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The Gregory Hines Show aired from September 1997 until March 1998 on CBS.
Widower Ben Stevenson ( Gregory Hines), had been father, mother, and buddy to his young son Matty( Brandon Hammond), since his wife's passing 18 months ago. Ben worked as a book editor for Oak Park Press, a small Chicago publishing house run by a formerly married couple, Alex and Nicole ( Mark Tymchyshym, Robin Riker), who never passed on an opportunity to put each other down. His doddering father James ( Bill Cobbs), and his pushy brother Carl( Wendell Pierce), offered him well-intentioned advice on everything, including dating with mixed results. Also providing encouragement was Angela ( Judith Shelton), Ben's administrative assistant. Episodes focused both on Ben's work and social life and on his loving, and evolving relationship with his son. Matty's social life was definately more active than his father's. lol
A Review From The New York Times
NEW TV SEASON IN REVIEW
By WILL JOYNER
Published: September 15, 1997
A Father-And-Son Sitcom
About Love and Loss
'The Gregory Hines Show'
CBS, tonight at 8:30, then Friday nights at 9
At its outset, ''The Gregory Hines Show,'' about an upscale widower rearing an adolescent boy in Chicago, looks like a ragged rehearsal for a production that everyone knows will eventually be a success. Mr. Hines has never starred in a situation comedy before, but he's clearly a natural at it. His timing is perfect on good punch lines, and he easily saves bad ones. He can be funny with a simple shift of his signature wide eyes.
As Ben Stevenson, an editor and publisher at Homecourt Press and the father of 12-year-old Matty (Brandon Hammond), he's suave and endearing. And he can turn on a dime and do the sort of serious interlude that's not overly sentimental. Now the writers need to get their act together.
Admittedly, the show's premise -- two soul mates trying to get on with their lives after the loss of the woman they loved completely -- is a difficult one to make comically coherent right off the bat. In a preview tonight (the show will be seen in its regular slot on Friday), the best moments are not the broadly contrived sketches in which Ben jousts with his concerned colleagues or tentatively ventures into the dating stream but the quieter exchanges between father and son at home.
Brandon Hammond, who is already familiar to viewers from the movie ''Space Jam'' and will be even more so after the release of ''Soul Food'' next week, has a knowing, understated manner that fits well with Mr. Hines's. As Ben gets ready for his first date in 18 years, Matty says, ''I'm O.K. with it, but if you're not, I can maybe pretend to freak out a little bit, so you can pretend to stay home on account of me.''
The two seem equally comfortable wrestling after a hockey game or talking about a first kiss. (Predictably, they even dance well together.) And they have a strong family support system in the persons of Ben's brother, Carl (Wendell Pierce), a no-nonsense lawyer, and the men's father, James (Bill Cobbs), a philosopher who likes his nap.
In fact, the primary problem with ''The Gregory Hines Show'' at this point is that the guy stuff, which is consistently genuine, makes anything to do with a walking-and-talking woman seem silly. If each episode is going to document Ben and Matty's brushes with the opposite sex, then someone had better come up with substantial people for them to brush up against. WILL JOYNER
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 12, 1997
A DIFFERENT WHIRL
GREGORY HINES MAY NEED A LITTLE FANCY FOOTWORK TO STAND OUT AMID A CROWDED BLOCK OF KIDDIE SITCOMS
By Dan Snierson
THE GREGORY HINES SHOW CBS, 9-9:30 PM STARTS SEPT. 15
Of all the questions Gregory Hines has fielded about his new family comedy, The Gregory Hines Show, perhaps the screwiest came at a July press conference: ''Will you be wearing that earring in the show?''
