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Anything But Love aired from March 1989 until June 1992 on ABC.
For more on Anything but Love go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.
A Review from The New York Times
Review/Television; More Jokes And Angst On ABC
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: March 7, 1989
The new series ''Anything but Love'' gets out of the starting gate with some formidable assets. The stars are Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis and there are unmistakable signs of instant rapport. More important, ABC is trying out the show as part of its already formidable Tuesday night lineup. ''Anything but Love'' is on at 9:30 P.M., preceded by ''The Wonder Years'' and ''Roseanne'' and just before ''Thirtysomething.'' A strong time slot can be half the survival game.
Created by Wendy Kout, ''Anything but Love'' begins on a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago. Hannah Miller (Ms. Curtis), former teacher, aspiring writer and jilted lover, is writing in her journal, ''Maybe I gave too much, expected too much.'' Sitting across the aisle, Marty Gold (Mr. Lewis), a senior writer for a magazine called Chicago Monthly, begins commenting on her entries, amiably explaining: ''I can read upside down. It's the only way I could learn Hebrew.''
Hannah helps Marty get through a fear-of-flying anxiety attack. He promises to help her get a job as a research assistant at his magazine.
Like Roseanne Barr, Mr. Lewis comes to sitcom land from a successful career as a stand-up comic. His specialty, marketed skillfully in cable specials, is unremitting angst. His character Marty, who shouts, ''Vitamin C!'' everytime he hears a sneeze, seems tailor-made for the established Lewis persona.
Ms. Curtis's Hannah, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense toughie who insists that she went to childhood Halloween parties as Lillian Hellman. Hannah treats Marty with a combination of objective curiosity and bemusement. He may be a bit odd, but she obviously finds him cute.
At home, Hannah lives with her father (Bruce Kirby), once a policeman and now an amateur painter. At the offices of Chicago Monthly, she runs up against the usual assortment of sitcom stereotypes. Norman Keil (Louis Giambalvo), the bullying managing editor, insists that she try out for a job by writing an essay on ''The Tortilla Wars: Does Chicago Prefer Corn or Flour?'' Pamela Peyton-Finch (Sandy Faison) is the snobbish reporter who, as someone notes, ''covers trends, fashion and gossip -everything you've always wanted to know about nothing.''
Before the end of tonight's half-hour, written by Ms. Kout and Dennis Koenig and directed by Michael Lessac, Marty has managed to go bowling with Hannah's dad, later swearing that he counted eight guys named Gus.
''Anything but Love'' could turn a strong ABC Tuesday into a blockbuster. The executive producers are Ms. Kout, Robert Myman and John Ritter.
A Review by USA TODAY
TV PREVIEW/BY MONICA COLLINS
In 'Love' with a neurotic
Richard Lewis makes Anything but Love something to care about.
Lewis, the comedian who dresses in black and has more tics than Big Ben is quite the cutup here, playing a neurotic magazine writer who fears presumably, anything but love.
We meet Marty Gold ( Lewis) on an airplane where he 's panicked about flying. He hatches on to fellow passanger Hannah Miller ( Jamie Lee Curtis) to support him through his terror.
When she finds out that he 's a writer, she gets excited. Will he help her land a high-powered job in the Windy City? She has always wanted to be a writer.
What follows is formulaic. Hannah goes to Marty's magazine for an interview as a researcher.
The editor is gruff( but secretly good-natured-natch). He tells her to write a story about corn vs flour tortillas and get it into him the next morning.
Her future hinges on the silly assignment. She decides to write it her way. To wit: How can we worry about such silly things as corn vs flour tortillas when there are homeless people out in the streets who can't get enough to eat.
She gets the job.
Curtis is fine but she has little sparkle as the eccentric dreamer she's supposed to be here. She is called upon to give those little sitcom speeches that we've all come to know-when one character harrangues another about believing in a dream.
That's why Lewis is so refreshing. His Marty is consumed with the little nasties and inconsistencies in life that he doesn't have time to preach pompously.
He's an original and any original is memorable.
An Article From USA TODAY
Upbeat Curtis is anything but unhappy
Published: March 21, 1989
By Tom Green
LOS ANGELES-Jamie Lee Curtis approached Roseanne Barr recently and said, " Thank you for putting my kid through college."
