The Ann Sothern Show


The Ann Sothern Show is an American sitcom starring Ann Sothern that aired on CBS for three seasons from October 6, 1958, to March 30, 1961. Created by Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, the series was the second starring vehicle for Sothern, who had previously starred in Private Secretary, which also aired on CBS from 1953 to 1957.

The Ann Sothern Show
Ann Sothern Jacques Scott Ann Sothern Show 1958.JPG
Cast members Ann Sothern and Jacques Scott in a publicity shot
Created byBob Schiller
Bob Weiskopf
StarringAnn Sothern
Don Porter
Ann Tyrrell
Ernest Truex
Reta Shaw

Jack Mullaney
Ken Berry
Jesse White
Theme music composerBonnie Lake
Ann Sothern
Opening theme"Katy"
ComposersGordon Zahler
Leith Stevens
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes93[a] (list of episodes)
Executive producerDesi Arnaz
ProducerArthur Hoffe
CinematographyRobert Pittack
Running time24 mins.
Production companiesAnso Productions
Desilu Productions
DistributorUnited Artists Television
20th Television
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack and white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 6, 1958 (1958-10-06) –
March 30, 1961 (1961-03-30)

Sothern portrayed the character Katy O'Connor, the assistant manager of the upscale New York City hotel The Bartley House. Co-stars for the series included Ann Tyrrell, Don Porter and Jesse White who had also co-starred with her in Private Secretary.


Sothern starred as Katy O'Connor, the assistant manager of the New York City hotel: The Bartley House. Katy frequently deals with the hotel's eccentric guests, alongside either her secretary and best friend/roommate Olive Smith (Ann Tyrrell), or her boss, Jason McCauley (Ernest Truex), who is frequently bullied by his wife Flora (Reta Shaw). Katy was also an advanced character for her time, in that she was a woman who had a position of authority. In this position, she oversaw many male employees, including lovestruck bellboy Johnny Wallace (Jack Mullaney) and suave French room clerk Paul Monteney (Jacques Scott). Storylines typically revolve around the personal lives of the staff and guests of the Bartley House. The setting of a hotel gave the series a chance to introduce a plentiful number of guest stars, often playing guests of the hotel.

Midway through its first season, the series underwent a retooling to improve ratings. The McCauleys are transferred to a Bartley House branch in Calcutta, and Katy is given a new boss, James Devery (Don Porter). Whereas Katy and McCauley had a strictly professional relationship seen on an equal level, Katy and Devery's relationship is much more complex. Devery often asserts his authority over Katy, and the two frequently go toe-to-toe with one another over various things. A romantic undertone to the relationship becomes apparent by the final season, and was addressed shortly before the series was cancelled. Due to the retooling, the characters of Johnny Wallace and Paul Monteney also begin to be limited. Jacques Scott was written out after the end of the first season; Jack Mullaney was initially retained for season two, but also written out after the first few episodes.

The Ann Sothern Show had strong ties to Sothern's previous CBS sitcom Private Secretary, which had ended a year before the debut of The Ann Sothern Show. Sothern's characters of Susie MacNamara and Katy O'Connor were similar, though O'Connor held a position of authority MacNamara did not have. Tyrrell had portrayed the character of Violet "Vi" Praskins, who was nearly identical to her character of Olive Smith. Porter's character of James Devery was also similar to his role of talent agent Peter Sands. Jesse White had a recurring role on both series, playing the antagonist to the central characters.


