Is a Mr. Belvedere Revival Plausible and Could it Speak to an Audience in 2018?

Written Delving into The Library Archives by Bridger Cunningham

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Long-forgotten shows seem to be making a comeback this decade.  Either because the entertainment industry is getting lazy, or they are trying to hone in on the comfort food people remember and enjoyed during higher-rated seasons.  Would a revival of Mr. Belvedere be possible?  Though Christopher Hewitt passed away in 2001 at the age of 80, continuing the premise is plausible.  Perhaps a contemporary version titled Mrs. Belvedere, featuring a wisecracking English governess returning to one of the Owens childrens' homes and helping run affairs. 

Majority of the principle cast has since retired or downgraded acting, but actor Brice Beckham is still around in the entertainment industry, albeit with the writer's pen.  Beckham played the title character's clever little foil, Wesley Owens, the antagonistic yet misunderstood child in the family.  What a perfect character to center a revival on.  Imagine Wesley, now a divorced single father, struggling to keep the order with three children in his home.  Enter Jane Leeves as Ann Belvedere, Lynn's second wife/widow who herself is struggling with empty nest syndrome and figuring out a purpose and is bored with her career as a college professor, as well as mounting debts.  After crossing paths with Wesley, the two realize they need each other and Wesley hires her as his nanny to his two poorly-disciplined little boys.  Add a college-aged daughter, Lynette (whom Wesley named in honor of Lynn himself) as an amoral foil to Ann, as well as Lynn and Ann's 20-something son Owen, and the ensemble would be complete. 

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Mr. Belvedere was never critically-acclaimed nor Nielsen juggernaut.  In fact, the series evaded cancellation with a last-minute revival in 1987 due to fan outcry and limited scheduling options.  However, it survived well into a 6th season when ABC cancelled the series after pulling it from the schedule late in 1989.  Distributed by FOX, the last season produced several direct-to-syndication episodes before ABC gave the series a two-episode sendoff in July 1990.  Where Mr. Belvedere excelled was via cunning dialogue, realism, welcome continuity, several long-running gags and a willingness to explore sickening social issues such as the AIDS scare, pedophilia and date rape.  Mr. Belvedere was also the paving stone to launch the longstanding TGIF comedy block. 

Initially launched as a late-season entry in March 1985, it scored a 15.1 rating for its 7 episodes and finished the season in 35th Place.  It spent the remainder of its run between 42nd and 66th Place before limping out of ABC's gate as its last-place sitcom in 1990 in 51st Place.  Throughout that run, Mr. Belvedere endured 7 moves and was strategically used to build weaker portions of the Friday night lineup. 

Could a Mr. Belvedere revival speak to an audience in 2018?  Absolutely.  The simple themes such as child rearing, career shifts and culture clash would make a welcome addition to today's modern family unit.  Just like Fuller House, the original series' target audience is now in the desired 18-49 Nielsen demographic and is rearing children.  Said target audience may enjoy sitting down with their children and allowing them to experience a show they loved in their youth.  Leave the Owens' front door open, as a Mr. Belvedere revival may be the ticket to the next great hit in the television landscape.

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