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Maggie Winters aired from September 1998 until February 1999 on CBS.
An eternally optomistic wife, after being dumped by her dentist husband for his hygienist, returned to her hometown for a little emotional support in this single girl comedy. Having divorced the louse, Maggie ( Faith Ford) left Chicago and moved in with her dumpy, doting mom Estelle ( Shirley Knight), in Shelbyville, Indiana, determined to get back on her feet, both emotionally and financially. It was like opening a dusty school yearbook. She immediately connected with chattery high school pals Robin ( Jenny Robertson), now happily married to husband Jeff ( Robert Romanus) and with 3 kids, and Lisa ( Alex Karpp Horner), the bossy owner of a small boutique. Tom ( Brian Haley), the macho football star of their high school years, was now the bartender at Sonny's, where they hung out and were treated to stories of his glory days. Needing a job, Maggie went to work at Hanley's , a local department store, where her boss turned out to be none other than Rachel ( Clea Lewis), another high school classmate, who had resented Maggie's popularity then, and was ready to take it out on her now.
What was that about " you can't go home again"?
A Review from Variety
Posted: Sun., Sep. 27, 1998, 11:00pm PT
((SITCOM; CBS, WED. SEPT. 30, 8:30 P.M.))
By Ray Richmond
Filmed in Los Angeles by the Greenblatt Janollari Studio in association with CBS Prods. Executive producers, Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari, Kari Lizer; co-executive producer, Faith Ford; producer, Suzy Friendly; director, Michael Lessac; writer, Lizer; art director, David Sackeroff.
Maggie Winters.....Faith Ford Estelle Winters.....Shirley Knight Robin Foster.....Jenny Robertson Lisa Harte.....Alex Kapp Horner Tom Vanderhulst.....Brian Haley Rachel Tomlinson.....Clea Lewis Jeff Foster.....Robert Romanus Bobby.....Vincent Ventresca Henry Foster.....Hayden Tank Katie Foster.....Annabel Romanus Josh Foster.....Brendan & Kyle McRobert
Maggie Winters" (not to be confused with just plain "Maggie," a new comedy on Lifetime) is Faith Ford's coming-out party following a decade of playing Corky Sherwood on "Murphy Brown" --- a role that earned her five Emmy nominations. And Ford proves she can convincingly play someone besides Corky, centering a colorful ensemble with elan and spunk in a show that looks to hold some early promise.
That said, there are far too many cartoony exchanges in exec producer Kari Lizer's opening teleplay, particularly in the dialogue springing from the lips of Maggie's clueless, insensitive mother (Shirley Knight) and in the over-the-top depiction of a resentful nerdette played by "Ellen's" Clea Lewis. Somehow, though, Ford holds it all together with her sheer presence.
In the title role, Ford plays a young dynamo voted "most likely to succeed" in her Shelbyville, Ind., high school who is now coming up on her class's 15 -year reunion suddenly husbandless and jobless. Hubby, a dentist, just ran off with his hygienist, or the "tooth-cleaning trollop" as Maggie's indelicate ma Estelle puts it.
With her dreams in turnaround, Maggie mopes her way back home to recover in the bosom of her high school pals Robin (Jenny Robertson), voted "most likely to breed" --- she's right on schedule with a brood of rugrats --- and Lisa (Alex Kapp Horner), a caustic boutique owner still looking for love in all the wrong places.
Maggie is happy to pick up with the girls, but can't shake the feeling she's living in the past. Still, she's positively forward-thinking compared with Tom (Brian Haley), the onetime big-man-on-campus, who's now a bartender with his emotional development and memory bank forever stuck at age 17.
Yet it's Bobby (Vincent Ventresca) --- Maggie's high school flame --- whom Maggie is now aching for once again.
If the material here is a tad derivative of too many single-gal sitcoms ("Mary Tyler Moore-ose"), Ford rises above it thanks to her confidence and inherent likeability. She and her supporting crew are also having an awfully good time, a factor that shouldn't be underestimated as "Maggie Winters" prepares to do Wednesday night battle against "Dateline NBC," "Dawson's Creek" on the WB and Fox's "Beverly Hills, 90210."
The good news for CBS: "90210" appears to be fading. The bad news: "Maggie Winters'" lead-in, "The Nanny," may be fading faster. No one ever said life after "Murphy" would be easy. Tech credits are solid.
Camera, Steve Silver; editor, Pam Marshall; music, W.G. Snuffy Walden; sound, Bruce Peters; casting, Andrea Cohen. 30 MIN.
A Review From The New York Times
TV REVIEW/NEW SEASON; Starting All Over, With Mom
By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 30, 1998
In one of the most backward-looking, unpromising of mini-trends, television producers seem determined to prove that you can, too, go home again. WB's dismissable new drama, ''Hyperion Bay,'' sends a computer whiz and businessman back to his hometown in the Northwest. NBC has shipped Nathan Lane back to the family vineyard in ''Encore! Encore!'' and plans a midseason replacement called ''Providence,'' named after the hometown that lures a cosmetic surgeon back from Beverly Hills. And tonight there is CBS's pleasantly watchable but uninspired ''Maggie Winters,'' in which Faith Ford trades in her ditsy but likable Corky Sherwood character from ''Murphy Brown'' for the role of a floundering woman in her 30's fresh out of a bad marriage. Apparently never having held a job (how quaint!), Maggie returns to her small Indiana hometown to live with her mother and start over.
Ms. Ford brings her sharp comic timing and engaging presence to Maggie. But it is Shirley Knight as her sweet, slightly addled mother who is the show's brightest asset. As Maggie heads to a job interview at a department store, her mother says, ''I just know that you can turn even the most menial, thankless, minimum-wage job into something not to be embarrassed about.'' Ms. Knight delivers her lines with genuine concern, even when her meaning is miles away from her words, even when wondering why Maggie didn't take her cheating husband for all he was worth. You can see Ms. Ford and Ms. Knight struggling to save the show from its stale concept.
In one of those only-in-sitcom coincidences, Maggie has returned just in time for her 15th high school reunion. And though she has flashes of resistance to being dragged back to the past, it takes minutes for her to pick up a romance with her old boyfriend, Bobby (Vincent Ventresca), now the town veterinarian.
It takes less time for her to shriek and squeal with her old girlfriends, tedious characters. In the opening credits, one is a contented mother labeled ''Most Likely to Breed,'' the other a high-strung career woman called ''Most Likely to Snap.''
Clea Lewis (the bubble-headed Audrey on ''Ellen'') is wonderfully funny, though, as Rachel, who still sees Maggie as her high-school rival. ''You stole Bobby Campanella from me,'' she says when interviewing Maggie for the department store job as her assistant.
''You were dating Bobby?'' asks Maggie.
''No, but I like liked him and everybody knew it,'' Rachel whines, running a giant purple comb through her hair.
Such outlandish moments enliven the first episode and, along with its stars, make ''Maggie Winters'' one of the season's more congenial new series. That doesn't say much about the long-term prospects for overcoming its hokey premise.
CBS, tonight at 8:30
(Channel 2 in New York)
Created and written by Kari Lizer; Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari and Kari Lizer, executive producers; Faith Ford, co-executive producer; Stephen Nathan, consulting producer; Suzy Friendly, producer; Brian Chambers, co-producer; W. G. Snuffy Walden, composer. A production of the Greenblatt Janollari Studio in association with CBS Productions.
WITH: Faith Ford (Maggie Winters), Shirley Knight (Estelle Winters), Jenny Robertson (Robin Foster), Alex Kapp Horner (Lisa Harte), Brian Haley (Tom Vanderhulst), Clea Lewis (Rachel Tomlinson), Robert Romanus (Jeff Foster), Vincent Ventresca (Bobby), Hayden Tank (Henry Foster), Annabel Romanus (Katie Foster) and Brendan and Kyle McRobert (Josh Foster).
A 1998 Interview With Shirley Knight
GLOBE Magazine interview, September, 1998
Shirley Knight: My heartache over hubby's pool drowning
But Maggie Winters Helps me forget the sadness
Veteran actress Shirley Knight has thrown herself into her role as Faith Ford's mom in the new CBS series Maggie Winters to ease the pain over her husband's tragic death. Playwright John Hopkins, 67, fell at their new Woodland Hill, Calif. home, hit his head and was found face down in the swimming pool, Shirley tells GLOBE in an exclusive interview.
"Ever since John passed away, I felt like a part of me died," reveals the 61-old-year star who played Helen Hunt's mom in As Good As It Gets. I just didn't see a way out of the sadness and could barely go on, but luckily my three daughters and my acting career helped pull me through the rough tims. The week after John's death, I was on the Maggie Winters set rehearsing. The job helps me forget the sadness."
Shirley, who copped Oscar nominations for the 1960 flick The Dark at the Top of the Stairs and 1962's Sweet Bird of Youth, still has trouble talking about John's death in July.
