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Hi Honey, I'm Home aired from 1991 until 1992 on ABC and Nickelodeon.
Ever wondered what really happened to those wholesome, various sitcom families of the 1950's, the ones where mom stayed in the kitchen, the kids did what they were told, and to whom nothing worse ever happened than a stuck garage door? This oddball series suggested that they were in hiding, scattered around the country in ordinary communities waiting for their chance to return to the air-all part of the " Sitcom Relocation Program."
One such family was The Nielsens of the fictional 1950's series Hi Honey I'm Home who, in 1991, were secretly living in a New Jersey suburb. Honey ( Charlotte Booker), was the unbelievable cheerful wife ( she served everyone fudge and exclaimed, " Oh Pooh" if anything was amiss), Lloyd ( Stephen Bradbury), her bland, white-collar husband , demure teenager Babs( Julie Benz), and chubby Chucky ( David Gura), the obedient kids.
Living next door were the decidedly contemporary Duffs: Sarcastic Elaine ( Susan Cella), a divorced mom, and her sons, horny teenager Mike ( Pete Benson), and punkish youngster Skunk ( Eric Kushnick). It was Mike who discovered that his favorite sitcom family ( from reruns), were living next door; he promised to keep their secret, while his puzzled mom and kid brother helped educate the out -of-touch Nielsen's to such 90's facts as credit cards, microwave ovens, and homeless persons. When things got to much for the Nielsens to bear, they sometimes snapped back into their black-and-white world right before Mike's eyes.
Every episode featured an appearance by at least one famous actor of bygone tv times, in character to meet the Nielsens. Among them were Gale Gordon ( Mr. Mooney from The Lucy Show), Barbara Billingsley ( June from Leave It To Beaver), Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph ( Alice and Trixie from The Honeymooners), Jim Nabors ( Gomer Pyle), Al Lewis ( Grandpa from The Munsters), and Ann B. Davis ( Alice from The Brady Bunch).
A more contemporary first for this series was it's unique scheduling. The program was produced by the Nickelodeon Cable Channel, aired first on ABC each week and then repeated 2 nights later on Nickelodeon's Nick At Night. It was the first such cooperative venture ever between network and cable, which are traditional rivals, but it was not likely to be the last.
Additional original episodes aired on Nick during the summer of 1992.
An Article from The New York Times
THE MEDIA BUSINESS; ABC Agrees To Broadcast Cable Show
By BILL CARTER
Published: May 30, 1991
ABC and the cable network Nick at Nite have agreed to run a new situation comedy on each network on separate nights. It is the first time that a program produced by a cable network will be carried by a broadcast network.
ABC has bought the rights to the first six episodes of the series, a comedy called "Hi, Honey, I'm Home," and will begin running them in July. ABC is expected to announce a date for the series today.
Each episode of the show will run on ABC once during the week and will be rerun on Nick at Nite later the same week.
The process, which Nick at Nite is calling an "instant rerun," is a precursor of a new cooperation between broadcast and cable networks in an effort to share program costs and expand their audience reach, Geraldine B. Laybourne, the president of Nick at Nite, said yesterday.
"This is a sign of the kind of alliances we are going to see in the 90's," Ms. Laybourne said.
The deal rose from a previous agreement between ABC and Nick at Nite's sister network, MTV, to develop a weekly series for the network. ABC did not pick up the first series pilot produced by MTV, but the cooperation between the companies led Nick at Nite to offer the comedy series to ABC.
As soon as ABC executives saw the pilot episode for "Hi, Honey, I'm Home," they wanted to put it on the broadcast network first, Ms. Laybourne said.
Executives at ABC's programming department had the day off yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
The series will have a special television angle as well. It deals with a television situation-comedy family from the 1950's whose series is put on hiatus by a network. It is a "Donna Reed"-type family, Ms. Laybourne said.
