New York Report
It’s goodbye to “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” On July 1, that popular syndicated series leaves the air for good. Louise Lasser announced last week she was quitting the show, and producer Norman Lear said he’d “wrap a ribbon around” the series and “put it away with love.”
Making the show had become a “constant sprint,” said the actress. “It’s a question of how much you can sprint without hurting the muscles.” She was sad about leaving the series, she said, because Mary’s character and her own “coincided in so many special places that touched the heart.”
Starting July 4, a spinoff series called “Fernwood Tonight” will replace “MHMH” for the summer. It’ll have a talk-show format with Martin Mull (Garth Gimble in “MHMH”) as the host, interviewing Fernwood’s now-familiar inhabitants. Then in the fall, “Fernwood Tonight” will give way to a new series tentatively called “Fernwood USA,” provided enough stations accept Lear’s substitute offering. Plans for it are still a bit vague, but many of the same folks you’ve been seeing on “MHMH” will be featured.