The Los Angeles Times , Oct 8, 1988, Howard Rosenberg
The peacock is the early bird as NBC continues to get the fall-season jump on ABC and CBS this time with the premiere of a zingy, zesty comedy called Empty Nest following the return of Golden Girls.
Airing at 9:30 tonight on Channels 4, 36 and 39, Empty Nest introduces Miami pediatrician Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan), a mid-50ish widower who lives alone, but within frequent visiting range of his two bickering eldest daughters. Carol (Dinah Manoff) is a neurotic divorcee whose closest relationship is with her talking scale, and Barbara (Kristy McNichol) is a bubbly cop.
The overbearing next door neighbor (you thought there wouldn’t be one?) is a cruise ship officer named Charley (David Leisure of Joe Isuzu fame) who steals scenes with sneers and snide one-liners.
Also living nearby, as it turns out, are the characters from the hit Golden Girls, who will drop in every so often to help the Golden Boy with his social life and NBC hopes his Nielsen ratings.
Co-executive producer Susan Harris delivers a funny script and Jay Sandrich directs smartly for tonight’s promising (if unbearably loud) pilot, in which Mulligan is at his self-effacing best and Manoff especially impressive as the bitter and miserable Carol.
Plans call for Harry to spend some of his time at home, some at the office where he’s insulted by his hillbilly nurse Laverne (Park Overall) and the rest fending off single women. The first of these arrives Saturday in the person of his medical colleague and frequent dinner partner Eva Barrett (Grace Zabriske), whose marriage proposal becomes an ultimatum.