This month’s Spotlight is about The Boys, a short-lived CBS sitcom that aired during the summer of 1993. Christopher Meloni starred as a best-selling novelist who moves from New York City to a small town in Washington State with his girlfriend, played by Isabella Hoffman, where he meets and befriends his older, eccentric neighbors. Ned Beatty and Doris Roberts played their next door neighbors, the cantankerous Bert and gossipy Doris. Rounding out the cast were John Harkins and Richard Venture.
I’ve seen three of the five aired episodes of The Boys and wouldn’t mind seeing the remaining two or the sixth episode that CBS never aired. The reviews I found were mixed, with some several critics harsh and unforgiving but others willing to give the show and characters a chance to grow. The series debuted to 9.3 million viewers on a Friday in August 1993 and ranked 63rd for the week. Today, that would be considered a huge hit. Back in 1993, it was borderline disastrous.
Who knows exactly what CBS expected from The Boys and other summer tryouts like Big Wave Dave’s, Ned Blessing, and The Building. At the very least, the network hoped these shows would keep certain time slots warm and prime viewers to look for new programming as the 1993-1994 season got underway in mid-September. All of networks rolled out a few new or returning shows during August 1993–for some reason, the industry was eager to showcase its commitment to year-round programing.
Not much has changed since The Boys premiered more than 20 years ago. Every so often one of the networks will announce it is no longer sticking to the traditional fall-to-spring schedule but never actually make many substantial changes.
Later this year I’ll be writing a Spotlight about The Building, another CBS summer tryout from 1993 that aired alongside The Boys.