Mary (1985 TV series)

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Mary (1985 TV series).jpg
Created byDavid Isaacs
Ken Levine
Written byDavid Isaacs
Dennis Koenig
Ken Levine
Emily Marshall
Merrill Markoe
Tom Straw
Douglas Wyman
Directed byPeter Baldwin
Jeff Chambers
Rod Daniel
Danny DeVito
Ellen Falcon
Dolores Ferraro
Nick Havinga
Will Mackenzie
StarringMary Tyler Moore
James Farentino
John Astin
David Byrd
Katey Sagal
James Tolkan
Carlene Watkins
Derek McGrath
Harold Sylvester
Theme music composerDan Foliart
Howard Pearl
Composer(s)Dan Foliart
Howard Pearl
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producer(s)David Isaacs
Ken Levine
Producer(s)David Isaacs
Ken Levine
Editor(s)Andrew Chulack
Camera setupMulti-camera setup
Running time22 min
Production company(s)MTM Enterprises
Distributor20th Television
Original networkCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseDecember 11, 1985 (1985-12-11) –
April 8, 1986 (1986-04-08)

Mary is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from December 11, 1985, to April 8, 1986. The series stars Mary Tyler Moore in her return to series television after an absence of over six years, during which time she appeared on Broadway in Whose Life Is It Anyway? and in the dramatic film Ordinary People. After The Mary Tyler Moore Show, her subsequent ventures into series television on the variety shows Mary (1978) and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979) had been short-running ratings disasters, and Moore decided to return to the sitcom format which had brought her the greatest television success; the sitcom nonetheless met the same fate as the variety shows.


In Mary, Moore plays Mary Brenner, a 40-ish divorcée working at a second rate tabloid, the Chicago Eagle. She was formerly a high-profile writer at a fashion magazine named Women's Digest, which recently went out of business, and she is now reduced to writing a consumer-assistance column, "Helpline", helping to expose substandard business practices and products and the often uncaring reaction of government to these problems. Her boss, Managing Editor Frank DeMarco (James Farentino), concentrates on sensationalism as he is convinced that that is what really sells papers. He is also quite a ladies' man, and is attracted to Mary, as she is to him, but she finds dealing with that situation to be quite awkward.

Also working at the Eagle are the cynical, chain-smoking columnist Jo Tucker (Katey Sagal), the condescending theater critic Ed LaSalle (John Astin), and Tully (David Byrd), a copy editor who can scarcely function because he is going blind but knows he isn't going away; his job has strong protection from the union. Neighbors include Susan Wilcox (Carlene Watkins), Mary's good friend, whose fiancé Lester Mintz (James Tolkan) seems to be somehow "connected".

Change of name[edit]

The newspaper was originally called Chicago Post. Chicago alderman Richard Mell, who owned a newspaper by that name, asked that the name be changed because "The Chicago Post is not a sleazy newspaper." The producers changed the name before airing.[1]


Throughout its run, Mary was paired with the sitcom Foley Square starring Margaret Colin, which also premiered on December 11, 1985, and aired at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays immediately after Mary at 8:00 p.m. Neither show ever really found much of an audience, and after Mary's tenth episode aired on February 19, 1986, Mary went into hiatus, as did Foley Square after its eleventh episode was broadcast on February 26, 1986. Still paired, the two shows moved to Tuesdays and a later time slot in the hope of boosting their ratings. Broadcasts of both shows at the new day and time resumed on March 25, 1986, with Mary at 9:00 p.m. and Foley Square at 9:30 p.m. On Mary, Susan and Lester were written out and Mary's personal life was generally downplayed in favor of her business one. There were some favorable reviews, although some critics pronounced it as more or less a clone of her previous sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. With the two shows still suffering from poor ratings in their new time slots, CBS broadcast only three more episodes of each before cancelling both of them after the thirteenth episode of Mary and fourteenth episode of Foley Square aired on April 8, 1986.[2][3][4]



No.TitleOriginal air date
1"From Pillar to Post"December 11, 1985 (1985-12-11)
Mary is determined to prove she's tough enough to handle her new job as a consumer help-line columnist for the Chicago Eagle.
2"Make My Day"December 18, 1985 (1985-12-18)
Mary is chided by Jo for being too soft on a shady businessman, so Jo harangues the man by pretending to be Mary.
3"Chicago Hi-Lo"December 25, 1985 (1985-12-25)
Mary accepts Jo's invitation to play in the weekly office poker game, hoping to gain acceptance as one of the guys.
4"Everyone's a Critic"January 1, 1986 (1986-01-01)
Mary's vague comments about a play she was supposed to attend — but didn't — appear in Ed LaSalle's theater column review.
5"The Death Threat"January 8, 1986 (1986-01-08)
When the Chicago Eagle is hit with death threats, Mary is shocked that Frank just laughs them off.
6"Forest for the Trees"January 15, 1986 (1986-01-15)
Mary is depressed because her birthday is the same day as her wedding anniversary, but then she receives a gift from someone unexpected.
7"Same Old Song"January 22, 1986 (1986-01-22)
Jo is visited by her on-again/off-again boyfriend (Richard Gilliland) who wants Mary to help him get his completed novel published.
8"Beans"January 29, 1986 (1986-01-29)
Mary threatens to go over Frank's head when she's convinced he made a bad editorial decision.
9"Table for Two"February 12, 1986 (1986-02-12)
When Mary's dinner date calls to cancel after she's left work, Frank engineers a spot at her table.
10"Mr. Lucky"February 19, 1986 (1986-02-19)
Although he thinks he's on a lucky streak, Frank invites Mary to go to Monte Carlo and she declines his offer.
11"And the Winner Is"March 25, 1986 (1986-03-25)
Mary is surprised to win a fashion writer's award for an article she wrote at her former job.
12"Little Jo"April 1, 1986 (1986-04-01)
Mary organizes a dinner in her apartment for Jo and her visiting critical parents (Doris Belack and Dennis Patrick).
13"Steppin' Out with Mary Brenner"April 8, 1986 (1986-04-08)
Mary is placed in an awkward position when she is assigned by Frank to review a play written, directed and produced by Ed LaSalle.


  1. ^ Galvan, Manuel (December 4, 1985). "Real Chicago Post Has News for 'Mary'". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing.
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 861–862. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  3. ^ McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 293.
  4. ^ Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-345-39736-3, p. 364.

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