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1984 TV Guide Fall Preview: ABC

Recently, I acquired a large selection of TV Guide Fall Preview issues from the 80’s and 90’s.  As time rolls along, I am going to delve deep into each of these issues for some nostalgic looks at life in those years.  Hey, it’s what we do around here, right?  We reminisce and talk about the good ole days of the 80’s and 90’s.

Anyway, each issue is bursting with new shows for the fall season…some that became iconic, and others that you have no recollection of.  There is also the yearly line-up of mini-series to reflect on, as well as one of everyone’s favorite topics around here, the cartoons.  Add to all of the that the retro ads for products from the era, and we’ve got ourselves quite a trip down memory lane.

There is so much content packed into each issue, that there is no way I could do it justice in a single article, so I’ve decided to break things up a bit.  I’m going to break it all down into 5 different posts.  We’ll look at the new shows for ABC in one article, and follow that up with looks at CBS, NBC, the Cartoons, and the mini-series.

I’m starting with 1984 kind of at random.  I should really be starting with 1980, but somehow I picked the 1984 issue up first and spent a night scanning all the pages in and getting caught up in my own memories, so this is where we are starting.  So here we go, let’s take a look at the new shows for the 1984 fall season from ABC.

ABC Network Logo

Who's the Boss

Who’s the Boss

We’ve hit a winner right off the bat!  Who’s the Boss is one of the more fondly remembered sitcoms of the 80’s, and was quiet the starring vehicle for Tony Danza.  It was also the show that made Alyssa Milano famous.  If you’re reading this, you’ve likely seen the show and know what it’s about.  For those who haven’t, the basic underlying premise is one of those shows where the show gives you hope that the two leads will end up together romantically.  Featuring Danza as a widower, father, and former baseball player who takes the unlikey job of live-in house keeper for Angela, a divorced woman.  Just in case you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you and reveal if Tony and Angela end up together or not.  Regardless, the show was a big hit for ABC, and stayed on their station for a whopping 196 episodes over 8 seasons.

Read more about Who’s the Boss


Hawaiian Heat

Hawaiian Heat

I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing anything about this show’s existence until flipping through this TV guide, which is surprising, because this is a show that seems like it would have been right up my old man’s alley.  It starred Robert Ginty and Jeff McCracken as buddy cops on the Hawaii Metro Police squad.  It sounds like your typical fair, with the guys getting the bad guy in the end with lot’s of gratuitous shots of females and Hawaiian beauty.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the show was a hit, and ended up being cancelled mid-season.  It only ran for 11 episodes.  Robert Ginty went onto do guest star spots on several shows, including Falcon Crest, Matlock, Father Dowling Mysteries, and Baywatch Nights.  Jeff McCracken on the other hand seems to have went on to be quiet successful as the Producer on the movie Quiz Show in 1994, as well as the Producers of both Dinosaurs AND Boy Meets World.  I’m impressed.  Or at least I was until I watched the opening of the Hawaiian Heat TV show…


People Do the Craziest Things

Here is another show I don’t remember ever hearing of.  It seems that the premise is some kind of practical joke show ala Candid Camera.  It was hosted by Burt Convy who went on to host the game show Super Password for 5 years immediately after this.  I can only find info on one episode of this “series” airing.


Glitter TV Show


Yet another show I had never heard of, and with good reason I guess, since it only lasted 14 episodes in it’s lone season on the air.  It looks like this could be somewhat of a comedy judging by the write up.  It is set in the offices of a magazine called Glitter, which seems like it could be a fore runner to modern day mags like US Weekly.

Glitter TV Series




Finally, we are back to a show I actually remember, and one that was a hit.  Airwolf came on the heels of the hit tv movie Blue Thunder, and I guess ABC executives took notice of the success the movie had when they came up with this series.  It ended up running on network TV for 3 seasons, before moving to USA Network, where a 4th season was added.

I seem to remember this airing on CBS, and not ABC, but TV Guide lists ABC as it’s parent station, so we’ll go with that.  If this is wrong, I’m sure I will be corrected in the comments.

Read more about Airwolf


Call to Glory

Call to Glory

And we’re right back into “not knowing what the heck this show is territory”.  While I’d never heard of this show, it actually looks quite promising with Craig T. Nelson in the lead role, and the fact that it is a period piece set in the 60’s makes it my kind of show!  If I had seen it while it was first one, I wouldn’t have appreciated it without explosions, or talking cars, and whatnot, but these days, I think I’m gonna have to track down episodes and this this show a look.  There doesn’t seem to be many to look for though, since it only made it through 1 season with 22 episodes.


Foul-ups, Bleeps, and Blunders

Foul-Ups, Bleeps, & Blunders

ABC must have thought hidden camera, practical joke type shows were going to take off and the big hit of the season since this is the second such show hitting their line-up this season.  This one however gets the edge in my book since in features Don Rickles in a lead role, and he is one of my favorite people to watch.  Seems unfortunate that it only ran 2 episodes.


Finder of Lost Loves

Finder of Lost Loves

Aaron Spelling hit a lot of home runs when it came to producing television shows, but this one seems to be more of a pop-fly to center field for the third out of the inning.  Starring Tony Franciosa, it features a man that goes around trying to trace down and locate lost loved ones and reuniting old flames.  Doesn’t seem to have the same appeal as something like Airwolf now does it?  I must not have been the only one to think so since it only lasted 12 episodes.


Three's a Crowd

Three’s a Crowd

Coming off the success of Three’s Company, comes this little gem.  John Ritter reprises his role as Jack Tripper, but now instead of sharing an apartment with 2 single women, Tripper has found his true love and is looking to get married.  The problem is, her father, who also happens to own part of Jack’s restaurant, doesn’t like Jack.

