Rich Man, Poor Man (miniseries)
Rich Man, Poor Man is a 1976 American television miniseries based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw that aired on ABC in one- or two-hour episodes mostly on Monday nights over seven weeks, beginning February 1. It was produced by Universal Television and was the second time programming of this nature had been attempted. The first TV miniseries, QB VII, had aired — also on ABC — in 1974. These projects proved to be a critical and ratings success and were the forerunner for similar projects based on literary works, such as Roots and Shōgun. The film stars Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte and Susan Blakely.
|Rich Man, Poor Man|
|Written by||Dean Riesner|
|Directed by||Bill Bixby|
|Theme music composer||Alex North|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Production company(s)||Harve Bennett Productions|
|Original release||February 1 –|
March 15, 1976
|Followed by||Rich Man, Poor Man Book II|
It spawned the sequel Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, which aired from September 1976 through March 1977. The network repeated the original series Tuesday nights at 9:00pm from May to June 1977.
Based on the best-selling 1969 novel by Irwin Shaw, it spanned the period from 1945 through the late 1960s and followed the divergent career courses of the impoverished German American Jordache brothers. Rudy (Peter Strauss) was the titular rich man, a well-educated and very ambitious entrepreneur who triumphed over his background and constructed a corporate and political empire. Poor man Tom (Nick Nolte) was a rebel who eventually turned to boxing to support himself. Axel and Mary were their parents, and Julie Prescott was Rudy's lifelong sweetheart who eventually married him.
Later, another important character appears, the dangerous and eccentric Falconetti, lifelong nemesis of the Jordache Brothers, who is intent on killing them.
While the first series spans a twenty-year period between 1945 and 1965, the second series begins in 1968. The series became a huge success in the countries that aired it.
|Nº||Title||Runtime||Original air date|
|1||"Part I: Chapters 1 and 2"||2 h||February 1, 1976|
|2||"Part II: Chapters 3 and 4"||2 h||February 2, 1976|
|3||"Part III: Chapter 5"||1 h||February 9, 1976|
|4||"Part IV: Chapter 6"||1 h||February 16, 1976|
|5||"Part V: Chapter 7"||1 h||February 23, 1976|
|6||"Part VI: Chapter 8"||1 h||March 1, 1976|
|7||"Part VII: Chapter 9"||1 h||March 8, 1976|
|8||"Part VII: Chapter 10"||1 h||March 8, 1976|
|9||"Part VIII: Chapters 11 and 12"||2 h||March 15, 1976|
Dean Riesner wrote all twelve episodes, and direction was shared by Bill Bixby, David Greene, and Boris Sagal. The musical score was composed by Alex North, who was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.
Awards and nominations
Emmy Award wins
- Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Alex North)
- Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (David Greene)
- Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series (Edward Asner)
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Comedy or Drama Series (Fionnula Flanagan)
Emmy Award nominations
- Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction or Scenic Design - Single Episode of a Comedy, Drama or Limited Series
- Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Entertainment Programming for a Series
- Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama or Comedy Series
- Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Entertainment Programming for a Series (February 2 episode)
- Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Entertainment Programming for a Series (March 5 episode)
- Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Ray Milland)
- Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Robert Reed)
- Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Dorothy McGuire)
- Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (Boris Sagal)
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series (Nick Nolte)
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series (Peter Strauss)
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series (Susan Blakely)
- Outstanding Limited Series
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Comedy or Drama Series (Bill Bixby)
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Comedy or Drama Series (Norman Fell)
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Comedy or Drama Series (Van Johnson)
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Comedy or Drama Series (Kim Darby)
- Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Comedy or Drama Series (Kay Lenz)
- Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series (Dean Riesner)
- Best TV Series (Drama)
- Best TV Actress, Drama (Susan Blakely)
- Best Supporting Actor, Television (Edward Asner)
- Best Supporting Actress, Television (Josette Banzet)
Golden Globe nominations
- Best TV Actor, Drama (Nick Nolte)
- Best TV Actor, Drama (Peter Strauss)
On September 28, 2010, A&E Home Video released an edited version of Rich Man, Poor Man: The Complete Collection on Region 1 DVD in the United States.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 1152. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
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