The Powers That Be

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NBC (ended 1993)

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7.1
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The Powers That Be

Show Summary

Situation Comedy 21 episodes This series, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, revolves around the life of Democratic Senator William Powers (John Forsythe, who starred in Dynasty), an ally of Bill Clinton. Senator Powers is a good guy, but, even after twenty-six years in Washington, D.C., lacks the political smarts to survive in national politics. Fortunately, Senator Powers is backed up by his family and staff, who, mostly, do have the political qualities necessary for political life in Washington, D.C. Family: Senator Powers's wife, Margaret (Holland Taylor, Evelyn Harper on Two and a Half Men), sees herself as the woman behind the man, and believes that her top priority is to maintain her status in Washington. Margaret and William Power's ditzy daughter Caitlyn Van Horne (Valerie Mahaffey; Eve on Northern Exposure) is married to US Representative Theodore Van Horne (David Hyde Pierce, Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier). Theodore registers a rather low almost zero on the political and marital power scale, and is constantly looking for a way out of his life, but is a little too submissive to follow through on exiting. Theodore and Caitlyn's son is Pierce (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock From the Sun). Pierce might rather run and play with kids his own age, but must always be ready to reflect well on the family (he is always dressed smartly for anyone that wants to take a photograph). Rounding out the family is Sophie Lipkin (Robin Bartlett, Debbie Buchman on Mad About You), the Senator's illegitimate daughter, the product of a wartime romance. Sophie appears to exhibit a stable personality. Staff: Margaret must fight with Jordan Miller (Eve Gordon) for Senator Powers affections. Miller is Senator Powers Administrative Assistant, and mistress. Further assisting the senator is Press Secretary Bradley Grist (Peter MacNicol, Alan Birch on Chicago Hope, John Cage on Ally McBeal, and who is currently in a 2005 CBS midseason show Numbers), who sees himself as a man of power and influence, but in reality, might be less powerful and competent than he thinks. Rounding out the staff is the overworked, underappreciated maid, Charlotte (Elizabeth Berridge, Officer Eggers on The John Larroquette Show). After Clinton's presidential victory, The Powers That Be was abruptly canceled. The two events might not in fact be connected, and might just be coincidence. Creators other Creations David Crane & Marta Kauffman (creators of The Powers that Be) together also created Dream On (1990, Wendie Malick), Family Album (1993, Giovanni Ribisi), Friends (1994), and Veronica's Closet (1997, Kirstie Alley). Executive Producers Other Shows Executive Producer Norman Lear created The Deputy (1959), All in the Family (1971),Sanford and Son (1972), Maude (1972), The Dumplings (1976), All That Glitters (1977), Fernwood 2Night (1977), Apple Pie (1978), and Sunday Dinner (1991). Lear also executive produced All in the Family, Maude, Good Times (1974), One Day at a Time (1975), Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976), The Nancy Walker Show(1976), A Year at the Top (1977), Forever Fernwood (1977), Hanging In (1979), AKA Pablo (1984), Sunday Dinner, 704 Hauser (1994), and Channel Umptee3 (1997). Lear is credited for developing Good Times, The Jeffersons (1975), Hot L Baltimore (1975), One Day at a Time, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and In the Beginning (1978). Executive Producer Rod Parker is credited for being executive producer for Maude, All's Fair (1976), The Nancy Walker Show, Phyl & Mikhy (1980), Love, Sidney (1981), Gimme a Break! (1981), Dear John (1988) and Empty Nest (1988). Awards Joseph Gordon-Levitt was nominated for the Young Artist Award for the category Best Young Actor in a New Television Series in 1993 (in the same year, Toby Maguire was also nominated for this award (for the show: Great Scott!); Christopher Babers won this category for his work in Rhythm & Blues). Aired March-April . . .1992 ................Saturday 08:30 pm-09:00 pm August-September.1992 ................Saturday 08:30 pm-09:00 pm November.........1992 to January 1993 Saturday 08:30 pm-09:00 pm June.............................1993 Saturday 10:30 pm-11:00 pm Competition March-April 1992 Saturday 08:30 pm-09:00 pm ABC: Growing Pains CBS: CBS Saturday Night Movie FOX: Cops August-September 1992 Saturday 08:30 pm-09:00 pm ABC: Covington Cross CBS: Brooklyn Bridge FOX: Copsmoreless
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • I love The Powers That Be wish I could get a copy of all the shows. If anyone has one please contact me .

    9.8
    I think it was one of the funniest shows made. It didnt have to be visually sexual or gorry to be a great show. They need to make more of them. It seems all the funny shows go off the air to soon. Please help me find a copy of all the episodes in this show.If anyone has one please contact me . My daughter and I spent many evenings watching this show and would love to see it again. They really make you laugh.I keep hoping they will make a dvd set of this like all the other old ones they have brought back.Ive even checked ebay for one.moreless
  • The main reason I think The Powers that Be failed : Democrats can't seem to laugh at themselves.

    8.7
    I've watched a few episodes of this show that I found on tapes my Mother had stored in the attic, and found this to be a reasonably funny show (I've found a number of quotable lines to submit from the two-part season premiere "A Chicken in Every Plot/Bill is Dead...Not!") But I think the reason it failed was that it ailenated every political group. Republicans probably saw Norman Lear's name and figured 'Why bother watching? Any Republican characters will be Archie Bunker clones'. Democrats probably sampled the show enough to encourage NBC to give it a second season, but seeing the main Democratic Senator character being more Forrest Gump than Forrest Sawyer with a wife more Nancy Reagan parody than Hillary Clinton, no doubt tuned out in droves. And there probably weren't enough Independents/Perot/McClain/Nader viewers to sustain it. And if you need proof that Democrats won't watch a show that makes fun of their own values, think to yourself... when was the last time you saw reruns of All in the Family in a regular timeslot as opposed to Maude reruns. I think TVLand ran Maude for about three months tops back in '99.moreless

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