Bring Benson Home!

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 Benson - The Complete First Season


Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: September 13, 1979

Last Telecast: August 30, 1986

Broadcast History:

September 1979-July 1980, Thursday 8:30-9:00 on ABC

August 1980-March 1983, Friday 8:00-8:30 on ABC

March 1983-April 1983, Thursday 8:00-8:30 on ABC

May 1983-March 1985, Friday 8:00-8:30 on ABC

March 1985-Septebmer 1985, Friday 9:00:9:30 on ABC

October 1985-January 1986, Friday 9:30-10:00 on ABC

January 1986-August 1986, Saturday 8:30-9:00 on ABC


Benson DuBois..... Robert Guillaume

Governor James Gatling..... James Noble

Katie Gatling..... Missy Gold

Gretchen Kraus..... Inga Swenson

Marcy Hill (1979-1981)..... Caroline McWilliams

John Taylor (1979-1980)..... Lewis J. Stadlen

Clayton Endicott - III (1980-1986)..... René Auberjonois

Pete Downey (1980-1985)..... Ethan Phillips

Frankie (1980-1981)..... Jerry Seinfeld

Denise Stevens Downey (1981-1985)..... Didi Conn

Mrs. Cassidy (1984-1986)..... Billie Bird

Senator Diane Hartford (1985-1986)..... Donna LaBrie


In this spin-off from Soap, Benson the butler - the only sane member of the Tate household - was sent by Jessica Tate to help her widowed cousin, Gov. James Gatling. Benson found himself moved from one loony bin to another.

Gov. Gatling was a sweet, well-meaning man, but terribly naive; Katie, his precocious daughter; Gretchen, the formidable German housekeeper, and Marcy, his secretary (married in a February 1981 episode). Benson, though theoretically only in charge of the Governor's household, kept order around the executive mansion, did constant battle with Gretchen, helped raise little Katie, and generally assisted the meek Governor in deciding what to do, both politically and personally. Of less help to the chief executive were his political aide Taylor (replaced by Clayton); bumbling press assistant Pete, boy messenger Frankie.

In 1981, Benson was appointed state budget director, giving him added responsibilities as well as his own secretary, Denise (who later married Pete). The promotion came just in time for Benson to help the Governor in his campaign for a second term, which fortunately for the series, he won, as an Independent - after his party dumped him. Benson's former employer, Jessica Tate, showed up in ghostly form in 1983 to remind him how far he had progressed. Benson's remarkable rise continued.

In 1984, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, and in 1986 - in the series' final original episodes - he ran against his mentor Governor Gatling, for the Governorship itself, with his new fiancée Diane serving as his campaign manager. The bitter campaign strained the two men's friendship, but, in the end they reconciled, reminisced, and settled in to watch the election results together. In true TV cliff-hanger tradition, the outcome was not revealed, so viewers never did find out who won. However one thing was clear - Benson the insolent butler had come a long way.

ABC aired reruns of Benson on weekday mornings from September 1983-June 1984.