Dear John (U.S. TV series)

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Dear John
Dear John (U.S. TV series).jpg
Genre Sitcom
Based on Dear John by John Sullivan
Developed by
  • Bob Ellison
  • Peter Noah
Theme music composer John Sullivan
Opening theme "Dear John" by Wendy Talbot
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 85 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Ed Weinberger Productions
Paramount Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Original release October 6, 1988 (1988-10-06) – July 22, 1992 (1992-07-22)
Related shows Dear John (1986)

Dear John is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from 1988 to 1992. The series was originally based on the British sitcom of the same name. Dear John was retitled Dear John USA when it was shown in the UK. During its four-season run, the series was bounced to and from various time periods on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The series moved from its post-Cheers slot on Thursdays to a post-Night Court slot on Wednesdays in 1990.


Dear John is set in New York City. Judd Hirsch stars as John Lacey, a teacher at a preparatory school in Manhattan. After ten years of marriage, one day he returns home and finds a Dear John letter: his wife, Wendy, is leaving him for his best friend. When the court grants Wendy the house and custody of the couple's son, John moves into an apartment in the Rego Park neighborhood of Queens.

Six months after the divorce, John joins the One to One Club, a support group for people who are divorced and single. The group is led by Louise (Jane Carr), an Englishwoman whose conversation frequently returns to the topic of sex. The regular attendees of the group are Kate McCarron (Isabella Hofmann), a beautiful divorcée; Kirk Morris (Jere Burns), a cocky ladies' man; Ralph Drang (Harry Groener), a shy and unconfident man who works as a tollbooth collector; Bonnie Philbert (Billie Bird), a talkative retiree; Tom (Tom Willett), Mrs. Philbert's quiet boyfriend; and a young Southerner named Mary Beth Sutton (Susan Walters).[1]


Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings[2]
First aired Last aired Rank Rating
1 22 October 6, 1988 (1988-10-06) May 11, 1989 (1989-05-11) 11 18.5
2 24 September 28, 1989 (1989-09-28) May 15, 1990 (1990-05-15) 17 17.2
3 22 September 19, 1990 (1990-09-19) May 1, 1991 (1991-05-01) N/A N/A
4 17 September 19, 1991 (1991-09-19) July 22, 1992 (1992-07-22) N/A N/A



John Leonard of New York Magazine previewed the pilot episode, in which John Lacey tries to attend a support group "for the recently singled", and stumbles instead into a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. "I found this funny, and maybe even profound", Leonard wrote. NBC launched the show two days before Empty Nest, another sitcom about a middle-aged man who recently lost his wife. "Some talented people run around in them agreeably", said Leonard, commenting on both shows.[3]


In its first season, Dear John was part of NBC's Thursday night lineup. It attracted the eleventh largest audience of all prime time television programs in the United States for the 1988–89 season. Its viewer share (as recorded in Nielsen ratings) declined in later seasons. NBC moved the show's time slot several times.

Season Viewers
(by audience share)
18.5 11 [4]
17.1 17 [4]
? 50 [citation needed]
? 77 [citation needed]

Paramount Domestic Television sold the show into syndication after Dear John ended its run in 1992.


In "Stand By Your Man", the thirteenth episode of the first season, Cleavon Little makes a guest appearance as a closeted gay man whose marriage to a woman has just ended. His performance won him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Family Programs: Dear John". The Program Exchange. Archived from the original on 2002-03-21. Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1692. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. 
  3. ^ Leonard, John (October 10, 1988). "Television § In brief". New York Magazine. New York: New York Media. p. 82. Retrieved 2017-05-07 – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2003). "Appendix 3 Top-Rated Programs by Season". The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (8th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 1468. ISBN 978-0-345-45542-0. 
  5. ^ McBride, Joseph (October 23, 1992). "Cleavon Little". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  6. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2003). "Appendix 2 Emmy Award Winners – 1988–1989 (presented September 17, 1989)". The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (8th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 1439. ISBN 978-0-345-45542-0. 

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