Barr's Roseanne is the Tuesday lead-in for Curtis' Anything but Love, ABC's newest sitcom, which pairs her and angst comic Richard Lewis.
" I'm feeling really strong about this, " says Curtis, 30, of the series that premiered two weeks ago to hugh ratings. Tonight she and Lewis go after a charity scam operator.
" This could be the job that molds my career and my life."
Actors are rarely downbeat when their new series open big but Curtis is soaring.
She's just coming off a surprise movie hit in A Fish Called Wanda, her first box-office smash since Eddie Murphy's Trading Places in 1983. An odd time to be thrilled about a TV career kicking in.
" I don't need movies," says Curtis, who has been making them for 11 years when she became a horror-film queen via the classic Holloween. " I was not a big enough star in the movies that the movies are going to be missing me."
Her commitment to TV is serious. In fact prior to the release of Wanda, she made a pilot about a love triangle that also co-starred Lewis.
Thought to be a sure thing, it didn't sell. Lewis played the boyfriend she didn't want to sleep with.
" They realized you couldn't do a triangle on TV because that made me look like a horrible two-faced bitch. And it was hard to make it look real that Richard Lewis and I wouldn't be good together in bed."
When Wanda became a hit the TV series was revived and the new pilot sold.
" I wanted a TV series for three specific reasons," Curtis says. " I want a family in my work life. I want to do comedy. And I have a baby."
The series hasn't been picked up for next season, but that seems a formality.
Curtis and her husband, writer/director/actor Christopher Guest, and their adopted 2 -year-old daughter, Annie have moved into a house a block away from the 20th Century Fox lot, where the show is filmed.
She looks forward to a long on-air coupling with Lewis.
" Richard and I are both in relationships but we are totally enamoured of each other," she says. " But it's so genuine and non-threatening."
Curtis is glad to be doing comedy again, after recently doing another movie thriller.
She's in Blue Steel, an upcoming stylish psychological cop drama, but she's not sure she's right for slick action movies. Give her a relationship story and some laughs.
" People have always told me I'm funny, but nobody ever tapped into it."
With Anything but Love, she's found her family and maybe her biggest break. But before treating herself and her real family to an expensive vacation, she anxiously awaits word from ABC.
An Article from The New York Times
On TV, Ms. Macho and Mr. Wimp
By JOY HOROWITZ;
Published: April 9, 1989
When Wendy Kout first showed ABC network executives the pilot she had produced for television's newest hit series, ''Anything but Love,'' they turned thumbs down on the project. Network honchos were smitten with the interplay between Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis, who, respectively, play Hannah Miller, a teacher-turned-magazine researcher, and Marty Gold, an investigative reporter. But the show also had another male lead with whom Hannah was enamoured, a la ''Broadcast News,'' and network officials worried that her ambivalence in the love triangle would irritate viewers.
Back at the drawing board, Ms. Kout turned to a writer, Dennis Koenig, because, she says, ''he was funny, sensitive and somebody I enjoyed being in a foxhole with.'' Together, they found themselves chipping away at stereotyped images of men and women. Hannah may be a neophyte writer, but she's wiser than her years suggest, even if she still wears saddle shoes. As for Marty, he's an emotional basket case with a decent sense of humor. Says Ms. Kout:
''We spent hours and hours just talking about who these characters were and mostly we talked about ourselves. It's really from those conversations - what we felt we had learned as semi-adults - that the show evolved.''
The pair behind ''Anything but Love'' is one of a growing number of male-female production teams in prime-time television who are subtly changing the way characters are unfolding on the small screen. By delving into the ''male'' side of women and the ''female'' side of men, these collaborators have spawned some of the medium's most fully realized characters. Not that men can't write women characters or women can't write men, but the duality typically offers a richer texture. It's as if the symbiosis gives license to suspending questions of gender. ''The Wonder Years,'' ''Thirtysomething'' and ''Murphy Brown'' are other examples of series whose characters can see both sides of the battle of the sexes. Each has creative input from both men and women.
For example, Carol Black, co-creator with her husband, Neal Marlens, of ABC's ''Wonder Years,'' says of their developing the character of 12-year-old Kevin Arnold, who is more vulnerable than macho, ''Through a tug of war and back and forth, we created something that was neither based on Neal's life nor my life, but something that was somewhere in the middle.''
