FANDOM


Baby Talk

Baby Talk is an ABC network sitcom developed by Ed. Weinberger. It was loosely based on the "Look Who's Talking" movies.

The show aired from March 8, 1991 to May 8, 1992, lasting for two seasons & 35 episodes.

Plot

The series centered on the adventures of baby Mickey Campbell as he makes comments to the audience on the misgivings and new wonders of his world, and his single mother, Maggie, who is looking to start her life over in the city.

Cast

Season 1

  • Julia Duffy as Maggie Campbell
  • Ryan & Paul Jessup as Mickey Campbell
    • Tony Danza as Mickey Campbell (voice)
  • George Clooney as Joe
  • William Hickey as Mr. Fogarty
  • Lenny Wolpe as Howard
  • Tom Alan Robbins as Dr. Elliot Fleisher
  • Michelle Ashlee as Nurse Andrea

Season 2

  • Mary Page Keller as Maggie Campbell
  • Ryan & Paul Jessup as Mickey Campbell
    • Tony Danza as Mickey Campbell (voice)
  • Scott Baio as James Halbrook
  • Polly Bergen as Doris Campbell
  • Francesca P. Roberts as Anita Craig
  • Alicia & Celicia Johnson as Danielle Craig
    • Vernee Watson-Johnson as Danielle Craig (voice)
  • Jessica Lundy as Susan Davis
  • Wayne Collins as Tony Craig

Production

Connie Sellecca was the first actor cast in the role of Maggie Campbell, but she was dissatisfied with the role & quit the series after a few episodes had been taped causing the show to be delayed from its intended September 1990 premiere to March 1991 (which by then, enough episodes had been reshot with Julia Duffy).

Rare footage of the mostly unseen Connie Sellecca version of "Baby Talk" was featured in the 1990 ABC Fall Preview Show.

The series first went into development under the title, "Look Who's Talking," but by the summer of 1990, with the movie sequel "Look Who's Talking Too" premiering in theaters in December of that same year, Ed. Weinberger and Amy Heckerling thought it would be best to avoid causing confusion among viewers.

With the TV series and movie likely to run concurrently, they decided to rename the series "Baby Talk" before the fall promotions began.

During the first season, Maggie Campbell was adjusting to life as a single mother from the start. It was explained that Mickey's father, who got Maggie pregnant while she was unmarried, had never separated from his supposed ex-wife.

Maggie left the father, but decided to keep her baby as the one positive centerpiece from the failed relationship.

Little Mickey quickly expressed out loud to viewers his realization that there was no daddy around when Maggie responded to the amorous advances of many of the single men who passed through, namely that of Joe, one of the construction workers renovating the Campbell's not-yet-finished New York City loft. Mr. Fogarty was the crew's foreman, and Howard, another construction worker who was always underfoot.

Dr. Elliot Fleisher was Mickey's pediatrician, who also had eyes for Maggie. The doctors' office was another frequent setting in the first season, where Mickey interacted with other infants who had active, adult-like thoughts of their own. Andrea was one of Dr. Fleisher's attending nurses.

When "Baby Talk" returned in September of 1991 for a full second season order, drastic changes took place.

In addition to Mary Page Keller now being in the role of Maggie, mother and son had moved and were now residing in a trendy, uptown apartment in Manhattan, New York.

All other cast members (including George Clooney) were dropped from the show except for the Jessup twins.

Polly Bergen joined the cast as Maggie's meddling mother Doris Campbell, who took great joy in co-raising Mickey while snooping around in her daughter's affairs.

Scott Baio also signed on, sharing star billing with Keller, as James Halbrook, the building superintendent who became Maggie's new potential love interest.

Living next door to the Campbells was sarcastic single mom Anita Craig, whose infant daughter Danielle also had her thoughts featured regularly in play with Mickey's.Tony Craig was Anita's young son, while Susan Davis was Maggie's best friend and co-worker at an accounting firm.

Tom Alan Robbins did appear as Dr. Fleisher in the opening scene of the second-season premiere. To ease confusion for returning viewers, writers wanted to carry over one adult cast member from the first season to help introduce Keller as Maggie. After this episode, Dr. Fleisher no longer appeared.

Reception\Cancellation

"Baby Talk" spent most of its life on ABC's TGIF in various timeslots. From April to May 1991, the show aired on Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c in an effort to help the show's performance.

The show was initially a ratings success finishing the season ranked 27th among all programs with a 14.3 average household share, mostly due to the curiosity that had long surrounded the project, stemming from its movie influence and the behind-the scenes issues.

However, from its premiere, critics derided the show heavily. They criticized the simple writing, overplayed character traits and the fact that the show centered on "a talking baby that happened to have a single mother", instead of "Look Who's Talking" which was a success due to its centering on a "single mother who just happened to have a talking baby."

The ratings for "Baby Talk" granted its renewal for the fall 1991 schedule, but in light of the scathing reviews, personnel and storyline changes were inevitable.

Julia Duffy wanted to leave the starring role, as she struggled to deal with the negative critical reception. When ABC renewed the show, she was released from her contract, and was soon hired to replace Delta Burke on the CBS series, "Designing Women."

Duffy was the second actress in less than a year to relinquish the role of Maggie Campbell.

Ed Weinberger was let go from the show by Columbia Television, who installed veterans Saul Turteltaub and Bernie Orenstein as the new showrunners.

Prior to the second season beginning, the new stars of "Baby Talk" were interviewed about their decisions to join a show that was so loathed by reviewers.

Mary Page Keller claimed to have an indifference over the reputation of the show among critics, since she had never seen the show prior to replacing Julia Duffy.

Scott Baio (who had watched the first season) agreed with some of the critics' views, but justified his joining the show by comparing it to "Happy Days" of which he starred on as a teenager.

He said, "I did a show for 11 years (Happy Days) that never ever got a good review. So we hope you guys will love it, but we're just going to do the best we can, and it's what the people like that's going to stay on."

When the series returned, ratings began to decline considerably during the second season. Numerous time slot adjustments, and the massive cast and setting overhaul for season two could not overcome the marginal ratings and the critical panning the show received.

In fact, results of the 1991 Electronic Media Critics' Poll voted "Baby Talk" as the "Worst Series on Television". The series was eventually cancelled in the spring of 1992.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.