Blossom (TV series)

Genre Sitcom[1]
Created by Don Reo[2]
Starring Mayim Bialik[3]
Joey Lawrence
Michael Stoyanov
Jenna von Oÿ[4]
David Lascher
Portia Dawson
Barnard Hughes
Finola Hughes
Courtney Chase
Ted Wass
Theme music composer Stephen Geyer
Mike Post
Opening theme "My Opinionation" performed by Dr. John (seasons 1-4)
Composer(s) Frank Denson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 114 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Don Reo
Paul Junger Witt
Tony Thomas
Gene Reynolds
David Amico
Judith D. Allison (seasons 4–5)
Rob LaZebnik (season 4)
Allan Katz (season 5)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–25 minutes
Production company(s) Impact Zone Productions
Witt/Thomas Productions
Touchstone Television
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television (formerly Buena Vista Television)
Original network NBC
Audio format Stereo
Original release July 5, 1990 (1990-07-05)(pilot preview)
January 3, 1991 (1991-01-03) – May 22, 1995 (1995-05-22)
(as a regular series)[5]

Blossom is an American sitcom broadcast for five seasons on NBC. It debuted as a pilot preview on July 5, 1990, and premiered as a mid-season replacement on January 3, 1991, and aired until May 22, 1995. Don Reo created the series, which starred Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo, a teenager living with her father and two older brothers.[2][6][7] It was produced by Reo's Impact Zone Productions and Witt/Thomas Productions in association with Touchstone Television.


The series focuses on the life of Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik), an Italian American teenager. It began with Blossom's mother having left the family to pursue her own life and career, and focused on the family's attempts to adjust. Blossom's father, Nick, an overprotective, somewhat conservative session musician who was frequently between gigs and tours, was played by Ted Wass. Her older brother Tony (Michael Stoyanov) was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who eventually became a paramedic. Joey (Joey Lawrence), the middle brother (called Donnie in the pilot), was a stereotypical "dumb jock", known for the drawn-out delivery of his catchphrase, "Whoa!" Her mother, Maddy Russo, was played by Melissa Manchester.

Blossom's best friend Six Lemeure (Jenna von Oÿ) also played a significant part in her life. Six, an especially fast talker, was best known for her tendency to ramble. Blossom also frequently received advice from celebrities in fantasy scenes, such as Mr. T, Hugh Hefner, Phylicia Rashad, David Spade, ALF, and Will Smith. Blossom became a fashion icon for young girls, following the introduction of the floppy hat to television, which held such a presence that the hat was personified in later episodes by actress Brittany Lacour.


Main characters

Supporting characters

Series development


In 1988, series creator Don Reo had begun a producing partnership with Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, in which the latter two were bringing his screenplays to television under the established Witt/Thomas Productions nameplate. The genesis of the project that eventually became Blossom occurred soon after Reo's association with Witt and Thomas began, and coincided with another series they were bringing to CBS in 1989, Heartland. The project that would be Blossom had two sources of inspiration. The creation process was born when Reo attended a family party thrown by his long-time friend Dion DiMucci, the lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts. Reo regarded DiMucci as being a "hip, with-it musician father", giving calm, sage, non-judgmental advice to his children and loving them unconditionally. During the party, DiMucci demonstrated and reinforced the interraction with his children, and inspired Reo to him to his family dynamic for a pilot in which the "cool" father would be a highlight.

However, just prior to attending the DiMucci party, Reo had toyed with the idea of writing a pilot that depicted a wise-beyond-his-years, introspective teenage boy, modeled closely after protagonist Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.[10] He decided to include both the hip father and Holden Caulfield-esque boy in the new pilot, with the boy eventually becoming the lead character. With Witt and Thomas' support of the storyline, Reo pitched the project to NBC in 1989 under the title Richie. Reo had the utmost faith in NBC agreeing to the format as it was, and believed that the unique characters would transform family sitcoms if it became a series. NBC liked the screenplay, but ordered changes to the format. Network executives told Reo and Witt/Thomas that they wanted to see the lead character go from being the Holden Caulfield-like Richie to that of his older sister, Blossom, and that the girl should have Richie's character traits instead. At the same time, NBC felt that the combination of such an emotionally intuitive child and a super-chic father was too radical to put on the air, so they urged Reo and Witt/Thomas to give Blossom and her siblings nuclear, conservative parents.

In the Blossom series finale, the titular character records a new entry into her video diary, in which she discusses the changes happening in her life post-high school. As she also examines how much she has grown since her first video diary entry at the beginning of the series, Blossom describes herself as "a teenage Holden Caulfield". Reo wrote the finale with series producer Judith D. Allison, and thus decided to make an allusion to the inspiration of the lead character.

