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Series / Evening Shade

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Evening Shade is an American television sitcom created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women) and starring Burt Reynolds, Marilu Henner, Hal Holbrook, Ossie Davis, and Charles Durning. It aired for four seasons (1990–94) on CBS.

The series centers around Wood Newton (Reynolds), a former NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers who returns to his rural hometown of Evening Shade, Arkansas to coach a high school football team with a long losing streak.

This series features examples of:

  • Catchphrase: Harlan: Murleen, what the hell are you talking about?
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: An episode had this happen to Wood and two other men.
  • Pilot: The pilot for the show is notable for being double the length of an average episode, something normally reserved for dramas rather than sitcoms. (Although few series nowadays of any type go for the extended pilots, with Lost the most high-profile exception.)
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: On July 12 and 19, 1993, the series aired a two-part episode, "Harlan & Merleen," as a proposed spin-off of the series. The pilot had the Eldridges open their home to young pregnant women who needed help (one was played by Leah Remini). The pilot did not achieve series status.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: The series is about an ex-professional football player who returns to his hometown of Evening Shade, Arkansas, to coach a high-school football team with a long losing streak, and the overall general theme of the show is the appeal of small-town life, with the opening including clips from around Arkansas.