Fame the television series was created to capitalize on the popularity of the movie of the same name. The show was not very different from the movie, still focusing on the lives of the students who attended the High School for Performing Arts in New York City. The kids there still dreamed about achieving fame in their respective fields of music, dance, and acting, planning to live forever and light up the skies with their names.
Several of the characters even made the transition to the small screen; Gene Anthony Ray reprised his role as the talented dancer Leroy, but the anger and illiteracy that had been so key to his role in the film had all but disappeared in this version. Lee Curreri was back as Bruno, the inventive keyboardist, and Albert Hague returned as his mentor, Mr. Shorofsky. Playing a large role in the show was Debbie Allen as dance teacher Lydia Grant, who had been in only two scenes in the film. Joining Leroy and Bruno (despite the fact that she and they had all graduated high school in the movie) was Doris Schwartz. In stark contrast to the shy, insecure waif depicted in the film, in TV’s Fame, Doris was as an abrasive, confident actress who occasionally worried about her extra weight.
Additional characters from the original movie written into the series included talented singer/dancer Coco Hernandez, aspiring musician Montgomery MacNeil, and Mr. Sherwood, the English teacher. Also featured were cellist Julie Miller, comedian Danny Amatullo, acting teacher David Reardon and Bruno’s cab driver dad, Angelo Matelli. Like the film, the TV show dealt with the unique pressures these incredibly talented teenagers faced while somehow managing to feature impressive production numbers. One or two of these numbers were featured in each episode, all of them choreographed by Allen, and the music was occasionally composed by Curreri.
Three Fame albums were released, including a live recording of “The Kids From Fame,” a staged show the actors performed in England, where the series was enormously popular. Despite the international success, Fame would not live forever on NBC. After a year on the air, the network handed the kids their dancing papers. But the reviews were so good that the show’s co-producers, MGM and United Artists, made a deal to syndicate the show, which brought in new characters and let go of older ones.
Joining the cast were vice-principal Quentin Murloch, hunky dancer Christopher Donlong and singer Holly Laird. The actors playing Bruno, Doris and Coco eventually departed the series, leaving room for newer characters like Cleo Hewitt, Jesse Velasquez, Nicole Chapman, Reggie Higgins, Kate Riley, Jillian Beckett, Miltie Horowitz, and Mr. Seeger, the new drama teacher. The two constants of the show were the world’s oldest teenagers, Danny Amatullo and Leroy Johnson, who made Beverly Hills 90210’s Brandon Walsh and Dylan McKay look like they were still in grammar school. The series lasted for four more years in syndication.
Janet Jackson, Nia Peeples and Fran Drescher were among those who got their start on the show before they became famous, and even Madonna auditioned unsuccessfully for a role on the series.
Fame lived yet again in 1998 as a new syndicated series, Fame L.A., which followed the lives of struggling artists and actors in Los Angeles. This time, the writing in the sky was nobody’s name, but rather, “Sorry, you’re cancelled.” But take heart, you plucky kids: thanks to syndicated reruns, you really can live forever.
USA / NBC – MGM – Syndicated / x50m-e / Broadcast 7 January 1982 – 4 August 1983 on NBC and then 1983-1987 in first run syndication
Producers: William Blinn, Gerald I. Isenberg, Mel Swope, Stanley C. Rogow / Theme Music: Michael Gore, Dean Pitchford / Sung by Eric Gimpel
Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant
Albert Hague as Mr. Benjamin Shorofsky
Carlo Imperato as Danny Amatullo
Ann Nelson as Mrs. Gertrude Berg
Gene Anthony Ray as Leroy Johnson
Lee Curreri as Bruno Martelli (1982-84)
Erica Gimpel as Coco Hernandez (1982-83)
Carol Mayo Jenkins as Elizabeth Sherwood (1982-86)
Valerie Landsburg as Doris Rene Schwartz (1982-85)
Cynthia Gibb as Holly Laird (1983-86)
Bill Hufsey as Christopher Donlon (1983-87)
Jesse Borrego as Jesse Valesquez (1984-87)
Janet Jackson as Cleo Hewitt (1984-85)
Nia Peeples as Nicole Chapman (1984-87)
Graham Jarvis as Mr. Bob Dyrenforth (1985-87)
Olivia Barash as Maxie (1986-87)
Michael Cerveris as Ian Ware (1986-87)
Carrie Hamilton as Reggie Higgins (1986-87)
Page Hannah as Kate Riley (1986)
Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
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