Pilot episode

At the time Mayim Bialik signed on for the pilot, she had recently worked on another sitcom project for Fox, entitled Molloy. Both NBC, which had bought the Blossom pilot, and Fox were planning to broadcast both Bialik projects in 1990, with either of the two set to continue as a regular series beyond its preview/tryout run, depending on which was more successful. The pilot episode of Blossom was taped in the spring of 1990, and was the first of the projects to air, with NBC broadcasting the pilot as a special on July 5, 1990. Four weeks later, Fox commenced a seven-episode tryout run for Molloy, whose episodes had been produced in 1989, prior to Bialik signing on for the NBC pilot. Molloy faced low ratings, and Fox canceled the series after the seven-episode order completed. NBC executives, who had been pleased with the ratings of the Bialik pilot special, ordered Blossom as a midseason replacement for January 1991.

In the pilot, Blossom Russo lived with both her parents, in a more conservative, nuclear household. Her father was played by Richard Masur, and was named Terry Russo; Barrie Youngfellow (fresh off It's a Living, another Witt/Thomas production) played Blossom's mother, named Barbara Russo. All other cast members were present in the pilot, all with their familiar character names, except for Joey Lawrence's character whose name was Donny Russo. Anthony was going through his first drug/alcohol rehab period (in which Terry remarked that "he had a serious problem--he missed all of 1989"), and had his own separate scene with Blossom in the kitchen, late at night, as he gave her sage anecdotes about their lives. Neither of Blossom's parents had musical careers in the pilot, with Terry working as an accountant and Barbara, working as a finance consultant. (Coincidentally, Youngfellow's It's a Living co-star Gail Edwards would later be a recurring guest star during the series' run, as Six's mother, Sharon LeMeure).

The original subject of divorce, was carried out differently after the pilot, involved Blossom suspecting that her parents were having marriage troubles.[11] Blossom confides in Six about the fights and discussions she overheard them having, which is followed by Terry and Barbara's announcement over dinner that they were going to meet with an attorney friend. Blossom's fears continue to grow until her parents reveal that they were only having their wills drawn up. Notable guest stars in the pilot included Debra Sandlund as Terry's secretary and Justin Whalin as William Zimmerman, a boy at school who wishes to go steady with Blossom.

The original theme music in the pilot was Bobby Brown's 1988 hit single "My Prerogative", which was featured over the first season opening credits format of Blossom dancing in her bedroom, as she taped herself on home video. Between production of the pilot and regular series, the producers hired Dr. John (who had sung a cover of the standard "Accentuate the Positive" as the theme for Bialik's other series, Molloy) to perform the replacement theme, "My Opinionation". The title sequence was re-shot so that Bialik's dancing was more in sync with "My Opinionation". In syndicated reruns of the Blossom pilot, "My Opinionation" is used for the opening sequence, with Bialik's dancing (originally to "My Prerogative") noticeably out-of-sync with the song.

Soon after NBC picked up Blossom as a regular series, Reo successfully convinced programming chief Brandon Tartikoff and his executives to allow the lead character to have the chic, divorced musician father he had originally envisioned for the project. Masur and Youngfellow were dismissed and Witt and Thomas then convinced Ted Wass, who had previously starred on their 1970s sitcom Soap, to portray Blossom's single dad Nick Russo, on Wass' condition that he could also direct numerous episodes. Mayim Bialik claimed to have had influence in Wass' casting, as she enjoyed auditioning with him the most out of other actors who were trying out when the role was being recast. Earlier, before the pilot was shot, Bialik had single-handedly been responsible for Michael Stoyanov joining the project, after she had seen him as a guest star on sister series Empty Nest. Not only did Bialik enjoy watching Stoyanov, but she also felt they shared a strong physical resemblance (both have prominent Russian facial features), and that they would be believable as brother and sister.


Five seasons of Blossom were produced, with a total of 114 episodes.

Bill Bixby became a frequent director on the series in its third season, a role he continued for several episodes into the fourth, despite his ongoing battle with prostate cancer. On November 15, 1993, shortly after learning that his illness was terminal, Bixby collapsed on the Blossom set and was hospitalized. He died six days later.[12]

Opening sequences

The theme song was "My Opinionation" by Mike Post and Steve Geyer and performed by recording artist Dr. John.[1] The opening sequence featured Blossom filming herself in her bedroom on home video dancing, performing aerobics, making silly faces, pretending to talk on the phone, etc.

Season two switched exclusively to a sequence of dance moves by the title character, this time on film and in front of a pastel blue/pink background. Blossom's outfit changed in each dancing scene, and a variety of dance moves were performed, from belly dancing to voguing. The second season added Barnard Hughes to the show and opening credits, under the "With" heading, preceding Ted Wass.

