Aired: 1997 (CBS)
DAD: Ben Stevenson (Gregory Hines) / Widower
DAD’S JOB: Works for a publisher
KIDS: Matty (Brandon Hammond) (12)
WHERE’S MOM?: Dead a year and a half ago.
STAND-IN “MOM”: You tell me
Certainly the first show in a long time to hype the Single TV Dad aspect of a new show. Here’s CBS’s take on their venture into TV Single Dadness:
Gregory Hines, star of stage, screen and television, makes his series debut as Ben Stevenson, a widower who’s been mother, father and confidant to his 12-year-old son, Matty (Brandon Hammond), since his wife’s death a year and a half ago. Now, even Ben has to admit that it’s time to resume a social life. As he eases back into dating, he finds he has as much to relearn about women as Matty is learning for the first time. Contributing plenty of advice are Ben’s brother Carl (Wendell Pierce) and his dad James (Bill Cobbs), as well as his publishing house co-worker Alex (Mark Tymchyshyn), Alex’s ex-wife Nicole (Robin Riker), and their assistant Angela (Judith Shelton). This process proves even more awkward than necessary, since the modest Ben, with his offbeat wit, has no idea how attractive he is to women. For Ben and Matty, who have never had trouble talking openly about anything, now even the simplest conversation becomes complicated — especially when the subject matter turns to the women in their lives.
After watching this show, I’ve decided that this was one of the most realistic portrayals of Single Dads on TV. The interaction between father and son was plausible and compelling. It was one of the best examples of the role a single dad needs to play in the lives of his children. Ben Stevenson’s life was more intertwined with his son’s than Tom Corbett on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
Hey! Count the Bens in TV Single Dad History: Cartwright, Sisko, and now Stevenson!
Update – May 30, 1998: This show is officially DEAD. No ratings and storyline erosion hastened its demise. Goodbye, Stevenson family!