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Suzanne Pleshette is Maggie Briggs aired from March until April 1984 on CBS.

After 15 years as a hard-news reporter, Maggie Briggs ( Suzanne Pleshette)was making the difficult adjustment to being a feature writer for the Modern Living Section of the New York Examiner. She really hadn't wanted to make the move but, out of loyalty to her friend and mentor, Walter Holden ( Kenneth McMillan), who had also been transferred, she felt obligated to give it a chance. Working on human-interest stories was quite a change from her former criminal and political bylines. With her in her new area where Sherman ( Stephen Lee), the neurotic food critic; Donny ( Roger Bowen) the religion editor; and fellow feature writers Melanie and Diana ( Alison LaPlaca, Michelle Nicastro). Her new boss, editor of the Modern Living Section , was young, straight-arrow company man Geoff Bennett ( John Getz). Maggie's best friend was sexy but flaky clothing model Connie Piscipoli ( Shera Danese)

A UPI Article

Scott's World: Pleshette casts a series
By VERNON SCOTT , UPI Hollywood Reporter | Feb. 28, 1984

HOLLYWOOD -- Smokey voiced Suzanne Pleshette returns to series TV next month with a hand-picked cast. She picked it herself.

As the star and co-creator of 'Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs,' Suzanne becomes one of the first actresses to run her own show.

Even before the idea of a sitcom based on a newspaperwoman was brought to her, Pleshette wanted Shera Danese (Peter Falk's wife) and Ken McMillan, the rotund character actor, for a project somewhere down the line.

Her company is co-producing the series in conjunction with Lorimar and CBS, giving the actress considerable clout. She and writer-producer Charles Hauck were the driving forces that brought the show to the network.

Suzanne, a strong-willed, raucus individualist off-screen, knows the key to any sitcom success is the ensemble acting of the regular cast. Without an agreeable, well-emulsified cast, any series is doomed.

'Barney Miller,' 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'All In The Family' were classic examples of ensemble acting at its best.

So was 'The Bob Newhart Show' in which Suzanne played Newhart's wife for six years. In addition to her acerbic role as Emily Hartley, Suzanne became a den mother for the rest of the cast and contributed to the scripts.

When she and Hauck created her new show, she told Shera and McMillan they were co-stars before they'd even seen a script. Thereafter she took charge of determining the rest of the cast.

'I read personally with every other person for the remaining key parts, and there were hundreds of them,' Suzanne said during a lunch break at MGM.

'The first consideration, of course, was talent, the ability to make the material come to life. They had to know where the jokes were and how to make the comedy work.

'Charles (Hauck) is a brilliant writer. He wrote special scenes just for the readings, focussed on the characters we were casting.'

After endless days of scrutinizing actors, Suzanne chose John Getz and Stephen Lee.

'I've always been an earth mother,' she said. 'In my TV movies I was called in for consultation on scripts and I did a lot of the creative production work, which I wasn't paid for. Now I'm getting paid for it.

'This cast is extraordinary. In the first show we look as if we'd been working together for two years. Even on the Newhart show the characters didn't meld until the ninth show.

'We're doing six shows and I'm so proud of the series I can hardly catch my breath.'

Suzanne, evidently, spent too much time catching her breath in the six-year interval since 'Newhart' left the air. During that span she starred in a couple of movies, a Broadway show and two TV movies a year.

Those activities weren't sufficient to keep the adrenalin flowing for the energetic actress. She had resolutely turned down other sitcoms she considered inferior.

'I wanted to get back to a series because I have no kids and all my girlfriends work,' she said. 'There was no one to have lunch with. I have no home to run because I live in an apartment. I had too much time on my hands.

'Two TV movies amounted to eight weeks of work a year. That simply wasn't enough. Anyway, there's a lot I want to say and I want to make people laugh. Also I like going to work every day.

'The character of Maggie is just right. She's abrasive as hell but she doesn't think of herself that way. She thinks she's adorable.'

'Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs,' which makes its debut March 4 (following '60 Minutes') will be Suzanne's acting swan song if it lasts five years or longer.

'If that happens I plan to lead a completely different kind of life. I don't know what I'll do next but it won't be acting. I thought I wanted to be a producer but now I've decided against that.

'I've been in show business since I was 10 years old and loved almost all of it. But enough already. I would like not to be responsible to anyone but me and Tom (husband Tom Gallagher).

'No matter what, I want these six shows, and maybe one scene from 'Flesh and Blood' to go in a time capsule as my best work.'

A Review from The New York Times


Published: March 2, 1984

AFTER six years of starring as the beautiful wife on ''The Bob Newhart Show,'' and after a string of made-for- television movies (in one she played a lusty madam giving up her prostitutes for salvation with a group of adorable nuns), Suzanne Pleshette is finally being given a situation comedy of her own. ''Maggie Briggs'' or, as the official billing would have it, ''Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs,'' makes its debut on Channel 2 on Sunday at 8 P.M.

