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Boston Common aired from March 1996 until April 1997 on NBC.

Wyleen ( Hedy Burress) was an enthusiastic 18 year-old from a small town in Virginia, eager to start a new life as a freshman at Randolph Harrington College in Boston. Unfortunately her old life wasn't entirely left behind. Her doting older brother Bo ( Anthony Clark), had the car, so he drove her to Boston-then took a job in the student union and moved into her small apartment, just to make sure his little sis was " all right." The backwoods handyman surprised everyone with his cleverness and charm, and indeed seemed smarter then most of the oddballs who populated Harrington. Joy ( Traylor Howard) was a ditzy grad student studying southern culture for whom Bo had eyes; she, however was taken with young professor Jack ( Vincent Ventresca), who in turn was in love mostly with himself. Leonard ( Steve Paymer) was the dour college archivest who hung out at their apartment, and Tasha ( Tasha Smith), the surly administrative assistant. Other students and faculty members stumbled, fumbled, and leered their way through various episodes during the series 2 season run.

A Review from Variety

Boston Common

Boston Common (Thur. (21), 8:30-9 p.m., NBC) Filmed at CBS Studio Center by Komut Entertainment and Castle Rock Entertainment. Executive producers/creators/writers, David Kohan, Max Mutchnick; co-executive producers, Jason M. Solomon, Marco Antonio Cuadros; producers, Tim Kasier, Suzy Mamann Greenberg; director, James Widdoes.

Cast: Anthony Clark, Fred Applegate, Hedy Burress, Traylor Howard, Steve Paymer, Tasha Smith, Patrick Fabian, Anthony Russell, Zoaunne LeRoy, D.C. Douglas, Shonda Whipple, Deborah Levin. Slated for a six-week run in hopes of latching on, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick's energetic new comedy may develop into a stay-around if likable Anthony Clark, as country boy Boyd Pritchett from Virginia, holds the pace and they keep feeding him sharp dialogue. Premise is good, characters are fresh and loopy, and the cast shows off comic talents; seems like a good combo.

Couple of good chuckles do not a sitcom make, but the creators have set up an impressively loony-yet-possible Randolph Harrington College in Boston as locale and have intro'd Boyd's little-traveled sister Wyleen (Hedy Burress) as a new freshman excited about being out on her own. Trouble is, Boyd, at loose ends, takes up an offer to work as a handyman at Harrington.
Where else for him to live but at her small apartment? A dour neighbor, Leonard (Steve Paymer), slouches in and out of their room, which is straight sitcom style. Boyd's got his eye on attractive grad student Joy Burns (Traylor Howard), who's a nut about Southern mores. But not yet about Boyd. Blase Tasha King (Tasha Smith) sits at the reception desk, and other snappy types appear as director James Widdoes successfully marshals his forces.

Boyd is a winning character, and standup comic Clark nimbly works funny bits into the storyline and triumphs with sly facial expressions and styling.

Other performers, especially Burress, as irrepressible Wyleen, and Howard, as Joy, are solid.

Director Widdoes keeps up the peppy pace for the pilot, and art director Bruce Ryan supplies a good look.

Success depends on sustaining this quality of writing, on Clark maintaining the high-octane perf and the company keeping up the fast pace. If program's positioned right, its future looks good.

An Article on the 1996 Fall TV Season from the Virginia Pilot

REJOICE, SOFA slugs. Rejoice.

It's August at last. My ``Debbe Dunning Tool Time Girl Calendar'' tells me that the long, hot spell of reruns is about to end.

If Fox shows ``Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?'' one more time, I'll scream.

There is new programming just over the horizon. Approaching fast from the direction of the Peach Pit is the gang from ``Beverly Hills 90210,'' on the verge of being seniors - again.

The 1996-97 broadcast networks' TV season begins unofficially on Sunday, when NBC breaks out four fresh episodes of ``Boston Common'' in its new timeslot - Sunday at 8:30 p.m., after ``3rd Rock From the Sun.''

Fox launches the new season of ``Beverly Hills 90210'' - the final college year for Brandon and his pals - and ``Party of Five'' on Aug. 21. Eight days later, ``Living Single'' starts its fourth year on Fox, followed by the season premiere of ``New York Undercover,'' with co-stars Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo, who are signed and no longer talking mutiny.

