The Montefuscos

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The Montefuscos
Genre Comedy
Created by Bill Persky
Sam Denoff
Directed by Don Richardson
Bill Brinckerhoff
Starring Joseph Sirola
Naomi Stevens
Ron Carey
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Production
Executive producer(s) Bill Persky
Sam Denoff
Producer(s) Don Van Atta
Bill Idelson
Production company(s) Concept II Productions
MGM Television
Release
Original network NBC
Original release September 4 (1975-09-04) – October 23, 1975 (1975-10-23)

The Montefuscos is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on Thursday nights at 8:00–8:30 pm (ET) from September 4 to October 23, 1975 on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Created by executive producers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, the comedy centered on three generations of an Italian-American family that lived in New Canaan, Connecticut and their weekly gatherings for Sunday dinner.[1] It led off a Thursday primetime schedule that also featured new programs Fay, Ellery Queen and Medical Story.

Cast[edit]

From left: Back-son Nunzio (Sal Viscuso), son Joseph (John Aprea), daughter Angie (Linda Dano), son in law Jim (Bill Cort). Middle-Daughter in Law Teresa (Phoebe Dorin), mother Rose (Naomi Stevens), father Tony (Joseph Sirola), son Frank (Ron Carey). Front-the grandchildren played by: Dominique Pinassi, Jeffrey Palladini, Damon Raskin and Robby Paris.

Reception[edit]

The series generally received unfavorable reviews from television critics, some of whom called it "The Monte-Fiascos."[2] John J. O'Connor of The New York Times pointed out the primary target of the criticism when he stated, "We are obviously, snugly ensconced in the world of stereotype." He described the members of the fictional family as tending "to shout frequently, throw their arms about one another, slap one another's back."[3]

Gary Deeb of the Chicago Tribune was much less tactful in his analysis, saying that it was "a program built around an alleged Italian family in which each member talked with his hands, drank gallons of red wine, and said 'AY!' approximately every 15 seconds."[2] He added, "If you grew up in a real Italian family, this shameful piece of burlesque will have you writhing in disbelief."[4]

Cancellation[edit]

The Montefuscos was slated to air opposite the first half-hour of The Waltons on CBS and Barney Miller on ABC. It debuted along with Fay and Medical Story on September 4, 1975, just prior to premiere week.[3] Three weeks later on September 25, NBC announced that The Montefuscos and Fay would be dropped from its primetime schedule after October 23 because of poor showings in the Nielsen ratings. Both shows were the first ones cancelled during the 1975–76 television season.[5]

ABC Television president Fred Pierce spoke out against NBC's swift cancellations, pointing out that the ratings for Barney Miller in its first season were no better than those of the The Montefuscos under the similar circumstance of going opposite The Waltons in the same time slot. He explained, "Unless a show is absolutely hopeless, a network ought at least try it in another time period before giving up on it, if only out of respect for the people in Hollywood who made large investments of money and time in the programs."[6]

Episodes[edit]

Ep. # Title Original air date Synopsis
1–1 "Behind Papa's Back" September 4, 1975 Tony's reading of his will after dinner has the other family members worried about his health.
1–2 "My Son, the Actor" September 11, 1975 The family anticipates Nunzio's professional acting debut on a live, local television production.
1–3 "Nunzie's Girl" September 18, 1975 Nunzio's girlfriend (Candice Azzara) is revealed to have once secretly dated Frank.
1–4 "The Last of the Red Hot Dinners" September 25, 1975 Tony is furious when his son-in-law Jim is late for dinner because he attended a football game.
1–5 "Do You Take This Montefusco" October 2, 1975 Tony & Rose's 40th wedding anniversary celebration is marred by an angry outburst during Mass.
1–6 "Too Many Cooks" October 9, 1975 With Rose ill from an infected wisdom tooth, the rest of the family attempts to prepare dinner.
1–7 "Here Comes the Priest" § October 16, 1975 The family anxiously awaits the Bishop's arrival, hoping Joey is appointed pastor of the local parish.
1–8 "Filomena's Visit" October 23, 1975 Filomena (Kaye Ballard), Tony's sister and Rose's bitter rival, interrupts Sunday dinner.

§: The episode was originally scheduled to air that night, but was preempted by the network's telecast of Game 5 of the 1975 World Series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Montefuscos – The Classic TV Archive.
  2. ^ a b Deeb, Gary. "'Grady' is latest in long line of losers," Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, December 3, 1975.
  3. ^ a b O'Connor, John J. "TV: New on NBC, 2 Comedies and 'Medical Story,'" The New York Times, Thursday, September 4, 1975.
  4. ^ Deeb, Gary. "More than ever before," Chicago Tribune, Sunday, September 7, 1975.
  5. ^ "NBC Dropping 'Fay' And 'Montefuscos,'" The New York Times, Friday, September 26, 1975.
  6. ^ Brown, Les. "ABC Chief Scores Cuts In TV Series," The New York Times, Monday, October 6, 1975.

External links[edit]