Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC from November 11, 1980, to May 5, 1983, and in first-run syndication from April 7, 1984, to February 7, 1987. Its name was changed to The Ted Knight Show when the show was retooled in 1986 for what would turn out to be its final season, due to Ted Knight's death. The original concept of the series was based on the 1980s British sitcom Keep It in the Family.[1][2] Knight plays work-at-home cartoonist Henry Rush, whose two grown children live in the downstairs apartment of his San Francisco townhouse. The family moves to Marin County for the show's final season, where Rush becomes a co-owner of the local weekly newspaper.[1]

Too Close for Comfort
Also known asThe Ted Knight Show
(season 6 title)
Based onKeep It in the Family
created by Brian Cooke
Developed byArne Sultan
Earl Barret
Opening theme"Too Close for Comfort", performed by Johnny Mandel
Composers(all season 4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.12, multiples)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes129 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Earl Barret
  • Arne Sultan (seasons 1-4)
  • Aaron Ruben (seasons 5-6)
Supervising producers:
  • Jerry McPhie (season 1)
  • Norman Hopps (seasons 2-3)
  • Volney Howard III (seasons 4-6)
Camera setupVideotape; multi-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesD.L. Taffner Productions
Metromedia Producers Corporation
Fox Television Stations (season 6)
DistributorD.L. Taffner Syndication Sales
Original networkABC (1980–1983)
Syndication (1984–1987)
Original releaseNovember 11, 1980 (1980-11-11) –
February 7, 1987 (1987-02-07)
Related showsKeep It in the Family
Family Business


Henry and Muriel Rush are owners of a two-unit house at 171-173 Buena Vista Avenue East[3] San Francisco, California. Henry is a conservative cartoonist who authors a comic strip called Cosmic Cow with a hand-puppet version of "Cosmic Cow." Muriel is a freelance photographer. They have two grown children, Jackie and Sara.

Additional characters include Sara's friend, Monroe Ficus, and Henry's boss, Arthur Wainwright, who was head of Wainwright Publishing. The character of Monroe was originally intended to be used for only a single episode but producers added the character to the series.

Developments in seasons two and threeEdit

The cast of Too Close for Comfort during the show's second season

During its second season, the series' principal stories were focused around Muriel's pregnancy. Henry's niece April comes from Delaware to live with the Rush family. The season concluded with Muriel giving birth to a son, Andrew (later played regularly by twins William and Michael Cannon from 1983 to 1984).

The character of Henry Rush became famous for wearing sweatshirts from various American colleges and universities. Fans would send in sweatshirts from universities around the country hoping they would be used during taping.

In the fall of 1982, ABC moved the series to Thursday nights, which proved to be disastrous and the show saw its ratings fall drastically. The network canceled the series at the conclusion of the season, after falling from #6 for the 1981–82 season, down to #38 for the 1982–83 season.

First-run syndicationEdit

During the early 1980s, TV station owner Metromedia was expanding its portfolio of original syndicated programming through its production subsidiary, Metromedia Producers Corporation. When Too Close for Comfort was canceled by ABC, Metromedia Producers Corporation elected to pick up the series and began producing all-new episodes to run on various stations throughout the country. Starting in April 1984, a total of 23 new episodes were broadcast for the show's fourth season, featuring the same cast as seen on the ABC episodes.

The show's ratings improved in syndication and Metromedia ordered an additional 30 episodes, airing through November 1985. When the fifth season began, a single child actor, Joshua Goodwin, took over the role of Andrew Rush. A total of 107 episodes of Too Close for Comfort were produced.

The Ted Knight ShowEdit

The sixth season title screen for first run episodes. Note the title change.
The sixth season title screen for reruns.

In late 1985, several changes were made before production started. The show's title was changed to The Ted Knight Show (not to be confused with the short-lived 1978 CBS show of the same name), the setting was moved to Marin County, a new theme song was recorded, and a new opening title sequence was shot. Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Lydia Cornell, and Audrey Meadows left the cast. Pat Carroll and Lisa Antille were added to the cast along with returning Nancy Dussault and Jim J. Bullock.

First-run episodes of The Ted Knight Show were broadcast starting in April 1986. Twenty-two episodes were produced prior to the summer of 1986 and twelve had aired by mid-July. The revamped show was scheduled to resume production until the death of star Ted Knight, who had been battling colon cancer since 1985. The ten remaining first-run episodes were broadcast from September 1986 to February 1987, after which those episodes were added to the Too Close for Comfort syndicated rerun package and reverted to the original show title.


Notable guest starsEdit

  • Selma Diamond as Mildred Rafkin
  • Jordan Suffin as Officer Brad Turner
  • Elyse Knight (daughter of Ted Knight) as Samantha Bishop ("The Runaway," 1984)
  • Graham Jarvis as Arthur Wainwright (1985)
  • Ernie Wise as Ernie Dockery (1985)
  • Jim Davis (creator of the comic strip Garfield) as himself (1986)


SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast airedNetwork
119November 11, 1980 (1980-11-11)May 12, 1981 (1981-05-12)ABC1520.8
(Tied with Happy Days)
222October 13, 1981 (1981-10-13)May 11, 1982 (1982-05-11)622.6
(Tied with The Dukes of Hazzard)
322September 30, 1982 (1982-09-30)May 5, 1983 (1983-05-05)38[4]N/A
423April 7, 1984 (1984-04-07)December 8, 1984 (1984-12-08)SyndicationN/AN/A
521February 5, 1985 (1985-02-05)November 23, 1985 (1985-11-23)N/AN/A
622April 5, 1986 (1986-04-05)February 7, 1987 (1987-02-07)N/AN/A


The show entered daily broadcast syndication in the fall of 1986, which continued until 2003.[5] The syndication rights for Too Close for Comfort are held by DLT Entertainment, a production and distribution company owned by show producer D.L. Taffner.

As of 2021, the full series is available through the on-demand section of ViacomCBS's streaming service Pluto TV.

Reruns currently air on Antenna TV.

Home mediaEdit

Rhino Entertainment Company (under its Rhino Retrovision classic TV entertainment brand) released the first two seasons of Too Close for Comfort on DVD in Region 1 in 2004/2005.[6][7] However, Rhino did not obtain the original, uncut versions of the episodes for the Season 1 release and instead used the versions edited for syndication (like those seen on Nickelodeon's sister networks, Nick at Nite and TV Land), which are missing several minutes of footage, including the final scene of each episode before the closing credits. (The episodes are also dubbed to replace references to Oakland with "Oldtown", mostly in a running gag where Henry reacts to the city's name with horror; the joke was perceived as a slur, as Oakland had a much larger Black population than San Francisco.)

There are no future plans for additional releases.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 19 November 2, 2004
The Complete Second Season 22 June 7, 2005


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present: Ninth Edition. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ "Too Close For Comfort, "For Every Man There's Two Women"". The A.V. Club. 8 March 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "1982-83 Ratings History -- Soap Bubbles Rise, Several Veterans Part and NBC Renews Poorly Rated Masterpieces". The TV Ratings Guide. Archived from the original on 2018-03-18. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Too Close for Comfort". Program Exchange. Archived from the original on 5 July 2003. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Too Close for Comfort - Exclusive 1st Look At Comfort-able Cover". Archived from the original on 2015-04-27.
  7. ^ "Too Close for Comfort - Season 2: Original Episodes or Syndicated Cuts? We know! Plus Release Date & Box Art!". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 2015-04-27.

External linksEdit