Episode 104: Scarecrow and Ms. Eugenie Ross-Leming

Susan and Sharon sit down with the co-creator of “Scarecrow & Mrs. King” - Eugenie Ross-Leming - to get some real behind-the-scenes insight on the Kate Jackson action comedy, feminism in television, and managing long-term success in Hollywood. The discussion includes…
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The Conversation

  • Eugenie’s early years with the legendary improvisation troupe Second City, where she performed with everyone from John Belushi to Harold Ramis to Bill Murray.
  • Breaking into TV and writing for Norman Lear on the ground-breaking late-night serials “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” starring Louise Lasser and “Fernwood 2 Night” starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard.
  • How she and writing partner Brad Buckner first pitched “Scarecrow & Mrs. King” to CBS -- and failed to sell it – only to have their luck change when junior executive Carla Singer was promoted and brought them back for another shot.
  • Working with Kate Jackson and the last-minute casting of Bruce Boxleitner.
  • Details on the wild days of producing the “Scarecrow” pilot – and her and Brad’s decision to leave the highly successful hit series they created.

Along the way, we’ll hear about the importance of staying true to your vision, the lessons learned over a forty-year career that spans “Scarecrow” to “Lois & Clark” to “Supernatural” -- and the sustaining power of two of the most important relationships in her life: her longtime writing partner Brad Buckner, and her husband, Director and Producer Robert Singer.


Join us as we go in-depth with a TV legend and creative powerhouse: Eugenie Ross-Leming.

Our Audio-ography

Eugenie Ross-Leming: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0743935

Scarecrow Facebook fansite: https://www.facebook.com/scarecrowandmrs.king

Mrs. King Chronicles: http://www.mkcpodcast.com

When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong - JOE, WE NEED AFFILIATE VERSIONS OF THESE TWO LINKS BELOW: https://www.amazon.com/When-Women-Invented-Television-Powerhouses/dp/0062973304

Ladies of the Evening: Women Characters in Prime-Time Television by Diana M. Meehan  


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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 104: “Scarecrow and Ms. Eugenie Ross-Leming”
Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem.
Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson.
Guest: Eugenie Ross-Leming.
Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey.
Editor: Chris Stachiw.
Producer: Melissa Roth.
Associate Producer: Sergio Perez.
Music by Amy Engelhardt.
Copyright 2022 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.


Theme Song:    

80s TV Ladies.  I’m so sexy and so pretty.

80s TV Ladies. I’m steppin out into the city.

80s TV Ladies.  I been treated kind of sh#*ty.  

Working hard for the money in a man’s world.

80s TV Ladies!

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:16

Hello, everyone. Welcome to eight 80s TV Ladies where we talk about female driven TV shows from the 1980s. I'm Susan Lambert Hatem.

Sharon Johnson  00:25

And I'm Sharon Johnson.

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:27

I am super excited for today's show Sharon. We have a very special guest on. We get to talk to the creator of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Ms Eugenie Ross-Leming.

Sharon Johnson  00:35

I think Susan is going to geek out a little bit today.

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:38

That is so not fair. Sharon, I am going to geek out a lot. Eugenie Ross-Leming is a writer, a producer and an actress who created Scarecrow and Mrs. King with her writing partner, Brad Buckner. She has had an incredibly successful career since the 1970s, when she started writing on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She started as comedian with Second City and worked as a producer and writer in both television comedies and dramas. Welcome, Eugenie, thank you for joining us.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  01:04

Appreciate it. Happy to be here.

Susan Lambert Hatem  01:06

Before we get to Scarecrow, I do want to talk about Second City because that's an amazing history. Tell us about your time in the early 70s, in Chicago.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  01:14

Well, it was great, first off, because everybody was young and reckless, and you know, believed everything was possible. So just generally, it was good. At Second City, uh, I had done Paul Sills' Story Theatre before it went to New York. I was in the original company, when I was still at the University of Chicago, as a matter of fact. And so I had a background in improvisation. And then Second City was looking to start what they called, the next generation of new culturally, culturally different com... comedy groups. They'd had a period where they went through a kind of a more traditional stand up. Not the original, early Second City with Alan Arkin and Paul Sand and Barbara Harris, which were, you know, and Mike Nichols, who were really geniuses! Sort of savants in the comedy area. But then they went through a period where they had more traditional, like, stand up guys.  Nightclub guys. And they were looking to change that as the country was kind of changing too, and being more youth directed. And so they had seen me I guess, at Story Theater, and Paul Sills had said, you should really talk to this person, she might be ready. And so I had a audition, and um with Joe Flaherty, who was a sta... came up and did a couple of scenes with me. Improv scenes. And they hired me! And it was a very, it was a wonderful time. I mean, everybody, my cast was really brilliant. It was Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Brian Murray. And then we had other people that came in and out and integrated. Billy Murray would sometimes work in the show with us. And Betty Thomas! And everybody kind of pitched in. And it was a really good experience. And it taught me. It just taught me to think on my feet, you know, and have a certain kind of confidence that I think you need to survive in this community we live in.

Susan Lambert Hatem  03:09

That is amazing. And did you know that you were with this amazing group of people? Or did it just feel like, Oh, I'm hanging out with some crazy buddies, and we're doing crazy things?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  03:18

I don't think I knew that there would be a history, you know, and the sort of,  sort of a legacy company. But I certainly knew that the people were a cut above other other casts. I mean, I really knew we were, we were much more political. And I appreciated. So I just, and we were getting a lot more attention. I just felt that we were onto a good thing. But I didn't think I have, I didn't have a big picture. Although I assumed everyone would become intergalactically famous at some point, doing something. I just felt we were all on the cusp of something.

Sharon Johnson  03:53

At the time, did you have more long term thoughts about where you thought or hoped this time at Second City might lead to? Or where you might be wanting to go in your career?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  04:05

I think one of the flaws in my character is that I'm not really, in my personal life, I'm kind of a good planner. But in, in career terms, I was pretty casual. I think I had this idea that everything was forever. And so I didn't have to make important decisions. And I made several mistakes based on that philosophy. But I think I always felt I'd be an actress of some kind, whether it was film or stage.