Actor Character Season
1 2 3
Ann Sothern Katy O'Connor Main
Ernest Truex Jason McCauley Main[b]
Ann Tyrrell Olive Smith Main
Reta Shaw Flora McCauley Also starring[c]
Jacques Scott Paul Monteney Also starring
Jack Mullaney Johnny Wallace Also starring Recurring
Don Porter James Devery Main[d] Main
  • Ann Sothern as Kathleen "Katy" O'Connor: the witty, perceptive assistant manager at The Bartley House, an upscale hotel in New York City. She frequently deals with the various situations that arise from the eccentric, or her boss, initially Mr. McCauley, later Mr. Devery. A spinster, Katy was an unusual character in her time, in that she was a woman who not only in the workplace, but allowed the series to explore the issues women faced in the work force. Katy not only held a position of authority in the hotel, but also was the supervisor of many male staff members. Throughout the series, a potential romance between Katy and Mr. Devery lingered; it is finally touched upon in what became the series finale, ending on a cliffhanger ultimately never answered.
  • Ann Tyrrell as Olive Smith: Katy's secretary and roommate. Also a spinster, Olive is a bit scatter-brained and naive. Nonetheless, she means the best, and is a loyal friend to Katy. In the third season, Olive begins dating – and later marries – dentist Dr. Delbert Gray. Tyrrell was a regular on Private Secretary, playing the similar role of Vi Perkins.
  • Don Porter as James Arlington Devery: Katy's second boss, who is the manager of The Bartley House. Devery is a younger manager than McCauley, and is a much more stern, stubborn manager than he is. Devery tends to get carried away with new ideas, and frequently finds himself at odds against Katy. In what turned out to be the series finale, Devery realizes he is in love with Katy, and impulsively proposes to her; Katy kisses him back, but leaves her answer on an unanswered cliffhanger. Porter was also a regular on Private Secretary, where his character Peter Sands was the boss of Sothern's Susie McNamara. Unlike Tyrrell, Porter was not initially carried over to The Ann Sothern Show; he was introduced in an effort to increase ratings.


  • Ernest Truex as Jason McCauley: Katy's first boss, the manager of The Bartley House. McCauley is a timid, elderly man, who likes to keep the guests of The Bartley House satisfied. In episode twenty-four ("Katy's New Boss"), McCauley is transferred to The Bartley House in Calcutta, India. The McCauleys were written out in a midseason retooling of the show, to include Sothern's Private Secretary co-star Don Porter.
  • Reta Shaw as Flora McCauley: the wife of Mr. McCauley. Flora is a woman of high standards, who is portrayed as an overbearing, domineering wife who frequently bullies her husband. In In episode twenty-four ("Katy's New Boss"), she accompanies her husband when he is transferred. The McCauleys were written out in a midseason retooling of the show, to include Sothern's Private Secretary co-star Don Porter.
  • Jack Mullaney as Johnny Wallace: a bellboy at The Bartley House. Johnny is a college student, who is working at the hotel to pay for his classes. He has an unrequited crush on Katy, who usually ignores it. Mullaney was the only one of the first season semi-regulars to appear in season two, though he is written out after the first couple of season two episodes to be replaced by Woody Hamilton.
  • Jacques Scott as Paul Monteney: a room clerk at The Bartley House. He is a suave Frenchman. Though he survived the series' retooling midway through the first season, Scott was written out after the end of the first season.


  • Jack Wagner as Alfred, a desk clerk at The Bartley House. (seasons 1–2)
  • Jesse White as Oscar Pudney, a scheming and dishonest newsstand owner who is the nemesis of Katy and Mr. Devery. White was previously a semi-regular on Private Secretary. (seasons 2–3)
  • Jimmy Fields as Richy Gordon, a child prodigy playing the piano, who helps support his widowed mother and three sisters by delivering newspapers. (seasons 2–3)
  • Ken Berry as Woody Hamilton, a young bellhop. Berry's role replaced that of Jack Mullaney's character Johnny. (seasons 2–3)
  • Louis Nye as Dr. Delbert Gray, a dentist who becomes Olive's boyfriend and eventual husband. (season 3)
  • Gladys Hurlbut as Mrs. Gray, Delbert's overbearing mother who dislikes Olive. (season 3)

Notable Guest starsEdit

Ann Sothern with guest star Barry Gordon (1958)
Guest star Joe E. Brown and Ann Tyrrell (1960)
Guest star Lucille Ball with Ann Sothern (1959)

Some of the notable guests stars of The Ann Sothern Show included:

Crossover with The Lucy–Desi Comedy HourEdit

The second-season premiere featured a crossover between The Ann Sothern Show and The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour (then titled The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show). In the episode "The Lucy Story", Katy is greeted by her old friend Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), who has checked into The Bartley House after an argument with Ricky (Desi Arnaz).[1] Lucy attempts to play matchmaker for Katy and Mr. Devery, but ultimately spreads chaos through her scheme, which backfires on her.

Ball was the only cast member to appear in the episode, with Ricky being mentioned as having gone on vacation with Charlie Snyder; at the time of filming, Arnaz and Ball were on the verge of a divorce. Ball and Sothern had been close friends since the beginning of their careers in the 1930s. In 1957, Sothern had guest starred on the premiere of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour ("Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana") as her Private Secretary character, Susie MacNamara, who was also a friend of Lucy Ricardo. Arnaz was the executive producer of The Ann Sothern Show, through his role as head of Desilu.