The Warner Brothers network said it will give viewers a sneak peak at its new season - WB has high hopes for ``The Steve Harvey Show'' - on Aug. 25.

Wondering about the ``Seinfeld'' season premiere? It's Sept. 19.

``Boston Common'' is the better-than-most sitcom with an actual Virginian (Anthony Clark) playing a Virginian (Boyd Pritchett) who accompanies his sister, Wyleen, to college in Boston, leaving Lynchburg far behind. The show was a hit in a cushy timeslot on NBC's must-see-TV night (Thursday), but now faces an uncertain future on Sunday night.

The new time period is fine with Clark, who has been in six feature films, appeared on Broadway and worked years as a stand-up comic but wasn't even close to being famous until ``Boston Common.'' Sunday night is a huge night for television-watching, Clark said. He sees a big potential audience for his little show.

``We'll be up against dramas on CBS, ABC and Warner Brothers. So we should have the sitcom audience pretty much to ourselves,'' he said. (Whoa, Anthony. You forgot ``Ned and Stacey'' on Fox).

Clark's a bright guy - an Emerson College grad - who has resisted pressures to dumb down and turn his character into a fugitive from the ``Hee Haw'' corn patch. ``There have been several times when I've seen a line of dialogue in a script and said, `I can't say this. I'm not doing a joke about sleeping with my cousins.'

``Some people in this business feel that sitcom characters from the South must all wear bib overalls and have chickens flying around their living rooms. We get pushed into a corner with Gomer Pyle. In fact, we're doing sharp, sophisticated, pointed dialogue on our show.''

However, Clark will do nothing to lose his accent. Or his Southern ways. This Virginian has charmed the cold, cruel hearts in show biz.

``My proper upbringing has helped me to get ahead,'' said Clark. ``People are impressed when you say , `Yes, sir,' and `No, ma'am.' ''

That wows network bosses.

``Boston Common'' is going over quite nicely with his family and friends in Virginia, said Clark when he he met with TV writers in Southern California not long ago. ``Back home, my relatives have neighbors over when the show is on, and throw parties and stuff.''

Clark is not alone in being annoyed by how Southerners have been portrayed on TV. Cybill Shepherd, who stars in the CBS sitcom ``Cybill,'' has experienced in her career what she calls the ``Hee Haw'' attitude.

``When I first went to New York City to do modeling in 1968, I had a thick Southern accent which led people to think I was stupid. Just because Southern women are friendly, kind and extend hospitality does not mean they are stupid or weak. We're iron butterflies.''

Here is more of what the TV stars had on their minds when they mixed with the TV press recently:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, soon to be seen in the NBC movie ``London Suite,'' on the future of ``Seinfeld'': ``It would be fine with me if I played Elaine for the rest of my life. I'll soon sit down with the others in the cast and we'll decide if we want to go on beyond this year.''

Heather Locklear of Fox's ``Melrose Place'' on life at home: ``I don't do dishes. I don't scrub the floors. I don't sort the laundry. I do none of that.''

Peter Strauss of the new CBS drama ``Moloney,'' which goes up against ``Seinfeld'' Thursday night at 9: ``In that time slot, everyone assumes we're doomed.''

Scott Bakula, formerly of ``Quantum Leap,'' who stars in a new action-adventure show (``Mr. and Mrs. Smith'') on CBS: ``I'm drawn to this kind of a show because I have a fantasy about being Indiana Jones or James Bond.''

Conan O'Brien, who hosts the late, late show on NBC which has been renewed through 1997: ``When we began, 98 percent of the critics said emphatically, `We do not like this show!' When that happens, and the ratings are low, the show usually goes away. But despite all that, we're still here.''

Brooke Shields, star of the NBC sitcom ``Suddenly Susan'' on bad reviews: ``I just don't read them.''

Mel Harris of the new NBC sitcom ``Something So Right'' on the possibility of a ``thirtysomething'' reunion: ``I'm often asked that question, and my honest answer is that I don't know if it will happen. Trying to get the cast together again will be like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. It could happen. I never say never.''

Kevin Bacon, who worked with his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, on the Showtime movie, ``Losing Chase'': ``We're not actively pursuing a chance to work together again. We'd like to keep work separate from our marriage. When you work together, you are obsessed with the work 24 hours a day. There's not much left to give to the kids.''