Susan Lambert Hatem  04:30

And you, and you have been an actress.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  04:32

When I first moved to LA, I came as an actress. And there were other improv companies floating around the world. And we all knew each other. They were in, in San Francisco it was The Committee. In Boston was The Proposition and we all sort of knew each other. So when we, some of us met up in LA, we would meet for just, Improv Classes. For fun. And we'd all tell each other Oh, there's an audition for this and there's an audition for that. So When I went out as an actress to audition, and in one of the early auditions, I remember I was so I walk in the room, you know, holding the sides. And I looked at everybody else who was auditioning, and they were all sort of tall, willowy thin blondes with straight hair. And that look, that that early, late 60s, early 70s, kind of Joni Mitchell hair that, you know.And so, that was so, so not who I was, because I had at that point, I had like a perm. So I had this huge cascading curls. And, and I was ethnic looking. And I was dark. And I thought, well, this isn't go, I mean, this is a mistake... is a hideous mistake. I clearly can't be who they want. So I had nothing to lose. And I read the script, which I thought was pretty funny. And I went in, and I just... well, first of all, I was so used to improvising that I didn't realize, it's really offensive to other writers, when you change their words. When I became a writer-producer, it occurred to me, that was not cool. But at the moment when I was in there, figuring I'm not gonna get this part anyway. So why don't I just act the way I want to act? I kind of massage the words a little, the dialogue in the pages that they've given me, and I got lots of laughs in the room. And I thought, Well, okay, cool, whatever, but I'm not gonna get this part. And I did get the part. And then when I did the week of rehearsing and shooting, after I continued to improvise more, I was more discreet about it. I would go and ask the A.D. or the Director, can I say this slide instead? Or what if we did this, and they were pretty cooperative. At the end of the shoot, the one of the producers came up to me and said, you know, you're really a good, they're funny. I mean, not just as a performer, you have good ideas. If you're ever interested in writing scripts for us, we'd entertain, you know, reading them. And I thought, well, that's a good thing to know. And that, in fact, is what happened. I was between auditions, in between trying to get other gigs and doing, you know, day work on whatever, whatever series was on the air at the time, I met Brad Buckner, my writing partner. And we came up with an idea to pitch around. And it sold as it was, just an episode. It wasn't a series, but it got us on that road. But for most of the first early years of my time, in LA, I defined myself as an actress and not as a writer. Even though what I was doing was writing, in fact. We weren't at the age yet where someone like Roseanne or, or Tina Fey, you know, where women could be their own, their own producers. They were the product, they were the brand. They were, it was still the age where you, you know, you had to join someone else's enterprise. So. And I wasn't very entrepreneurial. I just, I just thought from gig to gig, but not big career dreams. So I was really happy, you know, because we kept selling scripts and working and...

Susan Lambert Hatem  05:23

...And at the time, so in television, this is, we're now in late 70s, I think. It, you would go around and pitch an idea to shows. Right?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  08:10

There were much more (freelance?) writers. You know now, shows like even our old show was, is totally staff written. But in those days, you were obligated to hire freelance writers. The Union demanded that. So I would just, Brad and I became those people that would go from show to show and write. And then we got sort of discovered by Norman Lear. And he made a deal with us, a development deal. And we just stayed there and a lot a lot with him. And, and that even gives you more confidence, but it clearly changed my perspective on, Am I an actress? Or I am I just doing this writing thing till I have enough money that I can go out and act again. You know? And I think it kept that fantasy alive for a while.

Susan Lambert Hatem  08:10

Well, and so with Norman Lear, you did Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  08:26

And a spin-off called Forever Fernwood, which only lasted a year. And then we did about three or four pilots. And one of them became a series Highcliffe Manner. But it had a tragic sort of trajectory. It was designed as a, like Mary Hartman, as in late night but network 'strip' show, so it'd be on five nights a week. But at night, late, past primetime, so it could have different standard rules. NBC decided they wanted to put it on once a week smack dab in primetime. Soap had just come on. Soap was huge and big. And there was a similarity in tone, diluted. Once you diluted it, you ruined it. So we only had, you know, like eight episodes, I think. And then that was it. And I was in a hideous car accident. That really almost killed me. And so I missed one of the episodes, but I was so crazy. I said, Well, I put a neck brace on I'll wear a scarf over and I'm going to, I'm going to finish the series. But you know, I really wasn't in fighting shape. I wasn't ready to like go to the Network and fight for the show or do any of those things that you do when you, when you know more. Network savvy.  I would say the wrong things to everybody about, you know, I just assumed what I had to say was interesting to them, that they wanted to hear my perspective, since Brad and I were running the thing. Surely our opinion meant something.

Susan Lambert Hatem  10:15

Yeah, you'd think that. That would make sense.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  10:18

Not to be always the case. Sometimes people were enchanted by it. But there were plenty of people who were not enchanted.

Susan Lambert Hatem  10:23

So how did, how did the idea for Scarecrow and Mrs. King come about?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  10:27

I don't remember which one of us thought of it, or if it was a moment, an insight, but I know we were... We went into CBS to pitch several ideas. They wanted to take a meeting with us about some ideas. And we had, I had several half hour ideas, because half hour was our milieu. But we did have a couple of one hour ideas. And we, there were the usual alot of people in the room, you know, the Head of Development, Comedy Development, and then his underlings. And they were all taking notes. And so we, we pitched a couple ideas that we were really hot on and they were kind of, nah not so much. And then to not waste the opportunity to be in the room, we started to pitch this idea of Scarecrow and Mrs. King. ... an hour, I think we pitched it as an hour. But nobody was, we left the room. It was very congenial. Our agent called and said, No, they're not really interested. So come back another day with something else. And then several months later, maybe six months later, we got a phone call. CBS had switched positions, and the person who had been charged with Comedy Development had either been promoted or had left. I can't remember. And one of the people who had been silently in the room listening to the pitches, had now been promoted to Head of Development. And she, Carla Singer. And she had loved the Scarecrow pitch from day one. Her first outing, as Head of the Department, she wanted to develop the thing She wanted to develop right away and make her mark. So she wanted us to come back and she said, let's buy it, I want to do it. Out of nowhere. So that's how it sort of happened.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:02

What were you trying to do with that show?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  12:04

