Series History

Series History

“It’s a simple premise, but it’s vintage [Susan] Harris, and like everything else she does, Empty Nest has been meticulously thought out and superbly cast. Each of the regulars is carefully drawn, consistently realized….As for Empty Nest, it’s warm and entertaining comedy…If you like the humor in Golden Girls, you’ll enjoy Empty Nest. And even if you don’t like Golden Girls, sample Empty Nest anyway. Trust us.”
TV Guide, 1988

“Harry Weston is delicious and Dreyfuss the dog is delightful.  [Empty] Nest is home to an experienced ensemble that knows its way around a sitcom.”
TV Guide, 1992


Capitalizing on the popularity of her hit series The Golden Girls, creator Susan Harris decided to develop a companion piece set just down the street from the girls and centering around the empty nest syndrome, an idea never touched on before in the plot of a weekly series.

The initial pilot aired at the end of the second season of The Golden Girls and starred Rita Morena and Paul Dooley as a married couple whose daughter had gone away to college.  When that idea wasn’t well-received, Harris assembled a talented cast and retooled her new series as a vehicle for Richard Mulligan – who had worked with Harris on her earlier series Soap – as a widowed pediatrician with three adult daughters.  The series debuted as part of NBC’s Saturday night lineup in the fall of 1988.

From its debut, Empty Nest was an instant hit and solidified itself as more than a mere spinoff, eventually even earning more viewers than the series from which it was spun-off. This section of the site offers a detailed description of each season, noting the changes in the series and cast, as well as information about the events taking place throughout each year.

Original Pilot | Season One | Season Two | Season Three

Season Four | Season Five | Season Six | Season Seven