Too Close for Comfort
Also known asThe Ted Knight Show
(season 6 title)
Based onKeep It in the Family
created by Brian Cooke
Developed byArne Sultan
Earl Barret
Directed by
Opening theme"Too Close for Comfort", performed by Johnny Mandel
Composer(all season 4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.12, multiples)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes129 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Earl Barret
  • Arne Sultan (seasons 1-4)
  • Aaron Ruben (seasons 5-6)
Supervising producers:
  • Jerry McPhie (season 1)
  • Norman Hopps (seasons 2-3)
  • Volney Howard III (seasons 4-6)
Camera setupVideotape; multi-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesD.L. Taffner Productions
Metromedia Producers Corporation
Fox Television Stations (season 6)
Original release
NetworkABC (1980–1983)
Syndication (1984–1987)
ReleaseNovember 11, 1980 (1980-11-11) –
February 7, 1987 (1987-02-07)
Keep It in the Family
Family Business

Too Close for Comfort is an American sitcom television series that aired on ABC from November 11, 1980, to May 5, 1983, and in first-run syndication from April 7, 1984, to February 7, 1987. Its name was changed to The Ted Knight Show when the show was retooled in 1986 for what would turn out to be its final season, due to Ted Knight's death. The original concept of the series was based on the 1980s British sitcom Keep It in the Family.[1][2] Knight plays work-at-home cartoonist Henry Rush, who is married to Muriel, and their two adult daughters, Jackie and Sara, live in the downstairs apartment of their San Francisco two-flat. An episode involving the daughters moving across the bay to Oakland and the family complaining about crime, undrinkable water, and constant sound of police sirens saw the episode being briefly protested by Oakland politicians.[3] The family moves to Marin County for the show's final season, where Henry Rush becomes a co-owner of the local weekly newspaper.[1]


Henry and Muriel Rush are owners of a two-unit house at 171–173 Buena Vista Avenue East[4] San Francisco, California. Henry is a conservative cartoonist who authors a comic strip called Cosmic Cow with a hand-puppet version of "Cosmic Cow." Muriel is a freelance photographer. They have two adult daughters, Jackie and Sara.

Additional characters include Sara's friend, Monroe Ficus, and Henry's boss, Arthur Wainwright, who was head of Wainwright Publishing. The character of Monroe was originally intended to be used for only a single episode but producers added the character to the series.

Seasons 2 and 3

The cast of Too Close for Comfort during the show's second season

During its second season, the series' principal stories were focused around Muriel's pregnancy. Henry's niece April comes from Delaware to live with the Rush family. The season concludes with Muriel giving birth to a son, Andrew (later played regularly by twins William and Michael Cannon from 1983 to 1984).

Knight's character became famous for wearing sweatshirts from various American colleges and universities that were sent to him by fans.

In the fall of 1982, ABC moved the series to Thursday nights, which proved to be disastrous and the show saw its ratings fall drastically. The network canceled the series at the conclusion of the season after falling from #6 for the 1981–82 season to #38 for the 1982–83 season.

First-run syndication

During the early 1980s, TV station owner Metromedia was expanding its portfolio of original syndicated programming through its production subsidiary, Metromedia Producers Corporation. When Too Close for Comfort was canceled by ABC, Metromedia Producers Corporation elected to pick up the series and began producing all-new episodes to run on various stations throughout the country. Starting in April 1984, a total of 23 new episodes were broadcast for the show's fourth season, featuring the same cast as seen on the ABC episodes. The show's ratings improved in syndication and Metromedia ordered an additional 30 episodes, airing through November 1985. When the fifth season began, a single child actor, Joshua Goodwin, played the role of Andrew Rush.

The Ted Knight Show

Season 6 title screen for first-run episodes.

In late 1985, several changes were made before production started for Season 6. The show's title was changed to The Ted Knight Show (not to be confused with the short-lived 1978 CBS show of the same name), and the premise and setting were altered. Henry retires from drawing Cosmic Cow and, along with Muriel and Andrew, moves to Marin County where he buys a share of a local newspaper and becomes its editor. Monroe joins the Rushes takes a job with Henry's paper as a reporter. Actress Pat Carroll played the role of Hope Stinson, who owns the majority share of the newspaper and serves as a foil for Henry. In addition, the Rushes hire a live-in nanny, played by Lisa Antille. The characters of Jackie, Sara and Muriel's mother Iris were not included in the retooled show.

First-run episodes of The Ted Knight Show were broadcast starting in April 1986. Twenty-two episodes were produced prior to the summer of 1986 and 12 had aired by mid-July. The revamped show was scheduled to resume production when Knight, who had been battling colon cancer since 1985, died on August 26, 1986. The 10 remaining first-run episodes were broadcast from September 1986 to February 1987, and those episodes were added to the Too Close for Comfort syndicated rerun package with the original show's title.


Notable guest stars


Main article: List of Too Close for Comfort episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast airedNetwork
119November 11, 1980 (1980-11-11)May 12, 1981 (1981-05-12)ABC1520.8
(Tied with Happy Days)
222October 13, 1981 (1981-10-13)May 11, 1982 (1982-05-11)622.6
(Tied with The Dukes of Hazzard)
322September 30, 1982 (1982-09-30)May 5, 1983 (1983-05-05)38[5]
423April 7, 1984 (1984-04-07)December 8, 1984 (1984-12-08)Syndication
521February 5, 1985 (1985-02-05)November 23, 1985 (1985-11-23)
622April 5, 1986 (1986-04-05)February 7, 1987 (1987-02-07)


ABC aired reruns of the show during its daytime schedule from June to September 1983. The show entered daily broadcast syndication in the fall of 1986, which continued until 2003.[6] The syndication rights for Too Close for Comfort are held by DLT Entertainment, a production and distribution company owned by show producer Donald L. Taffner.

In the U.S., reruns currently air on streaming services Pluto TV and Tubi.[7]

Home media

Rhino Entertainment Company (under its Rhino Retrovision classic TV entertainment brand) released the first two seasons of Too Close for Comfort on DVD in Region 1 in 2004/2005.[8][9] However, Rhino's release used the versions of episodes that were edited for syndication, missing several minutes of footage in each, including the tag sequences. The episodes are also dubbed to replace references to Oakland with "Oldtown", as Oakland city officials had decried the show's denigration of the city during the show's original run.

In January 2024, Visual Entertainment Inc. revealed on Facebook that they are currently working on a complete series box set.[10]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 19 November 2, 2004
The Complete Second Season 22 June 7, 2005


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present: Ninth Edition. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ "Too Close For Comfort, "For Every Man There's Two Women"". The A.V. Club. 8 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Sitcom Portrayal Too Close For Comfort, "Sitcom protested by Oakland city officials"". 12 December 1980.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "1982-83 Ratings History -- Soap Bubbles Rise, Several Veterans Part and NBC Renews Poorly Rated Masterpieces". The TV Ratings Guide. Archived from the original on 2018-03-18. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Too Close for Comfort". Program Exchange. Archived from the original on 5 July 2003. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. ^ Too Close for Comfort: Where to Watch and Stream Online | Reelgood, retrieved 2024-01-01
  8. ^ "Too Close for Comfort - Exclusive 1st Look At Comfort-able Cover". Archived from the original on 2015-04-27.
  9. ^ "Too Close for Comfort - Season 2: Original Episodes or Syndicated Cuts? We know! Plus Release Date & Box Art!". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 2015-04-27.
  10. ^