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In fall 1970, CBS unveiled The Mary Tyler Moore Show to television audiences on Sept. 19. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.
CBS should be thrilled with the prospect of Arnie and The Mary Tyler Moore Show following each other Saturday night. They did the right thing by juggling their schedule to put The Mary Tyler Moore Show in this time slot — they have a winner with a capital “W.” Audiences fell in love with Mary on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and they’ll love her even more on her own. It is funny, warm and a beautifully put together show. James Brooks and Allan Burns, formerly of Room 222, created the show and are the producers with David Davis. Pilot was directed by Jay Sandrich and written by Brooks and Burns.
Mary Tyler Moore is an unmarried, intelligent, 30-year-old who moves to Minneapolis to start a new life after a break-up of a two-year romance. She moves into an apartment house with three of the greatest tenants a writer could ask for. Cloris Leachman is the “happily married” lady on the first floor. Lisa Gerritsen, that terrific kid from My World and Welcome to It, plays her daughter. Upstairs is Valerie Harper, a girl who came to Minneapolis to find an apartment because she couldn’t find one in New York. Miss Harper is hysterical and liable to walk off with the series.
In the pilot episode, Miss Moore moves in and then goes to a television news station to find a job. She is hired as an associate producer, which pays $10 less a week than a secretarial job. If Mary wants to be a producer she could [earn] $15 a week less. Her boss, played by Edward Asner, is brilliant. The interview scene in this show will be a classic in comedy timing. Ted Knight as the “Anchorman” is also funny. As the plot thickens, the old fiancé, played by Angus Duncan, returns to try it once more, but Mary realizes she made the right decision in the first place.
Mary Tyler Moore is a wonderful comedienne with a special gift of reacting to other people. Brooks and Burns have surrounded her with a perfect bunch of characters. The writing, acting and direction all mesh into a beautiful result. It’s good to have Mary Tyler Moore home again. — Sue Cameron
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