An Article from the Washington Post

By Patricia Brennan August 4, 1996

Anthony Clark had just played Harrah's in Vegas and was still trying to recover. A young man who had grown up in verdant southern Virginia, the home turf of evangelist Jerry Falwell, he had gone into the lion's den -- the gambling casinos of the searing Nevada desert -- and emerged to tell the tale. "It's like Sodom and Gomorrah," he said, back in Los Angeles, where he was preparing to resume taping for NBC's "Boston Common." "It's a city based on nothing but vices. I've played casinos before -- once I opened for Reba McEntire at Lake Tahoe. But Las Vegas is the only place I've ever been where I feel like I need my family around me." Such biblical and family references might cause his Clark relatives to smile. Perhaps they had some influence on Charlie's son, the one they called Tony, after all. For a time, young Clark had lived with his late father's sister, Delores, and her husband, the Rev. James Moon, co-pastor with the Rev. Falwell of influential Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg. He wanted to attend Brookville, a high school that was bigger than the one serving Gladys, Va., where his mother, Nell, and his stepfather and brothers live on a tobacco farm. "My family's very religious, all from Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina," he said. "No one had ever gone to college. I was, like, a real oddball. They really didn't know what to make of me. They never discouraged me; they always let me go. But they always had that glare: He's either going to end up in jail or on TV.' " Voted Comedian of the Year by Brookville High School's Class of 1981, and remembered by teacher David Tomlin as "an enjoyable cut-up and fun to know," Clark went to Emerson College in Boston to study acting. And he ended up on TV -- on "Ellen" and now on "Boston Common," one of only two midseason series on NBC's fall line-up. Both will air Sundays, "Boston Common" at 8:30, "3rd Rock From the Sun" at 8. On the show, Clark, 31, plays Boyd Pritchett, who shares an apartment with his sister Wyleen (Hedy Burress), a student at Randolph Harrington College. He works as a handyman there. The upbeat show revolves around the open, friendly southern siblings as they cope with the edgier city folks of the Northeast. Steve Paymer (writer-producer of "The Single Guy" and "Mad About You") plays reclusive historian Leonard Prince, and Tasha Smith is Tasha, the tart-tongued administrative assistant at the Student Union. Traylor Howard plays graduate student Joy, who would be Boyd's romantic interest if it weren't for communications professor Jack Reed (Vincent Ventresca). But Clark is adamant that he does not want "Boston Common" to become "The Beverly Hillbillies Go to College." "I think comin' from the South got me ahead of the game in Boston and New York City," he said of his down-home humor. "I was playing on an uneven ballfield: They didn't know what was coming. But almost every time television does the South, it's Gomer Pyle' or Petticoat Junction' or Dukes of Hazzard.' "Everybody wanted me to do the southern kid in the big city, because that's the way my stand-up had come about. But even though I want to use the flavor of where I'm from, I also want to raise the standard {of southern-based humor}. Nobody who's involved with this wants it to be the next Hee-Haw.' I don't know why everyone feels that once you write a sitcom for southern characters, they have to be in overalls with chickens flying around the living room. We want to be unique, to stand on our own. I want the show to have a voice of its own." Last year, Clark appeared on HBO's Young Comedians Special, hosted by Garry Shandling from Aspen, Colo., got offers for television series and turned them all down, he said. "Everybody in town wanted to give us a television show and they kept pressuring us. I finally said, We're not even going on the air. We don't want to be on some s----- television series.' " So his Emerson College pal Max Mutchnik and Mutchnik's buddy David Kohan, who worked on NBC's "The Single Guy," wrote one for him, a sitcom about a Los Angeles apartment house manager and his girlfriend. But the production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, didn't go for it. Mutchnik and Kohan tried again with "Boston Common," got the nod, and NBC agreed to give the series a try. On the strength of only six episodes, the series finished the 1995-96 season in sixth place ahead of ABC's "Home Improvement" with a rating of 11.8 for adults between 18 and 49, a crucial demographic. For total viewers, it was eighth, behind "Home Improvement," with a 9.4 rating. NBC moved the series to Sunday ("That's like winning the lottery," said Clark), and the cast began taping new episodes on July 10. On Thursday at 8:30, NBC re-runs the season's last episode. New shows will air Sundays, Aug. 11 and 18; repeats will air Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 and 8. The new season begins Sept. 15. At Emerson, Clark was named College Entertainer of the Year, honing his humor in the same Boston comedy clubs that spawned Paula Poundstone and Kevin Meany. He took his act to New York and Los Angeles and to comedy festivals in Ireland and Montreal. He also did "The Stand-Up Show" for the BBC. But at Emerson, he did so many dramatic roles, "my college rsum was just one heavy play after another. I love big dramas." After making his first film, "Dogfight," in 1991 with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, Clark did yet another drama, the Tony Award-winning "Grapes of Wrath," on Broadway. In 1993, he made "The Thing Called Love" with Phoenix, Samantha Mathis and two other actors from his home state, Dermot Mulroney of Alexandria and Sandra Bullock of Arlington. Arlington, in fact, was where Clark headed as often as he could to visit another aunt, Charlotte "Patsy" Clark, who worked at the Pentagon. Washington, D.C., he had discovered, was much more interesting than either Lynchburg or the farm. "I wanted out of my home town -- it was beginning to drag on me," he said. "My Aunt Patsy lived in Arlington. I would come up every summer as long as she would let me -- which was about three days. She'd be scared to death when I went into D.C." Visiting Aunt Patsy, he would ride the Metrobus into the city; later, he and his friends drove around town in his Chevette. "I loved D.C.," he said. "D.C. was my first big city ever. We would drive up 14th Street listening to Sister Sledge on the radio. Most of my high school friends ended up going to D.C." Clark might have landed here too if it hadn't been for a guidance counselor in Lynchburg who hailed from Boston. "She used to say, You don't belong here. You have a lot of stuff going on and there's no outlet for it here.' She kind of took it on as her journey to help me find the right place." Emerson College, alma mater of Dennis Leary (who returned to teach comedy writing), Norman Lear, Jay Leno, Henry Winkler, Carol Burnett, Spaulding Gray and Steven Wright, "offered me more grant money than anyone else. Thank God they were more interested in the actual talent part of it than they were in grades and SAT scores." He graduated in 1986. With a rsum that includes stand-up comedy, stage drama, theatrical movies and a sitcom, Clark now lives in Los Angeles -- a place Boyd Pritchett calls "the on-ramp to the Apocalypse." But he returned home last Christmas to visit his relatives. "They're very important," he said. "They're your support system. I owe so much to them. The unconditional love -- that's all you have when you don't have a lot of money." Oh, yes. There's another Clark family comedian coming along, his nephew Steve, who works on the crew of "Boston Common" and may get a small role on the show. "I thought I was the crazy loon in the family, but he's even funnier than I am," said Clark. "He still uses the barter system. Once I put him on the bus in Washington with five bucks in his pocket and he went all over the country and came back -- with five dollars." CAPTION: The "Boston" bunch: standing, Tasha Smith, Hedy Burress, Anthony Clark, Vincent Ventresca; seated, Steve Paymer and Traylor Howard.

