TV Guide

October 07, 1995

Click on picture for an enlargement.

TV Guide 
Northern Alabama Edition
October 07 - 13, 1995
Vol. 43 No. 40 Issue# 2219

  (at the top, no picture)
  Nancy McKeon in 'love'

       (left side in the middle. goes to a two page article on page 24)
  Nancy McKeon is Back
  'The Facts of Life' teen star now a twentysomething, finds she 
  'Can't Hurry Love' in the 90's 24

       (2 page article with picture and cast picture 'The Facts of Life')

[ Nancy Mckeon on true love, her new show, and the pitfalls of 
  growing up on television]

Let's start with some bare acts of Nancy Mckeon's life, according to 
   1. Her new CBS show, 'Can't Hurry Love', about a single gal in New 
      York City and her mostly single buddies, is not a "rip-off" of 
      NBC's 'Friends'.
   2. At 29, she's never had an official date in her life. (the high 
      school dance went to with Doug Savant of 'Melrose Place' doesn't 
      count, because her brother fixed her up.)
   3. That not withstanding, the girl we saw grow up on the 80's sitcom 
      'The Facts of Life' is madly in love with a lighting director
      from Texas.

   Number three we know, because when you walk into her two-room "star"
   dressing room at CBS studios, the only amenity besides the empty 
   refrigerator and the jumbo wine bottle filled with special salad
   dressing is a painting on the wall of two hands. His painting. his 
   hands.  He gave me his hands. I love his hands, " she coos.

   They met in Texas while McKeon was filming "A Mother's Gift", her 
   most recent TV-movie. She was the star. He handled the lighting.
   "I met him, and it was like coming home. It was like someone I had
   known forever" she says. After filming was completed, he drove
   from Texas to Los Angeles to see her. "A man drives thousands of
   miles to come see me -- that pretty much did it for me: says McKeon.
   The next drive he makes is for good. "He's getting ready to move
   here. He's pretty special."

   Like Annie O'Donnell, her character on 'Can't Hurry Love', McKeon
   knows how tough it is to find a good man. She says she can count on 
   one hand the number of steady relationships she's had -- most of 
   them blossoming on TV soundstages. Clearly McKeon, who describes 
   herself as terminally shy, doesn't get out much.

   But if she'd been a club-hopping party animal, she mighthave wound 
   up like some other Hollywood kids: stuck in unemployment lines and 
   12 step programs. There was plenty of temptaion. "Sure, " she says.
   "I've seen things. When I was this high" --she lifts a hand four 
   feet off the ground -- "I was offered things. Everything from drugs 
   to 'Let's go here, let's go there.' For whatever the reason, it 
   wasn't for me."

   McKeon, the daughter of a travel agent and a nurse, was a regular 
   kid from Long island for only the first two years of her life. Then 
   she and her brother, Philip, started doing commercials. When her 
   brother got the role of Tommy on 'Alice' in 1976, the family moved 
   to Los Angeles.

   Her big break came in 1980, when she was hired to spice up 'The Facts
   of Life', a sitcom about a ritzy boarding school for girls. She was
   brought in for the second season as Jo Polniaczek, a female Fonzie
   from the Bronx with a crusty hide and a heart of gold. For nearly a 
   decade, fans watched her grow into a young woman.

   When it was over, she disappeared for a year ("I needed some time 
   off to just breathe"), the returned in 1989 with  "A Cry for Help," 
   a ground-breaking TV-movie that dealt graphically with domestic
   violence. She won raves for her performance. "That snapped me out 
   of Jo for good," she says. After that, she began producing her own 
   TV-movies. Now she has helped produce 'Can't Hurry Love'.

   At first, it was supposed to be the five-year story of a couple in 
   love --like 'Mad About You: The Early Years'. But CBS executives 
   felt there were too many similar shows in the works, so the premise 
   became that of a single girl in New York looking for love--a Mary 
   Tyler Moore for the 90's. Rounding out the cast is beautiful, lusty
   neighbor Didi (Mariska Hargitay); her office buddy Roger (Louis 
   Mandylor); and her only married pal, Elliot (Kevin Crowley).

   McKeon rails against the notion that her show is a copycat of NBC's
   'Friends' "Just because you have characters about the same age who 
   hang out together doesn't mean it's a rip-off of another show" 
   she says.

   In a soothing way, 'Can't Hurry Love' brings us back to Jo of 'The 
   facts of Life'. At least that's what test audiences said after they
   watched the first episode. "People who saw it were saying, 'Isn't
   it wonderful that that nice girl from 'The Facts of Life' turned 
   into such a nice young woman'" says 'Can't Hurry Love' executive
   producer James Widdoes. "It's almost like the same person, six or
   seven years later." Except she's got hipper hair. 
                                              Written by Mark Schwed