Thursday, February 21, 2008

TV Trifecta Game 2008

This is a complete waste of your valuable time. But it's fun.

This is a game revolving around television shows. It's a game we made up one time during a long car drive. It's a game we call


Background: There are a few actors who can come back after a successful TV show and do a second successful show. TV icons like

  • Andy Griffith,
  • Raymond Burr,
  • Bob Newhart,
  • Robert Young,
  • Dick Van Dyke,
  • and Mary Tyler Moore

The above guys are twofers. They all had two different, successful TV shows. We're not interested in them.

And then there are the rare actors who were regularly featured on 3 TV shows that have run a minimum of 2 seasons apiece. Some are not household names, but most TV watchers know their faces.

So, to be in the TV Trifecta, an actor has to have been a regular on series television on three TV series that lasted a minimum of two seasons apiece. I focused on American prime time live-action TV. Part one (with Shatner, Lucy, and a ten others) is here. This is more of the same, in no particular order:

James Garner
  • Maverick 1957-1960
  • The Rockford Files 1974-1980
  • 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter 2003-2005
Garner is one of those workhorse actor guys who you'd think would be in the 3-TV-Shows club before this century. It wasn't until he came in to help out on 8 Simple Rules that he had 3 TV series.

Katey Segal
  • Married with Children 1987-1997
  • Futurama 1999-2003
  • 8 Simple Rules ... for Dating My Teenage Daughter 2002-2005
Segal is a funny comedienne. I always felt she was funnier than her material.

Harry Morgan
  • December Bride 1954-1959
  • Pete and Gladys 1960-1962
  • Dragnet 1967-1970
  • M*A*S*H 1974-1983
What surprised me is that his stint at Dragnet was not so very long. I thought he was on the show for something like ten years.

And, no, I don't know what Pete & Gladys was! I know it was a spin-off of December Bride. Anyway, I'm curious to see it.

Michael Landon
  • Bonanza 1959-1973
  • Little House on the Prairie 1974-1983
  • Highway to Heaven 1984-1989
I don't know if he has some kind of record, but the guy was on your TV non-stop from 1959 to 1989, and all on NBC TV shows. And he still kept a gorgeous head of hair.

David Hasselhoff
  • Knight Rider 1982-1986
  • Baywatch 1989-2000
  • Baywatch Nights 1995-1997
I've never watched his shows. I remember being in Germany in the late 1980s -- Hasselhoff was HUGE there. Go figure. Ditto hair.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine 2006-2007
  • Saturday Night Live 1982-2006
  • Seinfeld 1990-1998
One of the funniest performers. She made zero impression on me when she was on SNL. NOt bad, not good, just nil. I think she just needed the right writers.

Gavin McLeod
  • McHale's Navy 1962-1964
  • Mary Tyler Moore 1970-1977
  • The Love Boat 1977-1987
Gavin McLeod: Maybe the epitome of a regular looking and acting guy, who made his living playing ordinary, nice guys.

Bill Cosby

  • I Spy 1965-1968
  • The Cosby Show 1984-1992
  • Cosby 1996-2000
Even knocking out three TV shows that did not make the minimum 2 year rule (The Bill Cosby Show 1969-1970 (The original one where he played a teacher -- released on DVD last year), Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids 1972 (IMDB lists the show as running for ONE YEAR? That's ALL they produced?), and The Electric Company 1971-1973 (Mr. Cosby did not appear in enough episodes to be a regular for 2 years)), Mr. Cosby still makes it.

Rene Auberjonois
  • Benson 1980-1986
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1993-1999
  • Boston Legal 2004-2007
Another one of those guys who you've seen on TV forever!

I would like to apologize to friends who I've asked to contribute. A lot of time was wasted when they could have been actively pursuing a more fruitful and meaningful activity.


Bob Buethe said...

You're counting "Baywatch" and "Baywatch Nights" separately? Well, then, Carroll O'Connor ought to get credit for "All in the Family," "Archie Bunker's Place," and "In the Heat of the Night."