Ms. Kout's experience was similar: ''It wasn't that I, as a woman, would focus on Hannah's character or that Dennis, as a man, would better understand Marty,'' she said. Ms. Kout, 37, first met Mr. Koenig, 42, a few years ago when they were thrown together to rescue an ailing TV pilot. ''We're well past that initial blush of women's liberation. It's gotten to a place where we can really sit down and talk to each other as individuals. And that's very much what the show is about.''
Glued together by Hannah's smarts and Marty's angst, the show has been a hit during its six-week trial period - hovering around No. 10 in the Nielsen ratings in a time slot following the successful ''Roseanne.'' (The last of the six initial shows is on Tuesday at 9:30 P.M.; the future of the series is yet to be determined.) It's not just Hannah, who's tough as nails, or Marty, who's a brainy sort of kvetch. Take Murphy Brown, the glamorpuss TV journalist who has more of the frat brother in her than the feminist soul sister. Once, when on a drunken binge, she faxed an outline of her chest to the West Coast. Not invited to the Presidential inaugural, she wanted to drive by and ''moon'' Mr. Bush. After an emotional reconciliation with her mother, she realizes that neither one of them has the vaguest idea how to bake cookies.
But if women on television, like Murphy, appear less like Betty Crocker these days, the portrayal of men is also changing. Just as Murphy is no Mary Richards, her loopy boss, Miles Silverberg (played by Grant Shaud) is hardly Lou Grant. Like an Amazon, she towers over him, as he obsesses about the ratings in his nerdy, high-pitched voice. Even Hannah Miller's father on ''Anything but Love'' is an ex-cop whose passion is not guns but amateur painting. And certainly the King of the Whine must be ''Thirtysomething's'' Michael Steadman (Ken Olin), the most neurotically self-analytical father in the history of television.
Clearly, not all of these partnerships function alike. ''Murphy Brown,'' for example, was created by Diane English and is co-executive-produced by her husband of 12 years, Joel Shukovsky. On ''The Wonder Years'' and ''Anything but Love,'' both partners share equally in creating the show. On ''Thirtysomething,'' men created the show and women (two of whom happen to be their wives) continue to write individual episodes. And sometimes, the partnerships turn sour, as was the case with the team behind ''L.A. Law'': Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher's working relationship broke up after the show's first season when she demanded equal pay and he balked.
In Ms. English's case, the character of Murphy Brown (played by Candice Bergen) is solely her creation. But Mr. Shukovsky's input as an on-line producer - dealing with production crews, network executives, art-design details and casting decisions - is key.
His wife credits him with casting Grant Shaud as Miles, Murphy's yuppyish boss. Both husband and wife are committed to the proposition that ''women have earned the right to be jerks on TV as much as men have'' and they intend Murphy to be for the 90's what Mary Richards was for the 70's. ''Murphy's got more edges than Mary was allowed to have,'' Ms. English says. ''I like to see Murphy more as Lou Grant. She's the crusty one.''
Typically, Murphy would have a boss in his 60's, a kind of Walter Cronkite figure. ''In fact, it was strongly suggested by CBS that we introduce one of those characters into the series after we'd done the pilot,'' said Ms. English. ''But I really reserved that for Murphy. Her boss, Miles, is more of the Mary character.'' In creating characters for ABC's ''Wonder Years,'' Ms. Black and Mr. Marlens, who are in their early 30's and met while attending Swarthmore College 12 years ago, sometimes wind up with a funny kind of amalgamation: characters who are neither male nor female but somewhere in the middle. In fact, the female half of the team sees the 12-year-old boy as being more like her than like her husband. Kevin is often caught between his hippie sister and his bullying brother, sympathetic to both.
''When we work together,'' explains Ms. Black, ''we try to create a common ground - something we can both work on without either one of us becoming too personally attached to it.''
The bottom line in their collaboration, Mr. Marlens says, is that their working together makes the character or story more interesting than if either one of them were working alone. ''It's possible there's a male and a female sensibility there,'' he explains. ''But I'm not concerned about Kevin appearing to be a wimp more than Carol is. We sort of go with our gut instincts, and we share those instincts most of the time.''
Writing a ''retro'' show that looks back to the years 1968 through 1973 - formative years in the women's liberation movement - Ms. Black and Mr. Marlens see as their challenge depicting ''preliberated'' women without condescending to them.