Series overviewEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast aired
135October 6, 1958 (1958-10-06)June 15, 1959 (1959-06-15)
232October 5, 1959 (1959-10-05)May 23, 1960 (1960-05-23)
326October 6, 1960 (1960-10-06)March 30, 1961 (1961-03-30)

Season 1 (1958–59)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Bridal Suite"Oscar RudolphBob Schiller & Bob WeiskopfOctober 6, 1958 (1958-10-06)
22"Six Wives Plus Two"Sidney MillerBob RossOctober 13, 1958 (1958-10-13)
33"Love Comes to Olive"Paul HarrisonPhil DavisOctober 20, 1958 (1958-10-20)
Olive's infatuation on Paul the desk clerk has caused her to act strange, and worries Katy even more. But Katy's attempts to help Paul cause Olive to believe she is after his as well, causing the two friends and roommates to fight.
44"Governess for a Day"TBATBAOctober 29, 1958 (1958-10-29)
55"The Masquerade Ball"Sidney MillerBob RossNovember 3, 1958 (1958-11-03)
66"A New Lease on Life"Sidney MillerBarbara Avedon & Henry SharpNovember 10, 1958 (1958-11-10)
77"The Countess of Bartley"Paul HarrisonBarbara Avedon & Henry SharpNovember 17, 1958 (1958-11-17)
When a dutchess (Gladys Cooper) stays at the hotel, she attaches herself to Katy - to the point that she interrupts her date at the opera. However, she goes too far when she "appoints" Katy to be engaged to her nephew Count Ferdinand (Alan Marshal). Katy is determined to break the engagement - even if it means taking Ferdinand for a night out on the town.
88"The Thanksgiving Show"TBATBANovember 24, 1958 (1958-11-24)
99"Say It with Music"Sidney MillerPhil DavisDecember 1, 1958 (1958-12-01)
1010"The Big Gamble"Paul HarrisonDick Chevillat & Ray SingerDecember 8, 1958 (1958-12-08)
1111"It's a Dog Life"TBATBADecember 15, 1958 (1958-12-15)
1212"The Boss's Son"Sidney MillerMel Diamond & John KohnDecember 22, 1958 (1958-12-22)
When the son of The Bartley House's owner visits, the entire staff is on edge. Katy manages to charm the playboy, but is uninterested. When he decides to settle down and stay around the hotel for awhile, she has to fend off his increasing advances. However, her schemes to get him disinterested backfire – and result in a short-lived engagement to him.
1313"East Side Story"Abby BerlinPhil DavisDecember 29, 1958 (1958-12-29)
1414"Johnny Moves Up"TBATBAJanuary 5, 1959 (1959-01-05)
1515"Give It Back to the Indians"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1959 (1959-01-12)
1616"Three Loves Has Katy"Sidney MillerTom SellerJanuary 19, 1959 (1959-01-19)
1717"Five Year Itch"Abby BerlinMel Diamond & John KohnJanuary 26, 1959 (1959-01-26)
1818"Hurrah for the Irish"James V. KernPhil DavisFebruary 2, 1959 (1959-02-02)
1919"The O'Connors Stick Together"James V. KernPhil DavisFebruary 9, 1959 (1959-02-09)
2020"The High Cost of Living"TBATBAFebruary 16, 1959 (1959-02-16)
2121"Two on the Aisle"TBATBAFebruary 23, 1959 (1959-02-23)
2222"The Stand-In Heiress"Abby BerlinPhil Davis and Prescott ChaplinMarch 2, 1959 (1959-03-02)
2323"Katy's Big Surprise"TBATBAMarch 9, 1959 (1959-03-09)
2424"Katy's New Boss"Abby BerlinTBAMarch 16, 1959 (1959-03-16)
2525"The Road to Health"TBATBAMarch 23, 1959 (1959-03-23)
2626"The Engagement Ring"Abby BerlinPhil DavisMarch 30, 1959 (1959-03-30)
2727"Katy's Investment Club"Abby BerlinMel Diamond & John KohnApril 13, 1959 (1959-04-13)
2828"The Square Peg"James V. KernPhil DavisApril 20, 1959 (1959-04-20)
When Mr. Devery orders all employees to take an "aptitude test" to determine they are fit for employment at the Bartley House, the employees go into a panic. However, Katy is forced to fire a Hungarian waiter who is popular among the employees and guests. When she discovers Mr. Devery himself failed the test, Katy battles against him to reinstate the waiter — and for himself to stay at the Bartley.
2929"Geisha Girl"Abby BerlinLouella MacFarlane & Arthur PhillipsApril 27, 1959 (1959-04-27)
When Katy struggles to juggle her regular duties on top of Mr. Devery's meaningless chores, she decides to find him a servant. However, the only one qualified enough to do it (i.e. in the pay range) is the cousin of a Japanese flower shop owner, who turns out to the surprise of Katy and Mr. Devery to be a Geisha named Michiko. Katy soon becomes jealous when Mr. Devery begins giving her duties to Michiko, and schemes to get Mr. Devery to let go Michiko.
3030"The Ugly Bonnet"TBAPhil DavisMay 4, 1959 (1959-05-04)
3131"The Raise"TBATBAMay 11, 1959 (1959-05-11)
3232"Springtime for Katy"Abby BerlinArthur Phillips & Leo SolomonMay 18, 1959 (1959-05-18)
Mad after being called "one of the boys" by Mr. Devery, Katy attempts to make him see her as a woman by being seen with Randy Rand (Patrick O'Neal), an actor with a playboy reputation who is staying at the hotel. But the issue gets out of hand when Randy genuinely does like her, and Olive takes things a little too far, causing Mr. Devery to believe they're getting married.
3333"Katy Goes Through Channels"TBATBAJune 1, 1959 (1959-06-01)
3434"A Promotion for Johnny"TBAPhil DavisJune 8, 1959 (1959-06-08)
3535"Baby at the Bartley House"TBATBAJune 15, 1959 (1959-06-15)

