Frank's Place

Frank's Place is an American comedy-drama series that aired on CBS for 22 episodes during the 1987-1988 television season. The series was created by Hugh Wilson and executive produced by Wilson and series star and fellow WKRP in Cincinnati alumnus Tim Reid.

Frank's Place
Created byHugh Wilson
Written byRichard Dubin
David Chambers
Samm-Art Williams
Hugh Wilson
Directed byNeema Barnette
Richard Dubin
Stan Lathan
Max Tash
Hugh Wilson
StarringTim Reid
Daphne Maxwell Reid
Tony Burton
Virginia Capers
Robert Harper
Theme music composerLouis Alter
Eddie DeLange
Opening theme"Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" performed by Louis Armstrong
ComposerRichard Kosinski
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Executive producersTim Reid
Hugh Wilson
ProducersMax Tash
David Chambers
Richard Dubin
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companyViacom Productions
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1987 (1987-09-14) –
March 22, 1988 (1988-03-22)

TV Guide ranked it No. 3 on its 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".[1] Rolling Stone ranked it No. 99 on its list of the best sitcoms of the television era.[2]


Set in New Orleans, Frank's Place chronicles the life of Frank Parrish (Tim Reid), a well-to-do African-American professor at Brown University, an Ivy League university in Providence, Rhode Island, who inherits a restaurant, Chez Louisiane. In the premiere, Frank travels to New Orleans intending to sell the restaurant. However, waitress Emerita (she waits only on customers with twenty years or more of patronage) of Chez Louisiane—Miss Marie (Frances E. Williams) has a voodoo spin (curse) put on Frank ensuring that he will come back to carry on his family's business. Consequently, when Frank returns to New England, the life he's known there suddenly goes inexplicably haywire. Feeling he has no choice, Frank returns to New Orleans and makes many discoveries about black culture in New Orleans, the differences between northern and southern lifestyles, and himself.

On its surface, Frank's Place was a fish-out-of-water story, like The Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres. However, the series' story lines featured weightier topics such as race and class issues.

Supporting castEdit


The idea for the series came from CBS vice president, Gregg Maday. As a young man, Maday frequented a restaurant in Buffalo, New York named Dan Montgomery's. Maday also wanted a series based in New Orleans due to the mid-1980s interest in Cajun cuisine and zydeco. The two ideas were combined. Wilson and Reid spent time in New Orleans for research. They found a restaurant named Chez Helene, and many of the things they encountered there were included in the series. Big Arthur was based on Chez Helene's owner, Austin Leslie. The series focused more on Creole cuisine and Creole culture rather than Cajun.[3]

Don Yesso was a real-life New Orleans native whom Wilson met on a flight to the city. Yesso was not an actor, but Wilson cast him because of his genuine Yat dialect.[3]

Unlike most sitcom productions of the era, Frank's Place was filmed with a single camera and used no laugh track.

Theme songEdit

The series theme song was Louis Armstrong's classic "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?".


