Bring Gimme A Break Home!

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 Gimme a Break - Season One

 Gimme A Break - Season Two


Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: October 29, 1981

Last Telecast: May 12, 1987

Broadcast History:

October 1981 - August 1982, Thursday 9:30-10:00 on NBC

September 1982, Thursday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

October 1982 - December 1982, Saturday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

January 1983 - August 1983, Thursday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

August 1983 - September 1984, Thursday 8:00-8:30 on NBC

September 1984 - November 1984, Saturday 8:30-9:00 on NBC

December 1984 - August 1985, Saturday 9:00-9:30 on NBC

September 1985 - June 1986, Saturday 8:00-8:30 on NBC

June 1986 - March 1987, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 on NBC

March 1987 - May 1987, Tuesday 9:00-9:30 on NBC


Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper..... Nell Carter

Chief Carl Kanisky (1981-1985)..... Dolph Sweet

Katie Kanisky (1981-1986)..... Kari Michaelson

Julie Kanisky Maxwell (1981-1986)..... Lauri Hendler

Samantha "Sam" Kanisky..... Lara Jill Miller

Officer Ralph Simpson (1981-1986)..... Howard Morton

Grandpa Stanley Kanisky (1982-1987)..... John Hoyt

Grandma Mildred Kanisky (1982-1983)..... Jane Dulo

Uncle Ed Kanisky (1982-1983)..... Pete Schrum

Joey Donovan (1983-1987)..... Joey Lawrence

Addy Wilson (1984-1987)..... Telma Hopkins

Jonathan Maxwell (1984-1986)..... Jonathan Silverman

Matthew Donovan (1986-1987)..... Matthew Lawrence

Marty / Esteban (1986-1987)..... Paul Sand

Maybelle Harper (1986-1987)..... Rosetta LeNoire

Maggie O'Brien (1986-1987)..... Rosie O'Donnell


A rotund black housekeeper maintained order in the home of a portly white police chief in this old-fashioned comedy set in the fictional town of Glen Lawn, California. Policeman Carl's beloved wife Margaret had died only months before, leaving him with three winsome daughters, ranging in age from cute grade-schooler to troublesome teen. Wisecracks and fat jokes abounded, but there was a lot of love as Nell tried to be friend and surrogate mother to the clan. Officer Simpson was dopey police officer who was frequently seen, and Joey was a six-year-old orphan and junior-grade hustler who joined the household in the third season.

As the 1985-1986 season opened the chief had passed away, and Nell became both mother and father to the Kanisky brood. The man of the house was now Jonathan, who had married Julie at the end of the previous season and moved in. By 1986, with the Kanisky girls grown and/or college-bound, Nell and her best friend Addy decided to leave Glen Lawn for New York City, with Grandpa and little Joe in tow. There they discovered Joey's irresponsible father Tim, who turned over Joey's younger brother Matthew (played by Joey Lawrence's real-life brother) and departed, adding a second child to the shifting household. Marty was Nell's nutty New York landlord, who also owned the restaurant El Gaspacho downstairs, where he put on a phony Spanish accent and called himself "Esteban."