Season 2 (1959–60)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
361"The Lucy Story"James V. KernLeonard GersheOctober 5, 1959 (1959-10-05)
Katy's old friend Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) checks into The Bartley House after a fight with Ricky, and is appalled to find Katy happy with her life unmarried. Lucy attempts to make Katy jealous by creating an affair with Mr. Devery. After overhearing Katy insult him behind his back, Mr. Devery begins taking the affair seriously, and brings Katy and Lucy to try and out scheme each other.
372"Katy and the Cowboy"TBATerry Ryan and Robert Van ScoykOctober 12, 1959 (1959-10-12)
383"Katy and Olive's Nervous Break-up"TBATBAOctober 19, 1959 (1959-10-19)
394"Domestic Katy"Abby BerlinTBAOctober 26, 1959 (1959-10-26)
405"The Sal Mineo Story"TBATBANovember 2, 1959 (1959-11-02)
416"The Big Pay-Off"Abby BerlinBarbara Avedon & Henry SharpNovember 16, 1959 (1959-11-16)
427"Old Buddy Boy"James V. KernStory by : George O'Hanlon
Teleplay by : Bill Manhoff & George O'Hanlon
November 23, 1959 (1959-11-23)
438"Queen for a Night"TBATBANovember 30, 1959 (1959-11-30)
449"Katy and the New Girl"TBATerry Ryan and Robert Van ScoykDecember 7, 1959 (1959-12-07)
4510"The Tender Trap"TBATerry Ryan and Robert Van ScoykDecember 14, 1959 (1959-12-14)
4611"Top Executive"TBATBADecember 21, 1959 (1959-12-21)
4712"Katy Mismanages"TBATBADecember 28, 1959 (1959-12-28)
4813"The Woman Behind the Throne"TBATBAJanuary 4, 1960 (1960-01-04)
4914"Slightly Married"James V. KernRichard De Roy & Danny SimonJanuary 11, 1960 (1960-01-11)
When a young boy (Charles Herbert) comes to the hotel alone, Katy and Mr. Devery argue whether to report him to the police. Katy learns that he is a Canadian boy who was to meet his American adoptive parents, but they never showed up. While the authorities search for the parents, Katy lies and tells the social worker that she is married so she and Olive can watch him. Things get complicated when both the social worker and Mr. Devery unexpectedly visit.
5015"Devery's White Elephant"Abby BerlinTBAJanuary 18, 1960 (1960-01-18)
5116"Katy's New Career"TBATBAJanuary 25, 1960 (1960-01-25)
5217"The Witness"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1960 (1960-02-01)
5318"The Dog Who Came to Dinner"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1960 (1960-02-08)
5419"Olive's Dream Man"James V. KernBarbara Avedon & Henry SharpFebruary 15, 1960 (1960-02-15)
5520"A Touch of Larceny"James V. KernBill ManhoffFebruary 22, 1960 (1960-02-22)
5621"Common Cents"James V. KernTBAFebruary 29, 1960 (1960-02-29)
5722"The Freeloader"Abby BerlinBob Fisher & Alan LipscottMarch 14, 1960 (1960-03-14)
5823"Billy"James V. KernIrving Elinson and Fred S. FoxMarch 21, 1960 (1960-03-21)
5924"I Can Get It for You Wholesale"TBATBAMarch 28, 1960 (1960-03-28)
6025"Katy Meets Danger"TBATBAApril 4, 1960 (1960-04-04)
6126"The Roman Hatter"Abby BerlinLeonard Gershe & Ashe KingApril 11, 1960 (1960-04-11)
6227"Surprise, Surprise"James V. KernGeorge O'HanlonApril 18, 1960 (1960-04-18)
6328"One for the Books"James V. KernArthur Hoffe & Ashe KingApril 25, 1960 (1960-04-25)
6429"Doubting Devery"Abby BerlinNancy ClarkMay 2, 1960 (1960-05-02)
6530"Boy Genius"TBATBAMay 9, 1960 (1960-05-09)
6631"Wedding March"TBATBAMay 16, 1960 (1960-05-16)
6732"Angels"James V. KernNancy ClarkMay 23, 1960 (1960-05-23)

