Berrenger's is an American primetime television soap opera created by Diana Gould that aired on NBC in 1985. The series revolved around the Berrenger family, a New York dynasty which owned the glamorous department store which bore their name.
|Created by||Diana Gould|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (1 unaired)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Roundelay Productions|
|Original release||January 5 –|
March 16, 1985
Following in the tradition of Dynasty and Dallas, Berrenger's played up to the familiar motifs of 1980s soap operas – glamorous and beautiful characters, using money and power in games of love, business and betrayal.
The series was cancelled after 13 one-hour episodes had been produced. In North America, only 11 of the 13 episodes were screened. Because of studio television output deals it was screened in the UK and Australia, and has sustained a modest cult following.
Produced in the mid-1980s, Berrenger's bore all the hallmarks of the genre and the era - a lavish central set (in this case, the department store's main floor) and an expensive wardrobe budget, which dressed the cast, particularly the women, in current designer fashions.
The series was made by Lorimar, who were producing Dallas, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. The marketing material which accompanied the launch of the series sold it with the line "... elegant clothes... beautiful people ... a powerful clan ...".
Press advertisements said: "Step through the etched-glass, art deco doors of this opulent retailer, where anything and everything can be bought or sold - for the right price - Berrenger's."
The principal focus of the series was the Berrenger family, the owners of the Manhattan department store that bore their name. The family was headed by widowed (and somewhat devious) patriarch Simon Berrenger (Sam Wanamaker).
Paul, Simon's eldest son and heir, was unhappily married to nasty New York socialite Gloria Brahms Berrenger (Andrea Marcovicci) but he was also romantically involved with the department store's competent merchandising vice-president, Shane Bradley (Yvette Mimieux).
Gloria, who was quite the schemer in her own right and was only married to Paul because of his money and the Berrenger name, had her father in-law, Simon, on her side. He felt that Paul and Gloria being married brought him prestige (not that he didn't have prestige seeing as he was one of Manhattan's biggest and most leading retailers). Gloria and Paul also have a young son named David.
Billy, Simon's younger son, was more likable, in that he wasn't scheming. His character was slightly similar to Dallas' Bobby Ewing. However, despite that, Billy had a huge drinking problem.
Paul and Billy's sister Barbara was a reformed New York party girl, an older woman who had - in her father's eyes, at least - failed the family because of her extravagant lifestyle, and her affairs with younger men.
In one of the series few story arcs, Barbara - or Babs, as she was known - was trying to put her life on track and struggling to make it in the fashion business, without her father's money to bankroll her. (Though she was, at the time, involved with a younger man.)
Barbara was divorced, with one adult daughter Melody Hughes (Claudia Christian), who was married to the ambitious Todd Hughes (Art Hindle), who worked as comptroller of the store, and had run afoul of Melody's family, especially Paul, who was a senior executive, at times.
Paul tended to be quite protective of his niece (as was Simon, who, in spite of his devious nature, clearly loved his family, warts and all) and had no liking for Todd throwing around non-existent weight when he didn't really have it in the first place.
The other characters typically worked in or around the department store: junior salesgirl Stacey Russell (Jonelle Allen) who was promoted to a boutique manager in the first episode, model Laurel Hayes (Laura Ashton) who charms the widowed Simon Berrenger, con man John Higgins (Jeff Conaway) who has his eye on the needy, vulnerable Barbara, store clerk, Cammie Springer (Leslie Hope) who shared an apartment with Stacey and Laurel; and fashion designer and entrepreneur Julio Morales, who called himself Julian Morelle, (Eddie Velez) who partners with Barbara in a business venture.
One of the series key figures was the mysterious Danny Krucek (Jack Scalia), who was involved financially with Simon Berrenger, but romantically interested in Shane Bradley. The series production notes described him as a "Mafia-connected conglomerate chief ... who lives to destroy the Berrenger empire".
Though it was never clarified on air, it was implied that Krucek was the illegitimate son of Simon Berrenger, a story twist which would have made him a legitimate claimant to Paul Berrenger's position as the elder Berrenger's heir.
The location shots of Berrenger's was at the real-life department store, Barneys in New York.
|Episode number||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Overture"||Larry Elikann & Nicholas Sgarro||Diana Gould||January 5, 1985|
|2||"For Gloria's Benefit"||Lorraine Senna Ferrara||Lynn Marie Latham & Bernard Lechowick||January 12, 1985|
|3||"Of Boardrooms & Bedrooms"||Barbara Peeters||Susan Baskin||January 19, 1985|
|4||"Fame & Misfortune"||Robert Becker||Alan L. Gansberg||January 26, 1985|
|5||"Seduction"||Nick Havinga||Robert Rabinowitz||January 27, 1985|
|6||"Dangerous Ground"||Bill Duke||Scott Hamner||February 2, 1985|
|7||"Power Play"||Nick Havinga||Lynn Marie Latham & Bernard Lechowick||February 9, 1985|
|8||"Best Laid Plans"||Philip Leacock||Scott Hamner||February 16, 1985|
|9||"Roll Tape"||Linda Day||Brad Bailey||February 23, 1985|
|10||"Hidden Agenda"||Robert Becker||Robert Rabinowitz||March 2, 1985|
|11||"Maelstrom"||Michael Preece||Diana Gould||March 9, 1985|
- Variety, Jan 9, 1985.
- Kitman, Marvin. (1985). Newsday. February 3, 1985.
- “Berrenger’s.” Variety. January 4, 1985.