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Poster: Mr. Television  (see this users gallery)

Grand aired from January until December 1990 on NBC.


Three families from different social levels clashed comically in this sendup of soap operas. Seventy year old Harris Weldon ( John Randolph), was the patriarch of the town of Grand, Pennsylvania, where his piano factory was the leading( though declining) industry. Those blasted Japanese imports! Rattling around the mansion with him were his idiot son Norris( Joel Murray), and accerbic butler Desmond( John Neville)-whom Harris couldn't let go , despite the insults, because he had once saved his life. Also working for Harris was housekeeper Janice ( ( Pamela Reed), a divorcee who lived in a trailor park with her overweight daughter Edda ( Sara Rue).


Between these extremes of wealth was Harris's niece Carol Anne( Bonnie Hunt), and her ambitious yuppie husband Tom ( Michael McKeon), who hoped to get a job with the old man's piano company. Wayne ( Andrew Lauer), was the grinning motorcycle cop who was trying to make time with Janice.


At the end of the spring run, a hurricane struck Grand and blew away the middle social layer ( Tom), along with Janice's trailer. It didn't help much. As a soap opera spoof, Grand was rather tame compared to the fabled Soap, and it expired before the end of the year before it's 3 episode finale had concluded.


The Executive Producers were Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner.



An Article from Time Magazine


Banging Away at the Piano Works
Monday, Jan. 29, 1990 By RICHARD ZOGLIN GRAND; NBC; Thursdays; 9:30 p.m. EST


Carol Anne, a spacey housewife with overactive hormones, grabs her husband one morning while he is shaving. "Guess who's ovulating," she chirps enticingly. Janice, a single mother who tells anyone who will listen that she hasn't had sex in three years, agrees to go out with a motorcycle cop who has been pursuing her. Just a casual dinner date at the local hotel, he promises. "Get a room," she says. Desmond, the longtime butler to a wealthy industrialist, makes a confession. Years ago, the boss's third wife found out about his philandering and used Desmond to take revenge. Guess how.


No TV executive has ever underestimated the power of sex to sell a show. But NBC's new sitcom Grand is a clanging symphony of suggestiveness. Set in the fictional town of Grand, Pa. -- whose chief industry, a piano factory, has fallen on hard times -- the series introduces a clutch of socially diverse - characters and stirs vigorously. Atop the class structure in this small-town version of Upstairs, Downstairs is the piano magnate Harris Weldon (John Randolph), attended by a faithful but acerbic manservant (John Neville). At the bottom is the chain-smoking Janice Pasetti (Pamela Reed), who lives in a trailer with her chubby daughter and works as a maid. Somewhere in between is Weldon's niece (Bonnie Hunt) and her upwardly mobile husband (Michael McKean), who has an idea for saving Weldon Piano Works (make golf clubs instead) and a yen for the maid.


Among the slew of network mid-season replacements, Grand is a good bet for hitdom. Its executive producers are Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, the team responsible for three of TV's five top-rated shows: Roseanne, The Cosby Show and A Different World. Despite a misfire last fall with Chicken Soup, the duo are as hot as TV producers get. CBS even talked to them in December about taking over the network's programming division. (The negotiations fell through.) Perhaps because of their clout, Grand has been given a near indestructible time period: the half-hour following Cheers on NBC's powerful Thursday-night schedule. That means Grand is probably in for the long haul -- good, bad or indifferent.


Mostly it's bad. Though Carsey and Werner are not exactly groundbreakers, their shows have brought a less frenetic, more naturalistic style to the sitcom genre. But Grand (created by Michael Leeson, who wrote The War of the Roses) is packed with plot twists and gag lines, most of them leeringly lame. ("Desmond, have you ever been intimate when the two of you knew you weren't in love?" "I've been intimate when the three of us knew we weren't in love.") The show strives to be a wacky send-up of soap operas, but it lacks the deadpan wit of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman or the bomb-throwing audacity of Soap.


Potential hit or not, Grand debunks any notion that Carsey and Werner have a magic touch. Their shows until now have been driven by stars with well- developed comic personas. (Chicken Soup failed because it never created a plausible milieu for its star. Jackie Mason as a social worker?) Grand depends instead on an ensemble cast, which seems adrift with characters thrown together as arbitrarily as passengers on a lifeboat. Joel Murray has some funny moments as old man Weldon's flaky son, and Reed gives off sexy sparks as the trailer-park mom. But they don't keep the boat from sinking.



A Review from The New York Times


Review/Television;
Small-Town Life in 'Grand,' NBC Comedy

By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: February 22, 1990


Somewhere inside the several layers of standard sitcom silliness in ''Grand,'' there is a sharp, bittersweet, often very funny comedy about life and manners in today's small-town America struggling to survive. The new NBC series, Thursdays at 9:30 P.M., is being produced by the Carsey-Werner Company (''The Cosby Show'') in association with Bill Cosby, who is billed as executive consultant. It was created by Michael Leeson (''Taxi''), who is also one of the executive producers.


