Power Rankings: Mary Tyler Moore Show, Part 1

22 Aug

Power Rankings Retro Edition – Mary Tyler Moore Show edition.  Because this one is a little longer, due to having thirty years of career to cover, I’ve split it into two parts for aesthetic purposes with the second posted later in the day.  We’re also trying a system of counting down towards the top, rather than up towards the bottom.  On to the rankings!

(Power Rankings sum up:  Each week, we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well)

8.  Georgia Engel (as Georgette Franklin) – After Mary Tyler Moore, she appeared in the one season of The Betty White Show, and then in two short-lived shows with very different premises.  First, Goodtime Girls, airing in 1980, starred her alongside three other women (including Annie Potts) who were living together and making their way into the world in a big city in the wartime 1940s.  Second, Jennifer Slept Here, featured Engel as the mother of a family who moved into a house haunted by the old movie actress who used to live there until she was run over an ice cream truck.  Engel also did her time on Love Boat, and then had a recurring role on Coach.  She may be best known to modern audiences for her appearances in Everybody Loves Raymond, as Pat MacDougall, Robert Barone’s mother-in-law.

7.  Mary Tyler Moore (as Mary Richards) – It goes without saying here that The Mary Tyler Moore Show was an enormous success both culturally and critically and Moore had a lot of trouble following it up.  She first tried a variety series called Mary in 1978, which co-starred Swoosie Kurtz, Michael Keaton, and David Letterman, and it lasted all of three episodes.  A retooled version of the show, now called the Mary Tyler Moore Hour aired later that spring, with Moore portraying a comedian who hosted a fictional show, but it failed as well.  As she was putting together her string of unsuccessful follow up sitcoms, she had her most notable film role, 1980’s Ordinary People, where she was nominated for an Oscar.  She had two more shots at sitcoms.  In1985’s Mary (the woman had something about naming shows after herself, I guess), she played a 40 year old divorcee who lost her high profile fashion writing gig when her company went out of business, and now wrote a column at a lousy paper.  It lasted 13 episodes.  1988’s Annie McGuire lasted 10, starring her as a mother who must deal with the stress of both her children and the very different lives of her and her husband.  Since then, she’s done some guest starring in shows like Lipstick Jungle, That ‘70s Show (again), The Ellen Show, and The Naked Truth.

6.  Valerie Harper (as Rhoda Morgenstern) – she left Mary Tyler Moore halfway through to star in her own spin-off Rhoda, and that lasted four years.  She also starred in a whole bunch of TV movies, which I guess was big back then, and a couple of Love Boat episodes.  She then got her next chance to star in a sitcom with Valerie’s Family, but after a salary dispute, she left the show, was replaced by Sandy Duncan, and the show ran for four more years without her.  She played the city manager of an unnamed city, in, well, City, which ran for 13 episodes as mid-season replacement in 1990.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about City is that it was created by Paul Haggis, who would eventually go on to win an Oscar for writing Crash.  She co-starred in a six episode run of something called The Office, and since them has been showing up in guest appearances on TV shows left and right, including That ‘70s Show, Sex and the City, Touched by an Angel, Less Than Perfect, and Desperate Housewives.

5.  Ted Knight (as Ted Baxter) – Sadly, Baxter died in 1986 and is the only non-living major cast member from Mary Tyler Moore.  He didn’t have as much time to star in as many failed sitcoms as the others.  He did take advantage of the time he had though.  He did his duty and starred as a rival captain in six episodes of Love Boat, and then starred for six years in Too Close For Comfort, as a comic strip author penning a strip called Cosmic Cow.

One Response to “Power Rankings: Mary Tyler Moore Show, Part 1”


  1. Power Rankings: Mary Tyler Moore Show, Part 2 « Television, the Drug of the Nation - August 22, 2011

    […] Part 2 – Part 1 can be found by scrolling down, or by clicking here. […]

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