Maggie is a reporter for a newspaper called The New York Examiner. On the occasion of her 15th anniversary with the company, she gets an offer to join the paper's new Modern Living section, which will attempt to ''turn around'' corporate financial troubles. Maggie, proud of her hard- news abilities, is aghast at the thought of having to do soft ''nuns and puppies'' stories.

She runs for support to her mentor and frequent collaborator, the rumpled, street-wise and cynical veteran reporter Walter, played to New Yorkese perfection by Kenneth McMillan. But Maggie discovers that Walter, tired of hustling for exclusives, has himself accepted a job in the new department.

Complicating matters, the editor (John Getz) of Modern Living is an offbeat, disarming guy who happens to be attractive, which Maggie studiously ignores (''A bland, nothing face,'' she describes him, ''and six feet below that, deck shoes.'') Before the first half-hour is over, Maggie has joined the soft-news brigade, being assured that she will keep getting the tough investigative assignments she cherishes. Only the turf has changed.

Along the way to her decision, Maggie has to cope, among other things, with a Korean martial-arts team. And every once in a while, she indulges in a bit of sentimentality. ''Walter,'' she says, ''I saw my first dead body with you.'' ''Good times can't last forever, kid,'' says Walter. The husky-voiced Miss Pleshette can make an ordinary line seem surprisingly funny, and Mr. McMillan shrewdly keeps up with her. At this stage of the situation-comedy game, ''Maggie Briggs'' is certainly a contender for survival.

Concert Telecasts Can Be an Art Form

It is sometimes a puzzle what we actually go to concerts to see ; hearing, after all, is the main focus of attention. And the 50th broadcast of ''Live From Lincoln Center,'' which can be seen on Channel 13 on Sunday at 4 P.M., with Zubin Mehta conducting the New York Philharmonic, makes the question seem still more urgent.

The 1984 cost of the Lincoln Center series is $2,409,000, and for the participating groups the value is clear; they have praised it as a form of advertising - building audiences, aiding fund-raising, increasing prestige. This concert, which took place Wednesday night, was content with offering unassuming entertainment, letting the medium be the message. Mr. Mehta leads Strauss's ''Till Eulenspiegel'' and Rimsky-Korsakov's showpiece ''Capriccio Espagnol.'' The virtuoso flutist James Galway joins the orchestra in Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp, with the harpist Marisa Robles, and presents his own amiable transcription of Rodrigo's sweetly melodic ''Fantasia para un gentilhombre.''

But a television broadcast is itself an act of interpretation, more than just a record of an event. In this case, Kirk Browning, a veteran director of performing-arts shows, does not always justify the presence of his cameras. In the Mozart and the Rimsky- Korsakov, the screen generally attends to where the soloistic action is. But in the Strauss work, the music's phrasing is often doing one thing while the cameras are doing another.

The broadcast is, in fact, a reminder that the more serious music is, the more of a challenge television faces. A telecast can be less revealing than a live concert, and more distracting than a recording. But if it is treated as an artistic form, and not just a means of reaching the widest audience, it might in our video age also have great promise. Edward Rothstein Special on Circus Offers Fear-Free Thrills

For those within hailing distance of arenas, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus will be visiting the neighborhood soon with its 114th edition. For those who don't care for the smell of tanbark or the noise and pleasant unruliness of the three-ring perennial, or the thrill of not knowing whether a mid-air quadruple somersault will succeed or end in a welter of broken bones, the circus comes to town tomorrow at 8 P.M. in an hourlong special on CBS.

Television circuses, as history indicates, have always had a certain popularity, or did have some years back. But they're usually a shadow of the real thing. This show is pleasant enough, a faithful report on the acts, the death-defying leaps, the funny clowns, the graceful calisthenics, the wild tigers submitting to a strong- looking master. With Barbara Mandrell as a most hospitable and friendly host, it takes us behind the scenes, with a photo-album sort of look at clowns putting on makeup, at a big wedding for trapeze artists, at performers telling what they aim to do.

You know that, because it is on tape, there is nothing to worry about when you see a dangerous act, but the camera conveys the feeling with shots of the breath-holding audience on the spot. The cameras, indeed, frequently cut away to countless views of wide-eyed children (one of them, however, was caught in a yawn).

It is a very amiable circus, indeed, but it is essentially a catalogue of rings to come. If you can't see it in person, this will keep you au courant. Richard F. Shepard

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Date: Fri April 26, 2013 � Filesize: 62.7kb, 284.2kbDimensions: 1000 x 788 �
Keywords: Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs (Links Updated 7/22/18)


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