The Associates
Created by
Developed byMichael Leeson
Directed by
Theme music composerAlbert Brooks
Opening theme"Wall Street Blues"
performed by B.B. King
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (4 unaired)
Executive producers
ProducerMichael Leeson
Production locationParamount Studios
CinematographyLeonard J. South
  • Douglas Hines
  • C. Cory M. McCrum-Abdo
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 23, 1979 (1979-09-23) –
April 17, 1980 (1980-04-17)

The Associates is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC from September 23, 1979 to April 17, 1980. Based on the novel of the same name by John Jay Osborn Jr., the series stars Wilfrid Hyde-White, Martin Short, Alley Mills, Joe Regalbuto, Shelley Smith, and Tim Thomerson. Despite being cancelled after nine of its thirteen episodes aired, it was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards.

The Associates, from the producers of Taxi, was critically acclaimed in the fall of 1979. But, ABC-TV fell from its ratings perch that fall when they moved their schedule around. Mork & Mindy was moved to Sunday night to challenge CBS's most established night of the week. The Associates was scheduled to follow Mork as a promising new comedy series. Mork, however, was crushed by CBS's Archie Bunker's Place. ABC moved Mork back to Thursday, but it would never recover its ratings glory. One Day at a Time was the direct competition to The Associates. Meanwhile, The Associates was later moved in 1980 to Thursdays at 9:30 but pulled after four weeks. The press heavily criticized ABC for not giving the show a chance.


The show was the first bonafide starring vehicle for Short and centered on a small group of young novice lawyers who worked at a Wall Street law firm. One of the creators of the series was John Jay Osborn, Jr., author of The Paper Chase. Episode seven featured guest star John Houseman reprising his role as Professor Kingsfield.



Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The First Day"James BurrowsStory by : Charlie Hauck
Teleplay by : Michael Leeson
September 23, 1979 (1979-09-23)
The associates learn the ropes on their first day at the firm while the founder decides between two attorneys seeking partnership.
2"Is Romance Dead?"Tony MordenteDavid LloydSeptember 30, 1979 (1979-09-30)
Tucker uses tips from a book on romance to try and impress Sara.
3"Tucker's Courtroom Coup"Tony MordenteDavid LloydOctober 7, 1979 (1979-10-07)
Marshall asks Eliot to defend a client whose ex-lover is suing him.
4"Mr. Marshall's Love Affair"Tony MordenteDavid LloydOctober 14, 1979 (1979-10-14)
Marshall's intended helpmate flirts with Eliot.
5"The Deadly Serve"Tony MordenteJohn Steven OwenOctober 28, 1979 (1979-10-28)
Eliot accidentally kills a partner in a game of squash.
6"Eliot's Revenge"James BurrowsStory by : Rich Reinhart
Teleplay by : David Lloyd
March 27, 1980 (1980-03-27)
Eliot argues with his former professor about a case.
7"Danko's a Daddy"James BurrowsDavid LloydApril 3, 1980 (1980-04-03)
Johnny tries to see his illegitimate son over the mother's objections.
8"The Censors"Tony MordenteStan Daniels &
Ed. Weinberger
April 10, 1980 (1980-04-10)
Tucker defends a network censor being sued by a producer.
9"The Party"James BurrowsEarl PomerantzApril 17, 1980 (1980-04-17)
Leslie falls for a teacher who despises conservative lawyers.
10"A Date with Johnny"Tony MordenteEarl PomerantzN/A
Johnny goes on a date with a married co-worker.
11"Tucker's Co-Op"Charlotte BrownDavid LloydN/A
Tucker moves into the apartment below Marshall, who shows up unexpectedly.
12"Inferno"Charlotte BrownDavid LloydN/A
The lawyers try to find escape routes when a fire starts in the building.
13"The Out of Town Trip"Tom TrbovichRich ReinhartN/A
The associates defend the head of a tire company accused of misusing funds, while Leslie quits the firm thinking it represents criminals.


The series had a complete run on BBC Two in the UK in 1982. The series was rerun on A&E in 1988, followed by runs on Comedy Central and TV Land in the 1990s.

In Italy, the series aired on Rete 4 as I novellini (Newbies) in 1982.

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1980 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger (for episode "The Censors")
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Michael Leeson and Charlie Hauck (for episode "The First Day")
Golden Globe Award Best TV-Series - Musical/Comedy
Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy Wilfrid Hyde-White