Sunday Dinner (TV series)

Sunday Dinner
Genre Sitcom
Created by Norman Lear
Starring Robert Loggia
Teri Hatcher
Marian Mercer
Patrick Breen
Martha Gehman
Kari Lizer
Shiri Appleby
Opening theme "Love Begins at Home" by Kim Carnes
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Act III Television
Columbia Pictures Television
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original network CBS
Original release June 2 – July 7, 1991

Sunday Dinner is an American sitcom which aired on CBS from June 2, 1991 until July 7, 1991. The series was produced by Norman Lear, and marked his return to television producing after an absence of several years. Lear's current wife Lyn Davis Lear served as co-producer on the series, which was the first official Lear show to be made under his latest production marquee Act III Television.


The series starred Robert Loggia as Ben Benedict, a widowed 50-something businessman in Long Island who falls in love with a 26-year-old lawyer by the name of TT Fagori (Teri Hatcher). Being true to Lear fashion, the situation of Ben and TT's age difference was an issue in itself, but the show also tackled other environmental and social issues in the way that his earlier shows (All in the Family, Maude, etc.) did, with a dose of spirituality. Ben's kids, who were all around TT's age, resented her involvement with their father, except for beloved son Kenneth (Patrick Breen), a real estate agent on the fast track, who seemed to root them on.

Others in the cast included Marian Mercer as Ben's sister Martha Benedict, who had been living with Ben's family since the death of his wife. Ben's daughters were airheaded Diana (Kari Lizer) and forthright intellectual Vicky (Martha Gehman), who was back living at home after her divorce, along with her cute young daughter Rachel (Shiri Appleby).

In every episode, some stressful confrontation or incident between TT and the Benedicts would occur. These situations were usually the result of Diana and Vicky's feeble attempts to undermine Ben and TT's romance. They refused to get past the surface image of TT being "just another bimbo" who, despite being in a well-paying profession herself, may have only been after an older man for his money. At every situation's climax, TT would retreat to a private corner and address "The Chief", engaging in a one-sided talk with God about her issues. Lear insisted on making TT a devout Catholic as well as an environmentalist, to further reflect the study of spirituality up against politics and American family values in the series. In fact, the format for Sunday Dinner was based upon Lear's marriage to his third wife Lyn, who was considerably younger than he.


Time slot

CBS was sure that Lear's comeback would be successful, and in the process moved summer reruns of Murder, She Wrote to 9 p.m. in order to air Sunday Dinner on Sunday nights at 8/7c, alongside reruns of Lear's classic All in the Family (at 8:30/7:30c). After two weeks, however, both programs swapped time slots. Neither the press or scheduling helped; the show only lasted six weeks.

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