''The truth of the matter is, life is a bit retro in this country right now,'' says Mr. Marlens. ''There is a return to a lot of those [ prefeminist ] values. There's certainly a questioning liberation and self-fulfillment as paramount valuess in our lives.''
The emerging sense of self of Kevin's mother, Norma Arnold, can only come in small increments, they said. In a recent episode, for example, Norma for the first time starts to do something beyond her chores as wife and mother: she takes a pottery class at a community college.
''Without explicitly addressing it,'' says Ms. Black, ''it creates a tension in the marriage and in the household and becomes the seed of something that gets blown out of proportion. If we're ever going to get to the point where Norma wants to get a job and Jack says, 'No wife of mine will ever work,' then we'll get there by virtue of a long, twisted road.''
As for developing the character of Kevin's classmate and love interest Winnie Cooper, Mr. Marlens, who with his wife will be leaving the show after this season, says Winnie will be a reflection of growing up in a time when values and perceptions of what women are and should be are changing. ''We're not going to stop and say, 'Let's do a story about Winnie having to decide whether she wants to be like her mother or whether she wants to be like Grace Slick,' '' he says. ''But I think that was implicit in growing up in that era. There were role models in the counterculture and there were role models in your family. You did have a choice to make.''
The marital teaming behind ABC's ''Thirtysomething'' follows traditional lines, with the husbands as bosses and the wives as employees. But the show's creators, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, insist that there is really more of a creative free-for-all than an imperial male reign, likening the atmosphere to a college literary magazine. ''My wife and I always collaborated, anyway,'' says Mr. Herskovitz. ''She had much to say about the inception of the show, just as Ed's wife did.''
The television and screen writer Liberty Godshall, who has written the scripts for two episodes of the show, is married to Mr. Zwick, though she says she often feels like he's more married to Mr. Herskovitz. This season's story editor, Susan Shilliday, is married to Mr. Herskovitz.
Sometimes issues break down along sex lines, and Ms. Shilliday and Ms. Godshall as well as other women writers offer a different perspective on character development and story lines. Ms. Shilliday says she and Ms. Godshall strongly objected when their husbands were thinking of killing off one of the children on the show.
''When we heard about it, we went berserk,'' she recalls. ''We said, 'That is out of the question.' It was more than 'We won't write for you anymore.' It was 'We'll divorce you.' It's so obviously wrong. It's the most manipulative thing on the face of the earth. All you have to do is say it and I'll start to cry.''
Sexual stereotyping does occasionally creep in despite the writers' intentions. For instance, Ms. Godshall, who wrote a recent episode about a father-daughter relationship, is critical of the fact that the character of Gary (played by Peter Horton) is represented as being a single man with an enviable life, while the character of Ellyn (Polly Draper), the City Hall politico, is single ''but uptight and neurotic and pitied. There's something very sexist about that.''
As for the character of Michael Steadman, the show's hypersensitive father, Ms. Godshall points out that she believes many male viewers are put off by him, ''because it's a part of themselves they don't like, the part they repress - the self-doubt, the worry, admitting failure.''
Mr. Herskovitz says the team is keenly sensitive to critics who see a neoconservative bent to the show because a leading female character, Hope (played by Mel Harris), chose to stay home while her child was young. ''There was never any question in our minds that Hope would return to work even though she felt confused and ambivalent about it,'' he says. ''She had a career as a writer before having a baby, so she would want to go back after a while.''
If television used to portray women as either sex objects or strong career women, Mr. Herskovitz says, such a reductionistic viewpoint glosses over the more difficult question of whether mothers should stay at home or work outside the home. ''There's no right or wrong, because there are many ways to make your life work. On our show, we try to humanize everybody - male or female.''
A Review From The New York Times
Review/Television; 'Anything but Love': A New Twist on an Old Gimmick
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: December 28, 1989
Will they or won't they? The somewhat prurient question, or gimmick, has bolstered the ratings of countless television series. ''Moonlighting'' and ''Beauty and the Beast'' are among the more recent examples, and in each instance the hero and heroine did. Now there is ABC's ''Anything but Love'' (Wednesdays at 9:30), the show that asks: Can carefree Hannah Miller, former schoolteacher and aspiring writer, be just good friends with angst-ridden Marty Gold, award-winning magazine reporter? Or, in time-honored tradition, will they? Any bets?
