“United States,” the 1980 television series about marital life that was hailed by critics and just about booed off the air by the public, will return in September on the Arts & Entertainment cable network.
The return of the former NBC series was announced Tuesday by Nickolas Davatzes, president of the cable network, which reaches 15 million households in the United States and Canada. Thirteen half-hour episodes--most never seen on TV--will be presented Sundays at 8 p.m. beginning Sept. 15. “United States” stars Beau Bridges and Helen Shaver as Richard and Libby Chapin, a young middle-class couple with two sons, played by Justin Dana and Rossie Harris. The series’ creator, Larry Gelbart, who earlier had developed the series “MASH” for television, called it a “slice-of-marriage” show.
Poor ratings brought about NBC’s cancellation of “United States” after only a few airings in March and April of 1980. Nonetheless, it was considered ground-breaking domestic comedy. Writer-producer Gelbart used a true-to-life mix of humor and drama to tackle such topics as death, infidelity and child molestation.
Many critics likened the series to “All in the Family” in its no-holds-barred topicality; some considered it merely tedious and boring, apparently reflecting the public’s point of view.
Davatzes said that “United States” has not been seen on any network since its truncated initial run on NBC, making it a virtually new production for the 18-month-old Arts & Entertainment network.