Series No. Title Written by Directed by Original air date
1"Pilot"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonSeptember 14, 1987 (1987-09-14)
Brown University professor Frank Parrish inherits his estranged father's New Orleans restaurant, Chez Louisiane.
2"Frank Returns"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonSeptember 21, 1987 (1987-09-21)
A voodoo "spin" compels Frank to return to New Orleans and run the Chez.
3"Frank Takes Charge"David ChambersStan LathanSeptember 28, 1987 (1987-09-28)
Frank tries to get the hang of running a restaurant.
4"The Bridge"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonOctober 5, 1987 (1987-10-05)
A man drives his truck off a bridge and dies after drinking at the Chez. A high-powered lawyer (Conchata Ferrell) with connections to the dead man's wife (Beah Richards) announces her intention to sue Frank for everything he's got.
5"Frank Joins the Club"Samm-Art WilliamsNeema BarnetteOctober 12, 1987 (1987-10-12)
Frank is recruited to be the token dark-skinned member of a club for light-skinned black people.
6"Eligible Bachelor"Pamela DouglasStan LathanOctober 19, 1987 (1987-10-19)
Frank finds himself newly popular with women.
7"Disengaged"David ChambersMax TashOctober 26, 1987 (1987-10-26)
Hanna breaks off her engagement.
8"Cool and the Gang (part 1)"Richard DubinHugh WilsonNovember 9, 1987 (1987-11-09)
Cool Charles is offered a part-time job by a 16-year-old boss.
9"Cool and the Gang (part 2)"Richard DubinHugh WilsonNovember 16, 1987 (1987-11-16)
Cool Charles's friends get concerned about his involvement with gang life.
10"The Reverend Gets a Flock"David ChambersNeema BarnetteNovember 23, 1987 (1987-11-23)
The Reverend Deal gets a new job opportunity of his own.
11"I.O.U."Samm-Art WilliamsRoy Campanella IINovember 30, 1987 (1987-11-30)
Frank is told that he's going to have to pay off his father's old gambling debts – or else.
12"Food Fight"Richard DubinHugh WilsonDecember 7, 1987 (1987-12-07)
A dispute over recipes is settled by a boxing match between the chefs of the Chez and a rival restaurant.
13"Season's Greetings"Hugh Wilson (teleplay)
Don Yesso (story)
Helaine HeadDecember 14, 1987 (1987-12-14)
Frank goes to Bubba's family's place for a Hanukkah party, where Bubba pretends that he and Frank are lovers.
14"The Bum Out Front"Hugh WilsonFrank BonnerJanuary 4, 1988 (1988-01-04)
Frank develops an unusual relationship with a vagrant who lives outside the Chez and refuses to leave.
15"Dueling Voodoo"David ChambersRichard DubinJanuary 11, 1988 (1988-01-11)
To get rid of a tenant who appears to have voodoo powers, Frank enlists the help of the voodoo expert who cursed him.
16"Where's Ed?"Hugh WilsonHugh WilsonJanuary 18, 1988 (1988-01-18)
Tiger's buddies steal the corpse of an old friend and bring it to the Chez, and the body winds up in the restaurant's freezer just as the health inspector is visiting.
17"Night Business"Hugh WilsonMax TashFebruary 3, 1988 (1988-02-03)
Frank hires a consultant to help the Chez improve its business and get a broader range of customers.
18"Shorty's Belle"Craig NelsonMax TashFebruary 15, 1988 (1988-02-15)
Shorty tries to help a Southern damsel in distress.
19"Frank's Place – The Movie"Hugh Wilson (teleplay)
Hugh Wilson & Tim Reid (story)
Hugh WilsonFebruary 22, 1988 (1988-02-22)
A film director (Daniel Davis) uses the Chez as a set for a movie, and Frank has a shot with the movie's leading lady (Pam Grier).
20"Cultural Exchange"Samm-Art WilliamsKevin Rodney SullivanMarch 7, 1988 (1988-03-07)
A group of African musicians visits New Orleans, and one of them is so impressed by Dizzy Gillespie that he wants to stay in America and play jazz.
21"The Recruiting Game"David ChambersRichard DubinMarch 15, 1988 (1988-03-15)
Frank helps a high school basketball star field offers from various colleges.
22"The King of Wall Street"Samm-Art WilliamsAsaad KeladaMarch 22, 1988 (1988-03-22)
While eating dinner at the Chez, a Wall Street tycoon learns that he's been the victim of a hostile takeover.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1988 Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Tim Reid, Hugh Wilson, Max Tash

David Chambers, Richard Dubin

1988 Primetime Emmy Award
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Tim Reid Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series Tim Reid, Hugh Wilson, Max Tash

David Chambers, Richard Dubin

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Hugh Wilson
For episode: "The Bridge"
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special Michael Ballin, Marty Church, Lenora Peterson, and M. Curtis Price
For episode "Food Fight"
Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Beah Richards
For the role of Mrs. Varden in "The Bridge"
1988 Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Category Hugh Wilson Won
1990 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Tim Reid Won
1988 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Tim Reid and Hugh Wilson Won
1988 Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Tim Reid Won


Frank's Place was cancelled after one season. Despite its strong beginning, ratings for Frank's Place declined. Viewers were reportedly puzzled by the show's changing timeslot and by how the show's style eschewed the traditional sitcom format. The show's large ensemble and film-style techniques made production costly.[4] Wilson remarked that: "We just didn’t please the Nielsen monster."[5]


Reruns aired on BET in 1990.[6]

DVD releaseEdit

In October 2008, reported that because of music clearance issues, a DVD release would be unlikely.[7] However, on November 11, 2008, TV Shows on DVD reported that plans are underway for an eventual DVD release, although Tim Reid has said that, due to the prohibitive costs of the music rights, a new musical score will be recorded that will "recreate the mood of the music." He adds, "it has to be the mood of the show or I'd rather not do it."[8] No date has been yet given for a release.


  1. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  2. ^ Best TV Sitcoms of All Time By Alan Sepinwall, Maria Fontoura, David Fear and Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, retrieved May 6, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Walker, Dave (2002-10-20). "Frankly unforgettable - It lasted just one season. But even now, 15 years after its premiere, the gloriously New Orleans-centric series 'Frank's Place' holds a special place in television history". Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  4. ^ "Frank's Place". Television Academy Interviews. 2017-10-22. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  5. ^ Weinstein, Steve (1988-10-05). "CBS Puts 'Frank's Place' Out of Business". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  6. ^ Dawson, Greg (1990-01-25). "'Frank's Place' Back". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2014-04-15.[dead link]
  7. ^ CNN.Com "The Marquee Blog, October 3, 2008
  8. ^ Frank's Place - The Short Lived Sitcom Starring Tim Reid Could Come to DVD...But with Music Changes, November 11, 2008

External linksEdit