Meanwhile, fortunately, the sitcom, which had its premiere in March, is proving to be refreshingly funny in an offbeat, almost neurotic manner. Richard Lewis, who plays Marty and is also listed as creative consultant, establishes the dominant tone. Mr. Lewis is still another comic (cf. Roseanne Barr, Bill Cosby et al.) who has been able to transfer his performance persona almost intact to weekly television. His specialty is worry, often about things that happened in his youth. Mr. Lewis insists that the bumper sticker on his grandparents' car read: ''I'd Rather Be Weeping.'' Sitting in a Chicago diner, Marty Gold dismisses the idea of travel with the explanation that ''I can get sick from drinking the water here.''
Jamie Lee Curtis comes to the role of Hannah largely through the movies, beginning with the horror classic ''Halloween'' and including last year's comedy ''A Fish Called Wanda.'' Her Hannah is, in certain respects, a woman for the 1990's - intelligent, talented, funny and, up to a point, independent. The relationship with Marty is, of course, ambivalent. On one hand, Hannah is delighted, observing, ''I've never been best friends with a guy before.'' But she becomes nervous when Marty spends time with other women. She courts his lust peevishly. Hannah: ''Do you want to make love to me?'' Marty: ''Yes.'' Hannah (leaving): ''Good. I'll see you tomorrow. I feel so much better.''
As it happens, ''Anything but Love'' was overhauled extensively during its summer break. Returning in September, the series lost several major characters, and even the magazine was changed from a monthly to a weekly. New faces were suddenly prominent and, thanks to unusually clever casting, they all add up to a marked improvement. Ann Magnuson, the writer, actress and performance artist, was brought in, devilishly, as Catherine Hughes, the new high-powered editor in chief from New York. She has a keen nose for trends. ''I mean, if New York has Donald Trump,'' she declares, ''it's out.''
With a whirlwind personality as tightly knit as her red hair and her mini-dresses, Catherine can speak several languages and pronounces Budapest as Budapesht. She has no patience for ''el blando'' life styles. Among her insanely pithy sayings: ''It's so banal, it's profound.'' Her magazine will no longer be interested in corruption or election irregularities. She wants to know ''what television shows celebrities say they are watching and what they are really watching.'' Marty murmurs: ''All the news that's hip, we print.''
Catherine's new television critic, Brian Alquist, has been imported from London, where he was the city's most erudite theater critic. Played with a slyly wicked spin by Joseph Maher, a veteran of Joe Orton roles on stage, Brian is an amiably dirty old man who keeps referring to himself as ''one.'' Richard Frank is Jules, who as Catherine's executive assistant has learned the importance of accepting humiliation as part of his job.
An Article from The New York Times
Review/Television; 'Anything but Love,' but Much
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: February 6, 1991
Finally pouncing on romance this season, "Anything but Love" has misplaced its charm. In the beginning, about a season and a half ago, the ABC series offered the promising concept of the actress Jamie Lee Curtis and the comic Richard Lewis playing magazine writers Hannah Miller and Marty Gold in Chicago. The inevitable question: Would they or wouldn't they? Tired, granted, but in this case, offbeat personalities and clever scripts created at least the illusion of freshness. Alas, gone, all gone.
After being officially canceled last year, the series is now back on ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30 P.M., with a few further adjustments, most of them suggesting behind-the-scenes hysteria. The character of Brian Alquist (Joseph Maher), the television critic, is gone and has been replaced, most inadequately, by Bruce Weitz ("Hill Street Blues") playing Mike Urbanek, a sort of "real guy" columnist. Mike doesn't care who killed Laura Palmer. He's that tough. He's also just sour.
Ann Magnuson remains as Catherine Hughes, the manically trend-spotting editor of Chicago Weekly. Ms. Magnuson continues to be deliciously bizarre, but her brief whirlwind appearances on the show now threaten to become predictable turns bordering on the grotesque. Here, surely, is a performer who deserves more than a one-note freak show.
Following a collage of scenes from past shows, set to Louis Armstrong's version of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby," tonight's episode opens with Hannah and Marty finally declaring their love for each other, by phone. Plans are made for "our first time," she envisioning something sweet and romantic, he rather partial to sweaty and depraved. A complication, lasting three whole episodes, pops up in the person of Patrick Serreau, a famous and dashing photographer who, in his eagerness to bed Hannah, offers her a job accompanying him on assignment in West Africa. Patrick is played rather unpleasantly by John Ritter, whose company happens to be one of the producers of "Anything but Love." Two episodes would have been more than enough.
