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'Who's the Boss?' takes a romantic turn [ - ]
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Author: Jefferson Graham
Source: USA Today
Date | Issue: 04/29/1991 | NA p.3D
Topic: Tony & Angela
Submitted by: mich_l81

'Who's the Boss?' takes a romantic turn 

By Jefferson Graham

When 7-year-old Who's the Boss? slipped out of the top 20 this year, it seemed headed for its pink slip.

Yet ABC's longest-running current sitcom has just been renewed for an eighth season.

''We see a major star in Tony Danza,'' explains ABC executive vice president Ted Harbert. ''Someone who is still immensely popular with the public. As you get into the sixth and seventh year, an aging process does occur, and we admit that the show doesn't force you to watch like it used to.''

So ABC and executive producers/creators Martin Cohan and Blake Hunter decided to do something they had resisted for seven years - get Tony and Angela (Judith Light) together.

Tuesday, Who's the Boss? begins a two-part story line which has Tony and Angela sharing a train berth in next week's finale.

The new season begins in September with a five-episode story arc that pays off with the duo going for the gusto.

''We've been tap dancing on it a long time,'' Hunter says. ''We're going to get back to basics. We're going to move the relationship forward.''

Harbert hopes the plan will ''bring new life into the show, just like Cheers got a second wind when Kirstie Alley joined.''

One question remaining is the status of Alyssa Milano, who plays housekeeper Tony's daughter Samantha.

She has said that she would leave the show at the end of the season and wanted to go to college next year.

Milano was unavailable for comment, but Harbert says, ''As far as I'm
concerned, she's going to be on the show.''

''Our understanding is that she's coming back,'' Hunter says, ''but if she wants to go to school, we've got no problem with that.''

One child who won't be on the show next year is Jonathan Halyalkar, who joined Boss this season to play Billy, Tony's new 5-year-old adopted child.

''We're moving in a direction of sex and commitment,'' Hunter says, ''and it wouldn't make sense to have him there. We had no problem with the boy; he was terrific. But we want to take the show into a romantic direction.''

Boss has been dominant in its 8 p.m. Tuesday time slot for years - helping to launch Roseanne, The Wonder Years and Growing Pains. For years it was a top 10 show. But this season, CBS' Rescue 911 ate into its audience.

ABC recently tested Boss on Mondays, where it did well, ranking fourth for the week. There's also talk ABC will slip Dinosaurs into Boss' time slot, and move Boss to another night. But that doesn't concern Hunter.

''I remember when The Jeffersons was moved to Sundays in its seventh season; it got a whole new lease on life.''