Empty Nest is an American television sitcom that ran originally on NBC from 1988 to 1995. The series was created as a spin-off of The Golden Girls by creator and producer Susan Harris. For its first three seasons, Empty Nest was one of the top 10 most watched programs. It was produced by Touchstone Television.
The show revolved around pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan), whose life is turned upside down when his wife dies and two of his adult daughters move back into the family home in Miami. Early episodes established that The Golden Girls were neighbors of the Westons. (Dr. Harry Weston also appeared on episodes of The Golden Girls this same season.)
Eldest daughter Carol (Dinah Manoff) was a neurotic and high-strung recent divorcée, while middle daughter Barbara (Kristy McNichol) was a tough undercover police officer. The two sisters frequently bickered and vied for the attention of their father (whom they still called "Daddy"). The Westons' large dog Dreyfuss was also prominently featured.
In 1992, Kristy McNichol left the show and the youngest Weston daughter Emily (Lisa Rieffel) joined the cast. Her character had been mentioned, but not seen before as she had been away at college for several years. Rieffel left the show after one season and for the show's final two seasons only Carol remained of the Weston children. McNichol would later return for the series finale in 1995.
Another main character was the Weston neighbor Charley (David Leisure), a womanizing cruise ship employee who frequently barged into the house unannounced to borrow food or make sexist comments. Charley had a faux father-son relationship with Harry and a love-hate relationship with Carol.
Harry's job was another major focus for the show. For the first five seasons Harry worked at the hospital, where he was aided by his wise-cracking southern nurse LaVerne (Park Overall). In season six, Harry retired, eventually going to work for a struggling inner-city medical clinic run by the tough-talking Dr. Maxine Douglas (Marsha Warfield). LaVerne, having been fired by Dr. Weston's replacement, came to work there as well.
Other characters who later joined the cast were Carol's boyfriend, Patrick (Paul Provenza), an artist who was almost as eccentric as she. Patrick convinced the Westons to let him use their empty garage as his new painting studio, and when his relationship with Carol became serious, he eventually moved in altogether. Their romantic bliss was short-lived, as they broke up at the beginning of season six. However, this was not before Carol became pregnant with Patrick's child; their son, Scotty, was born in November 1993, but Carol chose to raise the baby on her own. Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), reprised her Golden Girls character during Empty Nest's final two seasons (after the cancellation of The Golden Palace). Sophia's appearance was explained in that she had moved back into the nearby Shady Pines retirement home in the neighborhood.
Created by Susan Harris
Kristy McNichol (1988-1992, 1995)
Lisa Rieffel (1992-1993)
Marsha Warfield (1993-1995)
Estelle Getty (1993-1995)
Opening theme "Life Goes On" by Billy Vera
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 170
Running time 25 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original run October 8, 1988 – April 29, 1995