Well, it wasn't this primarily a political statement. But certainly from an aware point of view, we thought television could, could use a little different perspective. And things were starting to happen anyway, you know, things like Remington Steele, and all that. And we just felt like, we could turn it on its head, the traditional, you know, girl. We actually saw it as a funny situation. We knew it was going to be an hour show. And there would have to be action and adventure and bullets. But we also thought we could make a good dynamic between this guy and this woman. And especially since she was basically a civilian with no skills except, you know, typing, maybe... making lunch for her kids. And we said we wanted to see how her, her personality would emerge. So, but it wasn't a political statement for us. I mean, I would be disingenuous, if I said, you know, we were on the march. It really just appealed to us as having a lot of comic possibilities.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:58

It was sort of the time, like we're we are noticing now as we were looking at Remington and we're looking at Moonlighting, and we're looking at Scarecrow, like there was something happening. Right? Like, everybody was sort of exploring this sort of gender dynamic in this particular way. That we just felt like television at the time, but I think now that we're looking back at it, it feels like people were trying to explore sort of different dynamics in, in gender relationships, to a degree.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  13:25

Been in the you know, it was in the zeitgeist. I mean, it was there. I don't think it was a, an organized movement. But it certainly, anyone who was thinking would would say it's time to, you know, move the show down the road a little, and we can do better. So, and I think all of us fed each other, you know, we learned from each other and saw other things on TV. So you know, Moonlighting was much more sophisticated in terms of its milieu, then Scarecrow, which was really much more mainstream. You know, mom, suburban mom, kids. You know, I think if we'd been on the show longer and stayed longer, would have its own momentum become... this is probably not the right word. I would say, I was gonna say darker, but I think it would have certainly become more complicated.

Susan Lambert Hatem  14:16

Yeah. And so. Alright, so let's, so you have the pilot and then how did Kate Jackson get involved? I assume she was the first person to get involved? Or did you start looking for other actresses?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  14:29

She had the same agent as we did. And they, they saw this as an opportunity to (make) the show. And back in those days get a package fee. And, and we were very, after they suggested it... What do you think about this? And we said well, that's pretty good idea and she probably could do this. And I think we might have been a little worried about her comedy chops. Except most of, of Kate, of not Kate but Amanda King's stuff was reactive. The reaction is hard to do. You have to really have timing. And, you know, we had only seen that Charlie stuff Charlie's Angels. So we had some questions. CBS loved the idea, which you know, was their store. They can buy whatever they want. And so we met with Kate. And she was very engaging, very bright. She had a really good energy thing going. And so we just, I can't remember there ever been mean the controversy. We just said, Yeah, let's go for it. We were, first of all, so excited,

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:27

Right. She's a, she's a huge star!

Eugenie Ross-Leming  15:30

Proven entity. Wanted to do it. Didn't have a lot of script notes. Didn't want to change, a lot of sh*t which, you know, is unusual. When, when, when a performer of her, her stature comes in, usually they want to, they ask for certain things to be different. She didn't. So we were just cool. The big trick, the hard part was getting the the Lee Stetson character. We really had to find someone who was a leading man, but was really funny. And you know, this really was before Remington Steele. And before Magnum, where those guys were usually much straighter, they were much more earnest. And we wanted a guy who could be, could be frustrated and charming and ironic. Cast Bruce, at the very end, I think we saw five, I mean, we saw so many people, it was hard. And the Network has some people they really wanted us to see, and I don't remember who, but they just weren't right. Or we felt they weren't right. And, and then somehow Bruce, I can't remember if someone brought up his name, but it was literally the Saturday before we're gonna start shooting. And he was just really good. He nailed it in the room.

Susan Lambert Hatem  16:42

That's so great. Because the pairing is really special. It really does feel like it's one of the things that's kept the show so beloved, for so long, is there's something about their chemistry on screen that feels really unique.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  16:57

And you can't, you can't make that happen. You know, it either, it either happens or it doesn't.

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:01

And so I did read a draft of the script where Amanda King was married. Is that an early draft?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  17:08

No, she, Dean was always going to be this invisible guy. I'm trying to think of any, any incarnation. But I know we absolutely pitched her as a single mom, a mom who had to face the world with her mother, basically alone.

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:21

Watching the show the first time as a kid, my mom was a divorced mother of two and, and she worked for CDC. So she would work for the federal government and she had this like, amazing day job where she was a microbiologist, kind of, you know, trying to save lives. And, and then, you know, came home and, you know, yelled at us to clean our room. So there was something about that, that really did resonate with me at the time. Because I was like, Oh, she's, she wants to be a spy and a mom! Like, I think that was, I knew that was unique in my... in other parents that I saw. And, and it felt to me, it was one of the things that first struck me about the show.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  18:02

I think that's probably, really probably why they uh, Carla at CBS, bought it. I mean, I know she was very impressed with that component. That this woman would be so out of her league and yet so capable.

Susan Lambert Hatem  18:16

So when did Beverly Garland come in? Because what's interesting, we were just watching Remington. Because we're going to go to that show next and, and she's Laura Holt's mom in Remington in a couple of episodes. Beverly Garland plays, Laura holds mom. And so we're watching it and we're like, oh my god. Was that her audition? Like, did they just go... She she's really good at playing moms. Let's get her in.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  18:36

I think we, I she was an, she was in the pilot. We, I don't I think ,she may have auditioned. She was great. And of course, I knew who she was because I'd seen her on TV, a lot. So, she was also enormously professional. It was just so great to have her there as a steadying personality, no drama, no nothing. She just knew the gig. You know, and days when Beverly worked were always good days. But I think she, we had just a regular, we had to we did have to audition her. We were sort of, you know, there is a thing in Hollywood that if, and more so now than when I was starting, when you're super famous, or at least have a track record, you don't audition. You know you just say Okay, how about, you know, Cybill Shepherd for this. But we really felt we had to see people. We thought you know, if Bruce was willing to read for the part, surely everybody else would be willing to read. And we got some resistance from some people but not from her. She was more than happy to come in and read and she was terrific.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:37

It's really again, another dynamic that, that I think is just incredibly fun in the show. And it's nice to sort of have that. And and then, I'm also just curious about like Martha Smith, who's going to, she's actually going to come on the show, and talk about Francine and Mel Stewart and, and how they got cast. And, and then I have another question about Francine.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  20:00

Well, I don't remember all of this except Francine came in and read. And she was a Ice Princess, which is exactly what we wanted her to be. You know, poised and just unflappable. Whereas Kate was, you know, multitasking and bouncing and making peanut butter sandwiches and you know, trying to fix her kid's broken bike or whatever. Scattered but really capable. But Francine was never ruffled. And someone that, you think Kate might be jealous of if she saw her, is just... or admire, in a way. It's like, I can never be like that woman, so perfectly quaffed. I mean, Francine was always perfectly quaffed. And she was really good. I mean, everybody we cast we liked. So it wasn't like we had to settle. You know we, and we definitely wanted a person of color in the cast, in the main cast. Which I don't think was as common back then. And, and but we met no resistance with that. But that was definitely part of the plan. So that, what I'm speaking to that now about about Mel, not about Francine. We got lucky with everybody.

