In the Beginning (TV series)

In the Beginning is an American sitcom originally created by Norman Lear, Jim Mulligan, and Norman Steinberg and produced by Lear's Tandem Productions company. The show aired on CBS from September 20 to October 18, 1978, and was cancelled after its first five episodes aired.

In the Beginning
Created byNorman Lear
Jim Mulligan
Norman Steinberg
StarringMcLean Stevenson
Priscilla Lopez
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9 (4 unaired) (list of episodes)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)T.A.T. Communications Company
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 20 
October 18, 1978


The series, a semi-update of the film Going My Way, featured conservative priest Father Cleary and liberal, streetwise nun Sister Agnes (known as "Aggie") running a ghetto mission together in Baltimore.[1]

While Aggie was from the area and enjoyed the assignment, Father Cleary had difficulty dealing with her (frequently referring to her as "Attila the Nun"), as well as the neighborhood prostitutes, hustlers and winos.[2]



Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Pilot"Doug Rogers,
Jack Shea
Jim Mulligan,
Norman Steinberg
September 20, 1978 (1978-09-20)
A conservative priest and a liberal nun open up a mission together.
2"What's It All About?"Doug RogersPatt Shea,
Harriett Weiss
September 27, 1978 (1978-09-27)
Aggie has feelings for a travelling musician.
3"Father Cleary's Crisis"Doug RogersLeonara ThunaOctober 4, 1978 (1978-10-04)
Father Cleary is passed over for monsignor.
4"The Good Thief"Will MackenzieJoseph BonaduceOctober 11, 1978 (1978-10-11)
A neighborhood kid is accused of stealing from the church.
5"Aggie's Love Story"Doug RogersPatt Shea,
Harriett Weiss
October 18, 1978 (1978-10-18)
Aggie and Cleary attempt to start a sex education class for the kids who come to the mission.
6"The Poker Game"Randy WinburnRon BloombergN/A
Aggie and Lillian raise money for the kids' camping trip by playing poker.
7"The Kook"Bob LallyMichael MorrisN/A
8"Well Healed"Marc DanielsStephen A. MillerN/A
9"Wedding for Thee"Doug RogersCharles Stewart,
Arthur Phillips


First developed by Lear in 1977, the series was originally intended as a starring vehicle for Broadway actress Priscilla Lopez, and was to have been titled Aggie, after her character. However, McLean Stevenson was later added to the cast, and in addition to the title change, it also moved the show's focus from its original premise of Aggie against the establishment to Aggie and her battles with Father Cleary.[3]

In the Beginning also marked McLean Stevenson's second attempt at a successful post-M*A*S*H vehicle. However, the series fared even worse than his short-lived 1976 sitcom The McLean Stevenson Show. A long-forgotten flop, In the Beginning was cancelled by CBS after only 5 of its 9 episodes had aired, due to poor ratings and the departures of co-creators Jim Mulligan and Norman Steinberg after the pilot, as a result of conflicts with the network. Stevenson's next show, Hello, Larry, another T.A.T. Communications Company production (albeit on NBC), premiered three months later and ran 15 months with Tandem's Diff'rent Strokes as a lead-in.


  1. Staff. "In the Beginning Cast and Details". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  2. Sitcomsonline. "In the Beginning - McLean Stevenson and Priscilla Lopez". Sitcomsonline. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  3. Sitcomsonline. "In the Beginning - McLean Stevenson and Priscilla Lopez". Sitcomsonline. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
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