A funny thing about television producers: enormous success often breeds a kind of contempt for what they are doing, and with their new clout they become obsessed with breaking away from established formulas. For example, after scoring grandly with series like ''All in the Family'' and ''Maude,'' Norman Lear decided to go all out in breaking new barriers with the wickedly satirical ''Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.'' Something of the same impulse can be detected in the decision of Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner to tackle a project like ''Grand.'' The effort is certainly admirable, but finding a unifying tone or style is proving elusive.


Set in the fictitious town of Grand, Pa., the weekly episodes try to encompass three different social layers of the community. At the bottom, there's Janice Pasetti (Pamela Reed), a single mother living in a trailer park with her overweight pubescent daughter, Edda (Sara Rue) and trying to earn a living as a housekeeper. That takes us to the middle, where Janice works for Carol Anne Smithson (Bonnie Hunt), her classmate back in high school, who recently married Tom (Michael McKean). Tom would like to work at the town piano factory owned by Carol Anne's 70-year-old lecherous uncle, Harris Weldon (John Randolph), which brings us to the top layer. Harris has a haughty manservant named Desmond (John Neville) and a strange son named Norris (Joel Murray). Having devised a new philosophy of not thinking, Norris goes on to discover that ''I finally know where I belong: on television.''


This is obviously a lot of territory to cover in a 22-minute playlet each week, and at times it seems as if three different shows are being performed simultaneously. Part of the Carol Anne-Tom formula is her anxiety to have a baby as her biological clock ticks on ominously. ''Guess who's ovulating,'' she says suggestively to Tom. ''The pain of birth,'' she contends, ''actually prepares you for the agony of being a parent.''


Tom is preoccupied with looking for a job. His meeting with Harris did not go well when he said that pianos were dinosaurs and advised the company to use its wood and metal stocks to make golf clubs. Meanwhile, the witheringly arch Desmond, son of ''Belvedere,'' thinks he is the real father of Norris, whom he finds totally incomprehensible. ''At least,'' sighs Desmond, ''he's not in a tower with a rifle.'' Norris, meanwhile, is in bed watching television and chuckling, ''That Pat Sajak, he kills me.''


Many of the passing wisecracks are nicely pointed, but the overall scattershot approach tends to be merely distracting. By far the most interesting character of the lot is Janice, and this is precisely because Ms. Reed's wonderfully modulated performance refuses to let the jokes turn the woman into a caricature. Her struggles are real. She tries to warn her daughter away from Dylan (Jackey Vinson), Tom's 12-year-old juvenile-deliquent son from a previous marriage, pointing out that ''There's a tendency among the women in our family to fall for cute swine.'' And she is still trying to understand why her high school sweetheart, Eddie, suddenly walked out on her.


Eddie (Ed Marinaro), once the school's football hero, appears in tonight's episode, talking about his therapy and affair with a New York psychiatrist. ''I'm not a bad guy,'' he now explains, ''I just did bad things.'' After an evening of his new-found psychobabble, Janice realizes the truth: ''We were kids, Eddie, who couldn't keep their hands off each other.'' The thrill is finally gone. Eddie drives off, listening to a self-help tape: ''I'm the best me I can be. There's no better me than me. I love me.'' Bored, he switches to another tape of a football crowd chanting ''Edd-ie, Edd-ie.'' He smiles happily.


It's a nicely realized, affecting moment. And it suggests that the potential of ''Grand'' has yet to be firmly grasped.


SOCIAL STRATA - GRAND, created by Michael Leeson; directed by Peter Hunt; music director, Tom Snow; production designer, Garvin Eddy; produced by Carol Gary and Henry Lange Jr. for the Carsey-Warner Company in association with Bill Cosby; Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Mr. Leeson, executive producers. On Thursday, NBC at 9:30 P.M.


WITH: Pamela Reed, Sara Rue, Michael McKean, Bonnie Hunt, John Neville, Joel Murray, John Randolph and Andrew Lauer.



An Article from USA TODAY
Published on December 13, 1990



TV COMMENTARY/BY JEFFERSON GRAHAM


A 'Grand' example of producers' power struggle


LOS ANGELES-How does a show ranked 27th-Grand-get canceled and replaced by a lowly No. 72 Wings?


It all comes down to power. The battle for the best time slot on TV-on NBC Thursday after No. 1 show Cheers-was a tug of war between hit-makers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner who produce The Cosby Show, Roseanne, A Different World and Grand vs Paramount Pictures which produces Cheers, Dear John and Wings.


NBC confirmed Wednesday that Grand is gone and Wings now on Fridays will air after Cheers in January.


Last spring Carsey-Werner's Grand premiered to bad reviews but decent ratings. After a 13 week run, Wings created by former Cheers writers/producers , arrived in that time slot to better ratings and reviews than Grand.