Sharon Johnson  21:06

I just wondered when you were talking earlier about how back at that time, there were shows, instead of having more writers on staff, they they had, they worked with a lot of freelancers. To what degree were there women that were out there, like you, that were also writing or submitting scripts to shows?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  21:28

I didn't feel as much of an imbalance as there may have been. I don't know if we just got, we just, we would read sample scripts of people. And if they were good, we'd call them in to meet. And many of them were women. So I didn't...  who were good writers... So I didn't feel there was a lot of imbalance. But of course now looking at it, from a less narcissistic perspective, I was the only really, well we had one other woman writer, Patricia Green on the show. But it was you know, it was, it was a... it was accepted, even without knowing it, that there was certainly, it was more of a masculine World, at that time. Even though there were women, the woman who, who launched Scarecrow was a Woman. Well the, the Executive was a Woman at, at CBS. So and also, I have to say that at Second City, the tradition had always been... and for many years stayed that tradition... That in a company of seven people, five were men and two were women. And that, that was inviolable. It's only changed, I think, in the last 10 or 15 years. So I was sort of used to that.... The mathematics of that.

Sharon Johnson  21:28

What kind of guidance were you giving writers at that point about? Or were you giving any about what you're looking for in terms of stories for Amanda and, and Lee and, and the rest of the show?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  22:43

Well, we didn't have an over, an Arc, you know, a Seasonal Arc, the way you would see on a show like, X Files. But we but we did have a sense, not unlike Moonlighting, or even Remington Steele, that there would have to be a blossoming of their relationship. And so that was something we always said that the constant will be, there will be challenges to that, to that, there'll be the Caper of the Week. There will be that, and that'll be done in a week. But, but the over-arching story of, of who they are, and how they grow as a professional couple, and maybe a personal couple should always be in your mind. And so when you have the opportunity to exploit that in a script, that should be a runner! But it was certainly, the emphasis was on come in and pitch a good Caper.

Sharon Johnson  23:29

I also liked though, the way that through the course of this, uh each season, the season in particular that Amanda became, began to see that she had a certain facility for this. And, uh, and something to offer...

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:44

... we would now say Agency...

Sharon Johnson  23:45

Yeah, exactly. And she was kind of pushing for that. I can do things, I'm willing to try things. I want to be trained! Which I thought was really great as well. So.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  23:55

I mean, yeah that's a part of the ongoing evolution that we wanted to see. And you know, as a writer, you may have some plans in your head. But your most fun comes when you surprise yourself. When a story actually takes a turn you didn't expect. While you writing, you think, Oh, well, instead of going this way, what if I did this instead, and would this further another element of... deepen the character somehow. And so that would happen less and less. You know these things happen in a controlled world, like fast TV writing. But once in a while you find you, you take a moment, and you're, and you're in another... on another path. And you know it pays off. So that's part of the fun of writing too.

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:36

Well, I want to, I want to talk about Martha Smith for a minute. We're, we were sort of arranging for her to come on the show and she sort of mentioned something. She said that you created the Francine, was the Francine she liked the most. The Francine that you guys worked on, I think in creating the show, was the Francine that I think she felt, maybe later... and we'll find out when we talk to her... kind of drifted somewhere else. And so I'm, I'm really curious because the other thing that was nice to see... is even though there was a, there was sort of a snark, between them, and they were, they were different... It was also this very unique relationship that was started. And I thought was, you know, had a lot of possibility. The Francine-Amanda relationship.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  25:21

Neither one of us wanted to do the traditional women rivals thing. Which we thought was old school and sort of not useful and counterproductive and corny. So we wanted someone that would start out being who she was, and really never lose that Fancine-ness. But as you saw more of her, and she was allowed to develop over time, there would be a deepening. And there'd be more to her, that would be less snarky, and more, I mean, witty. But, you know, a certain level of humanity and compassion and all good, the things we like about people. And that she and Kate would appreciate each other and appreciate each other's differences and not... It reduces women when you have to make them rivals. As, when they can both be capable Colleagues, even though one may have one strength, and one may have a different strength. And so I think we never had a manifesto put out, but the way we write is to develop people to be the best they can be. And that would have, had we stayed with the show, I think we would have absolutely evolved it I think in a little more... And I did not continue watching Scarecrow very much after we left... But I think we would have been a little, I like to think it would have been a more complicated relationship. And less easily defined the way it sort of was. I was sort of careful, But um, and I think even in the third year, I think, didn't a guy, didn't a guy write the third year? Juanita Bartlett took over when we left. But she was only on it, I think for a year.

Susan Lambert Hatem  27:04

She was on for the end of Season One and then Season Two. And then Three and Four were run by men. All right. All right. And All right, so we're gonna come back. We're gonna take a little break. We're gonna come back, we're gonna ask some more questions.

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Susan Lambert Hatem  27:21

All right, Sharon, welcome back!

Sharon Johnson  27:22

There you go!

Susan Lambert Hatem  27:22

We have Ms Eugenie Ross-Leming.  Tell us about Juanita Bartlett.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  27:25

Juanita is kind of, you know, feisty and I mean, she was... You know, I like Juanita Bartlett's vibe. I don't know what went on creatively under her regime... Who else was working with her and how, you know, how she was accepted by Kate, or or anything. But I do know that I think Francine, what little I saw, was under exploited in a way and diluted from what I would have done had Brad and I hung around.