An Article from the LA Times

The Old College Try : Anthony Clark is working his hardest to help 'Boston Common' make the grade. So far, for him and the sitcom, the results have been first-class.

Anthony Clark--stand-up comic and now star of the 4-week-old NBC comedy hit "Boston Common"--is too busy to sit around and leisurely crack jokes . . . unless you ask. A product in part of his down-home upbringing near Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, the 31-year-old, lanky, open-faced actor is unfailingly polite.

He has but one hour to be interviewed and eat lunch, so when the paper-plate fare arrives--seared chicken legs, mashed potatoes with gravy, beans--Clark lets it sit. "I wouldn't eat chicken in front of you because there wouldn't be enough for everybody," he says, even though his guests insist. Fifteen minutes later, the food's still untouched. "Are you sure?"

It's just the way you'd expect his character, Boyd Pritchett, to behave. He's the older brother who drives kid sister Wyleen (Hedy Burress) to college in Boston, then suddenly decides to take a job as a handyman at the student union and move in with her.

An all-around good guy, Boyd tries to be protector, much to his sister's dismay, and to puncture academic pretense even as he fails, at least so far, to get the girl, a sleek blond doctoral candidate named Joy (Traylor Howard). Ivy League stuffiness is primarily manifested in Joy's boyfriend, Jack (Vincent Ventresca), a preppy communications prof.

