Fay (partially found television sitcom; 1975-1976)
Audra Lindley, Lee Grant, and Joe Silver as Lillian, Fay Stewart, and Jack respectively.
Status: Partially Found
Fay is an NBC "superseason" sitcom that originally aired in September to October of 1975 and briefly reaired in the summer of 1976. The show was produced by Danny Thomas Productions and Universal TV, and was among the first series on television to feature a divorcee as the main character, a topic that was somewhat seen as taboo at the time. Lee Grant, the main actress of the series, was nominated in 1976 for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series, and went so far as to moving closer to Paramount Pictures, the site of the show's production, in order to arrive on time and ready for her role in the series.
While the show started off as a hit reaching the 12th spot on the Nielsen TV Rating System, it soon dropped down to the 68th spot at the end of its three week run. The series became a topic of debate in the television world after Lee Grant's appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson where she heavily criticized the decisions of NBC head Marvin Antonowsky, of whom she deemed "The Mad Programmer", and gave the middle finger to live on air. Grant was set to discuss her series on the show that night, but instead discussed its cancellation which occurred earlier the same day, stating that the series was heavily restricted in its developed dialogue due to being scheduled within the Family Viewing Hour (FVH) which was legislation implemented by the FCC stating that the first hour of television prime time must include "family-friendly content". These alterations in the script were believed to have contributed to the show's low ratings and failure, and members of the show's cast and crew eventually sued the FCC for them.
Fay Stewart (Lee Grant) is a divorced woman in San Francisco who is hoping to make a new life for herself after her separation with her husband (Joe Silver), who occasionally comes into the picture. This often leads to involvement in family matters where she finds herself talking to her son and daughter in-law (Magaret Willock and Stewart Moss) as well as complications with her boss (Bill Gerber) at work. She also talks with her neighbor Lillian who she socializes and receives advice from.
While most of the series has yet to have an online release, the entire episode for "Mr.Wonderful" has been uploaded online by Jackson Upperco, as well as the opening and closing credits. Footage from other episodes can be found on YouTube video clips and in the NBC superseason promotional video as well. A script for the episode Mom's Realization has been put online on a reading group blog post, though it is unknown as to whether or not there is a missing page towards the end due to a seemingly abrupt ending. In the mid-1980's Universal TV took four episodes of the series and put them together to make a TV movie by the name of Man Trouble which removed the laugh track and added cut dialogue and scenes from the original airings, but saw limited release. A total of ten episodes of the series are held at the Library of Congress, as well as four in the Paley Center for Media, though these are limited to in-library screenings due to copyright concerns.
- An article that describes the show's premise and states the broadcast dates. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A book that briefly mentions the show being among the first to have a divorcee as the main character alongside One Day At A Time. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- The Emmy page for the series, showcasing Lee Grant's nomination for the award. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A page with an article showcasing Lee Grant's move towards the studio. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A newspaper including an article indicating the series' drop to the 68th spot in the Nielsen ratings system Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A transcribed interview with Lee Grant on the Emmy's website, where Grant recalls her appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A page mentioning the severe alterations in the show's dialogue due to the Family Viewing Hour. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A New York Times article briefly stating that the show was cancelled due to poor ratings. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A document stating that the show sued the FCC for these issues (account required to view document). Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A blog post containing the script for Mom's Realization. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A document showing the episode listings for the show at the Library of Congress. Retrieved 15 Sept '19
- A search query that brings four results for the series with the fourth episode on the second page of results. Retrieved 15 Sept '19