Susan Lambert Hatem  27:58

So all right, well, let's talk about it.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  28:00

You know we, I can tell you that we were young and excited and inexperienced when we got this gig. And as I've told you before, I always thought everything's possible. And let's just all get together and talk about it, and we'll come up with the best answer. But not everybody sees the world that way. And I'm sure, I'm, there were things that were... I was disappointed in and Brad was disappointed in and Kate was disappointed in and Bruce is disappointed.  Everybody gets a little disappointed. It just, it stopped being as much fun as it, we felt in our youth, it was supposed to be. And we were willing to work around the clock. It wasn't that we were, you know malingering and wanting to go to you know, happy hour at some club and you know, call it a day or go play tennis. When things became a little more complicated and a little abusive, perhaps, we just felt this isn't healthy for us. And we, you know... Now looking back at it now, I think we should have stayed and, and fought for our position. But I just thought, well, there's always something else better and I don't need to be unhappy.

Susan Lambert Hatem  29:02

You know, being happy is really a very important part of life. In particularly in this industry and the industry that you're in. I think it's interesting when people make healthy decisions for themselves, even if it may not be like, Oh, I can fight for this. And I don't think you know how to fight when you're in your 20s and 30s. The same way you do when you're older.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  29:28

I certainly didn't. There was no paradigm for me on proper behavior. I just thought well, I'll be clear. And Brad will be clear and we'll be honest. And, but there were just so many forces. There was so much at stake. When the show premiered, it was like the highest rating of any premiere that Warner Brothers had had in like, you know, forever. So everyone was really excited. But with that excitement some people became I think, fearful of losing that, that peak and became not confident in what got them to that moment. And started to rethink everything. And when you start rethinking your instincts, I think you can do more damage than good. You should go with what works and not say, Oh no, no, it was a mistake that it worked... or it was just black magic. You know, I mean?  I think there was a lack of faith in well, on a deeper level, I'm sure it's lack of self confidence. But I think you can lay it at anyone else's feet. You can say, Oh, if you would have been a better tennis coach, I would have won Wimbledon. If the ball maker had made a better ball, I would have had a better chance. So there was a lot of, if Numbers wobbled, there was a lot of anxiety among some people. And constancy is the most important thing in a creative enterprise. You have to have faith in the team. You just can't, not! That'll undermine you faster than, you know, fan, fickleness or anything. So we were all, I mean, Brad and I were really young, really inexperienced. Over our heads in terms of the politics of what makes a show work. We just thought well, if a show works, everyone's gonna want it to keep working. And it turns out, that's not always true.

Sharon Johnson  29:38


Eugenie Ross-Leming  29:45

So, it was um, it was difficult, but certainly, I learned a lesson.

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:16

And yet you created such a dynamic show that I think it actually continues to steer in in a direction. I mean, how much of the first season were you in? Do you remember?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  31:27

I think we did the fir, I... my memory was we did the whole First Season, but it may have been only the first 12 episodes. I think in those days, we did 23 episodes?

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:37

Yeah. Crazy, crazy amount of episodes.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  31:39

And so I think we did though the Hia...  we did the first 12, I think. And it was just, I mean, no, I'm not saying it was easy to leave. But, you know, in my mind, and in Brad's mind, we thought, well, the shows that we're, that we sold, and that we produced is being changed. It's not the same show. So if people are fighting for the things that we don't believe in. What are we gonna, what are we going to do? I mean, you know, I can't put my name on something that I don't like. And that's, of course, really stupid, because I'm sure there would have been a better way to, to see that. But, you know and there's so many levels of power that you're, you're when you're that young and naive, and I mean, I didn't think of myself as naive.... But there's the Studio level of power. There's the Network level of power. There's the Talent level of power, and then there's the Agency. So it was just so tiring to have to navigate. It took away from the writing and the thinking, you know, you can't really think if you're always under, under seige. You feel under siege. It's hard to be clear about what you're doing. And I you know, we made great friends on that show that were great people. The studio and the nice (garbled) like. And there are people at the Network. And the other, there are a lot of really good moments. But there were some issues that I just think challenged us in ways we weren't ready to be challenged. And I might, and our only ability... I don't think was the correct choice... but our only ability was to remove ourselves from we considered too big a challenge.

Susan Lambert Hatem  33:23

And, and then Juanita Bartlett came in. And so you, did you work with Juanita Bartlett? Or you were just like, here you go...

Eugenie Ross-Leming  33:30

... with the keys.

Susan Lambert Hatem  33:31


Eugenie Ross-Leming  33:32

She was a veteran. She just, she'd been around 100 years longer than us. She was tougher than us. She wouldn't be bothered. I felt pretty sure she'd triumph, that she would, or she'd get fed up and leave. Which I think happened. And she was so, well yeah, we just went off and just started developing other stuff and do another gigs. And you know, we didn't feel... I don't know that anyone could have stayed in that situation longer than we did.... and survived. Frankly.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:01

Did you know, that because the show has has kept a fan base. Right? Scarecrow and Mrs. King has a very passionate fan base in ways that other shows of the 1980s don't necessarily have. Although I think everybody loves 80s TV, which is why we're doing a podcast about female driven 80s TV. But it seems it has resonated. It's still like in, you know over the Pandemic people found it again. And there's a very strong fan base. I'm curious how you feel about that. Having created a show and then walked away from it... and then... but you created it!

Eugenie Ross-Leming  34:40

Well, I you know, I walked. When you walk away from something, I think something happens in your brain. You click it off and you don't, I mean, you can either nurture regret or ill will or whatever. Which didn't seem to be an idea for us. We didn't want to, we just had other ideas we want to develop. So I'm always surprised when I meet someone who says, Oh my god Scarecrow and Mrs. King my favorite whatever or my, I used to watch it with my mother. You know, it surprises me, it takes me a minute to absorb that. Because it was so early on, and it was the first show, name major Network show we'd sold. And it's so early on in my career that I just, I've just filed it away, you know, as as a step towards other things. And there's other things I remember more completely, because I, they're more current in my brain and I have more, I have more tools to appreciate them than I did Scarecrow, I mean. But you know, looking back on it, obviously, I would have liked it to turn out better. I mean, I would have had, you know, longevity would have meant that we could have developed more between Kate and Bruce. More between Francine... when you create star, character templates, you you have in mind you're gonna develop more than what you've sold. You know, the what they are in the pile, is not who they're going to become. So that would have been nice. But I don't know, I just can't. I think I've just decided to appreciate what it did give us and not regret what we didn't get.

