Today, we look at how Al Floss from The Famous Teddy Z wreaked havoc on Murphy Brown.
This is Somewheres in This Universe, a feature examining when characters from TV shows make guest appearances on other TV shows (in non-crossover stories), thus establishing that the two shows share a universe.
The Famous Teddy Z was the second straight excellent sitcom created by Hugh Wilson (the first being Frank’s Place) that was critically acclaimed, won Emmys and was canceled after a single season (I discussed both shows on a recent episode of The Gayest Episode Ever podcast). It told the story of Teddy Zakalokis (Jon Cryer), a young man with a low-level job at a talent agency who inadvertently becomes the agent for a famous movie star, thus making him one of the agency’s top tier agents out nowhere. The humor on the series was contrasting Teddy’s idealistic pursuit of being an agent versus his cutthroat colleagues. Most prominent of the cutthroat colleagues was Alex Rocco’s Al Floss, the top agent at the agency, who is basically every negative stereotype of agents rolled into one.
Just like Frank’s Place, the show aired on CBS’ coveted Monday night lineup, along with its new big hit, Murphy Brown, starring Candice Bergen as TV journalist Murphy Brown. For November sweeps, to help promote its Monday night neighbor, the Season 2 Murphy Brown episode, “And the Winner Is…” guest stars Rocco as Floss, who is the agent for Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), who wins a coveted news award (the Humboldt), and Floss then uses her new fame to negotiate Corky into getting the lead story in that week’s episode of the news magazine, FYI, over Murphy. Corky normally does the human interest/entertainment stories and Murphy does the lead story, but Floss plays hardball and gets Corky the gig (as it turns out, Corky is in over her head, and Murphy reluctantly agrees to help her with the story because, when it boils down to it, Corky IS her friend).
Floss tries to also change the seating arrangement at the FYI news desk, but FYI‘s executive producer, Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud), manages to get him to back off.
Rocco is great in the role, and he deservedly won the Emmy that year for his portrayal of Floss. It would have been nice had Floss appeared in a later episode, but that was it for him on Murphy Brown.
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com for suggestions for other good non-crossover guest appearances by TV characters!