This seems like a show I could have gotten into if it were well written, but maybe the bloom was off the Three’s Company rose by this point, because it ended it’s run after only 22 episodes.


Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls

Prime-time soap opera?  Check.  Beautiful actresses?  Check.  Lots of hype around the show?  Check.  Lot’s of viewers?  Uh, no.

From reading the last little bit of the write-up for Paper Dolls, one would assume that ABC had high hopes for this series, exclaiming that, “The public is fascinated with the private lives of the wealthy and successful, and this series is out to prove it.”  Maybe they were, but those people were already watching Dallas and/or Dynasty, and may not have had time to add a third guilty pleasure tv series to the mix.  The show only lasted 14 episodes.  But it’s a shame really, since it starred Nicolette Sheridan, Morgan Fairchild, and Lloyd Bridges.  The cast seemed good enough to carry it, but I guess the writing wasn’t.




Lindsay Wagner wasn’t able to score a hit with this show like she did with The Bionic Woman.  Jessie only lasted 11 episodes, and left 4 unaired episodes sitting on the shelf.  It seems like even ABC wasn’t so sure about it, because they wanted the city setting changed after the pilot aired.  Could network interference played a hand in the show’s non-success?


Street Hawk

Street Hawk

Now we’ve come to the last entry from ABC in this issue, and what a show to end on!  It was like Knight Rider, but with a motorcycle!  How cool is that?  Well, not cool enough for me to have gotten to see this the first time around, but I’ve heard about it for years, and am now definitely going to look up episodes of it and give it a shot.

A motorcycle with a .50 caliber machine gun, a blue particle beam, computer targeting systems, the ability to go 300 m.p.h., and a former cop who used it to fight crime in the city?  How did this show not last more than 13 episodes?  Can anyone out there reading this tell me how this show didn’t find success?  Maybe it was the fact it was a mid-season replacement and didn’t debut until January?  I don’t know, but it seems like a crime to not get more of this kind of show.

Read more about Street Hawk

Well, that wraps up the first part of out look back at the TV Guide Fall Preview from 1984.  ABC had a couple of shows that went on to lasting fame, but not as many as the juggernaut NBC did in 1984, and slightly less than CBS did too.  Next time out, we’ll cover CBS.  Keep your eye’s open for that one, and in the mean time, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Don’t be stingy with the comments!  Tell us which of these shows you remember, which you liked, which you didn’t like, which ones you wish you could have seen!  Let’s bring up those old memories and discuss.


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squidbee Posted on Jul 13, 2017 at 05:31 PM

I remember watching reruns of Three's A Crowd and the other Three's Company spin-off "The Ropers" during my many bouts with insomnia, and I have to say that The Ropers, while not a good show, was at least better than Three's a Crowd.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 13, 2017 at 02:24 PM

You know, after watching the Paper Dolls intro, I am simply stunned that anybody whose acting name was "Dack Rambo" would have any trouble becoming a superstar. Seriously. LOL

Hoju Koolander Posted on Jul 01, 2017 at 04:55 AM

I am totally blown away by the revelation that Three's Company had a sequel series. I can't believe I missed that.

Robert Ginty aka "The Paper Chase Guy" was also the lead in a film featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 called Warrior of the Lost World.

I wonder if StreetHawk was just too expensive to produce like The Flash TV series from 1990. It got decent ratings, they just couldn't justify the cost to keep making it.

mickyarber Posted on Jun 23, 2017 at 02:51 PM

thanks for all the great feedback guys. I love these old tv guides, and they are a wealth of article content.

Caps 2.0 Posted on Jun 23, 2017 at 02:25 PM

I've spoken to Morgan Fairchild's publicist about an interview, and while she was too busy for an interview at the time I sent the message, I was told that she did thank me for the interest. I'm planning on sending out another interview request to Morgan's representative in August, and if she does agree to an interview, I will be asking about "Paper Dolls".

OldSchool80s Posted on Jun 22, 2017 at 02:26 PM

Love this and look forward to more especially from the 80s.

Sad that I don't even remember half of the shows you listed. Remember Three's a Crowd being disappointing especially since I absolutely love Three's Company. I do remember the hype around Paper Dolls, but don't remember watching it.

This is some fun stuff. Can't wait for more.

NLogan Posted on Jun 21, 2017 at 06:46 PM

I watched plenty of Who's the Boss?, saw Airwolf in person at an air show, and had a knock off cheap motorcycle toy that I used to pretend was street hawk.

Lazlo Posted on Jun 21, 2017 at 01:23 PM

I remember an episode of Call To Glory where one of the characters took part in the March on Washington, but dont recall much else. I do remember many of the other shows, some which I've seen and some I've only heard of. Makes me miss the '80s!!!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jun 21, 2017 at 10:54 AM

Yes! I am very much looking forward to every article on this subject. I love old TV Guides and I enjoy your breakdowns of each show here.

So many shows here that I've never heard of. Like you've mentioned, some of these really do have the star power, and on paper they should have been successes. But that isn't a guaranteed formula. The viewing public can be a fickle bunch.

I don't think anybody was ready to see Jack Tripper in a marriage setting. And maybe people weren't as keen on high-tech motorcycles like they were talking Trans Ams. But some of these really seemed to have a good premise. I'd like to be able to catch some episodes of Paper Dolls, Call to Glory, and Hawaiian Heat. Craig T. Nelson, Elisabeth Shue, AND Keenan Wynn?! Yes please.

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