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Robert L. Boyett

 

Robert L. Boyett

Miller-Boyett Productions
Former type Production company
Industry Television production
Fate Shut down
Founded 1969
Defunct spring 1999
Key people Thomas L. Miller
Edward K. Milkis
(both; founders)
Robert L. Boyett
(joined from 1978–1999)
Garry Marshall
(associate from 1974–1984)
William Bickley
(associate from 1991–1997)
Michael Warren (associate from 1991–1997; joined from 1997–1999)
Products Television programs

Miller-Boyett Productions (or simply Miller-Boyett) was an American television production company that mainly developed television sitcoms from the 1970s through the 1990s. It was responsible for family-oriented hit series such as Bosom Buddies, Happy Days, Full House, Perfect Strangers, Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, Family Matters and Step by Step.

History

It was originally founded in 1969 by program executive Thomas L. Miller and former film editor Edward K. Milkis as Miller-Milkis Productions, and, in 1980, became Miller-Milkis-Boyett Productions once Robert L. Boyett (who was a creative consultant of Happy Days at the time) joined the company, before adopting the Miller-Boyett name five years later following Milkis' resignation.

Most of the series the company produced for ABC during the Miller-Boyett era aired on the network's Friday night lineup (known as TGIF from 1989 to 2000); in fact, during the 1990–91 season, all four Friday comedies on ABC were Miller-Boyett series: Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters and the short-lived Going Places;[1] and the company had six sitcoms on the air during that same season, along with The Hogan Family (which had moved to CBS, after a five-season run on NBC) and the short-lived The Family Man. Around 1997, longtime Miller-Boyett associate and co-creator of Family Matters and Step by Step, Michael Warren broke his partnership with producer partner William Bickley after twenty-one years and joined Miller-Boyett Productions; the company was renamed Miller-Boyett-Warren Productions and produced their last shows, Two of a Kind and Meego. After both shows were cancelled, it was shut down.

Originally, the company was set up at Paramount Television. After Milkis left the company Miller and Boyett left Paramount to work for Lorimar Television,[2] which was folded into Warner Bros. Television in 1993. Despite the fact that the company shut down as Miller-Boyett-Warren Productions, it was, and still is, referred to as "Miller-Boyett Productions" (or just simply "Miller-Boyett").

Trademarks

Many of Miller-Milkis/Miller-Milkis-Boyett/Miller-Boyett's sitcoms had common trademarks:

  • Midwestern setting: many Miller-Milkis/Miller-Milkis-Boyett/Miller-Boyett sitcoms were set in the Midwestern United States (e.g.; Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days were set in Milwaukee, Step by Step was set in nearby Port Washington, Wisconsin, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, The Hogan Family, and Two of a Kind were all set in Chicago). There were some exceptions; for example, Full House was set in San Francisco, Angie was set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Goodtime Girls was set in Washington, D.C., while Going Places was set in Los Angeles, and Mork and Mindy was set in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Charles Fox: Most shows in the Miller-Milkis/Miller-Milkis-Boyett eras had the theme songs and scene changes composed by Fox, who was the same age as Tom Miller. However, Fox's last theme song he could compose was for The Hogan Family in the Miller-Boyett era. For that show's first two seasons, he composed the scene changes and bumper music for commercial breaks.
  • Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay: Most series in the Miller-Boyett era had their theme songs, and in many cases scene change and bumper music, composed by Frederick and then-music partner Bennett Salvay. Frederick also performed the themes to Step by Step (with Theresa James), Full House and Family Matters. The main title theme songs composed by Frederick and Salvay had a common bond in that they utilized inspirational lyrics and an upbeat composition; however, the themes composed by Frederick and Salvay for The Family Man, Two of a Kind and Meego did not include lyrics and were strictly instrumentals. In later years, Gary Boren and/or Steven Chesne composed the scene change music for the remaining Miller-Boyett series.
  • Character continuity: A common theme in many Miller-Boyett shows would be the disappearance of a major character, who is no longer needed on the show, without a final on-screen explanation of their whereabouts. This has jokingly been referred to as the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome after the name of the Cunningham's older son who mysteriously disappeared from Happy Days after its second season without any on-screen explanation. This was most evident with characters such as Donald Twinkacetti on Perfect Strangers, Hillary Benson on Angie, Judy Winslow and Rachel Crawford on Family Matters, Brendan Lambert on Step By Step and the aforementioned Chuck Cunningham from Happy Days.

