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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
Charles in Charge.jpg
Created by Michael Jacobs
Barbara Weisberg
Starring
Theme music composer
Opening theme "Charles in Charge"
performed by Shandi Sinnamon
Composer(s)
  • David Kurtz (1987–88)
  • Timothy Thompson (1988–89)
  • Todd Hayen (1989–90)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 126 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Al Burton
  • Co-executive producers:
  • Jane Startz
  • Michael Jacobs (seasons 2–4)
Producer(s)
  • Michael Jacobs
  • (season 1)
  • Roseanne Leto (pilot)
  • Mitchell Bank
  • Todd E. Kessler (seasons 2–4)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Al Burton Productions
Scholastic Productions
Universal Television
(1984-1985)
(season 1)
Distributor MCA TV
(1987-1990)
(seasons 2-5)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
The Program Exchange (1998–2008)
Release
Original network CBS (1984–1985)
First-run syndication (1987–1990)
Original release October 3, 1984 (1984-10-03) – November 10, 1990 (1990-11-10)

Baio starred as Charles, a college student attending the fictional Copeland College in New Brunswick, New Jersey,[1] who finds a unique living arrangement with a family in need of a caretaker for their young children.[2] 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.

Contents

PremiseEdit

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.

CastEdit

Actor Character Seasons
1
(1984–85)
2–5
(1987–90)
Scott Baio Charles
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.

Theme songEdit

The theme song was composed by David Kurtz, Michael Jacobs, and Al Burton, and performed by Shandi Sinnamon. The theme music was mellower in the first season, and was remixed for the syndication run.

Home mediaEdit

DVD releasesEdit

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released a 3-disc set of the first season of Charles in Charge on DVD in North America on February 14, 2006. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released.

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.[3] They subsequently released seasons 2–5 on DVD. Seasons 4 and 5 were Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Amazon.com.[4][5]

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

StreamingEdit

All five seasons of the series were made available for streaming through Amazon Video and season one only on Hulu Plus.[6]

In addition, the entire series can be streamed on the NBC.com app.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit