|Created by||Dick Bensfield|
|Written by||Dick Bensfield|
|Directed by||Doug Rogers|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||38 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Dick Bensfield|
Patricia Fass Palmer
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||T.A.T. Communications Company|
|Original release||January 26, 1979 –|
April 29, 1980
|Related shows||Diff'rent Strokes|
The series, created by Dick Bensfield and Perry Grant (veteran writers with a résumé going back to The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Andy Griffith Show), consisted of 35 episodes. Bensfield and Grant had also worked on One Day at a Time, a CBS sitcom about a single woman raising two teenaged daughters alone. The show was produced by Woody Kling and directed by Doug Rogers.
- McLean Stevenson as Larry Alder
- Donna Wilkes as Diane Alder (season 1)
- Ruth Brown as Leona Wilson (season 2)
- Krista Errickson as Diane Alder (season 2)
- Kim Richards as Ruthie Alder
- Fred Stuthman as Henry Alder (season 2)
- Joanna Gleason as Morgan Winslow
- George Memmoli as Earl
|Season||Time slot (ET)|
|1978–79||Friday at 10:00 pm (Episode 1)|
Friday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 2–5)
Friday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 6–14)
|1979–80||Friday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 1, 3–6)|
Friday at 8:00 pm (Episode 2)
Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 7–24)
Larry Alder (McLean Stevenson) is a radio talk show host who left Los Angeles after being divorced and moved to Portland, Oregon, with his two teenage daughters, Diane (played in the first season by Donna Wilkes and in the second season by Krista Errickson) and Ruthie (played by Kim Richards). The supporting cast consisted of producer Morgan (Joanna Gleason) and engineer Earl (George Memmoli).
In the first five episodes, shown at a later prime-time time slot, episodes centered on Larry at the radio station and his smart-aleck remarks to callers. In these early episodes, Larry is described by Fred Silverman as "a buffoon, the cliché TV father". After that point, a "complete turnaround in the direction of the series" was made, concurrent with a move to an earlier time slot, to put the emphasis on the relationship between Larry and his daughters.
In its new earlier timeslot, Hello, Larry aired immediately after NBC's hit Diff'rent Strokes. in the hope of raising the popularity of Hello, Larry, crossovers were created between the two series. By episode 10, "The trip: Part 2", it is revealed that Larry Alder and Phillip Drummond were old Army buddies (with Drummond's company becoming the new owners of Larry's radio station). Some contemporary articles have incorrectly stated that Hello, Larry was a spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes; the relationship between the two was the result of retconning in both series.
The trend to focus on Larry and his daughters continued into the second season, with Morgan and Earl being seen less frequently. The show's opening theme lyrics in the second season were changed; the line "...the calls are comin' in, you'd better start to grin..." in reference to Larry's radio career gave way to "...you're raising them just fine, but keep an open mind..." when the stories became more focused on the Alder household.
In addition, various supporting characters were added in the apartment building where Larry and the girls lived; these included a neighbor, Leona (Ruth Brown), who usually did not approve of Larry's parenting; Tommy (John Femia), a purportedly worldly wise teenage boy who became a love interest of Ruthie; Larry's widowed father (Fred Stuthman), who moved in with the younger Alders; and former Harlem Globetrotters player Meadowlark Lemon as himself, running a local sporting goods store in the series, (believed to be an attempt to boost ratings with African-American audiences that had tuned in for Diff'rent Strokes). None of these changes, nor a two-part episode in which Larry's ex-wife Marian (Shelley Fabares) tried to reconcile with him, were enough to save the show.
Failure and legacy
Hello, Larry was greeted by viewers who had high expectations based on series star McLean Stevenson's previous M*A*S*H association, and was launched the year after Fred Silverman, a man known to launch television hits, had just joined NBC as its President and CEO. By January 1978, Stevenson already had two unsuccessful sitcoms under his belt since leaving M*A*S*H—The McLean Stevenson Show, which also aired on NBC, in 1976–77, and In the Beginning, which aired at the beginning of the 1978 season.
The show immediately gained a reputation as a poorly written, unfunny sitcom. A month into its run, Hello Larry was being lampooned by Johnny Carson on the show's own network;  and even after its early retooling toward the relationship with Larry and his daughters, the series was not gaining a strong ratings following. Television reviewers were baffled at Hello Larry's renewal for the 1979 season, citing its poor writing and a shallow supporting cast. Hello, Larry was described as a television series that (depending on the writing emphasis) tried either to be offensive or funny, and accomplished neither. It was negatively compared with WKRP in Cincinnati for its angle in radio and the early emphasis on racy humor, and then with One Day at a Time as writing shifted to Larry bringing up his daughters as a single father.
Hello, Larry was canceled in the Spring of 1980 after its second season, having aired 38 episodes.
The show has been used as shorthand for badness. In one example, Arianna Huffington said that "John McCain's return to the Senate will be the chilliest reception for a war hero since McLean Stevenson tried to talk his way back onto M*A*S*H after Hello, Larry tanked."
- "Hello, Larry". Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Stevenson in Search of Lasting Series". The Press-Tribune. UPI. 1979-03-23. p. 12. Retrieved 2020-01-02 – via Newspapers.com.
- Smaktakula (29 May 2012). "Diff'rent Strokes Curse Remains With Work Undone". Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- Fear, David; Stone, Rolling (2015-02-06). "10 Worst TV Spin-Offs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
- Fine, Joe (2007-03-11). "Hello, Larry And The Death Of The Sitcom Theme Song". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
- Dorsey, Tom (1979-08-15). "NBC Just Can't Say 'Goodbye' to 'Hello, Larry': It's Back Again". The Courier-Journal. p. 28. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
- Hopkins, Tom (1979-02-23). "NBC's Friday Night Lineup Seems Headed Down Drain". Dayton Daily News. p. 54. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
- McNally, Owen (1979-01-26). "TV: New Sit-coms Fall Flat". Hartford Courant. p. 6. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2004. p. 180. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
- "Withdrawal Pains". 10 March 2000. Retrieved 16 December 2016 – via Slate.