Fernwood 2 Night

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




Fernwood 2 Night (or Fernwood Tonight) is a comedic TV show that ran from July 1977 to September 1977. It was created by Norman Lear as a spin-off/summer replacement from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It was a parody talk show, hosted by Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) and sidekick/announcer Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard), complete with a stage band, Happy Kyne and His Mirthmakers (featuring Frank De Vol as the ironically dour "Happy" Kyne, and Tommy Tedesco as one of the guitarists). Barth was the twin brother of Garth Gimble from Mary Hartman.

Like Mary Hartman, Fernwood 2Nite was set in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio. The show satirized real talk shows as well as the sort of fare one might expect from locally-produced, small-town, midwestern American television programming. Well-known actors usually appeared playing characters or a contrivance had to be written for the celebrity to appear as themselves. (In one episode, Tom Waits' tour bus happened to break down in Fernwood.)

After one season of Fernwood, the producers revamped the show the following year as America 2-Night. In this second version, Barth and Jerry's show moved to Los Angeles (actually, they claimed to be broadcasting from "Alta Coma, the unfinished furniture capital of the world!") and was broadcast nationally on the fictional UBS network (presumably a reference to the film Network), whose slogan was "We put U before the BS". This change allowed the show to have well-known actors on the show as themselves.

Who talked about this show

Melissa Gilbert

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Melissa Gilbert on doing an episode of Fernwood 2-Night

Louis J. Horvitz

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Louis J. Horvitz on directing Fernwood 2 Night with Martin Mull and Fred Willard

Norman Lear

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Norman Lear on creating the show Fernwood 2-Night, its nonsensical nature and the comic talents of Martin Mull and Fred Willard

Jeremy Stevens

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Jeremy Stevens on writing for Fernwood 2-Night
Jeremy Stevens on working with Norman Lear and the cast of Fernwood 2-Night
Jeremy Stevens on writing Fernwood 2-Night with his writing partner Tom Moore
Jeremy Stevens on the production and guest stars of Fernwood 2-Night

Norman Stiles

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Norman Stiles on writing for Fernwood 2-Night and America 2-Night

Howard Storm

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Howard Storm on directing Fernwood 2-Nite with Fred Willard

Dan Wilcox

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Dan Wilcox on how he came to write for Fernwood 2 Night, and on working with Alan Thicke, who was the executive producer

Fred Willard

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Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on his character "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night and his nightclub act
Fred Willard on the critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on a typical production day on Fernwood 2-Night and the improv and writing process
Fred Willard on the atmosphere on the set of Fernwood 2-Night, and the acts who appeared on the show
Fred Willard on the change from Fernwood 2-Night to America 2-Night
Fred Willard on various cast members of Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
Fred Willard on the end of America 2-Night

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