KellmanSeth KurlandOctober 22, 1994 (1994-10-22)
5"Love, Native American Style"TBATBADecember 6, 1994 (1994-12-06)
6"Gotta Dance"TBATBADecember 13, 1994 (1994-12-13)
7"Holy Water"Barnet KellmanJames Berg & Stan ZimmermanDecember 20, 1994 (1994-12-20)
8"The Ex Files"TBATBAJanuary 3, 1995 (1995-01-03)
9"For the Boys"Barnet KellmanMark DropJanuary 10, 1995 (1995-01-10)
10"Family Tie"TBATBAJanuary 17, 1995 (1995-01-17)
11"Sleepless in Stockbridge"TBATBAJanuary 31, 1995 (1995-01-31)
12"Love at First Flight"Barnet KellmanJennifer Glickman & Seth KurlandFebruary 14, 1995 (1995-02-14)
13"Bergman of Alcatraz"TBATBAMarch 7, 1995 (1995-03-07)
14"Hanging with Mr. Cooper"TBATBAMarch 14, 1995 (1995-03-14)
15"Dr. Roof"TBATBAJune 13, 1995 (1995-06-13)
16"Dumping's Rotten in the State of Massachusetts"TBATBAUNAIRED
17"Mothers and Other Strangers"TBATBAUNAIRED

Production and scheduling[edit]

The series premiere of Something Wilder was delayed by a few weeks in the fall of 1994, as a result of casting issues. Jennifer Grey had originally won the role of Annie Bergman, and shot the first pilot; test audiences, however, disapproved of the age difference between her and Wilder. Grey was let go, but the search for her replacement proved more challenging than expected. Almost down to the wire, NBC was then able to snag acclaimed daytime soap actress and current One Life to Live star Hillary Bailey Smith in for the role. Smith continued in her role as D.A. Nora Gannon on One Life to Live sporadically during the run of this series (despite the fact that OLTL was on a competing network, ABC), and resumed it full-time when Something Wilder was canceled.

After the series finally premiered on October 1, 1994, on Saturdays at 8/7c, lackluster ratings prompted NBC to pull the show after only four episodes had aired. It was relaunched in December in a new Tuesday 8:30/7:30c slot. The series continued steadily for another three months, but it did not do much better in the ratings. NBC dropped the show from its lineup again in March 1995, and officially canceled it not long after. One more original episode turned up in the same Tuesday time slot on June 13, 1995, with three unaired episodes remaining.

Notable guest stars[edit]

Alice Cooper guest starred in the 14th episode ("Hangin' With Mr. Cooper", aired March 14, 1995) when Gene unexpectedly finds himself cast in a television appearance promoting Cooper's new hit single. Cooper moving in as his neighbor was likely an attempt to heighten attention to the struggling series.

Marla Maples guest starred on the episode "Love Native American Style" that aired December 6, 1994. In this episode, Gene takes a group of children on an Indian troop camping trip. Maples plays Donna Lorenzo, a divorced mother who goes along. Together, they demonstrate wrestling techniques and share a sleeping bag.


External links[edit]