Amen (TV series)

Amen is an American sitcom produced by Carson Productions that aired on NBC from September 27, 1986 to May 11, 1991. Set in Sherman Hemsley's real-life hometown of Philadelphia, Amen stars Hemsley as the deacon of a church and was part of a wave of successful sitcoms on NBC in the 1980s and early 1990s which featured predominantly black casts – others included The Cosby Show, A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and 227.[1]

Amen (TV series - title card).jpg
Created byEd. Weinberger
Theme music composerAndraé Crouch
Opening theme"Shine on Me" by Vanessa Bell Armstrong
ComposerBruce Miller
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes110 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Syndication Studios
Original networkNBC
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 27, 1986 (1986-09-27) –
May 11, 1991 (1991-05-11)


The series revolves around Ernest Frye, a widower deacon of the First Community Church of Philadelphia, who also works as a lawyer. He is often dishonest and frequently gets into trouble with his many harebrained schemes. Frye has a single daughter named Thelma. Reuben Gregory is the new, young pastor of the church, and also the object of Thelma's affection. The two get married during season four, despite the fact that Gregory and Frye often butt heads.[2] In the series finale, Thelma gives birth to the couple's first child.[3]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Sherman Hemsley as Ernest Frye, a widowed deacon of the First Community Church in Philadelphia
  • Clifton Davis as Reuben Gregory, the new pastor of the Community Church and Thelma's love interest
  • Anna Maria Horsford as Thelma Frye Gregory, the Deacon's daughter and Reuben's eventual wife
  • Roz Ryan as Amelia Hetebrink, the church secretary, Casietta's sister (both were chatterers and known as "the Hetebrink sisters")
  • Jester Hairston as Rolly Forbes, the senior citizen, who often acts as the voice of reason
  • Barbara Montgomery as Casietta Hetebrink (1986–90), the church trustee, Amelia's sister
  • Elsa Raven as Inga (1988–90), the Deacon's Swedish housekeeper
  • Tony T. Johnson as Chris (1988-1991), a young boy, the Deacon's neighbor
  • Rosetta LeNoire as Leola Henderson Forbes (1987–89), Rolly's love interest and eventual wife
  • Montrose Hagins as Leola Henderson Forbes (1989–91), Rolly's wife
  • Bumper Robinson as Clarence (1990–91), a young street kid and protégé of Deacon Frye


The show often addresses issues of family and community in a humorous manner. Storylines include guest characters dealing with alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, suicide prevention, sexism, jealousy and other issues. These issues are dealt with in a non-preachy manner. Frye's legal career is the subject of many jokes and storylines. A few episodes deal with Frye defending the church or other main characters in legal battles.

Exterior shot locationEdit

During the 1980s, the stone Gothic walls of Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia appeared on prime time television as the fictional "First Community Church". Consequently, the Church became known to the nation as the "Amen Church".[4]



Amen was sold into syndication shortly after finishing its run on NBC and Universal Pictures' MCA Television unit, along with The Program Exchange, was awarded the syndication rights; it went on to have a prolonged run in off-network syndication that lasted into the 21st century. Syndication rights are now in the hands of Comcast through its NBCUniversal Television Distribution division.

The series has aired on BET, ION Television, TVOne, BET Her, TBS, Gospel Music Channel and local stations over the years.

Reruns currently[when?] air on Starz Encore Black. As of January 2, 2019, the show began airing weekdays on GetTV. The show left GetTV as of January 1, 2021. On January 3, 2022, Cozi TV started airing the show in its weekday lineup.


  1. ^ "A Look At New TV Season". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 41 (12): 145. October 1986. ISSN 0012-9011.
  2. ^ Collier, Aldore (February 5, 1990). "Clifton Davis and Anna Marie Horsford Tie Knot On TV's 'Amen'". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 77 (17): 60–61. ISSN 0021-5996.
  3. ^ ""Deliverance" Episode Ends Fifth Season of "Amen"". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 80 (4): 60. May 13, 1991. ISSN 0021-5996.
  4. ^ "Church History". Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  5. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  6. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  7. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved September 3, 2019.

External linksEdit