The Bronx Zoo

NBC (ended 1988)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 13

    Unnatural Selection

    Aired

  • S 2 : Ep 12

    A Day in the Life

    Aired 6/29/88

  • S 2 : Ep 11

    On the Land, on the Sea, and in the Halls

    Aired 6/22/88

  • S 2 : Ep 10

    Crossroads

    Aired 6/15/88

  • S 2 : Ep 9

    When I Paint My Masterpiece

    Aired 6/8/88

  • Cast & Crew
  • Edward Asner

    Principal Joe Danzig

  • Nicholas Pryor

    Jack Felspar

  • Mykelti Williamson

    Gus Butterfield (as Mykel T. Williamson)

  • Kathryn Harrold

    Sara Newhouse

  • Jerry Levine

    Matthew Littman (episode 3+)

  • show Description
  • Kids can be such animals. Or at least at Benjamin Harrison High, they could. As principal to the impoverished, unruly inner-city Bronx school, Joe Danzig (Asner) believed there was always a silver lining in every black cloud -- even if not all of his staff shared his optimism. Working under him were Vice Principal Jack Felspar (Pryor), who cared more about getting Joe's job than getting through to anybody; Harry Barnes (Wilson), the tough, street-smart history professor; Sara Newhouse (Harrold), the frustrated English teacher who would rather be teaching those as refined as she; Mary Caitlin Callahan (Beller), the mellow and always upbeat art teacher; Gus Butterfield (Williamson), the hip P.E. coach who spoke the teens' language; and the new math substitute, Matthew Littman (Levine), whose timidness and former schooling in law could never have prepared him for his new job. The Bronx Zoo surely goes down as one of the most unusual rewrites in the history of television. It arose from the five-year-old ashes of a short-lived CBS sitcom -- and first TV series from UBU Productions -- Making the Grade. The setting was Franklin High rather than Benjamin Harrison. Harry Barnes, Jack Felspar and Anton Zemeckis were there in much the same form, played by James Naughton, Graham Jarvis and Zane Lasky, respectively. Instead of Sara Newhouse, it had Sara Conover (Alley Mills), who was a loose combination of both Newhouse and Mary Caitlin Callahan. Gus Butterfield was called Gus Bertoia; he wasn't black, but he was played by George Wendt just months prior to his claim to fame on Cheers. Making the Grade only ran for six weeks, after which its creator, Gary David Goldberg, let two of his frequent collaborators, Patricia Jones and Donald Reiker, remake it as a drama. The series, which was mostly tested in St. Elsewhere's time slot, shared much of its crew with another NBC series, Fame. The two may have been as different as night and day in concept, but they did have one other thing in common: NBC cancelled them both after a season and a half. Although The Bronx Zoo did poorly on a national level, it was a huge hit in most New York markets, including -- you guessed it -- the Bronx. The Bronx Zoo is produced by UBU Productions, in association with Paramount Television Broadcast History ----------------- Mar 1987, Thu 10:00-11:00 Mar 1987-Apr 1987, Wed 10:00-11:00 Apr 1987, Thu 10:00-11:00 Apr 1987-May 1987, Wed 10:00-11:00 Aug 1987-Sep 1987, Wed 9:00-10:00 Dec 1987, Wed 10:00-11:00 Jan 1988, Wed 10:00-11:00 Mar 1988, Thu 10:00-11:00 Mar 1988-Apr 1988, Wed 10:00-11:00 Jun 1988, Wed 10:00-11:00 First telecast: March 19, 1987 Last telecast: June 29, 1988 Show type: Drama Number of episodes: 21 Media: 35mm filmmoreless

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Notes (22)

    • This was a special Thursday preview before the series settled into its regular Wednesday time slot. It was slated to air from 10:00-11:00 Eastern, but a live news special bumped it a few minutes past the hour.

    • Guest star Matthew Asner is Ed Asner's son. He'll go on to make a number of other bit appearances on the series, usually as different characters.

    • Guest star Sean Gregory Sullivan was concurrently appearing in the NBC sitcom Roomies, which premiered the same night The Bronx Zoo did.

    • The title refers to the producers' description of the series -- one of "small victories."

    • This is the pilot, filmed in 1986. The second episode, "Signs of Life," was shot as the intended series premiere, and both it and "Changes" were written as prequels. As a result, Jerry Levine couldn't be in them, so the first season opening credits from this episode on are reworked to include a graffiti painting of him.

    • Produced out of intended broadcast sequence.

    • Aired on a Thursday.

    • Guest stars Patrick O'Bryan and Lezlie Deane also appeared together in 976-EVIL.

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