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Phyllis (TV Show)
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TV Series
    (September 8, 1975-March 12, 1977)
    Aired on CBS
    Spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    Set in San Francisco
    Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom
    Henry Jones as Judge Dexter
    Jane Rose as Audrey Dexter
    Lisa Gerritsen as Bess Lindstrom
    Judith Lowry as Mother Dexter
    Premise: Phyllis and her daughter Bess move from Minneapolis to San Francisco after the death of her husband
    It was never as successful as its sister Mary Tyler Moore spin-offs: Rhoda and Lou Grant.
    It was tasked with revolving an entire series around arguably the least likable character used mainly as a comic foil on its parent show (sort of the same problem as Joey just in reverse).
    The ailing health and deaths of several cast members necessitated a complete revamp of its original premise.
    Judith Lowry and Burt Mustin both died within a month of being married in a December 1976 episode (but episodes featuring Lowry continued to air through early February 1977, with Mustin being mentioned and not seen).
    When ratings slipped in the second season, the network attempted damage control by inserting Rhoda as its 8PM lead-in.
    When Rhoda's ratings remained stellar but its own continued to decline, executives concluded the common denominator was Phyllis and finally pulled the plug on it.
    Performers were briefly seen in blackface during the opening theme (which parodied Broadway shows).
    In its first season, it ranked sixth in the Top Ten of the Nielsen Ratings, higher than Rhoda or the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
    Cloris Leachman won a Golden Globe and an Emmy during her time on the show.
    Phyllis and Mother Dexter had great chemistry as a comedic daughter-mother.
    Barbara Colby, who played photo studio owner Julie Erskine, was murdered three episodes into the series run (she was replaced by Liz Torres for the rest of the season).
    Lisa Gerritsen reprised her role as Phyllis' liberal daughter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and her role expanded as the series went forward (Bess got married and pregnant in the second season).
    Judith Lowry originally was only a guest star as Jonathan's mother-in-law, but was so well-received by viewers that she was a regular by the end of the first season.
    Its cancellation freed Cloris Leachman up to do - well - just about everything (Muppet Show, History of the World, Facts of Life, yada yada).
    Mary Richards appeared on the fifth episode, 'The First Day,' and Phyllis guested on the last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, shortly after Phyllis' getting canceled - thereby tying a pretty bow on the whole thing!

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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