Season 3 (1960–61)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
681"A Tooth for a Tooth"James V. KernLeonard GersheOctober 6, 1960 (1960-10-06)
Olive's fear of the dentist has kept her from going to the dentist for years, even when she develops a toothache. Katy forces her to go to Dr. Delbert Gray (Louis Nye), and Olive soon begins a relationship with Gray. However, Katy soon finds herself defending the blossoming romance from Gray's mother, who doesn't want her son leaving her anytime soon.
692"Loving Arms"James V. KernRobert Van ScoykOctober 13, 1960 (1960-10-13)
Mr. Devery is furious about a new television program called Loving Arms, which he believes portrays the hotel business in a bad manner. When Katy lets the show's writer Terry Tyler (Van Johnson) do his research at the Bartley House for a retooled show, it makes Devery so furious, he refuses to speak her. To get Devery to change his mind, Katy attempts to have Devery watch the show — but first, his television set needs to be fixed. Sothern's daughter Tisha Sterling cameos, as does Sothern as herself.
703"The Girls"Richard WhorfBob Fisher & Alan LipscottOctober 20, 1960 (1960-10-20)
714"The Pinch-Hitter"James V. KernR.S. AllenOctober 27, 1960 (1960-10-27)
725"Olive in Love"TBALeonard Gershe and Robert Van ScoykNovember 3, 1960 (1960-11-03)
736"Go-Go Gordon"Richard WhorfRobert Van Scoyk and Art Baer & Ben JoelsonNovember 10, 1960 (1960-11-10)
747"Hasta Luego"Richard WhorfLeonard GersheNovember 17, 1960 (1960-11-17)
758"The Proposal"James V. KernBarry E. BlitzerNovember 24, 1960 (1960-11-24)
769"Secret Admirer"Richard WhorfGeorge O'Hanlon & Robert Van ScoykDecember 1, 1960 (1960-12-01)
7710"Option Time"James V. KernRobert Van Scoyk and Nancy ClarkDecember 8, 1960 (1960-12-08)
7811"Setting the Date"James V. KernLeonard GersheDecember 15, 1960 (1960-12-15)
7912"The Other Woman"TBATBADecember 22, 1960 (1960-12-22)
8013"The Elopement"Richard WhorfBarry E. Blitzer & Robert Van ScoykDecember 29, 1960 (1960-12-29)
8114"Operation Pudney"Richard WhorfBob BarbashJanuary 5, 1961 (1961-01-05)
8215"Mr. Big Shot"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1961 (1961-01-19)
8316"Toujour L'amour"Richard WhorfLeonard GersheJanuary 26, 1961 (1961-01-26)
8417"The Royal Visit"James V. KernBob Fisher & Alan LipscottFebruary 2, 1961 (1961-02-02)
A princess (Eva Gabor) stays at the Bartley, immediately enchanting Mr. Devery. When the princess asks that Mr. Devery let her keep her dog despite the "No Dogs Allowed" policy, he is only happy to let her. But Katy is not so happy, since she is the one who has to deal with the other guests, who are upset since they don't get special privileges.
8518"Just Friends"TBARobert Van Scoyk, Arthur Phillips, and Ashe KingFebruary 9, 1961 (1961-02-09)
8619"The Widow"James V. KernBob BarbashFebruary 16, 1961 (1961-02-16)
8720"Always April"Richard WhorfRobert Van ScoykFebruary 23, 1961 (1961-02-23)
A young girl named April runs away from her fancy boarding school, and comes to the Bartley to pursue her dreams of becoming a Broadway actress like her mother (Constance Bennett). And unfortunately, Katy and Mr. Devery are the ones left dealing with girl's parents, former actors who retired to a Vermont farm years ago — and don't want their daughter anywhere near show business.
8821"Two's Company"Richard WhorfStory by : Danny Simon and Jack Roche
Teleplay by : Danny Simon
March 2, 1961 (1961-03-02)
8922"Vamp 'Til Ready"James V. KernR.S. AllenMarch 9, 1961 (1961-03-09)
9023"Pandora"Richard WhorfBenedict Freeman & John Fenton MurrayMarch 16, 1961 (1961-03-16)
9124"The Wedding"Richard WhorfLeonard Gershe & Robert Van ScoykMarch 23, 1961 (1961-03-23)
9225"The Beginning"Richard WhorfRobert Van ScoykMarch 30, 1961 (1961-03-30)
After Olive and Delbert return from their honeymoon with happy stories and photos, the pair try to pair a stubborn Katy with Mr. Devery. However, the couple's separate meddling leads to a misunderstanding that causes Katy to believe Mr. Devery plans to replace her, and she quits to leave and "find herself in Rio de Janeiro". Mr. Devery catches her on her flight and confesses his love for her, which she returns by kissing him.
9326"The Invitation"Richard WhorfTBASeptember 4, 1961 (1961-09-04)[a]


