The 2010’s

Enter Streaming

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, The "All-Access" services - - first, it was the move from broadcast to cable, but now, the expansion of on-demand channels brings more entertainment choices for an ever-fragmenting audience.

TV Single Dads continue to pop up. Familiarity is a comfort food for viewers.

First, the Questionable Show of the 2010s...

  • Life, Unexpected

    Aired: 2010-2011 (The CW)Life, Unexpected

    DAD: Nate “Baze” Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha) / Single

    DAD’S JOB: Bartender

    KIDS: Lux (Britt Robertson) (15)

    WHERE’S MOM?: Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby) Gave up Lux for adoption as a baby.


    Formerly called “Parental Discretion Advised” – more TV Single Dad rules limits-testing for the new decade: Mom is around but the daughter doesn’t live with her. Mom has joint custody but the daughter lives with Dad.

    Let’s hear how The CW describes the show:

    After spending all of her 15 years bouncing from one foster family to another in Portland, Oregon, Lux (Britt Robertson, “Swingtown”) has decided it’s time to take control of her life and become an emancipated minor. Her journey through the legal maze leads Lux to her biological father, 30-something Nate “Baze” Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha, “Mad Men”), who owns a bar, lives like an aging frat-boy with two slacker roommates, and is astonished to learn that he has a teenage daughter. Lux is equally astonished when Baze reveals that her mother is Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby, “E.R.”), a star on the local “Morning Madness” radio show, along with her on-air partner and real-life boyfriend, Ryan Thomas (Kerr Smith, “Eli Stone”). Lux has been listening to Cate’s voice on the radio as long as she can remember, so she feels an instant connection with the mom she’s never met. Baze takes Lux to meet Cate, who is shocked and saddened to learn that Lux has grown up in foster care, but thrilled to finally meet her beautiful daughter. When a judge decides that Lux isn’t ready for emancipation and unexpectedly grants temporary joint custody to Baze and Cate, they agree to try to get past the awkwardness and make a belated attempt to give Lux the family she deserves.

    LIFE UNEXPECTED is produced by Mojo Films in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Liz Tigelaar (“Brothers and Sisters,” “What About Brian”) and Gary Fleder (“October Road”). Gary Fleder directed the pilot.

Next, the Hall of Fame Shows:

  • Sons of Tucson

    Aired: 2010-2011 (FOX)Sons of Tucson

    DAD: Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine) / Single

    DAD’S JOB: Sporting Goods Clerk

    KIDS: Brandon (Troy Gentile) (13), Gary (Frank Dolce)(11), and Robby Gunderson (Davis Cleveland)(8)

    WHERE’S MOM?: Mom’s dead. Real Dad is in jail.

    STAND-IN “MOM”: Ron Snuffkin – hired by the boys to be the parent.

    This is a return to the Fr. Murphy style of “Dad for Hire” plots of the 70’s. Imagine a Malcolm in the Middle-type cast of boys without parents, who concoct a scheme to avoid foster care. They hire store clerk Ron Snuffkin, using their bio dad’s ill-gotten assets to pay Ron to pose as their dad while their REAL dad is serving 25 years in prison.

    If this were a movie, Ron would be played by Jack Black. On a television budget, though, we had to settle for the quite adequate talents of Mr. Tyler Labine.

    Show was funny, but the ratings weren’t there. I’d blame poor promotion and a bouncing schedule. Never really had a chance, so it was gone after six episodes.

    Here was the Fox publicity machine’s take on the show:

    SONS OF TUCSON is a family comedy about three brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison. What begins as a business relationship evolves into something more complex and compelling: a family unlike any we’ve ever seen. The three brothers find their dad-for-hire, RON SNUFFKIN (Tyler Labine, “Reaper”), at the local sporting good store. Ron will be forced to draw on a wide array of skills and a vast bag of tricks as he steps into the patriarch role to take care of the boys of the Gunderson family. ROBBY GUNDERSON (Davis Cleveland, “How I Met Your Mother”), 8, is a loose cannon who doesn’t respond well to authority; GARY GUNDERSON (Frank Dolce, “Doubt”), 11, is a bright and street-savvy leader who is every bit the con man his father is; and BRANDON GUNDERSON (Troy Gentile, “Entourage”), 13, is a gentle free spirit who simply goes along for the ride. MAGGIE MORALES (Natalie Martinez, “Saints & Sinners”), Robby’s second-grade teacher and the object of Ron’s affection, might just be the only stable figure in the lives of this quirky quartet. While SONS OF TUCSON is grounded in the day-to-day challenges of a single-parent home, nothing in the Gunderson household is quite what it seems. An ongoing chess match between Ron and the boys will keep both parties on their toes, as neither side can afford to give up too much power or independence.