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Episode 149

The Seminal Sit-Com Neighbor & NBC TV's Golden Age

Episode 149
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The Seminal Sit-Com Neighbor & NBC TV's Golden Age

In the late 1980's and early '90s, the TV sitcom landscape was dominated by an unstoppable force known as Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions. It’s the creative juggernaut that brought us Soap and Benson in the late 70s, evolving into the force field behind The Golden Girls. A series so iconic, it launched the spin-offs, Nurses, The Golden Palace and Empty Nest, co-starring our guest, David Leisure.

This Saturday night lineup featured casts of characters who occupied the same imagined universe and often popped into each other’s shows. David was Empty Nest’s wacky neighbor and he also appeared as Charley Dietz on The Golden Girls, Nurses and another Witt/Thomas/Harris creation, Blossom.

Empty Nest, starred Richard Mulligan as Dr. Harry Weston, a widowed pediatrician, much sought after by all the Miami single ladies while riding the emotional waves of his grownup daughters who have refilled his Empty Nest.

David gives us an exclusive peek behind the scenes of this memorable time in broadcast television history. Was Bea Arthur really the only Earth human who hated Betty White? What did Bea Arthur hate even more than Betty White? How did David’s show attempt to fill the space left behind in their nest by Kristy McNichol? How did the cast and crew react to her emotional return?

David shares his origin story and how he landed two key roles. 1) “First Krishna” in Airplane. (He was willing to shave his head.) And 2) The Joe Isuzu commercials. (He’s an obsequious liar.)

We also learn why St. Jude’s hospital is so important to David, how he overcame childhood obesity and the truth about his secret, backstage divorce group therapy sessions with Loni Anderson and Richard Mulligan.

All that plus IMDB Roulette and Empty Nest Trivia!

And Fritz shares his own personal run-in with Golden Girls Producer Susan Harris. (She’s probably still pissed.)

Plus, in recommendations, we’ve got two great books: Blowback - A Warning To Save Democracy From The Next Trump by Miles Taylor and Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

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