Susan Lambert Hatem  36:08

I mean, you've you've had an incredible career. And you've worked on huge, huge, huge shows. Supernatural and Lois and Clark. You have the same writing partner that you had when you started. You've been married to Producer Robert Singer for a long time. And that's really impressive to have that in an industry like Hollywood. And I'm curious, ever, if you ever think about that? Or if it's been a very conscious effort to have that?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  36:35

I think I couldn't imagine doing all this without Brad because we are in each other, we have each other's backs. And you need that more than anything. So for me, there was never a, I just, first of all, he say, we have a really good relationship. So we never, it's not a stormy relationship. It's not. It's not uneasy, he has a very solid personal life with his wife and children. So it's never, it's not a contest. It's not out of contention in our lives. But I think we really know that we got lucky when we met each other that we had such an instant synergy that, that's kept us afloat, you know, so when someone is really sh*!tty to you at least, you know, Brad's going to be in your corner and vice versa.  I have a bad meeting with someone or a bad phone call or a fight with an actor, or an actress or anybody, a stunt man. You know, if I, I just know that when no one understands me, Brad does. And so that is a really important element in I suppose whatever success I have. My relationship with my husband is like all relationships, more complicated, and it's more stormy than my relationship with Brad because, you know, it's it's everything. It's got work, it's got romance, it's got survival, it's got family, it's got finances, it's got politics. It you know, it's an everything relationship. So thre're more friends to take care of in a personal relationship than in a work relationship. But, you know, we just constantly just worked on it. You know, I mean, it's not always great, you know, there's bad things where don't talk to each other. But you know, that's everybody. It's, you know, whether he was an accountant and I were neurosurgeon that would happen. I'm sure. So, but I, I think, probably the, what sanity I do have, and it's not great. But what sanity I do have is more, I think, because Brad and I are so loyal to each other and comfortable with each other's opinions. I don't believe that if I write something that he doesn't think works in a scene, if after the conversation we have over it, I don't question, his motive for wanting to change something, I always think is for the best for the scene. I don't always agree, and nor does he, but I never doubt his, how straightforward he is, you know, And that's really important to know that if someone in this business, which is very fickle, who is not situationally your friend, but eternally your friend. You know, we just laugh all the time when we're together, Brad and I. And I mean, even when things are horrific, somehow we find the funny thing in that and we just get, there's a sort of relief system we have, I guess, that just makes it bearable. So because you know, it's really hard to maintain anything in this business.

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:33

I'm curious in terms of, you know, basically, women in television, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, what your perception of what has been, what's happened over the last... since the 80s.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  39:47

Well, you know, Lois and Clark was made the end of that kind of epic in a way, that period. And it had some really wonderful ingredients to it, but Louis and Clark was definitely still old school, screwball comedy kind of men and women. You know, it was a little more promiscuous. People did sleep together, obviously. I don't know, you know, in the Scarecrow Days at CBS at eight o'clock, it would have been, you know, implied. But it wouldn't have been, you know, you wouldn't have people waking up in the same bed. We had a not a lot of women in... I don't think we had any female director. I directed Lois and Clark, but I don't think there was anyone else. And I had an inside, you know, was my shows and when you know, and I had a lot of help. I don't know that I have a metrics to to employ to tell you about the shift, because I think the shift into a female engagement and authority is more subtle than I can identify as, like, oh, it happened, then. You know what I mean? It just seems to be something since I've been living inside it, that's just always been happening. As I got better and stronger, more opportunities were thrown my way. I suppose I had an advantage because I had already a history in the community. But for new people starting out, you know, there weren't all those programs yet, like writers diversity programs that the studios run now. It certainly helped that really dynamic, powerful women writers, like Tina Fey became, or Amy Poehler, became producers. I mean, that's a big step. And that would have been, what a how many years ago? When did 30 Rock start? Yeah, I mean,

Sharon Johnson  41:38

2000s, I think,

Eugenie Ross-Leming  41:41

I mean, the 2000s have obviously been beneficial. I know that in Supernatural, towards the end of the run, we were you and we started using women directors years before, but we really increased our women director, schedule. And you know, it worked. It wasn't like surprising to me that it would be a good idea. But you, you have to have a pool to draw from.

Susan Lambert Hatem  42:06

What is a feminist show to you? Or a female driven show? And what are the components of that, that you feel are necessary to sort of take that badge?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  42:17

Well, you know, I don't write generally or haven't written from a, from an ideological posture. So I don't define things as feminist, or I really just wanted this to be a story, not a, not a mission statement. But a story about one woman's emergence from a phase of her life that was no longer viable, and how she turned it into something satisfying. And so just from a personal non political statement, it was about her journey through disappointment and dissatisfaction. And we never got to develop what happened with her and Dean, and why it didn't work. But we, we, we always saw it through more intimate eyes than cultural eyes. And always knowing that would have obviously cultural resonance. But it wasn't a mission statement about it's time for women to to get up and do more personally, I think it would be doing a disservice to women. Like in my own life, it's very hard. When I hear women say, you know, you can have everything, you can have it all, you can be a mother, you can be a neurosurgeon, you can be a sex goddess, you can be a great cook, and you'll be happy. That, it's more, there are surges, where some of those things are possible sometimes, and then they become more, they recede a little and other things emerge in your life you. I think, for a woman who can't live up to all those opportunities, I think the woman, a woman should have those opportunities. But too, if she doesn't succeed at all four columns of motherhood, career romance, she'll feel less and that she'll feel she will have failed the call that her sisters gave to her. You know? And I don't want women to feel well, I had all this and I couldn't make it work. I still got divorced, or my kids still don't like me or my son doesn't want to be a doctor. He wants to be a roller skater. I just felt it was a show, I wanted to show a woman who could make opportunities for herself.That the world would allow her to make opportunities and she would be genius enough if the world gave her obstacles, to make those to make her own opportunities. That could be then expanded into a cultural program, but I really thought of it as a, a woman's story. Because I didn't want anyone to be the, carry the burden of having to be you know, Joan of Arc for everybody else. It, because you can feel really bad about yourself. If you don't have children. If you don't have a good job. If your husband doesn't love you and want only you in his life. You know, if, when I hear everyone says you can have it all... nobody can have it all. You should at least have the opportunity to try to have it all. But if you don't have it all, you shouldn't feel less because not everybody has Kardashian money. Not everybody has, you know, where they can have their own nanny and their own plane and they can go off to Barbados, and at the same time, come back to LA and run for mayor. You know, it's just, it's an unfair. There's no equivalency in those lives. I know, I'm all over the place on this. But it kind of, I felt like, it feels like sometimes we do a disservice to women, when we say we, you can have it all. There's nothing holding you back. But yes, it's true. You may have the talent to do everything, but circumstances may not permit you at the same time, to do everything. But you should be guaranteed at least the opportunity to struggle and fail. Because I've had as many failures as... I've had a lot of failures. And I've learned a lot from them. Now does any of that makes sense?

