Charmed Lives (1986)
Who's The Boss (1984-1992)
Type: Spin Off
Who's The Boss was a huge hit sitcom for ABC that spawned multiple successful spin offs that all continue to dot the TV landscape and amuse us to this very day.
What? Really? Oh, okay. Sorry, I made a slight typographical error there. Let's start again...
Who's The Boss was a huge hit sitcom for ABC that spawned two spin offs that exploded on the launch pad and disappeared from TV faster than the eye could see... if any eyes were watching... which they weren't.
Who's The Boss was a sitcom about a typical non-typical sitcom family. Angela Bower was a divorced mom working as an advertising executive. She needed to hire a someone to clean her house and look after her son Jonathan. She ended up hiring the least likely candidate, Tony Micelli. Tony was a former pro baseball player from New York. Not your typical maid or nanny. Tony took the job because it gave him the chance to not only make a living but also move his daughter out of New York and into a better way of life. Watching over this whole wacky group was Angela's even wackier mom, hip and horny Mona.
At the end of season two, Angela ran into a wacky predicament at work. Her client Vionelli Foods was looking for a new "Princess" spokesperson to represent their line of Italian foods. In the end there were two final candidates. Joyce Columbus, played by Fran Drescher and Lauren Sullivan, played by Donna Dixon. Joyce certainly looked the part of an Italian princess and was also very outgoing. On the other hand, Lauren Sullivan was a shy, blonde photographer who wasn't even sure she could do the job. But she was also Donna Dixon which equals she was smmmmoking hot. Screw how Italian she wasn't, she'd sell pasta! Whoever got the gig got tons of perks including a paid for apartment.
There was a deadlock as to which girl should be the princess. Then Angela had a kooky idea. What if they were both hired as the princess? Joyce could be the more classic Italian princess while Lauren could be the princess they could use to give the brand more of a hip and dynamic appeal. Of course, uh oh, the two oh so different girls would have to share not just the job but also the pay and the perks. That'd mean sharing an apartment. But so what? They'd be living Charmed Lives!
Uh oh! Do I smell an all new female odd couple for our times? Uh, no. Smell again. That ain't the whiff of success. After debuting at the end of season two of Who's The Boss, the girls' own show Charmed Lives premiered the following fall and hung around for three episodes. THREE episodes. Oh and I cherished every single one. Well, okay, there were a couple episodes that weren't classics but that's to be expected of any show. Ya can't hit it out of the park every week!
Now here's the extra weird postscript. Apparently somebody thought the basic idea was a sound one. Because five years later Fran Drescher was on the air with a show called Princesses. See if this plot sounds at all familiar. A recently divorced woman has free use of an apartment for a year. She's a shy teacher. She shares the apartment with her outspoken friend, played by Fran Drescher. But where's the "forced to live together" gimmick, you ask? Well, it turns out the building's owner also accidentally rented the apartment to a British woman, bona fide princess. Oops. No worries. They all decided to share the apartment. So apparently what was wrong the first time around was they needed another roomie? Anyway, Princesses did go longer than three episodes but not by much. The critics panned it, cast members tried to leave the show... suddenly three episodes and forgotten looks not so bad.
Now I have no direct proof Charmed Lives actually mutated into Princesses but it just seems impossible they aren't connected. Similar premises, the same actress in both shows... come on! I say give it one more shot. I say go with four women! Make it sharing a house just to change things up. Fran Drescher has to star of course. How about this time all four women are under house arrest and forced to stay in the house. Maybe one of them farts a lot. Hey, I'm trying here! Now I just need to get the princess angle in there...
UPDATE: Update on an old old show that less than nobody cared about? How is that even possible? Well it's just barely possible. Here's the deal. There is some question as to whether Charmed Lives achieved series-hood. The pilot episode from Who's The Boss definitely is real. But did it really go to series? It isn't in The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows which is THE reference book for shows. It isn't listed much of anyplace actually. It is listed in two major places. First of all, it is listed on The Internet Movie Database. Hardly conclusive proof. IMDB is a great reference but it isn't the gospel perfect source some people take it for. It depends on everyday folk submitting info. So, it is possible that Joe Brainfart might submit some bogus info. Then folks taking the IMDB as perfect take it and run with it and, boom, you've got The Practice's Ellenor Frutt appearing on Law And Order: SVU when she actually didn't, St. Elsewhere's Elliot Axelrod appearing on Chicago Hope when he didn't, me tearing my hair out (which I did).
The second source claiming it was a show is TV.com. Now, no offense to the great folks at TV.com but... wow I hate that site. TV Tome which it replaced was a much better site. Easier to use, tons of info. Even on the best computer I can find TV.com's pages overloads my computer so heavily that the scroll bar even slows down. The only site I've ever seen do that. And I've seen bad info there too. The thing is, usually the bad info comes in the form of someone being sloppy and/or lazy in adding info. The wrong air date for a shows for instance. But I have a hard time believing they would make a mistake like this. Adding a show that doesn't exist, going to the trouble of listing made up episode titles? That's not alazy mistake. That is a crazyily active intentional mistake. Not sure why anyone would go to all the bother.
Other sites do also list Charmed Lives as an actual show. Usually it gets mentioned when an article on Fran Drescher lists out her credits. But, again, if they used The IMDB as their source... And it is clear that many of them are in fact referencing each other. Wikipedia lists the show with the odd note that it was cancelled after four months. With so little info out there, not sure where that nugget came from. BUT looking around, every other article mentioning the show also mentions that it was cancelled after four months. Even if Charmed Lives was a show, I really doubt that fact is true. But I do believe that all those articles mentioning that fact all tie back to one common source (possibly Wikipedia). So that means, lets say, seven sources of proof the show happened really all come from some single original source which is likely half assed in the first place.
So was it really a show or is Charmed Lives: The Series some strange inexplicable hoax? Ya know what? As hard as I work to keep this site accurate, I don't really care. It was a Fran Drescher stink-bomb... er, uh rather, sitcom, from the eighties that, if it did exist NOBODY WATCHED!!! On the chance it was legit, I am leaving this page up. But I have added this update because, while I can't get all worked up over whether this show actually happened, I frickin' hate the way that if some crap flies around the internet long enough, gets posted enough places it starts magically becoming accepted as true, even though it's still crap. I don't want to be part of the problem. Assuming Charmed Lives is a tidy turd, I don't want my site legitimizing that turdy lie. From that point of view I DO care.
So maybe it happened, maybe it didn't. Somebody get Fran Drescher or Donna Dixon to call me and we can straighten this all out right quick. If possible lets make it Donna Dixon. Fran is fine but Donna Dixon? Hubba hubba.Other Who's The Boss Crossover Links
Who's The Boss and Living Dolls
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