Charles in Charge
Charles in Charge is an American sitcom starring Scott Baio. It aired for a total of 126 episodes over five seasons. The series was a production of Al Burton Productions and Scholastic Productions in association with Universal Television.
|Charles in Charge|
|Created by||Michael Jacobs
|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"Charles in Charge"
performed by Shandi Sinnamon
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||126 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Al Burton Productions
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
The Program Exchange (1998–2008)
|Original network||CBS (1984–1985)
First-run syndication (1987–1990)
|Original release||October 3, 1984– November 10, 1990|
Baio starred as Charles, a college student attending the fictional Copeland College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who finds a unique living arrangement with a family in need of a caretaker for their young children. The show also starred Willie Aames as Charles' best friend Buddy Lembeck.
The series premiered on CBS on October 3, 1984, and aired initially on Wednesday nights at 8 PM paired with another new sitcom, Dreams. Facing off against two hits in ABC's The Fall Guy and NBC's Highway to Heaven, neither show performed well and Charles in Charge was moved to Saturday nights after the cancellation of Dreams. CBS eventually decided to cancel the series after it made no improvement in the ratings after its move to Saturday, and Charles in Charge aired its final episode on April 3, 1985, in its original time slot.
At the time of CBS' decision to cancel Charles in Charge, a trend had emerged where network series, especially comedies, would find new life in first-run syndication after cancellation. Universal took advantage of this and relaunched Charles in Charge in syndication. The first new episode premiered on January 3, 1987, and four more seasons were produced before the show came to an end again on November 10, 1990.
When the series premiered, Charles had just taken a job with Stan and Jill Pembroke to help care for their three children, sons Jason and Douglas and daughter Lila. In exchange for his services, the Pembrokes provide Charles with room and board.
When the show returned in 1987, the Powell family was living in the home; the Pembrokes had moved to Seattle and had agreed to sublet the house, which included allowing Charles to continue living there. The family retained Charles' services as well, and he became caretaker for Ellen Powell's three children, son Adam and daughters Jamie and Sarah. In addition to them, Ellen's father-in-law Walter moved into the home to serve as his grandchildren's father figure; Ellen's husband was a Navy officer who was often on duty and thus rarely saw his family.
Charles' mother Lillian, who had not been seen in the initial series, became a more central figure in her son's life when the show moved to syndication as well.
|Willie Aames||Buddy Lembeck|
|Jennifer Runyon (1984–87)||Gwendolyn Pierce|
|James Widdoes (1984–85)||Stan Pembroke|
|Julie Cobb (1984–85)||Jill Pembroke|
|April Lerman (1984–85)||Lila Pembroke|
|Jonathan Ward (1984–85)||Douglas Pembroke|
|Michael Pearlman (1984–87)||Jason Pembroke|
|James T. Callahan (1987–90)||Walter Powell|
|Sandra Kerns (1987–90)||Ellen Powell|
|Nicole Eggert (1987–90)||Jamie Powell|
|Josie Davis (1987–90)||Sarah Powell|
|Alexander Polinsky (1987–90)||Adam Powell|
|Ellen Travolta (1987–90)||Lillian|
|Justin Whalin (1989)||Anthony|
Michael Pearlman and Jennifer Runyon are the only other actors, besides Baio and Aames, to reprise their roles on the show. Pearlman appeared in the second-season premiere, "Amityville". (Lisa Donovan played Jill Pembroke in that episode.) Runyon appeared in "Twice Upon a Time (Part 1)" and "Twice Upon a Time (Part 2)".
In the final two seasons, Sandra Kerns only made three more appearances (once in season 4 and twice in season 5).
Charles' mother, Lillian, was played by Ellen Travolta, John Travolta's sister. She also played her sisters (Charles's aunts), Sally and Vanessa. She had previously played the mother of Chachi Arcola, Scott Baio's character on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. Chachi's real name, incidentally, was also Charles.
Nicole Eggert went on to star in Baywatch (1992–1994). Josie Davis also made one appearance in a 1998 Baywatch episode. Both Charles in Charge and Baywatch were TV shows that began on network TV, before moving to first-run syndication.
Baio and Aames are the only two cast members that appear in every single episode.
In September 2007, it was announced that Arts Alliance America (which subsequently changed its name to Virgil Films & Entertainment during the summer of 2007) had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released seasons 2–5 on DVD. Seasons 4 and 5 were Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Amazon.com.
As of 2011, the Arts Alliance releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|The Complete First Season||22||February 14, 2006|
|The Complete Second Season||26||November 20, 2007|
|The Complete Third Season||26||May 20, 2008|
|The Complete Fourth Season||26||March 24, 2009|
|The Complete Fifth and Final Season||26||July 28, 2009|
In addition, the entire series can be streamed on the NBC.com app.
- "Charles in Charge – The Complete First Season DVD Review". Sitcoms Online. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Charles in Charge (TV Series) Overview". Allmovie. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Charles in Charge DVD news: Announcement for Charles In Charge - The Complete 2nd Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com".
- Where Does the 4th Season of the Scott Baio Series Currently Stand? TVShowsOnDVD.com. January 28, 2009.
- Charles in Charge – The 5th and Final Season is Available on DVD in July! TVShowsOnDVD.com. June 5, 2009
- Amazon Video: Charles in Charge Retrieved January 23, 2013