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:02

It does. It makes a lot of sense. I completely agree with you, I think what you know, it's sort of what... I think women should have the opportunity to sort of do what they want to do, which seems like it doesn't mean having it all to me. Like it means, I can decide for myself what I want my life, what I want to try to achieve. And that that, again, isn't really a political statement, and yet still continues to be a political statement. You know.

Sharon Johnson  46:32

And I agree as well. I mean, to me, feminism has always been about being able to make the choice. If your choice is you want to stay home, you don't want to have a career, that's fine. Your choice is, you don't want to have kids and you want to have a career, that's fine. If you want something in between, that's fine, too. But you should have be, have the ability to choose what that path is, and not be forced into something that doesn't fit you.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  46:54

And that's why I think it's hard, a little bit for me to, I mean, for me, I always resist categories. And so I think I've always resisted any category except acti... I'm okay with activist or abolitionist. Those two categories I'm okay with, but my feminism is a little more idiosyncratic than I think the the norm. In just in, by what I've said, I also think that the story... I'm glad that Scarecrow is embraced by and fulfills feminist standards. But the idea when we wrote it was really one woman's transition through different moments in a complicated life.

Susan Lambert Hatem  47:40

Yes. Which I think is what makes it feminist. (hehehe) Or again, and again, I know feminist is a loaded word. Right? It's a loaded word for my generation, it's a loaded word for generations, above and below me. And so, but I use it. So I use it to basically be female driven,

Eugenie Ross-Leming  48:01

Absolutely a female driven story. It had to be written from a female's perspective... from multiple female perspectives, and so that I embraced totally. And I'm not sure if I feel that way about, I'm not sure how I feel about you know, I love Moonlighting as a show. I just loved it, but I'm not sure... for me it was almost more His show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  48:24

Yeah, I think in, and Remington actually starts because, because Pierce Brosnan is such a discovery, that it actually starts to veer away from her, a lot. But then it but then it veers back.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  48:39

It's wonderful. I mean, she's wonderful in it, but he has like a secret. There's a thing about him that's unfinished, you know, which just draws you more into his aura.

Susan Lambert Hatem  48:50

But I will say they, they sort of start to write back... into try to, to give her stories too. But anyway, this isn't Remington yet. We're not there yet. But. But I agree. Like, it's fascinating. And again, we're also talking about, these are, these are only like male female gender explorations. Which now also feels pretty quaint. I'm curious about some fond memories, and just like memorable moments from the the beginning of Scarecrow. And like some of like, oh, it was really great when this happened, or it was really terrible when this happened.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  49:27

It was great. We had a great Pilot experience. Rod Holcomb was a dream director. Kate was great in the pilot. She was at her peak of generosity and willing to do... I mean she was really lovely. We had fun in Washington DC where we had to go to shoot.

Susan Lambert Hatem  49:47

It's a beautiful Pilot.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  49:48

It's really, I'm very proud of it. But I have to tell you, you know we shot it as it was autumn and it was like 9000 degrees. So that Bruce, who was wearing suits, we had to have like four suits available. Every time we finished a shot, we had to take off his shirt and his jacket, especially when we're outside, and then dry him off and put on a new suit and jacket. He was probably miserable. But the city looks beautiful. And she was delightful. He was delightful. It was like a field trip. We all, everybody got along, and we had a great time. So that's a wonderful memory. Because Pilots can be very fraught with oh my god, everything's on the line, if we don't do it. We're never gonna have this location again. We have to do this scene right. And everybody just rose, they brought their best game, you know. So it was, that was a lovely memory. And we all get really drunk at night, after we're done shooting. And I remember having too champagne at a bar and having to go spend the night... because the room was moving... standing up in the shower for about four hours, just because it was the only way I could not get sick. So that was great.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:53

There was an injury. Like, so Kate Jackson gets injured. And I did think it was very clever that, like she's wearing basically a foot cast in one of the episodes. And it felt so very much in character. She's like, I hurt it slide, teaching the kids how to slide into Home. And it just felt, it really sort of, I think, one of the few times I've seen that happen, and you're like, Oh, this is totally working for the character. Even though it might have been a nightmare.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  51:20

If she were playing Queen Elizabeth or something it would not have worked. But I have to say, Yeah, we got lucky. I mean, because... And she's a real jock. So she's not. She's tough. And she could,  it hurt her to stand up even on that thing. So it was hard for her to do those scenes. But she, you know, she didn't, she didn't ask for special... you know, we had to like wheel her across the room. So those are, we had double, we had to find a body double who could walk across the room, because she really couldn't walk. And then have her... pick her up on the other side having arrived. And we were lucky to find someone who was sort, of sort of built like Kate and do the hair and all that. But it happened so fast. And I think she got hurt on a weekend and we had to do all this, you know, in 24 hours. Find a double and rearrange the shooting schedule. Because at the beginning she couldn't... I think we had to...she was out for about a few days. Five days, maybe. It was tough. But she was game. She wasn't like you know, a baby about it. She said, I'll do it. Just point me, I'll do it. And did, it did work with who she was.

Susan Lambert Hatem  51:26

We haven't really talks about Kate, and working with Kate Jackson. And again, based on stuff that was happening at the time, there was there was talk that it was difficult. But I also know that that happens with a lot of actors that are the lead of a show.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  52:39

Well, she was very complicated. She, I'm sure she felt an enormous amount of personal responsibility. Breaking free from the Trio, you know, the cultural phenomenon that was Charlie's Angels. And I'm sure she felt the pressure of carrying the weight of the show. I'm sure she saw it as her gig. And any rejection would be a rejection of her. That of course wasn't the case. But I could totally see why that would affect her. And that's, so I'm sure it was difficult for her.

