Synopses & Reviews
Mary Tyler Moore made her name as Dick Van Dyke's cute, unassuming housewife on the eponymous show, and audiences adored her. But when her writer-producers James Brooks and Allan Burnes dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, network executives replied: "Americans won't watch television about New York City, divorcees, men with mustaches, or Jews." But Moore and her team were committed, and when the show finally aired, in spite of tepid reviews, fans loved it for its funny and modern depiction of urban life.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted tells the stories behind the making of this popular classic, introducing the groundbreaking female writers who lent real-life stories to their TV scripts; the men who created the indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble -- and advocated for this provocative show -- and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work. As the first situation comedy to employ numerous women as writers and producers, he Mary Tyler Moore Show became a guiding light for a generation of women seeking to navigate the changing cultural landscape in the 1970s. The show also became the centerpiece of one of greatest evenings of comedy in TV history, compelling millions of Americans to stay home and tune in every Saturday night.
Hailed as "warm and funny and rife with juicy details" (The Boston Globe), Armstrong's fascinating narrative tells how the television industry evolved in an era when everything seemed possible.
"An energetic account of the show's history and legacy...Armstrong's book is fascinating...she deals thoughtfully with some fraught issues" The New York Times Book Review
When writer-producers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns dreamed up an edgy show about a divorced woman with a career, the CBS executives they pitched replied: American audiences won't tolerate divorce in a series lead any more than they will tolerate Jews, people with mustaches, and people who live in New York. Forty years later, The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the most beloved and recognizable television shows of all time. Jennifer Keishin Armstrongand's Mary Lou and Rhoda and Ted tells the stories behind the making of this popular classic: the groundbreaking female writers who lent real-life stories to their TV scripts; the men who created the indelible characters; the lone woman network executive who cast the legendary ensemble and advocated for this provocative show and the colorful cast of actors who made it all work. James L. Brooks, Grant Tinker, Allan Burns, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, and Moore -- they all came together to make a show that changed women's lives and television itself. Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted is the tale of how they did it.
About the Author
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly and the author of Why? Because We Still Like You,a history of the original Mickey Mouse Club. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, Fox News Channel, and ABC, and her writing has been featured in Salon.com, MTV.com, Glamour, Budget Travel, and the Chicago Sun-Times. She also co-founded and continues to run SirensMag.com, an alternative online women's magazine.