Episodes: 158 (half-hour)
TV show dates: September 13, 1979 – April 19, 1986
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Inga Swenson, Missy Gold, Rene Auberjonois, Ethan Phillips, Didi Conn, Caroline McWilliams, Billie Bird, and Lewis J. Stadlen.
TV show description:
Sharp-tongued butler Benson DuBois (Robert Guillaume) is asked by his employer, Soap’s Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond), to help out her widowed cousin, Gene Gatling (James Noble).
The honest but naive Gatling has recently been elected governor of the state and needs all the help he can get juggling his new job with raising his precocious daughter, Katie (Missy Gold). By the end of the pilot episode, Benson’s decided to stay full-time and becomes the mansion’s head of household.
Benson frequently finds himself butting heads with acerbic housekeeper Gretchen Kraus (Inga Swenson) and the Governor’s persnickety aide, John Taylor (Lewis J. Stadlen). Thankfully, Benson does have an ally in Marcy Hill (Caroline McWilliams), the Governor’s level-headed secretary.
As time goes on, both Taylor and Marcy leave and Benson becomes the state’s budget director, then Lieutenant Governor. Kraus becomes his aide.
New staffmembers include snotty chief-of-staff Clayton Endicott III (Rene Auberjonois), dim-witted press assistant Pete Downey (Ethan Phillips), ditzy secretary Denise Stevens (Didi Conn), and addled housekeeper Rose Cassidy (Billie Bird). Underhanded Senator Leonard Tyler (Bob Fraser) is a frequent thorn to the Gatling administration.