While the room groaned at the absurd inquiry -- which the values-minded reporter kept repeating until Hines retorted, ''Is that my mother?!?'' -- one couldn't help but wonder if there was yet another hole in Hines' head. After all, why would a distinguished Broadway performer and world-renowned tap dancer with solid movie credits (Running Scared, Waiting to Exhale) want to enter the fatuous sitcom world of Family Matters and Step by Step? ''I wasn't getting a lot of the roles I wanted in film, so I thought, 'Let me try TV,''' says Hines. ''I had originally wanted to do something more adult oriented, but this show had an adult sensibility -- and family values. We're not going to shy away from any issues relevant to parents and children in the '90s.''
Granted, the premise is nothing bold: Hines plays Ben Stevenson, a newly widowed book publisher who juggles career and love while raising his 12-year-old boy, Matty. But thanks to sophisticated Cosby Show-esque humor and a charmingly believable relationship between Hines and screen son Brandon Hammond, Sir Taps-A-Lot just might pull off this career switcheroo in style. ''I think we've got a tempest in a teapot,'' confides CBS Television president Leslie Moonves. ''Gregory pops right off the screen with genuineness and joie de vivre. He was born to be a television star.''
If so, it was prime time's longest pregnancy. Hines and his manager (and the show's exec producer) Fran Saperstein spent seven years fleshing out ideas. ''I didn't want to embarrass my family and friends and have them say, 'Geez, why is he doing that show?''' says Hines, 51, ''even if it was successful.'' Recalls Saperstein: ''We'd been through it at different networks and different creative groups, trying to find the right show. You'd be shocked at how many people pitched the same concept to us over and over again: 'OK, he's got a dance studio on the third floor and he lives on the second floor...'''
Frustrated and depressed, Hines dialed an old friend who knew a thing or two about TV: Bill Cosby. ''He never said, 'Forget it, chuck this one,''' says Hines. ''He told me to keep pushing in every way I could, which was invaluable. He's been a hero.'' Hines, who lives in New York City (when not working in L.A.) with second wife Pam, also found inspiration in his kids, Zach, 14, Jessica, 25, and Daria, 26. ''They're always pitching story ideas,'' he chuckles. ''Zach says, 'Why don't you do one about the time I told you I didn't have any homework, and you went to the theater with my best friend's mother, and when the curtain went up, she said, 'Is Zach studying for the big science test tomorrow?' So I said, 'Zach, that's a horrible memory. I don't want to get into that.' 'Well, how about the time I made a doody?'''
Now that Hines is armed with his crack support team and encouraging early word from critics, perhaps the only thing he needs is a time slot that's more, well, mature; he's sandwiched between the Bronson Pinchot-as-alien sitcom Meego and Step by Step. "Gregory does have an adult appeal," Moonves says. "But if you like Meego, you'll like this, and if you don't like Meego, you'll like this." Adds Saperstein: "We're not concerned. If it was on Saturday morning at 7, it'd find an audience."
Of course, there's always one way to ensure a decent crowd: Care to break out those tap shoes, Gregory? "Actually, in one episode, I'm going to dream that I'm a dancer and I challenge [Broadway sensation] Savion Glover to a tap duel," he whispers with a wink. "And then I beat him, which is really dreaming."
A Review From Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 19, 1997
THE OL' SOFT SHOW
AS A HUG-HAPPY SINGLE DAD, GREGORY HINES TAPS INTO AN ENGAGINGLY MODERN BRAND OF TV PARENTHOOD
By Ken Tucker
Perhaps because he's done so little TV, actor/dancer Gregory Hines doesn't seem to have any preconceptions of how a dad in a sitcom is supposed to behave. The result, in The Gregory Hines Show (CBS, Fridays, 9-9:30 p.m.), is a different sort of father. Neither Bill Cosby-grumpy nor Ozzie Nelson-doofy, Hines' Ben Stevenson is an enthusiastic, seriously silly, touchy-feely parent to his son, Matty (the appealing Brandon Hammond). Ben kisses his 12-year-old boy as often as he can pin the kid down, and when he hugs Matty, you get the feeling that he's trying to pass his own life force into the lad.
