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Mr. Belvedere title card, from seasons 3–6
Lisa A. Bannick
Don Corvan (1987-1990; 56 episodes)
Noam Pitlik (1985-1987; 44 episodes)
Tony Sheehan (1985, 1987-1988 9 episodes)
Michael Zinberg (1987; 3 episodes)
Alan Bergmann (1987; 2 episodes)
Gerren Keith (1987; 1 episode)
Howard Storm (1987; 1 episode)
Tony Singletary (1987; 1 episode)
Rob Stone (1990; 1 episode, as "co-director")
|Theme music composer||
|Opening theme||"According to Our New Arrivals" performed by Leon Redbone|
Lionel Newman (music supervision, seasons 1 & 2 only)
Ben Lanzarone (additional music, seasons 3-6)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||117 (10 unaired)|
Edward J. Brennan
|Location(s)||ABC Television Center|
21–22 minutes (Syndication)
Lazy B/F.O.B. Productions
20th Century Fox Television
|Picture format||1.33 : 1 (Full screen)|
|Original run||March 15, 1985 (1985-03-15) – July 8, 1990 (1990-07-08)|
Mr. Belvedere is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from March 15, 1985, until July 8, 1990. The series was based on the Lynn Aloysius Belvedere character created by Gwen Davenport for her 1947 novel Belvedere, which was later adapted into the 1948 film Sitting Pretty. The sitcom stars Christopher Hewett in the title role, who takes a job with an American family headed by George Owens, played by Bob Uecker.
The character of Lynn Belvedere was originally created by Gwen Davenport in her 1947 novel, Belvedere. The following year, the title character was portrayed by Clifton Webb in the film Sitting Pretty. Webb's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Sitting Pretty told the story of an arrogant genius who answers an employment ad for a baby sitter for three bratty kids. He accepts such employment because he is secretly writing a novel about a community filled with gossips and busybodies. Webb reprised the role in two more movies, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951).
As early as the 1950s, attempts were made to adapt the character to television, with three pilots made during the '50s and '60s, including a 1965 version starring Victor Buono in the title role. All efforts, however, were unsuccessful until 1985, when ABC was finally able to get the show up and running with British actor Christopher Hewett playing Lynn Belvedere.
The posh butler, Lynn Belvedere, struggles to adapt to the Owens household. The breadwinner, George (Bob Uecker), is a sportswriter. His wife Marsha (Ilene Graff) is attending law school. At the show's start, oldest son Kevin (Rob Stone) is a senior in high school, daughter Heather (Tracy Wells) is a freshman, and Wesley (Brice Beckham) is in elementary school. Over the course of the series, George becomes a sportscaster, Marsha graduates from law school and starts a career as a lawyer, Kevin leaves for college and gets his own apartment, and Heather moves up in high school.
Several episodes dealt with Belvedere and Wesley, with whom he shares a close, if often adversarial, relationship. In one of many very special episodes, one of Wesley's classmates contracts HIV via Factor VIII, like Ryan White. When all of Wesley's classmates shun him for still associating with his friend (due to the belief at the time of stereotypes of AIDS being mainly associated with drug addicts and gay men), Belvedere is there for him and the child, and he helps the other students befriend the boy. In another episode, Wesley confronts a scout leader who had touched him inappropriately. Mr. Belvedere serves as a mentor of sorts to Wesley any time he has trouble, and also helps the other children when needed.
Each episode ended with Mr. Belvedere writing in his journal about the day with the Owens family, ending with him either giving a witty comment off the record or continuing in some odd activity he is engaged in along with his writing.
A frequent gag on the show involved Heather's best friend Angela Shostakovich (Michele Matheson), often mispronouncing Mr. Belvedere's name (with such variations as "Mr. Bumpersticker" and "Mr. Bellpepper"). Another frequent gag involved Mr. Belvedere making fun of Wesley's best friend Miles Knobnoster (Casey Ellison) because of his orthodontic headgear. Yet another recurring gag featured George always trying to be initiated into the Happy Guys of Pittsburgh, a local men's club. Wesley's highly acrimonious relationship with the never-seen next door neighbors, the Hufnagels, was another recurring plot element.
