The Tortellis

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The Tortellis
The tortellis premiere print ad.jpg
Series premiere print advertisement
Genre Sitcom
Created by Ken Estin
Glen Charles
Les Charles
James Burrows
Starring Dan Hedaya
Jean Kasem
Timothy Williams
Mandy Ingber
Carlene Watkins
Composer(s) Perry Botkin Jr.
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) James Burrows
Glen Charles
Les Charles
Producer(s) Stu Kreisman
Editor(s) Robert Bramwell
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions
Paramount Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network NBC
Original release January 22 – May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)
Related shows Cheers

The Tortellis is an American sitcom and the first spin-off of Cheers, starring Dan Hedaya and Jean Kasem. It aired on NBC from January 22 to May 12, 1987.


Hedaya and Kasem had appeared on Cheers on several occasions as Nick and Loretta Tortelli, who were (respectively) Carla Tortelli's loutish ex-husband and Nick's cheerful, bubble-headed new trophy wife. The series co-stars Timothy Williams as Anthony Tortelli, Nick and Carla's teenage son, and Mandy Ingber as Annie Tortelli, Anthony's young bride, reprising their roles from Cheers.

At the beginning of the series, Loretta leaves Nick and moves to Las Vegas to live with her sensible, divorced sister Charlotte (played by Carlene Watkins), and Charlotte's young son Mark (Aaron Moffat). The series follows Nick as he moves to Las Vegas to try to reconcile with Loretta, vowing to change his sleazy, conniving ways in the process. Nick and Loretta tentatively get back together, and Nick sets up a TV repair business and tries to reform—not always successfully. Anthony and Annie follow Nick to Las Vegas, and all six characters live in the same house.[1]

After the series was canceled, all four Tortelli characters made return appearances on Cheers, where it was revealed that Nick's TV repair business went under, but that Nick and Loretta were still together (albeit somewhat shakily) and had presumably moved back to Boston.

The characters of Charlotte and Mark Cooper were never seen or even referred to on any episode of Cheers, either before or after The Tortellis' run.


Guest stars

  • Rhea Perlman appeared as her Cheers character Carla in the pilot, in a dream sequence.
  • George Wendt (Norm Peterson) and John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin) appeared in episode 3, paying a visit to Las Vegas and meeting up with Nick.
  • Mitchell Laurance was seen in a recurring role as Pete Bruno, Charlotte's untrustworthy boyfriend.

Reception and cancellation

The series drew low ratings, ranking 50th out of 79 series with an average rating/share of 13.3/20.[2] As a result, NBC canceled The Tortellis after 13 episodes. The next attempt at a Cheers spin-off, Frasier, was considerably more successful, running for 11 seasons.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "Pilot" James Burrows Ken Estin January 22, 1987 (1987-01-22)
Nick Tortelli follows his wife Loretta to Las Vegas, hoping to get a second chance with her.
2 "An Affair to Remember" Greg Antonacci Jake Weinberger & Mike Weinberger January 28, 1987 (1987-01-28)
Charlotte tries to make her boyfriend jealous after learning he's seeing another woman.
3 "Frankie Comes to Dinner" Michael Zinberg Jeff Abugov February 4, 1987 (1987-02-04)
When Cliff and Norm come to Vegas, Nick tells them that Frank Sinatra is coming to dinner.
4 "Svengali" Jack Shea Kimberly Hill February 11, 1987 (1987-02-11)
Loretta finally gets a job after finding a new manager, leading Nick to spring into action.
5 "The Ad Game" Jack Shea Cheri Eichen & Bill Steinkellner February 18, 1987 (1987-02-18)
A woman challenges Nick to fulfill his guarantee of fixing a TV in a day or eating a bug.
6 "Viva Las Vegas" Greg Antonacci Stuart Silverman February 25, 1987 (1987-02-25)
An Elvis impersonator, whom Nick takes under his wing, takes a shine to Charlotte.
7 "Coochie, Coochie" Charlotte Brown Anne Convy March 18, 1987 (1987-03-18)
Charo summons Nick to her dressing room for a repair, but when the job takes longer than it should, Loretta gets jealous and decides to confront her.
8 "Man of the Year" Michael Zinberg Tom Moore & Phil Kellard March 25, 1987 (1987-03-25)
Nick receives a "Man of the Year" when he offers a year of free TV repair service in order to raise money for charity.
9 "The Good Life" Michael Zinberg Jeff Abugov April 1, 1987 (1987-04-01)
Nick pretends to be a wealthy businessman just so his family can spend a night in a luxurious hotel.
10 "Father Knows Best" Charlotte Brown Jake Weinberger & Mike Weinberger April 21, 1987 (1987-04-21)
Nick decides to teach Anthony how to be a man when he sees how his son relates to Annie.
11 "The Customer's Always Right" Charlotte Brown Chris Cluess & Stu Kreisman April 28, 1987 (1987-04-28)
After fixing a TV for a condescending customer, Nick takes him to court when the man's check bounces.
12 "Innocent as Charged" Jack Shea Timothy Williams & Ray Morton May 5, 1987 (1987-05-05)
Nick and Anthony get in trouble with their wives, who catch them with scantily-clad women by the pool.
13 "His Girl Friday" Michael Zinberg Ken Levine & David Isaacs May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)
Nick regrets hiring a secretary who turns out to be a tyrant.


  1. ^ Orlik, Peter B. (2001). Electronic Media Criticism: Applied Perspectives (2 ed.). Psychology Press. p. 174. ISBN 0-8058-3641-1.
  2. ^ Bjorklund, Dennis A. (1997). Toasting Cheers: An Episode Guide To the 1982–1993 Comedy Series With Cast Biographies and Character Profiles. Praetorian Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 0-89950-962-2.

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