This time around, everyone is trying too hard. Mr. Lewis gets in a few neat wisecracks that could've been plucked intact from his stand-up-comedy act. But too many of the jokes are off, almost lumbering as they run on too long. Example: Marty in a romantic mood: "If my palms get any wetter, I'm going to have to issue flash-flood warnings to my wrists." Relax, Marty, relax. And then Hannah is reduced to squealing a great deal with her best friend, Robin (Holly Fulger), as they discuss the mating ritual in great detail. Perhaps ABC is pushing for the teen-age market.
In the fourth episode, Hannah and Marty finally do wake up in bed together and then spend much of the day discussing their orgasms. As for one of them, Hannah concedes, "I'd be surprised if it didn't get a little mention on Ted Koppel tonight." Inasmuch as the subject is somewhat limited, the half-hour is padded with parodies, done in black and white, of "The Front Page" "Streetcar Named Desire" and, yes, "Twin Peaks." But for all the effort expended, the results are flat and disappointing. The series has wound up, unfortunately, with anything but charm. Anything but Love Created by Wendy Kout; developed by Dennis Koenig and Peter Noah; produced by Adam Productions in association with 20th Television; Peter Schindler, producer; Bill Bryan and Clare Witt, co-producers; Janis Hirsch, co-executive producer; Robert M. Myman and Peter Noah, executive producers. At 9:30 tonight on ABC. Hannah Miller . . . Jamie Lee Curtis Marty Gold . . . Richard Lewis Mike Urbanek . . . Bruce Weitz Catherine Hughes . . . Ann Magnuson Jules Bennett . . . Richard Frank Robin Dulitski . . . Holly Fulger Patrick Serreau . . . John Ritter
An Article from The LA Times
When Marty and Hannah Become Intimate...
February 10, 1991|DANIEL CERONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Whether best friends should become lovers is an age-old dilemma, but the success of a TV show may be riding on its outcome. For two seasons on the ABC sitcom "Anything but Love"--which was canceled last season but was brought back last week as a mid-season replacement--Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis were buddy old pals.
But unlike such tempestuous TV couples as Sam and Diane on "Cheers" or David and Maddie on "Moonlighting," Hannah and Marty's hidden desire on "Anything but Love" wasn't exactly boiling over. It was more or less stewing over medium heat.
"I think all those other shows, the cornerstone of those shows, was this sexual dynamic," Curtis said, sitting across from Lewis in a stage dressing room between takes. "That was something Hannah and Marty never had. We were friends. We weren't sexual dualists."
"Speak for yourself," Lewis countered. "I was in bed with you after the second episode."
"But we weren't sexual ," Curtis reassured him, patting his hand. "Just watch the shows. We weren't, honey."
The producers of "Anything but Love" felt the time was right to get the two together--if for no other reason than this might be their last chance. The sitcom, hailed as a critical success with a loyal core of fans, was nonetheless canceled last season because of low ratings. Only a relentless campaign by one of the show's producers prompted ABC to pick up the series for nine episodes to replace the fall dud "Married People."
"This is such an odd business," executive producer Peter Noah said. "We were canceled with a rating that represented 11 million people every week. This is the only communications business where you can be deemed a failure for reaching 11 million people on a weekly basis. And if we could nudge that up to 12 million this time around, I think we'll be a big hit."
For the 230 million Americans who didn't tune in every week: "Anything But Love" takes place at the fictional Chicago Weekly magazine. Curtis plays Hannah Miller, a plucky career woman. Marty Gold, the magazine's star writer, is as openly Jewish and neurotic as is Lewis, the comedian who plays him. Bruce Weitz, best known as Det. Mick Belker on "Hill Street Blues," has been added to the cast as a "regular guy" columnist. His presence is intended to inject a beef-and-barley male perspective in the show, which has a large female following.
Weitz, whose character introduced himself last week by warning "woe to the man who tries to fax with me," suggested that perhaps the series' relationships in the past were too chic. "I think most of the people outside the Los Angeles area and the New York metropolitan area are a little more simple in their ways, and a little less concerned with sophistication than we are out here," he said.