"My daughter Sophie and I came home from shopping when I heard a terrible scream," says Shirley, her voice choked with emotion. "Sophie found John floating dead in the pool." Although both Shirley and Sophie frantically tried to revive him with mouth to mouth, it was too late. The mother and daughter were guilt-stricken, blaming themselves for not coming home sooner. Later they learned they probably couldn't have saved him anyway.
British-born John, who had suffered from Parkinson's a potentially deadly nearvous system disease, "hit his head on the side and died from severe head trauma", says Shirley. The death of the playwright, best known for writing the James Bond thriller Thunderball, is the second tragedy to plague the actress' otherwise happy marriage. Just months after the couple said "I do" in 1972, John's 9-year-old son from his first marriage was struck and killed by a car.
Now, Shirley will honor her beloved mate's last wish and bury him next to his son in Hadstock, a village outside Cambridge, England. Ironically, the last play John wrote for Shirley was called Losing Time, based on an abandoned wife's journey toward self-discovery. Now as she struggles to make it through each day without him, she carries on at work and finds comfort in her daughters Sophie, Justine Hopkins and Kaitlin Passer. She is also strenghtened by John's presence, which surrounds her in their new home.
"This house was our dream- the gardens, the study, even the swimming pool," says Shirley. "Even though I can't see John when I wake up in the morning, I can always feel him here with me." MARLISE KAST and PETE TRUJILLO
The article is accompanied by a black and white photo of Shirley and her late husband John, and Shirley hugging Faith Ford- Shirley was shattered by hubby John's death, but hugs costar Faith Ford are healing her heartache.
An Article from CNN
'Maggie Winters' brings Faith Ford back to small-town roots
Web posted on: Thursday, October 01, 1998 1:27:03 PM
From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- She's cute, blonde, perky and was voted "most likely to succeed" in high school -- but today, Maggie Winters' life is a mess. The discovery that her husband is cheating on her sends her running back home to Shelbyville, Indiana, where she moves in with her mom and picks up her high school friendships where they left off.
Faith Ford plays the title role in CBS's new sitcom, "Maggie Winters," a woman she thinks of as someone whose life has become a daily high school reunion. Although her own life doesn't currently display such emotional upheaval as Winters' does, she says she can relate to the character. Like Winters, she is getting a fresh start in her career with this show, which she picked up immediately after her "Murphy Brown" curtain call.
Also like Winters, she was pretty and popular in her high school years, active in the drama club and a "Teen Magazine" model search finalist. And she's a little bit of a homebody, a tendency she finds herself both indulging and curbing as she takes up this new role.
"I love to be home, I love to cook, I love to do all of those things," she says. "I had this in the back of my head, you know you might not want to take too much of a break, because you might like it too much, and when you do decide you want to go back it'll be oh-my-gosh!"
Formerly of 'Ellen'
Clea Lewis, best known as the squeaky-voiced sidekick to Ellen DeGeneres in the now-defunct "Ellen," plays Maggie Winters' new boss as well as her clique's groupie -- she knows everyone, but nobody in Maggie's group remembers her. To prepare for the part, Lewis did some hometown homework, pulling out the yearbook from her large public high school in Cleveland.
"There were actually faces that I had never seen before," she recalls, which made her wonder, "What were these girls' lives about?"
Shirley Knight, who played Helen Hunt's mother in "As Good As It Gets," plays a similar role here as her TV daughter returns to the fold. Born on the fifth of July, she too is a small-town type who made good in Hollywood.
"They had a Shirley Knight Day in Kansas," she says. "There was a parade and a barbecue, and they gave me the keys to the city."
Remembering hometown roots
Returning to their respective hometowns reminds all three women of the jocks, cheerleaders, snobs and outcasts that peopled their high schools. Hometown hero or not, Knight says, "the people who either intimidated me or didn't like me (in high school) are still that way."
Wright remembers running into a girl at a hometown coffee shop. "I felt nervous," she says. "Then I realized, she's a laywer!"
Ford had similar impressions of her grown-up classmates. "They were doctors and lawyers, and I thought they were going to be the same as they were in high school," she says.
If the premise clicks with viewers as it did with the cast, this sitcom may break through the clutter of the new TV season's offerings, and prove you can go home again. "Maggie Winters" premiered on CBS Wednesday night.
To watch clips of Maggie Winters go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=maggie+winters+tv+show
For more on Maggie Winters go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Winters
For a Page dedicated to Faith Ford go to http://www.faithford.com/
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Keywords: Maggie Winters Cast (Links Updated 7/31/18)