How about Gene Barry: "Bat Masterson," "Burke's Law," "The Name of the Game."

Rue McClanahan: "Maude," "Mama's Family," "The Golden Girls."

Ken Berry: "F Troop," "Mayberry RFD," "Mama's Family."

Bernie Kopell: "That Girl," "Get Smart," "The Love Boat."

Oh, great. Now I'm hooked on this, too. :)

Brian Fies said...

I'm happy to see you got Bill Bixby in your previous list. I always thought he was great.

Best I can come up with now is Lee Majors: Big Valley 65-69, $6 Million Man 74-78, and the Fall Guy 81-86.

More if I think of them--which I'll probably spend more time on today than working. Fun game!

Bob Buethe said...

Andy Griffith does make the list! Of course, you remember "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock." But I had forgotten that "Salvage One" actually lasted for two seasons. Who'd'a thunk it?

Bob Buethe said...

Robert Wagner: "It Takes a Thief," "Switch," "Hart to Hart"

Sharon Gless: "Switch," "Cagney & Lacey," "The Trials of Rosie O'Neil" (that last one only had 21 episodes, but they were stretched over two seasons)

John Ritter: "Three's Company," "Hooperman," "8 Simple Rules"

Scott Bakula: "Quantum Leap," "Murphy Brown," "Enterprise"

John Forsythe: "Bachelor Father," "Charlie's Angels," "Dynasty"

Bob Denver: "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," "Gilligan's Island," "The Good Guys"

Elinor Donahue: "Father Knows Best," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Odd Couple"

Help me, I can't stop!!!

Brian Fies said...

John Forsythe: Bachelor Father, 1957-62; Charlie's Angels (tricky!), 1976-81; Dynasty, 1981-89.

Unknown said...

June Lockhart,

Petticoat Junction 1968-1970
Lost in Space 1965-1968
Lassie 1958-1964

Bob Buethe said...

David Spade: "SNL," "Just Shoot Me," "8 Simple Rules"

William Daniels: "Knight Rider," "St. Elsewhere," "Boy Meets World"

Mark Harmon: "240-Robert," "St. Elsewhere," "Chicago Hope," "Reasonable Doubts"

Scott Baio: "Happy Days," "Charles in Charge," "Diagnosis Murder"

Suzanne Somers: "Three's Company," "She's the Sheriff," "Step By Step"

John Larroquette: "Night Court," "The John Larroquette Show," "Boston Legal"

Susan St. James: "The Name of the Game," "McMillan and Wife," "Kate and Allie"

Jane Curtin: "SNL," "Kate and Allie," "Third Rock Form the Sun"

Susan Dey: "The Partridge Family," "L.A. Law," "Love and War"

Now my wife is getting into this, too!

Mike Lynch said...

Wow! OK, here are my comments about your comments.

Please keep in mind the rules that the actor has to be on every episode of a prime time show for at least 2 years -- three times -- to make it to the TV Trifecta.

Some of the actors you guys mentioned are all ready cited in an earlier TV Trifecta blog entry here:

Good call, Bearings, on June Lockhart. She's cited in the above previous TV Trifecta entry.

Bob, you have some good ideas there. My apologies in advance for wasting your time -- but it's a fun waste!

Carroll O'Connor should be in the TV Trifecta, yes.

Ditto Rue McClanahan.

William Daniels: Bullseye! He should be in the Trifecta!

Gene Barry and Bernie Kopell do not get in. THE NAME OF THE GAME did not last long enough for Barry. Kopell was only a semi-regular in GET SMART and THAT GIRL.

Correct on Ken Barry. Ken Barry is in the previous entry.

Brian, you're absolutely right. I should've listed Lee Majors.

And I agree with you about John Forsyth! That was a tricky one!

Robert Wagner's IT TAKES A THEIF ran only one year -- so he's disqualified.

Andy Griffith does not make the list since SALVAGE ONE did not last 2 years.