A film actress for many years, Sothern moved to television with the CBS sitcom Private Secretary in 1953. During the series' fifth season, Sothern discovered her business manager had embezzled money from her, and she owed back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service as a result. Following the season's end, Sothern discovered Private Secretary producer Jack Chertok had sold the series rights to Metromedia without her permission and sued him.[2] Although CBS had renewed the series for a sixth season, Sothern departed the series due to the lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court. However, she reprised her character of Susie McNamara on the first episode of The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show in November 1957, co-starring with her friend Lucille Ball.

Following the success of the special, and wanting more control over her project, Sothern established her own production company Anso Productions, to develop a new series with Desilu Productions, owned by Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz. Ball and Arnaz enlisted their writers, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, to develop a series for Sothern with producer Arthur Hoffe. Hoffe kept rejecting Schiller and Weiskopf's pitches, before they eventually went to Arnaz directly with the idea to center Sothern as a career woman managing a hotel. The duo also oversaw the first few episodes before returning to the Ball specials.[3] Sothern enlisted her Private Secretary co-star Ann Tyrrell to co-star with her in her new series, and added Ernest Truex in place of Private Secretary co-star Don Porter. After General Foods agreed to sponsor the first season, CBS picked up The Ann Sothern Show in May 1958.[4]

The series was filmed at Desilu Studios though not in front of a live studio audience like most other Desilu sitcoms of the era. Sothern reportedly did not like to perform comedy in front of an audience, and thus, a laugh track was used throughout the show's run. Some episodes featured a disclaimer during the end credits reading "Audience Reaction Technically Produced".[5] Sothern and her sister, Bonnie Lake, wrote the series' theme song "Katy".[6]

The series premiered in October 1958 to satisfactory ratings and an earned a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Show. Despite the respectable ratings, Sothern was reportedly dissatisfied with the series and felt Ernest Truex's character was funnier and was garnering more attention. Midway through the first season, Ernest Truex and Reta Shaw, who portrayed the role of Truex's character's wife, were written out. Don Porter, who had previously portrayed Sothern's boss on Private Secretary, joined the series as the boss to Sothern's Katy O'Connor. Ratings for the series improved, prompting CBS to renew the series for a second season.[7] Jack Mullaney and Jacques Scott were also dropped from the cast at the beginning of the second season, and Private Secretary alum Jesse White joined the series. The second season also did well enough for CBS to renew the series for a third season.