Ben is a widower just re-entering the dating market, and some of the show will revolve around that awkwardness. More promising is the occasional presence of Ben's father, James, a stiff-limbed sourpuss (Bill Cobbs). Between them, James, Ben, and Matty offer three generations of African-American men with personalities guaranteed to both clash and mesh in funny and perhaps even enlightening ways. So far, The Gregory Hines Show doesn't have many big laughs, and whenever it leaves the Stevenson apartment to visit Ben's mundane-seeming job as a Chicago book publisher, the show becomes seriously generic. But you know what? That almost doesn't matter. There are plenty of places to go on TV for big yuks; many fewer places to see familial love portrayed with such bracing sincerity and spirit. B
A Review from variety
September 21, 1997 12:00AM PT
The Gregory Hines Show
What would seem at first blush to be a truly wretched idea --- sticking Gregory Hines, master tap dancer and Broadway star, in a family sitcom --- looks instead to be a stroke of modest genius based on the pilot of his namesake series. Brimming with quirky characters, snappy repartee and mounds of heart, Hines' series has all the earmarks of a gleaming diamond in the Friday night rough. Hines, now 51 but looking 10 years younger, stars as Ben Stevenson, a book publisher widowed 18 months before. His wife's death left him alone to raise their 12-year-old son, Matty (Brandon Hammond of "Space Jam" and "Waiting to Exhale"), and now he's just beginning to muster some nerve about re-entering the (gasp) dating scene.
By Ray Richmond
Ben stumbles through the opener with anything but a tap dancer’s nimble feet, meeting a couple of Ms. Wrongs (one married, one nuts) while watching his son get his first whiff of amorous female attention. Surrounding the two males are a pushy brother (Wendell Pierce), a loveably doddering dad (Bill Cobbs) and some offbeat (read: zany) co-workers (Mark Tymchyshyn, Robin Riker and Judith Shelton).
Those work associates are notable in a couple of respects. For one, they intermingle hilariously, particularly the hyperkinetic Alex (Tymchyshyn) and his caustic ex-wife, Nicole (Riker). The brassy secretary, Angela (Shelton), also fires off some nifty zingers.
But what further distinguishes these officemates is the color of their skin: they’re white, in an otherwise “black” sitcom, a nod to color-blindness rare in primetime and worthy of praise primarily because the show is utterly devoid of racial and cultural stereotypes.
Opening script, penned by executive producers Michael Katlin and Nat Bernstein, fairly bursts with witty, character-driven dialogue and allows Hines’ untapped comic side to emerge almost effortlessly. His strength is in playing the straight man, and director Andrew Weyman lets it flow naturally.
While “The Gregory Hines Show” plays off of the fall season’s most overdone new gambit — single dad traversing a world full of land mines called women and children — Hines is such a genuine, adorable presence that audiences can’t help but feel drawn to him. And his relationship with screen son Hammond is sweet enough to promote hypoglycemia.
Whether Hines’ show has sufficient strength to compete effectively with ABC’s Friday comedy lineup (Monday showing is only for the pilot) is difficult to predict. But clearly, with its aged but popular ABC castoffs (“Family Matters,” “Step by Step”), CBS finally has reason for some optimism with its own version of T.G.I.F. (Thank Gregory It’s Friday).
Tech credits are all terrif. Show enters its regular 9 p.m. Friday timeslot on Sept. 19.
The Gregory Hines Show
CBS, Mon. SEPT. 15, 8:30 p.m.
Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Katlin and Bernstein Productions, Darric Productions and CBS Productions in association with Columbia TriStar TV. Executive producers, Mitchel Katlin, Nat Bernstein, Fran Saperstein; co-executive producers, Sy Dukane, Denise Moss, Elaine Ronson; producer, Patricia Fass Palmer; co-producer, Bob Delegall; associate producer, Barbara Brace; writers, Katlin, Bernstein; director, Andrew D. Weyman.