In the two-part series finale, Mr. Belvedere marries and moves to Africa.
 Main characters
- Christopher Hewett as Mr. Lynn Belvedere
- Bob Uecker as George Owens
- Ilene Graff as Marsha Owens
- Rob Stone as Kevin Owens
- Tracy Wells as Heather Owens
- Brice Beckham as Wesley T. Owens
 Recurring characters
- Miles Knobnoster, Wesley's best friend, who is always being made fun of because of his orthodontic headgear. Played by Casey Ellison
- Angela Shostakovich, Heather's best friend, who is always mispronouncing Mr. Belvedere's name. Played by Michele Matheson
- Burt Hammond, bombastic and overly talkative chief spokesman and membership director for the Happy Guys of Pittsburgh, a local men's club; he is always trying to initiate George as a member. Played by Raleigh Bond. The "Stakeout" episode from season 5 was his final appearance. Bond died months after that episode was taped.
- Carl Butlam, Mr. Hammond's obsequious assistant. Played by Jack Dodson.
- Wendy, Kevin's female and geeky high school friend. Played by Winifred Freedman.
- Robert Goulet, legendary singer and actor. Occasionally sings duets with Marsha. George finds him to be irritating. Played by Goulet himself.
- Skip Hollings, George's co-anchor at the TV station. Played by Norman Bartold. Prior to the character's first appearance in season 4, Bartold played as a hotel clerk in a season 3 episode.
- Carl, Kevin's best friend. Played by Willie Garson.
- Tami, one of George's co-anchors at the TV station. Played by Patti Yasutake and in some episodes by Maggie Han.
- Marjorie, Junior High student, and one of Wesley's love interests. Appeared during the final season. Played by Laura Mooney. Prior to season 6, Mooney appeared as "Roberta" in a season 4 episode.
 Theme song
The song was originally composed in 1984 for a rejected TV pilot called Help (which was later resurrected as Marblehead Manor for NBC in 1987). It starred a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards as an inept member of an eccentric couple's household staff, who were perpetually conniving to pull the wool over the eyes of the mansions' newly hired head butler. With a minor lyrical re-write, it quickly became the theme song to Mr. Belvedere.
In 2007, a never-before-heard full-length version of the theme was released by Portnoy on his CD, Destiny.
For syndicated reruns, a shorter 30 second version was recorded, in order to accompany the shorter opening for the syndicated airings. The original theme song was 55 seconds long. The 55 second version has been restored on Shout! Factory's DVD releases.
There were three different ending themes during the show's original run:
- An instrumental version of the theme song was used as the ending theme for Seasons 1 and 2.
- A Dixieland rendition of the ending theme was used in Season 3.
- A jazzier rendition of the ending theme was used in Seasons 4–6.
 Ratings and cancellation
The series did not rate in the Top 30 shows in any of its six seasons, but it did have a relatively solid ratings base, and often won its time slot.
Its first season (1985) was exempt from the Nielsen ratings as it aired too few episodes before the end of April to be counted.
In its second season (1985-86), the show ranked #45 with a 14.8 rating.
In season four (1987-88), the show won its Friday night time slot over Dallas, but still fell to #64 and an 11.5 rating for the year.
In season five (1988-89), the show rose to a 12.2 rating and #47 for the season.
However, in the sixth and final season (1989-90), the show was moved to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday nights, which led to a steep ratings decline from its old Friday night slot. Mr. Belvedere fell to a 6.3 rating, merely ranking #93 out of 106 shows. In its final airing before being shelved (December 30, 1989), the series ranked #70 out of 83 shows. The two-part finale, which aired on July 1 and July 8, 1990, ranked #59 and #37, respectively, out of the 86 shows airing those weeks.
 Broadcast history
 Network history
- March 15, 1985 – April 26, 1985 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
- August 16, 1985 – March 6, 1987 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
- May 1, 1987 – September 11, 1987 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
- October 30, 1987 – January 8, 1988 (Friday nights; 9:00 P.M.)
- January 15, 1988 – February 12, 1988 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
- March 4, 1988 – July 28, 1989 (Friday nights; 9:00 P.M.)
- August 4, 1989 – September 1, 1989 (Friday nights; 8:30 P.M.)