In the third season, the dancing concept was expanded upon in the opening sequence. Core cast members Lawrence, Stoyanov, von Oÿ and Wass joined Bialik as she danced. They each appeared one at a time as their credit was shown around Blossom's dancing. With Barnard Hughes relegated to recurring status on the show, his name no longer appeared in the opening credits, but Portia Dawson and David Lascher's names were added (despite their not being physically present in the sequence). This version of the intro lasted through the end of season four. Also beginning in season three, most segments of the show opened and closed with the first frame of a scene being frozen in a multi-colored watercolor effect. The watercolor stills lasted through the end of the series.

The fifth and final season dropped a full-fledged intro, instead displaying the Blossom logo over the watercolor effect that opened and closed segments, while a short piano remix of the first few notes of "My Opinionation" played to open the show. The opening credits ran over the prologue of the episode. During the 1994-95 season, NBC began running its credits in the squeeze-screen format.[6]


Because Blossom aired immediately after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on NBC for a period, NBC cross-promoted the shows on two occasions. Will Smith appeared in I'm With The Band as himself under his rap stage name, The Fresh Prince, and later that season, Karyn Parsons made an appearance on the show in Wake Up Little Suzy as her Fresh Prince character, Hilary Banks.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 14 July 5, 1990 April 29, 1991
2 24 September 16, 1991 May 4, 1992
3 26 August 10, 1992 May 17, 1993
4 28 September 19, 1993 May 23, 1994
5 22 September 26, 1994 May 22, 1995

Nielsen ratings

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Rank Avg. viewers
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Monday 8:30 p.m. 13 January 3, 1991 (1991-01-03) TBD April 29, 1991 (1991-04-29) TBD 1990–91 44 11.284
2 24 September 16, 1991 (1991-09-16) TBD May 4, 1992 (1992-05-04) TBD 1991–92 34 12.075
3 26 August 10, 1992 (1992-08-10) TBD May 17, 1993 (1993-05-17) TBD 1992–93 27 12.569
4 28 September 19, 1993 (1993-09-19) TBD May 23, 1994 (1994-05-23) TBD 1993–94 32 12.520
5 22 September 26, 1994 (1994-09-26) TBD May 22, 1995 (1995-05-22) TBD 1994–95 55 9.922


Reruns of Blossom were syndicated for several years in the 1990s, including on Superstation WGN. After its syndication run ended, the series would not return to U.S. television until 2014, when the Hub Network acquired broadcast rights to the show. Hub Network stopped carrying the show on October 12, 2014, when it was rebranded as Discovery Family. On April 2, 2016, the series returned to Discovery Family.

DVD releases

On January 27, 2009, Shout! Factory (under license from rights-holders ABC and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) released Seasons 1 & 2 of Blossom on DVD in Region 1. The 6-disc boxset includes all-new interviews with cast members, the original pilot episode, featurettes and audio commentaries.[13]

Mill Creek Entertainment released a 10 episode best-of set entitled Blossom - 10 Very Special Episodes on October 12, 2010. The single disc release features episodes from the first 2 seasons.[14]

DVD name Ep # Release date
Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2 38 January 27, 2009

In popular culture

See also


  1. 1 2 Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (October 17, 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 155. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  2. 1 2 3 Bernstein, Sharon (April 1, 1991). "'Blossom': Teen's Slant on Problem of Addiction". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  3. Herman, Valli (September 25, 1991). "Tv-watching Teens Turn To 'Blossom' For Fashion Inspiration". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  4. Patterson, Jean. "Young 'Blossom' Fans Soon Can Purchase Her Fashions". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  5. "BBC - Comedy Guide - Blossom". Archived from the original on November 9, 2004. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  6. 1 2 Johnson, Ted (May 22, 1995). "'Blossom' Goes Off to College as Series Concludes Tonight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  7. 1 2 Weinstein, Steve (February 15, 1993). "Against All the Odds, 'Blossom' Is Blooming". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  8. Gonzalez, Sandra (July 12, 2011). "Melissa Joan Hart 'Explains It All' to EW, including how 'Melissa & Joey' is racier than you think". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  9. Mendoza, N.F. (March 13, 1994). "Samaria Graham: Is she what 'Blossom' needs to stay fresh?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  10. Hentges, Sarah (January 26, 2009). "Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2". PopMatters. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  11. Paskin, Willa (July 28, 2014). "Full Bloom". Slate. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  12. Oliver, Myrna (November 23, 1993). "Bill Bixby, Star of TV's 'Incredible Hulk,' Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  13. "Shout! Factory Sends Over a Very Special Press Release for Blossom — Seasons 1&2" (Press release). TV Shows on DVD. December 10, 2008. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  14. "Blossom - Mill Creek's 'TV Flashbacks' Release Brings You '10 Very Special Episodes'" (Press release). TV Shows on DVD. September 9, 2010. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  15. "Couples Sheldon and Amy Like - Big Bang Theory". Yesterday's Cheese. October 29, 2012. Retrieved 2014-09-08.

External links

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