While waiting to see if they can get back on the air, the television family members are "relocated" to a suburb next to a "real" family of the 90's, led by a single mother. The two families have a culture clash, which Ms. Laybourne said subtly and humorously pointed out the conflicts faced by women torn betwen careers and traditional concepts of motherhood.
The show features a mostly new group of writers, producers and actors and will be taped at the Nick at Nite studios in Orlando, Fla. 'Vested Interest'
Ms. Laybourne said Nick at Nite, which depends heavily on old network reruns for its regular programming fare, had a "vested interest" in the broadcast networks. "I guess you could say if network TV is not so strong as it might be, we're threatened too," she said.
Nick at Nite and ABC have also agreed to cross-promote the series on the two networks. Ms. Laybourne said clips from the first episode would also run on Nick at Nite's sister cable networks -- MTV, VH-1 and Comedy Central -- just before the first episode is broadcast on ABC. The four cable networks are owned by Viacom Inc.
Nick at Nite will produce at least 13 episodes of the series. "It's a great deal for ABC," Ms. Laybourne said. "They didn't have to pay for a pilot out of their development budget." She would not disclose the program's costs.
The broadcast networks have been looking for ways to offer more original programs during the summer months, when millions of viewers abandon network television during its regular diet of reruns. But escalating program costs have become a problem for the broadcast networks, even during the regular television season. The networks have increasingly looked to special or unusual program deals to get different shows on during the summer.
An Article from The Orlando Sentinel
Cameras Will Roll On Sitcom At Orlando Nick At Night Will Tape 'Hi Honey, I'm Home' For Abc. It Will Be The Area's First Tv Production For Prime Time.
May 31, 1991|By Catherine Hinman Of The Sentinel Staff
After three years in the television business, Orlando is ready for prime time. Nick at Nite, the sister cable network to Nickelodeon, will tape a sitcom at its Orlando studios for broadcast on ABC this summer.
Hi Honey, I'm Home will be the first prime-time network series to be produced in Orlando, lending the region's young TV production industry a prestige that has eluded it since Disney-MGM Studios and Universal Studios Florida opened their sound stages in 1988. The series also will be the first produced by a cable network to appear on one of the three major networks.
Hi Honey, I'm Home centers on a 1950s sitcom family - a la The Donna Reed Show - that is ''relocated'' through time to the 1990s while it waits for its show to be picked up again by the networks.
The family, known as the Nielsens, tries to adjust to a fast-paced new world without being found out by its '90s neighbors, including a family headed by a single mother.
''It's a clash of values between the family of the '50s and the family of the '90s,'' said Nickelodeon spokeswoman Shirley Grisiatis. ''They are very different.''
Playing sitcom mom Honey Nielsen will be Charlotte Booker, who appeared in the recent Broadway revival of Born Yesterday. Stephen Bradbury, featured in Broadway's A Few Good Men, has been cast as Lloyd Nielsen, and Susan Cella, who had roles in the Broadway musicals Me and My Girl, Evita and On the Twentieth Century, will play the modern single mother Elaine Duff.
Danny Gura, 13, of Altamonte Springs, plays one of the Nielsen kids and is the only cast member from Central Florida. Residents will have a chance to play supporting roles and to be in the studio audience.
Television production at the Orlando studios previously has been for cable or syndicated programs - such as The Adventures of Superboy and Mickey Mouse Club - which have smaller audiences than prime-time network shows.
''To have one of the top three networks run this program on prime time is a real feather in Nickelodeon's cap,'' said Cathy Savino, director of the Orlando Film Office.
''It's got to do great things not only for Nickelodeon but for Universal and for the reputation of this area.''
Nick at Nite is producing the series with Ripe Productions, an independent company in New York City. Between June and November, Nick at Nite will tape 13 episodes of the sitcom before an audience at the Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida, Grisiatis said.
ABC will run six weekly episodes beginning in July, although no dates or times have been announced. In a process Nick at Nite has dubbed the ''instant rerun,'' the episodes will air later in the week on Nick at Nite.