Crew: Camera, Donald A. Morgan; production designer, Scott Heineman; editor, Jay Scherberth; sound, Christopher Banniger; music, Rick Cutler; casting, Robert Ulrich, Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer. 30 MIN.
Cast: Cast: Gregory Hines, Wendell Pierce, Robin Riker, Brandon Hammond, Mark Tymchyshyn, Judith Shelton, Bill Cobbs, Angelique Parry. Guests: Penny Johnson, Wayne Pere, Dee Freeman.
An Article from the LA Times
Gregory Hines Taps Into Right Sitcom
September 21, 1997|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Tony Award-winning actor, singer and tap dancer extraordinaire Gregory Hines is having no problem adjusting to life on a sitcom.
"It's a breeze," the 51-year-old Hines says enthusiastically.
Hines, who starred on Broadway in the musicals "Jelly's Last Jam" and "Sophisticated Ladies" and in such films as "Running Scared" and "Waiting to Exhale," headlines "The Gregory Hines Show,' which premiered last week on CBS.
In the comedy, which airs Fridays as part of the network's new family night, Hines plays publisher Ben Stevenson, a charming widower who finds himself entering the social scene at the same time as his 12-year-old son (Brandon Hammond).
"Some people on the set, they'll say to me, 'Are you holding up under the grind?' " Hines relates. "Grind? Eight shows a week [on Broadway] is a serious run. I had to gear my whole life around the show. [Doing a sitcom] is an unheard-of notion in show business: It's a steady pay check. I get a week off every month, a three-month vacation every year. Whoever had a job like that in show business?"
Hines also is enjoying the "payoff" of doing a sitcom--he gets to rehearse all week and then perform in front of an audience. "That's my audience," he says. "My roots are on the live stage."
Like his TV character, the carefree Hines has charm to spare. Holding court in his small trailer at Culver Studios on a hot, muggy afternoon, Hines treats his visitor as if they've been best friends for years. He's especially happy, he says, because his 14-year-old son Zach is due for a visit on the set later that afternoon.
"It was very exciting," says Hines, who is married to theatrical producer Pamela Koslow. "A couple of days ago, when my son came on the set, he wanted to meet Brandon. I talk so much about my son, Brandon wanted to meet Zach. As soon as they got together, they started talking about videos and movies and girls. I could see that they are contemporaries in a sense."
The Hines clan, which also includes a grown daughter and stepdaughter and a grandson, is based in New York. For the first year, Dad will fly home one weekend a month and for his one-week hiatuses. The family will pay a monthly weekend visit here.
"If I see we're definitely going to be picked up for a second season, I will start looking for schools for Zach [here]," he says.
It took seven years for Hines to find the right sitcom vehicle. He had deals over the years with NBC, Fox and ABC, but "I was never able to come up with anything good," he says.
Hines wasn't having much more luck at CBS, where he was developing a comedy in which he would have played a lounge singer. "It was OK, but it would have been a real push to get it to even go to pilot," he says.
He was beginning to get discouraged when Les Moonves, CBS Entertainment president, sent him a script for a sitcom called "Square One."
"As soon as I started reading it, I began to get nervous," Hines recalls. "I'm thinking, 'The next page is going to fall apart or the next page is going to get corny.' It was so good. Within six weeks or seven weeks, we were shooting the pilot. It came together very quickly."
The premise, he acknowledges, is "like 'The Courtship of Eddie's Father' in that I am a single father with a young son. But beyond that," he adds, "it's right for the millennium because it's a very sophisticated, mature 12-year-old and a father who is actually learning from him. I'm learning from him as parents will do if they just listen. I have no skills with women. And [my son] is starting to be attracted to girls. So we're in the same boat."
Very little was altered from the original concept once Hines was aboard. One change was the addition of Ben's father, played by Bill Cobbs.
"I love the fact that we have my father in my show, which is based on my father [entertainer Maurice Hines]," he says. "I said I want a father character in there and I want Bill Cobbs to play him. I had done a pilot presentation piece about a year ago for CBS and Bill played my father."