Clark, a product of Emerson College in Boston, around which the fictional Harrington College is based, says he's "never worked this hard in my life, never had to learn 50 pages of script every four days." Now he'll even light up a cigarette--"I'm just nervous."

Yet his work and that of the creative team on "Boston Common"--executive-produced by Max Mutchnick, 30, who was best friends with Clark at Emerson (class of 1987), and David Kohan, 31, who was best friends with Mutchnick at Beverly Hills High--has paid off. The series will be getting a second season.

"Absolutely," NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield said in a recent interview, adding that he intends to open it right after the Olympics end in early August. Whether it will remain in its current 8:30 p.m. Thursday slot between "Friends" and "Seinfeld" is uncertain. The original order of six episodes ends next week, but there'll be reruns in June and July as well as a promotional push during the Olympics.

"This show is going to be real important to our future," Littlefield said, happily pointing out that last Thursday's episode ranked sixth among all programs for the week and even scored ahead of "Friends" in the crucial 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

"[The series] has a winning, positive feeling," he said. "It's something many people want and need right now."

The quick and easy first take on "Boston Common" could be "Forrest Gump Goes to College."

Not so, insist Littlefield, the producers and Clark, who says of his character: "He's no simpleton. . . . The biggest words in the script come out of Boyd Pritchett's mouth--a 'whirligig of ebullience.' Which I don't even know what it means," he says with a laugh.

"He's a totally blue-collar, working-class farm boy," Clark adds. "He's a caring soul but he's still very sharp. And I guess a lot of the critics have taken an easy swipe at the show because they feel anyone with a Southern accent belongs on the set of 'Dukes of Hazzard' or 'Beverly Hillbillies.' . . . I don't know if Boyd is book-smart but he's like every kid in America growing up with tons of television and film and magazines. You don't have to be able to work out 'A equals Y' in algebra. Little gets by Boyd without him soaking it up."

Much like Clark himself, whose accent is far less Southern than it used to be. On the show, he admits, "I twang it up a bit."

Clark grew up in a blue-collar world, the second of two sons in Lynchburg, Va. His late father worked on a General Electric assembly line all his life; his mother was a bookkeeper in a clothing store. They divorced when he was 5. When Clark was 12, the family moved to a tobacco farm 50 miles south, where his stepfather lived.

By that time, Clark had already discovered the joys of acting and applause. He was Li'l Abner in fourth grade, had the title role in "Music Man" in fifth grade and in sixth grade was in "Calamity Jane."

Emerson--alma mater to Norman Lear, Jay Leno, Henry Winkler, Steven Wright and Dennis Leary, who was his comedy writing professor--was Clark's ticket out of small-town life. After graduating from high school in Lynchburg, where he was voted comedian of the year, "I kind of realized that if I don't get out of here I'm going to end up working a drive-through, Kentucky Fried Chicken type of deal."

Arriving in Boston in early 1983 "was like [going to] Oz. It was a city. It had lights, the arts, museums, nightclubs and stand-up comedy venues," where he was making a name for himself by his senior year.

Mutchnick says he always knew that Clark, who has been in six movies, including a role in the upcoming movie "The Rock" starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, would succeed. When Clark did gigs at Los Angeles comedy clubs, he slept on Mutchnick's couch. And when he began to "get hot," particularly after HBO's Young Comedians event in Aspen, Colo., in March 1995, Mutchnick says, Clark "suggested that [I and Kohan] write something [to] give him a little more cachet if he walked in with the script."

The script, about a Los Angeles apartment house manager and his girlfriend, was rejected by executives at Castle Rock Entertainment. Kohan said "their reaction was, 'It skews a little bit too "Day of the Locust," but you've nailed the guy's voice.' So Max and I went back [and figured] we might as well draw from Anthony's experience coming from Virginia."

Castle Rock liked that approach and sold it to NBC. Now Kohan and Mutchnick insert some of Clark's stand-up material into the scripts, from California earthquakes and Oklahoma license plates to family matters--like the line about his mom putting a microwave in her bathroom "because you never know when you're gonna be sittin' on the toilet and need to heat up a muffin."

To watch clips of Boston Common go to

For a Website dedicated to Boston Common go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to
Date: Thu April 14, 2016 � Filesize: 67.5kb, 235.7kbDimensions: 1300 x 1310 �
Keywords: The Cast of Boston Common (Links Updated 7/24/18)


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