If, however, ABC exercises its option to pick up the remaining seven episodes and air the series as a midseason replacement next winter, Nick at Nite will give the network exclusive rights.
''We liked the concept of the show,'' said ABC spokesman Jim Brochu. ''And we are always looking for new avenues to acquire programming.''
Geoffrey Darby, senior vice-president for programming for Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, said, ''I think it is a way to help Nickelodeon expose new viewers to what we do here.''
Nick at Nite debuted in 1985 to expand Nickelodeon, the cable channel for kids, to 24 hours.
An Article from The New York Times
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: July 19, 1991
As an unusual network-cable venture, a new sitcom continues television's current obsession with time-warp gimmicks. Living in suburban New Jersey, the Duffs are supposed to be a very 1990's family: Dad has run off and Mom is circulating a petition supporting a woman's right to choose. Their new neighbors, though, are the Nielsens, characters from a 1950's television series who are now part of a Sitcom Relocation Program. Mrs. Nielsen is the kind of woman who, when faced with a burned-roast crisis as her husband's boss (who turns out to be Gale Gordon) is coming to dinner, says "Oh, poo." Will the Nielsens be able to adjust to microwaves and "taking plastic"? Will the Duffs come to understand that there was something basically decent about the old days? The idea is promising. The first episode merely puts everything on hold.
A Review from Entertyainment Weekly
Hi Honey, I'm Home (1991)
Reviewed by Ken Tucker | Jul 19, 1991
This sitcom spoof is more interesting as a business phenomenon than as entertainment. Hi Honey, I'm Home is the first TV show that will run every week on both commercial and cable networks. Each Friday-night episode of Hi Honeywill be repeated on cable's Nick at Nite, Sundays at 8:30 and 11 p.m., starting July 21. The series is produced by Nickelodeon at the cable channel's Orlando, Fla., studios. The result is a cozy deal for both networks: ABC gets an independently produced, relatively inexpensive show; Nickelodeon gets what amounts to a commercial-network plug and looks like it's playing with the big boys.
The bottom line for the viewer is that you will have three opportunities a week to be stunned by the banality of this show, which speculates on what might happen if '50s sitcom characters moved in next door to a family of the '90s. In the debut we are told that the stars of a four-decade-old show called Hi Honey, I'm Home have been moved to a contemporary New Jersey suburb as part of the Sitcom Relocation Program (that gets a big laugh from the studio audience).
The jokes consist of predictable cultural misunderstandings these '50s squares don't understand what a microwave is or what such modern phrases as ''they take plastic'' mean. The show also has its share of annoying sociological messages, as when the '90s mom (Susan Cella) learns that she really shouldn't think of the '50s mom (Charlotte Booker) as an idiot just because Booker's character is a full-time housewife.
As for the quality of the acting who can say? Since everyone is either an archetype or a clich , all the actors deliver their campy lines in an identical, deadeningly stylized manner. The result is a half hour of grinning zombies. Watch Hi Honey and you might turn into a depressed zombie. D-
A Review from the Baltimore Sun
'Hi Honey, I'm Home' misuses a nice gimmick for a sitcom
July 19, 1991|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Evening Sun Staff
BOY, YOU can just imagine the story conference that created "Hi Honey, I'm Home," a novelty sitcom premiering on ABC tonight (at 9:30, Channel 13), and being shown again in a precedent-setting collaboration on the Nick at Nite cable network (at 8:30 and 11 p.m. Sunday):
"What if this '50s TV family, see, like from 'Leave It To Beaver' or 'Father Knows Best,' suddenly gets stuck in the '90s?" goes one writer.
"Yeah, yeah," goes another, "and their neighbors are a typical sitcom family today -- you know, single mother, smart-mouth sexed-up teen-ager, punk little brother."
"Great idea! We can have them say 'boobs' and 'condom' and get a lot of laughs."
Well, there is a clever idea here, but tonight's premiere does not realize it very well. And except for a nice surprise cameo appearance at close (which should not be revealed here), there are very few laughs.