Fans of Hines the hoofer needn't worry that he has hung up his dancing shoes because of the series. "I am going to have a dream sequence where I dream I am a great tap dancer and I challenge Savion Glover [of "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk"] to a tap duel and win. In a sitcom you can take that kind of liberty. I am calling all my favors in. I am going to try to get everybody [on the show] from Mikhail Baryshnikov to Jeff Goldblum."
He's especially proud that his character doesn't have all the answers, especially when it comes to women. "So often in films, African American men are portrayed as always being so cool. They know exactly what to say to get what they want from a woman. They are just so skilled. I feel so thrilled to be playing an African American man who is not like that."
In fact, Ben Stevenson has a lot in common with Hines' role as the kind, loving Marvin, the widower who fell in love with an overweight woman in "Waiting to Exhale."
"In these times, I was happy to be the black man who said sweet things to a black woman. I was happy to get that opportunity," Hines says of that film.
"Waiting to Exhale" has turned him into a sex symbol with the plus-size set. "Listen," he says with a smile, "I can be in an airport and a 300-pound black woman will come over to me and say, 'You know, the apartment next door to mine is vacant.' It's so sweet. I love it!"
"The Gregory Hines Show' airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on CBS.
An Article from The AP
Originally created 10/17/97
Hines wants show to have a clear family message
By Associated Press
Some shows deserve more of a chance than others.
And, plainly, The Gregory Hines Show on CBS is one of them.
What's not to like about Gregory Hines? The guy is charming, easygoing, multitalented, a Tony award-winning dancer-actor whose credits run from Broadway to Hollywood. He has been a hit on stage (Jelly's Last Jam) and on the big screen (Waiting To Exhale).
But The Gregory Hines Show (9 tonight on WRDW-TV, Channel 12), which marks Mr. Hines' series debut, may be his most broadly appealing work yet.
Given the opportunity.
Mr. Hines plays Ben Stevenson, a widower and father of a 12-year-old son, who's tentatively stepping out into the social world a year and a half after the death of his wife.
Many critics have compared the show with the classic 1960s sitcom, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, with a few others finding parallels to The Cosby Show.
Mr. Hines, speaking over the phone from New York, was characteristically gracious about both analogies.
"I am completely flattered," he said.
Mr. Hines, 52, has never seen The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
"I must have been watching Gunsmoke," he says.
He did, however, tune in faithfully to Father Knows Best. And it obviously had some impact on the actor. It might be the '90s, but Mr. Hines has some old-fashioned goals for his show, ideas and ideals that would make Jim Anderson proud.
"I want to show a loving, nuclear relationship," Mr. Hines says simply.
He's not going to get pedantic about it, though. The lessons, if there are any, will come naturally.
"The shows that had the most impact on me always were the ones that entertained me and, at the same time, informed me. I don't want to be beaten over the head by it. ... I like it when I'm just being entertained and I'm enjoying myself and every now and then I think, `Gee, I didn't know that,' and, `Wow, isn't that interesting?' That's what I want to do."
And, in fact, he's doing it, with the help of a seamless cast that includes Bill Cobbs as Ben's father, James, and Wendell Pierce as his brother, Carl, but most notably 13-year-old Brandon Hammond (the young Michael Jordan in Space Jam) as Ben's son, Matty.
For a look at Gregory Hines' obituary go to https://web.archive.org/web/20040901122617/http://www.kfcplainfield.com/tv/obit_gregoryhines.html
To read an article about The Gregory Hines Show go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2m1XAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fPEDAAAAIBAJ&dq=the%20gregory%20hines%20show&pg=3333%2C6475190
To watch clips of The Gregory Hines Show go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+Gregory+Hines+Show
For more on The Gregory Hines Show go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gregory_Hines_Show
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Keywords: The Gregory Hines Show Cast (Links Updated 7/29/18)