The Ted Knight Show and Too Close For Comfort

The Ted Knight Show (1986)
Too Close For Comfort (1980-1985)
Type: Spin Off

   Too Close For Comfort was a wacky family sitcom that started its life on ABC and then moved into first run syndication. The original premise had Ted Knight playing Henry Rush, cartoonist and overprotective father. He also owned the San Francisco duplex he, his wife and two adult daughters lived in. When the man renting the lower half of the building died, it was discovered that he was in fact a cross dresser and that he had radically decorated his apartment. Well it was radical by Henry's standards. Henry dreaded how much he would have to pay to have the place put back to normal.

   But his daughters loved it. They begged their father to let them rent the apartment just as it was. It was perfect - they could move out and yet be close enough to home to suit dad. Henry reluctantly agreed. Jackie was dark haired and bright. Sara was not quite as bright and a full figured blonde. Henry worried what the girl might get up to with a place of their own. From this setup, hilarity ensued.

   As the show went on, things changed. Henry and his wife Muriel had a baby son. And early on a character named Monroe Ficus was introduced. Clearly intended as a one shot character, Monroe caught on and soon became a regular, soon even moving in and renting an attic room from the Rushes.

   Eventually Jackie and Sara both left the show. That of course sort of defeated the whole original premise of the show. The producers took this as an opportunity to retool the entire show. They renamed the show The Ted Knight Show. Henry and Muriel moved to Mill Valley. Henry retired from cartooning and bought 49% interest in a local newspaper. His new partner was a woman named Hope Stinson who had previously ran the paper with her now dead husband and maintained controlling interest in the paper.

   Monroe, for some unknown reason, came along in the move. I mean, think about that. When have you ever moved to a new town because a family that wasn't even yours moved there? Also new was the Rush's Latina housekeeper.

   After a single season with the new name and format, star Ted Knight passed away. Ted Knight's death probably would have ended the show regardless but with the show now named after him there was definitely no way for the show to go on. The show was canceled and the single season's worth of episodes of The Ted Knight Show were all retitled as Too Close For Comfort for inclusion in the Too Close For Comfort syndication package.

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