Instead, we get lame tight sweater jokes, sexism jokes and even an abortion joke. (The '90s mom asks the '50s mom to sign a "pro-choice petition," and she replies innocently, "choose what?")
The theme song tells you the premise, showing monochromatic scenes of a fictional '50s sitcom family, the Nielsens (heh-heh), .. singing: "We were once a sitcom family, on your black and white TV. Now we're off the air, been pulled from there and dropped into reality."
The trouble is, '90s sitcom reality is no more real than the '50s kind. And while farcical spoofing of both eras is the obvious intent of "Hi Honey, I'm Home," the result seems more like a cynical, simplistic insult to both then and now.
It also seems suspiciously reminiscent of (but not as funny as) "The Charmings," a short-lived series a few years back in which Prince Charming and Snow White found themselves in present-day America.
In one sense, of course, this is the perfect TV vehicle, for its only real substance is TV itself. And it is no surprise that ABC's first cooperative effort on a cable series is with Nick at Nite, the prime-time service of the Nickelodeon children's channel. Nick at Nite has had astonishing success merely re-running older TV series, from "The Donna Reed Show" to "Green Acres."
This collaboration will last six weeks, with both ABC and Nick airing the same episodes. Another seven shows are in production, and a Nick at Nite spokesman says it remains to be decided which network will carry those, depending on public response. The show is not on ABC's fall schedule.
Tonight's premiere episode opens with teen Mike Duff (Pete Benson) as a couch potato viewing his favorite rerun, "Hi Honey, I'm Home." He's upset when an announcement says the show is going off the air.
But when his phone installer mother (Susan Cella) drags him and his little brother (Eric Kushnick) next door to meet new neighbors, he seems to recognize them -- especially the tight-sweatered daughter Babs (Julie Benz).
Sitcom mother Honey (Charlotte Booker), pipe-smoking, bow-tied dad Lloyd (Stephen Bradbury) and fat son Chuckie (Danny Gura) are the rest of the family. It seems whenever their show is not airing, they and all other canceled series characters have to live in the here and now.
" 'My Mother the Car' is in Cleveland . . . and one of us even got elected president," notes Honey, who also confides she sometimes wonders whether she should have married Jim Anderson (the father of "Father Knows Best").
The inside TV references and cross-cultural conflicts are wholly predictable. The '90s woman is appalled at the '50s mother's subservience, yet admires her family stability. The '50s family has trouble accepting muggers, convenience foods, "manless" career women and homeless people -- yet their simpler values allow them to invite the neighborhood wanderer into the house for dinner.
In a cute technical gimmick, the Nielsens are in black and white when home alone, but use a device called a "Turnerizer" to color themselves when in the company of others. One neat shot, for example, shows the Duff boy coming up the walk to visit. Seen through the doorway, he's in color with green trees behind, while the people inside are all in mono.
''Hi Honey, I'm Home''
* A '90s family in New Jersey has to adjust to new neighbors: a '50s sitcom family.
TIME: 9:30 tonight, ABC/Channel 13; and 8:30 and 11 p.m. Sunday on cable's Nick at Nite.
CAST: Susan Cella, Pete Benson, Erick Kushnick, Charlotte Booker, Stephen Bradbury, Julie Benz, Danny Gura.
To watch clips from Hi Honey. I'm Home go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hi+honey+i%27m+home+tv+show
For a website dedicated to Hi Honey I'm Home with a lot of addition pictures go to http://tvmegasite.net/prime/shows/hihoney/
For more on Hi Honey I'm Home go to http://poobala.com/hihoney.html
For some Hi Honey, I'm Home-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/hi-honey-im-home
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTaXrN596fM
� Date: Mon December 19, 2011 � Filesize: 68.7kb, 145.0kb � Dimensions: 1000 x 807 �
Keywords: Hi Honey, I'm Home Cast (Links Updated 7/29/18)