Ditto Sharon Gless and her short-lived ROSIE O'NEIL series.

John Ritter only lived to film 31 episodes of 8 SIMPLE RULES, so no Trifecta.

Scott Bakula was not a MURPHY BROWN regular, appearing on the program for only 13 episodes.

Bob Denver was in DOBIE GILLIS for 31 episodes, a couple short of the 2 year minimum. No Trifecta.

Elinor Donahue misses out on a Trifecta since she was on ANDY GRIFFITH for only a dozen episodes.

David Spade: only on 8 SIMPLE RULES for 39 episodes; not a full 2 year quota on that show.

Mark Harmon: 240-ROBERT had only 16 episodes; he was only in ST ELSEWHERE for 16 episodes -- but with REASONABLE DOUBTS (2 years), CHICAGO HOPE (1996-2000) and NCIS (2003-08), the man makes the Trifecta!

Scott Baio was only on DIAGNOSIS MURDER for 41 episodes. He would need to be on for 2 full years (44 episodes) to qualify for a third series. Although, the reality show SCOTT BAIO is 45/46 ... would maybe kick him into Trifecta territory.

Suzanne Somers misses the 3 TV series since SHE'S THE SHERIFF ran but 9 episodes.

John Larroquette doesn't get into the Trifecta unless he stays on BOSTON LEGAL longer than the 19 episodes he's done so far.

Susan Saint James is one who you'd think should be in but she was only on MCMILLAN for the first 21 episodes (leaving after 1976 due to a contract dispute) and she only appeared in THE NAME OF THE GAME 11 times.

Jane Curtin was cited in the first TV Trifecta entry.

Susan Dey appeared in the LOVE AND WAR sitcom for only its first half dozen episodes.

You see? Look at all this time end energy wasted! But it is fun!

Thanks for your comments.

Bob Buethe said...

Oh, and John Ritter can still make it in. I forgot all about "Hearts Afire," but my wife reminded me.

Bob Buethe said...

Ah, I misunderstood the rules. I thought that the actor had to have a regular role on a series that ran over two seasons. I didn't realize that "regular" was defined as every episode, or that the two seasons had to be full seasons. I also overlooked Ken Berry and Jane Curtin in the original list.

Still, this was lots of fun. Thanks.

Bob Buethe said...

One more thing: "She's the Sheriff" ran for 44 episodes, not 9. "It Takes a Theif" and "The Name of the Game" ran three seasons each, though TNotG rotated Gene Barry, Tony Franciosa, and Robert Stack, so Barry was not in every episode.

I guess that's more like three more things, isn't it?

Greg Fox said...

Oh, Mike, don't get me started on the TV trivia!

How about Heather Locklear? She was on Dynasty, TJ Hooker, and of course Melrose Place.

Perhaps you ought to reconsider Susan St. James; she may have only been on McMillan & Wife for 21 episodes, but those were each long, TV-movie length episodes, (if you may recall, the show rotated Sundays with McCloud & Columbo). So, she was actually on the show for about 4 seasons.

Oh, and about Sharon Gless, who someone mentioned may have been questionable for her "Trials" show? Well, she was on "Queer as Folk" for like, 5 seasons, (as a regular, in-every-episode character)!

Inalienable Rights said...

Heather Locklear:
"T.J.Hooker" 85 episodes 1982-1986;
"Dynasty" 134 episodes 1981-1989;
"Melrose Place" 199 episodes 1993-1999;
"Spin City" 71 episodes 1999-2002.
Source: IMDB

And Michael Landon does have "some kind of record" - the only actor to have had a leading role in 3 separate series which each lasted at least 5 seasons.

Inalienable Rights said...

Bob Denver was in 142 episodes of Dobie Gillis, not 31, from 1959-1963. Source: IMDB.
I think he does get the trifecta.

Inalienable Rights said...

Bea Benaderet was on only 18 episodes of "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show". I request her removal, with regrets.