But the real key to success will be how audiences respond to Hannah and Marty in love.
"I always lobbied for us to get together as early as possible," Lewis said. "And I'm happy that it's happening earlier on. Because I always felt that Jamie and I had this really unique chemistry together as actors, and I couldn't wait to show that passion on the screen."
"See, and I disagree with him only in one place," Curtis said. "I never thought Hannah and Marty had passion. I thought what they had was--"
"Thanks," Lewis interrupted. "That's why I'm in therapy 15 hours a week."
"Well, I'm sorry," Curtis said.
"Even TV characters reject me," Lewis bemoaned. "I go to the same counselor Bart Simpson goes to."
"Oh, shut up," Curtis said.
In an earlier interview with Noah, he said: "Last year when the question was put, 'Did we want to get them together?' the feeling here was that it was not something we wanted to rush into. We thought there was value in this notion of two best friends who are attracted to one another but decide because of the value of the friendship not to pursue a romantic relationship. That seemed interesting to us."
But it wasn't that interesting to most viewers, according to ABC research, which found that people were somewhat confused as to what the show was about. "I think this notion of best friends who don't want to risk the friendship through romance was a little obscure to them," Noah explained.
Audience research played a big part in "Anything but Love" once before. The original 1989 pilot had Curtis in a love triangle. But ABC brass balked after negative audience tests. The pilot was scrapped and reshot.
"We felt bringing together Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis as a romantic couple would take care of some of the questions audiences had with the show, and that proved to be the case," said Ted Harbert, ABC executive vice president of prime-time, about the most recent changes. "We tested one new episode and the testing was terrific. The audience liked having Jamie and Richard together, and really seemed to respond to the Bruce Weitz character."
Janice Hirsch, also an executive producer, is glad that the changes have been received positively at ABC. But she doesn't put much stock in audience research. "Every show with an orphan tests through the roof," she said. "Because how is an audience going to respond to a bunch of orphans but to say, 'God bless them. I love them,' which is your normal reaction. It's different than, 'Do you want to watch this show every week?' "
But still, Noah and Hirsch feel that the time is right for Marty and Hannah to do the wild thing, which is scheduled to happen in the fourth episode. Now, they just hope ABC will go with the show long enough to find out what American audiences think, as opposed to research audiences.
"I'll never forget last December at Carnegie Hall," Lewis said, "I had 30 cab drivers out of 30 assault me and ask me, 'When are you going to get it on with Jamie Lee Curtis!' "
"Anything But Love" airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.
An Article from The New York Times
By BILL CARTER,
Published: January 13, 1992
The decision, announced last week, to end production on the ABC comedy "Anything but Love" was widely described as a sign of desperate times in the television business.
But Robert A. Iger, the president of ABC Entertainment, said, "The 'Anything but Love' situation is a positive step in many ways."
The situation was the decision by the studio that owns the comedy, 20th Century Fox, to cut off production after 17 episodes this year, even though ABC had ordered 22. Fox decided the show was too expensive to continue to produce.
"Anything but Love" was losing more than $200,000 an episode for Fox. Fox had no promising indication from ABC that the show would return next season and doubted that it could be sold successfully in an increasingly soft syndication market.
When Fox executives went to ABC in December to request more money for "Anything but Love," ABC instead suggested that the show simply stop production.
"It seemed like a good solution," Mr. Iger said in an interview here. He added that ABC had overbought comedies that could fill out the season in the "Anything but Love" time period.
The highly unusual decision by a studio to pull back on the production of a show that is still running has been regarded in Hollywood as a sign of how distressed the television marketplace has become.
But Mr. Iger said, "This is a studio coming to a network saying it's not in our best interests to produce this show under the present circumstances and the network saying we're not going to force you to produce the show under those circumstances."
To watch clips from Anything But Love go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=anything+but+love+tv+show
For a WEbsite dedicated to Richard Lewis go to http://www.richardlewisonline.com/
For a look back at season 1 go to https://web.archive.org/web/20070222021600/http://www.popmatters.com/pm/tv/reviews/11076/anything-but-love-season-1/
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5dK0-Q8Woc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yKE9gEkFWg
� Date: Thu January 19, 2006 � Filesize: 8.9kb � Dimensions: 303 x 380 �
Keywords: Richard Lewis Jamie Lee Curtis ( Links Updated 7/23/18)