At the beginning of the third season, CBS moved The Ann Sothern Show from its timeslot on Mondays at 9:30 pm EST (immediately following The Danny Thomas Show) to Thursdays at 9:30 pm EST.[8] The move put the series in direct competition with the highly popular top 10 hit The Untouchables. As a result, The Ann Sothern Show ratings declined, and CBS chose to cancel the series in the spring of 1961.[9]

Attempted spin-offsEdit

During The Ann Sothern Show's third season, two episodes aired which were intended to be spin-offs. The series would have been produced by Sothern's company Anso Productions, but were not picked up by any network.

The first backdoor pilot, "Always April", aired on February 23, 1961, and starred Constance Bennett, John Emery and Susan Silo. In the episode, Bennett portrayed Guinevere Fleming, a former actress who had retired along with her actor husband David Fleming (Emery) to Vermont. Much to their chagrin, their daughter April (Silo) longs to be an actress and runs away from boarding school to the Bartley House. April meets Katy O'Connor, who convinces her to tell her parents of her plans.[5] The second proposed spin-off episode was "Pandora", which aired on March 16, 1961. The episode featured Pat Carroll as Pandora, a young, slightly eccentric country girl who traveled to Los Angeles on the advice of her mother. Katy O'Connor hires her as a secretary for handsome Hollywood actor Anthony Bardot (Guy Mitchell).[10]

Sponsors and syndicationEdit

During its run, The Ann Sothern Show was also sponsored by General Foods Corporation (Tang, Maxwell House coffee), Johnson Wax (Glo-Coat and Pledge), and Post Cereals. Sothern and her cast mates would often appear in commercials for the sponsors' products at the end of the episode. Sothern would then sign off with, "Well, goodnight everybody. Stay happy!".[5]

The series was previously distributed by Desilu Productions, United Artists Television, and Paramount Television. In a unique situation, Sothern kept the rights to The Ann Sothern Show, even after Desilu was sold to Paramount. In 1980, Sothern and Paramount sold The Ann Sothern Show to Metromedia Producers Corporation.[11]
20th Television currently holds the rights to the series.[12]


Cable channel Nick at Nite aired The Ann Sothern Show from 1987 to 1990.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Result Recipient
1959 Emmy Award Best Actress in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series Nominated Ann Sothern
1959 Golden Globe Award Best TV Show Won The Ann Sothern Show


  1. ^ a b "The Invitation" remained unaired in the series run, but premiered in syndication in 1961.
  2. ^ Truex appears in the first twenty-four episodes.
  3. ^ Shaw appears in the first twenty-four episodes.
  4. ^ Porter joined the cast in the twenty-fourth episode of the first season ("Katy's New Boss").


  1. ^ (Spangler 2003, p. 58)
  2. ^ Sterling, Tisha (2016). Why I Failed Charm School: A Memoir by Tisha Sterling. Bookstand Publishing.
  3. ^ "Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf Interview Part 4 of 8 - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG". YouTube. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  4. ^ "Scoreboard On TV Fall Plans". Billboard. May 26, 1958. p. 10. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ a b c (Tucker 2007, p. 135)
  6. ^ (Schultz 1990, p. 11)
  7. ^ (Tucker 2007, p. 136)
  8. ^ "New TV Show Set For Ann Sothern". Star-News. July 28, 1952. p. 11. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  9. ^ (Schultz 1990, p. 12)
  10. ^ (Tucker 2007, p. 147)
  11. ^ US Copyright Office Document No V1770P297 1980-02-13
  12. ^ "WebVoyage".


  • Schultz, Margie (1990). Ann Sothern: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-26463-5
  • Spangler, Lynn C. (2003). Television Women from Lucy to Friends: Fifty Years of Sitcoms and Feminism. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-28781-3
  • Tucker, David C. (2007). The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms. McFarland. ISBN 0-786-42900-3

External linksEdit

  • The Ann Sothern Show at IMDb
  • Sitcoms Online: The Ann Sothern Show
  • The Ann Sothern Show at