The Empty Nest TV website is the brainchild of one devoted fan of the show who created the site simply because, well, no one else was going to do it.
I wasn’t involved in the production of Empty Nest. In fact, I was all of 15 years old when it ended in 1995. But for nearly 20 years, I have tried my best to pay tribute to this series. And I have been asked, “Why Empty Nest, of all shows?” I don’t suppose I have a terrific answer to that question. I grew up watching it, along with The Golden Girls and other such shows of the time. My grandmother was a big TGG fan, as was everyone’s grandmother at the time, so the NBC Saturday night lineup was required viewing. And I gravitated to Empty Nest. It had a cool dog. And I liked their house. And there was a character with Appalachian roots that wasn’t portrayed as just a stereotype and a joke. (Those of us with Appalachian roots appreciate that.) And Richard Mulligan was obviously a brilliant actor to watch. So it was all of these things that drew me to the show. Perhaps it wasn’t groundbreaking like The Golden Girls or other contemporaries like Roseanne or Seinfeld, but it was a solid, entertaining comedy.
It was 1998 when encouragement from fans of Empty Nest and The Golden Girls spurred my interest in creating a site for the show, especially since it didn’t look like anyone else was going to do it. This was back when the Internet was just becoming a huge part of our lives. Fan sites were all over the place for everything imagineable – except for Empty Nest. In fact, Golden Girls fan sites were plentiful even then. It just seemed silly to me that there was such a void of Empty Nest information online, so I entered blindly into the world of Web design and have been going ever since.
Maintaining this website has been an absolute pleasure, a hobby that started on a whim and has continued into something of which I’m quite proud. It has allowed me to correspond with some great fans of the show and some of its stars and crew members. To this day, it remains the only site devoted solely to the series (at least to my knowledge), and people seem to like it. When the Hallmark Channel began airing episodes in February 2011, I had over 10,000 visitors that month. (Wow!) And it’s been interesting to see new fans discover it on Laff TV.
In 2015, when I realized it was the 20th anniversary of the show’s finale, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get anyone involved in the show to talk to me?” I’ve corresponded with several folks over the years via email and social media, but had never requested a formal interview, despite my media and communications background and credentials. So I put out feelers and had extraordinarily good luck more quickly than I imagined. Within a few weeks time, several cast and crew members jumped on board my “Return to the Nest” series. To have the site embraced by those directly involved with the show has been an honor and a pleasure, and my hope is to keep it an open-ended part of the site. (An interview with the elusive Kristy McNichol would be cool, huh?)
One day, I ran across an article that called my site “more detailed than the Encyclopedia Britannica‘s summary of World War II.” They were saying it with tongue firmly in cheek, but, nonetheless, I think that about nails it. I’ve tried to be very thorough, including just about every bit of information I’ve been able to find over the years.
Maintaining the site is only a hobby of mine, although one I take very seriously. I am also a writer and work in the higher education arena as a communications director and course instructor. You can follow me on Twitter @mattbrowning.
Thank you for visiting,