But Carsey-Werner was negotiating with NBC to bring The Cosby Show back for another season and it wanted Grand-which is produced with Bill Cosby-back on Thursday night at 9:30. Paramount wanted the same for Wings , but Cosby had more clout.


NBC executives tried to keep a straight face about Grand. Said Brandon Tartikoff last May, " I'd like to believe we would've renewed it if someone else's logo was on top of it."


But audiences turned out in droves.


Then, Cheers overtook Cosby as TV's top show. NBC obviously wants to get Cheers back next fall and to keep Paramount happy.


For viewers, this is clearly a case where NBC didn't base its decision on placing the best possible show in the best possible time slot. But good won out in the end.


Wings is deserving of a prominent spot on NBC's schedule. Grand should have died last season, and the whole episode-more interesting than any Grand show-is an embarrassing look at Greed, muscle-flexing and smart people at NBC caving in to mediocrity.


And now another nagging question faces NBC. How does Bill Cosby-still winning his time slot handily every Thursday-feel about all this?



Here is John Randolph's Obituary from The New York Times


John Randolph, 88, an Actor On Broadway and in the Movies

By BEN SISARIO
Published: February 28, 2004


John Randolph, a Tony Award-winning actor who was a veteran on Broadway and in the movies, died on Tuesday at his home in Hollywood, his daughter, Martha Randolph, said. He was 88.


Mr. Randolph, whose career stretched from Broadway in the 1930's to recent Hollywood films like ''You've Got Mail'' and ''A Price Above Rubies'' (both from 1998), won the Tony in 1987 for best featured actor in Neil Simon's ''Broadway Bound.''


Frequently cast as an authority figure, Mr. Randolph played the police chief in ''Serpico,'' Jack Nicholson's father in ''Prizzi's Honor'' and Tom Hanks's grandfather in ''You've Got Mail.'' He also occasionally played Roseanne Barr's father in the television show ''Roseanne.''


In ''Broadway Bound,'' the third play in Mr. Simon's autobiographical trilogy that also included ''Brighton Beach Memoirs'' and ''Biloxi Blues,'' Mr. Randolph played the frail yet cantankerous and argumentative grandfather. In a review in The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote that Mr. Randolph played the character -- an ''unreconstructed, if sometimes hypocritical Trotskyite'' -- with ''a matchless mixture of buried affection and shrewd comic timing.''


Born Emanuel Hirsch Cohen in the Bronx to immigrants from Romania, Mr. Randolph attended City College and studied in the Federal Theater Project and with Stella Adler. He changed his name to John Randolph in 1940.


He made his Broadway debut in ''Coriolanus'' in 1938 and was a regular presence there through the 1960's. His many credits on Broadway include ''Command Decision'' in 1947, William Inge's ''Come Back, Little Sheba'' in 1950 and ''Seagulls Over Sorrento'' in 1952. He was in the original Broadway productions of ''The Sound of Music'' and ''Paint Your Wagon.''


He married the actress Sarah Cunningham in Chicago in 1945, during the break between the matinee and evening performances of ''Native Son,'' which was directed and produced by Orson Welles. Ms. Cunningham died in 1986.


Mr. Randolph and his wife were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 but refused to testify. He remained blacklisted from film and television work until the mid-1960's, returning to work in the science-fiction film ''Seconds'' in 1966. That film, directed by John Frankenheimer, starred Rock Hudson and also featured Will Greer and Jeff Corey, who had also been blacklisted.


In addition to his daughter, of Honolulu, Mr. Randolph is survived by a son, Hal, of Los Angeles; a brother, Jerry Lippman, of Edgewater, N.J.; and a granddaughter.



Correction: March 3, 2004, Wednesday An obituary of the Broadway, television and film actor John Randolph on Saturday misspelled the surname of a fellow actor in the 1966 movie ''Seconds'' who was also blacklisted in the McCarthy era. He was Will Geer, not Greer.



To read some articles about Grand go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=buYcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C5gEAAAAIBAJ&dq=grand%20bonnie%20hunt&pg=4796%2C1550984 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=UEkgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=eaUEAAAAIBAJ&dq=grand%20bonnie%20hunt&pg=6532%2C3696017 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=L_4fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Bv8EAAAAIBAJ&dq=grand%20tv%20show&pg=3356%2C901763 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-ohRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FoEDAAAAIBAJ&dq=grand%20bonnie%20hunt&pg=2647%2C6600008 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kgZSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5zQNAAAAIBAJ&dq=grand%20bonnie%20hunt&pg=1019%2C3224537






For more on Grand go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_(TV_series)


For more on Grand go to https://web.archive.org/web/20021031233824/http://www.geocities.com/bonnietides/gallery/grand.htm


To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSWrEZ8q5ck
Date: Tue July 18, 2006 � Filesize: 52.6kb � Dimensions: 427 x 424 �
Keywords: Grand: Cast Photo (Links Updated 7/29/18)

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