- September 9, 1989 – December 30, 1989 (Saturday nights; 8:00 P.M.)
- July 1 and 8, 1990 (Sunday nights; 8:30 P.M.); the 2-part series finale
 Syndication history
The show first went into reruns on ABC's daily daytime schedule from September 7, 1987 to January 15, 1988, (replacing the short-lived game show Bargain Hunters). The daytime reruns consisted entirely of seasons 1–3.
On September 11, 1989 (around the same time the show entered its final season), and continuing in an on-again, off-again manner until 1996, it was seen in local syndication on Fox affiliates. Along with the addition of seasons 4–6, ten previously unaired episodes, two from season 5 and eight from season 6, were also added to the syndication package.
The series was also seen on the FOX satellite channel Foxnet in the early 2000s.
It also aired in Canada on CTS from 2002–2004. Certain episodes were not shown due to their perceived offensive nature.
On December 17, 2009, American Life Network showed both of the shows' Christmas-themed episodes, as part of their month-long block of Christmas-themed episodes from TV shows owned by 20th Century Fox Television ("Christmas Story" from season 4 and "A Happy Guy's Christmas" from season 6). This was the first time in a little over a decade that the show has been seen in US syndication.
 DVD releases
Shout! Factory (under license from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) has released the first four seasons of Mr. Belvedere on DVD in Region 1. Currently, Shout! Factory doesn't have the rights to seasons 5 & 6, and is still in long-drawn-out negotiations to acquire those remaining episodes (46 in total).
All episodes released so far are presented as they originally aired, but without the commercial bumpers, which were also intact in syndication.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date||Special Features|
|Seasons One & Two||29||March 17, 2009|
|Season Three||22||September 8, 2009||
|Season Four||20||January 19, 2010||
 Awards and nominations
|1985||Primetime Emmy Award||Won||Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Series||
George Spiro Dibie
(For episode "Stranger in the Night")
|1986||Young Artist Awards||Nominated||Best New Television Series – Comedy or Drama||
|Best Young Supporting Actor in a New Television Series||Brice Beckham|
|Won||Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series||Tracy Wells|
|1987||Nominated||Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress, Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series||Tracy Wells|
|Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor Starring in a Television Comedy or Drama Series||Brice Beckham|
|1988||Nominated||Best Family Comedy Series||
|Best Young Female Superstar in Television||Tracy Wells|
|Best Young Male Superstar in Television||Brice Beckham|
|1989||Nominated||Best Young Actress Guest Starring in a Drama or Comedy Series||
(For episode "Pigskin")
|Best Young Actress – Starring in a Television Comedy Series||Tracy Wells|
|Best Young Actor – Starring in a Television Comedy Series||Brice Beckham|
|Best Family Television Series||
|2004||TV Land Award||Nominated||Best Broadcast Butler||Christopher Hewett|
- ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 903. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
- ^ http://garyportnoy.com
- ^ Albany Herald: April 27, 1985
- ^ Modesto Bee: April 23, 1986
- ^ USA Today: April 22, 1987
- ^ Philadelphia Inquirer: May 16, 1987
- ^ Los Angeles Times: December 20, 1987
- ^ The Miami News: April 20, 1988
- ^ Deseret News: April 26, 1989
- ^ Ratings for the week of December 25, 1989
- ^ Ratings for the week of June 25, 1990
- ^ Ratings for the week of July 2, 1990
- ^ http://blog.sitcomsonline.com/2011/09/familynet-fall-2011-schedule-part-ii.html
- ^ http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/prod.aspx?pfid=5256982
- ^ http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/prod.aspx?pfid=5257041
- ^ http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/prod.aspx?pfid=5257099
- ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1603993428/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&qid=1280962918&sr=1-1&condition=new
- ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001NPK5BU/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new
- ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B002ACKBTG/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new
- ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/articles/holdup.cfm#Belvedere
- Mr. Belvedere at the Internet Movie Database
- Mr. Belvedere at TV.com
- Mr. Belvedere at epguides.com
- Mr. Belvedere fansite
- Mr. Belvedere on FishAndSpaghetti.com A tournament designed to determine TV's best housekeeper featuring Mr. Belvedere