The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, originally known simply by the name of the show’s star, Mary Tyler Moore, is an American sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program featured American television’s first never-married, independent career woman as the central character.
It is one of the most acclaimed television programs in US television history. It received high praise from critics during its run, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975–77), and continued to be honored long after the final episode aired. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked The Mary Tyler Moore Show No. 6 in its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time.
- Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), a single native Minnesotan, moves to Minneapolis in 1970 at age 30 and becomes Associate Producer of WJM-TV’s Six O’Clock News. Her sincere, kind demeanor often acts as a foil for the personalities of her co-workers and friends.
- Lou Grant (Edward Asner) is the Producer (later Executive Producer) of the news. His tough and grumpy demeanor initially hides his kind-hearted nature which is gradually revealed as the series progresses. He is referred to as “Lou” by everyone, including Mary’s friends, with the exception of Mary herself, who can rarely bring herself to call him by his first name rather than “Mr. Grant”. He was originally married to Edie, but during the run of the show they separated and divorced.
- Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), the head writer of the news makes frequent quips for Ted Baxter’s mangling of his news copy, and Sue Ann Nivens’ aggressive, man-hungry attitude. He is Mary’s closest coworker and close friend. Murray is married to Marie, and has several children.
- Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) is the dim-witted, vain, and miserly anchorman of the Six O’Clock News. He frequently makes mistakes and is oblivious to the actual nature of the topics covered on the show, but considers himself to be the country’s best news journalist. He is often criticized by others, especially Murray and Lou for his many shortcomings, but is never fired from his position. Initially a comic buffoon in the series, Ted’s better nature is gradually revealed as the series unfolds, helped along by his sweet but sometimes perceptive girlfriend Georgette.
- Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper, Rhoda) (1970–74) is Mary’s best friend and upstairs neighbor. She works as a window dresser at the fictional Hemphill’s department store. Though insecure about her appearance, she is also outgoing and sardonic, often making wisecracks, frequently at her own expense. Like Mary, she is single. She dates frequently, often joking about her disastrous dates. Rhoda moves to New York City and falls in love after the fourth season, beginning the spinoff series, Rhoda.
- Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) (1970–75) is Mary’s snobbish friend and neighbor. She is married to an unseen character, Lars, a dermatologist, and has a precocious daughter, Bess (Lisa Gerritsen). Phyllis is controlling and often arrogant. She is actively involved in groups and clubs and is a political activist and a supporter of Women’s Liberation. Rhoda and Phyllis are usually at odds with each other and often trade insults. After five seasons, Phyllis is widowed, learns her husband had virtually no assets and she must support herself; she moves to San Francisco in the spinoff series Phyllis.
- Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel) (1972–77) is the somewhat ditzy girlfriend (and later wife) of stentorian news anchor Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight). Mary Tyler Mooredescribed her as a cross between Stan Laurel and Marilyn Monroe. She and Mary got along fantastically, and she helped to somewhat fill the void that Phyllis Lindstrom and Rhoda left in Mary’s life when they left for San Francisco and New York City, respectively.
- She made her first appearance at one of Mary Richards’ parties. She worked as a window dresser at Hempel’s Department Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota along with Rhoda Morgenstern. Later, she worked for a car rental service, as a Golden Girl, and for Rhoda selling plants.
- Georgette was devoted to Ted and they would eventually marry in Mary Richards’ apartment. They adopt a child named David (Robbie Rist), and later, she gives birth to a girl named Mary Lou, also in Mary’s apartment.
- Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) (1973–77), host of WJM’s The Happy Homemaker show. While her demeanor is superficially cheerful, she makes judgmental comments about Mary, exchanges personal insults with Murray, and uses many sexual double entendres, especially around Lou, to whom she is strongly attracted.