With two successful comedic actors in the titular roles, George & Leo held a lot of promise. Bob Newhart played bookstore owner George Stoody, and Judd Hirsch starred as magician-on-the-run-from-the-mob Leo Wagonman. The two are an unlikely pair, but George's son Ted (played by Jason Bateman) marries Leo's daughter, Casey (originally played by Bess Meyer, but replaced by Robyn Lively after the eighth episode) and George and Leo become in-laws. And as an added bonus, Leo is going to stay in the apartment above George's bookstore.
In his Archive interview, Bob Newhart revealed that he was reluctant to return to television for a fourth series after The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, and Bob. CBS' "Les Moonves convinced him to give the small screen another try, as did director James Burrows, who liked the George & Leo script from the beginning and encouraged Newhart to do the show. Newhart never quite felt as though the chemistry on the program fully worked, though.
At least one episode, "The Cameo Show" did seem to work, by taking advantage of the past acting successes of the show's leads. In the episode, many of Newhart and Hirsch's co-stars from their previous hit shows (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Taxi, and Dear John) made guest appearances. But even the impressive roster of cameos couldn't save the program. George & Leo lasted only one season and was canceled due to low ratings.
Creators: Rob Long, Dan Staley
Programming History: September 15, 1997 to March 16, 1998.
- by Adrienne Faillace