Production team members

  • Thomas Lee "Tom" Miller (born (1940-08-31) August 31, 1940 (age 73)) – He started his career as assistant to director Billy Wilder. Miller also previously served as a development executive at Paramount and 20th Century Fox. In 1970, a year after starting the company with Edward K. Milkis, he co-created Nanny and the Professor with the late producer AJ Carothers. Prior to then, he was a writer of The Year of the Horse in 1966, and in 1969 he was in charge of development for The Immortal and did the same job in the 1970s for Weekend of Terror and Assault on the Wayne. He later wrote episodes for Nanny and the Professor and Me and the Chimp and co-created that show with Garry Marshall. Miller co-produced the feature films Silver Streak (1976) and Foul Play (1978) with Edward Milkis.
  • Robert Lee "Bob" Boyett (born 1942) – He grew up in Atlanta, and later on moved to New York City to become a development executive at ABC, then later became senior vice president at Paramount Television.[2] He later became a creative consultant to Happy Days on its mid-seasons before joining Miller and Milkis in 1978. Boyett however was not credited as an executive producer with Tom Miller and Ed Milkis on most series in the Miller/Milkis/Boyett era. Following the dissolution of the Miller-Boyett-Warren company, Boyett became a producer for Broadway theatre productions. He currently resides in Salisbury, Connecticut.
  • Edward Kenneth "Eddie" Milkis (July 16, 1931 – December 14, 1996) – A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, California, he became a film editor on such movies as North By Northwest. Next he signed on as the associate producer of Star Trek. Later on, he was involved in some of Tom Miller's early shows prior to the establishment of Miller-Boyett. He died on Saturday, December 14, 1996, at the age of 65, after a lengthy illness. His last production was Exit to Eden, which he produced alongside Garry Marshall.
  • Michael Warren started his career the associate producer of The Partridge Family, where he met writer/Producer William S. Bickley. Then as an associate producer on Happy Days for its second season, later a story consultant with William Bickley, who was then a story editor. The two men produced Out of the Blue in 1979. Warren and Bickley later wrote for Happy Days and Perfect Strangers, before creating Family Matters, Getting By and Step by Step between 1989 and 1993, at that point Bickley and Warren became squarely producers instead of producer/writers, before officially ending their partnership around the time of the cancellation of Family Matters and Step by Step and joining the Miller-Boyett team.

Associates to Miller, Boyett, Milkis and Warren

  • Garry Marshall (1974–1984)
  • William Bickley & Michael Warren (1986–1997)
  • Robert Griffard & Howard Adler (1987–1999)
  • David W. Duclon (1990–1998)
  • Catalina Television (1990–1991)
  • Suzanne de Passe (de Passe Entertainment) (1994–1995)

Collaborators with Miller, Boyett, Milkis and Warren

List of shows produced by either production team

Miller/Milkis Productions

Television series

Made-for-television films

  • The Heist (1972)
  • The Weekend Nun (1972)
  • Walkin' Walter (1977, rejected sitcom pilot starring Sam "Spo-Dee-O-Dee" Theard and Madge Sinclair)

Theatrically released films

Miller/Milkis/Boyett Productions

Television series

Theatrically released films

Miller/Boyett Productions

Miller/Boyett/Warren Productions

  • Meego (1997; first series with Miller/Boyett/Warren production team)
  • Two of a Kind (1998–1999; last series produced by the company in any of its forms)

See also

References

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database

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