Susan Lambert Hatem  53:09

The kids are really sweet in this show, and they come off really well. And yet they also don't feel like Hollywood kids in a lot of ways.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  53:18

Right! They don't! We got lucky. I mean, they didn't, they felt like they weren't precocious or, or presenting themselves. They just felt like we caught them in life sort of vibe. That's always been, that's what I tell myself. I felt like Oh gee, I don't feel like I'm watching a precocious child actor. I just feel like I'm watching some kids stumble through something.

Susan Lambert Hatem  53:41

Yeah. And it was a really sweet part of the show. I really appreciated the balance between basically work and home.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  53:48

And I think she was very good at that. She had a good vibe with them on camera. She She portrayed that woman very... that reality I thought, she covered really well.

Susan Lambert Hatem  54:00

Fans are gonna kill us if we don't talk a little bit about Supernatural. Even though that's not a female driven 80s TV show. It's super famous and popular and a force of phenomenon. So how was working on Supernatural?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  54:17

It was the greatest experience. It was totally brilliant. It was, and I would like to say that while it is definitely the story of two brothers. We introduced a lot of serious long term women characters to that show. We know the Witch and Amara who was a equal... in the in the mythology she was God's equal... His his sister. His twin. So, we had a lot of women characters and never had a problem and no one ever said you can't have. People liked it. We're at the age now, I think in television where, I mean people know that boys and girls can play together and it's good.  Clearly the perspective is the perspective of this family. But we bring back the boy's mother and see her life revealed a little more. And why she, because she was just sort of a myth in the early years of the show. Just her death was all we ever knew about, we didn't really know about her life. We bring her back. So there is a, a female component to the, to the casting. But in terms of selfishly, it was just a great experience. The actors were all wonderful as people, I mean, not just, not only is performers. The crew was fantastic. Our cinematographer Serge (Ladoucier) was... Ladouceur, was just... I mean, the stuff looked great. You know, he was a brilliant lighter. And I don't know, we just had a great time, you know, Vancouver's a great city. So we had a, it was a it was a really a work, was a team effort. Everybody worked really, really hard. And I'm like everybody, we're sorry, but we got tired. You know, we just couldn't do anymore.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:10

We sort of ask all our guests these, three questions. Besides Scarecrow and Mrs. King, what was the 80s Ladies driven television show that resonated with you? At the time.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  56:21

I don't watch a lot of tele, I didn't watch a lot of televis, television back in those days. I was either writing or working or dreaming up my idea for the next show. So I kind of, I kind of stayed away from television. But I, you know, I know we discussed the degrees to which these shows are ladies driven. I was a fan of Moonlighting. And I was a fan of Remington Steele. And I'm not sure... I wasn't a fan of those other... I think they were 80s shows. What was that show, that Western with Barbara Stanwyck? Big Valley or something?

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:00

Oh, yeah.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  57:00

It was her place. I kind of liked the idea that this stately woman had three grown sons. And sort of, and she took in the son of her, not her physical son but her husband's lover's son, I guess. I kind of liked that as a, I liked her as a woman. I thought Barbara Stanwyck was really stand up. I wasn't a fan of the show. But I like her. That was I felt, even though it was a cowboy show, and there were a lot of guys and horses, she had the authority in that show. And you felt that even if she wasn't in every scene if she wasn't... I really liked... But this is earlier, when I was just coming up really, when I was at Norman's Place and (?Tandem?). I loved,  I thought Maude was good.

Sharon Johnson  57:45

Oh, yeah.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  57:45

Well, I liked in the early days.... Talk about complicated. Roseanne.

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:51

Yep. It was hugely groundbreaking.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  57:55

I loved her stand-up act. I thought she was great. And I thought she really... dangerously unpredictable. But at the time, it it totally went with my worldview. I thought Yeah, that's right. So yeah, I guess Maude. I mean, not Maude, um, Roseanne was something that I really... I dug.

Susan Lambert Hatem  58:14

No, I, it's a hugely groundbreaking show. And it did have that really like huge raw energy in some ways, because of her. But I also really love the kids. There were two. You know, the girls on the show really got to do a lot. All right. And so our other question is, are there... what are your favorite female driven TV shows now, that are out? Do you watch any television?

Eugenie Ross-Leming  58:37

Well, I'll tell you what I watch. We'll see if, if any of them... I watch, when it comes on, The Crown. Which is female driven. But it's also, it's the Empire, so there's a lot of vibe there. I'm trying to think if there's anything new I've seen that. You know, this is not female... well, if we're thinking airtime, I think even though my heart goes out to the "character" Ted Lasso, the women have, keep keep getting more and more meat. And so I love that show. I love the woman, you know, the team owner and I love Juno Temple.

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:15

Yes. Yeah. They're great. They're amazing.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  59:17

And they're really, in so many ways, they, they... their perspective does drive a lot of what happens. While the guys are spinning out of control or having problems, the women somehow managed to move the, move act down the road. So I kind of like that show. I don't know if that counts,

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:36

Well, that's, there are strong female roles in there. I would definitely say that.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  59:40

If I look at, You know, I also liked... well, this is not a long time series, but I don't know if you saw Unorthodox?

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:48

I did not but I heard about it.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  59:51

Well, it's only about four episodes. It's, it's so brilliant. And it's complete. I mean, there are men in it, but it is a woman's journey and, of liberation and validation. It's eloquent and brilliantly acted by an Israeli actress, Shira Haas. So I recommend you see that. I also loved Shtisel. The women over the, over the three seasons that it ran, emerged more and more, but it's clearly the story of a man, a man and his son, but it's the whole family. What are you watching?

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:25

Well, we've been, we've been watching Abbott Elementary, which I'm really excited about. And they're doing this thing now. Instead of just dropping everything, you have to like, Wait week to week. Which is very frustrating...

Sharon Johnson  1:00:36

What a concept... (laughing)

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:36

..I don't understand. It's so 80s!

Sharon Johnson  1:00:40

I'm, I'm watching Mrs. Maisel. I also just recently finished watching on the other side of the spectrum, Reacher. Which was great.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:49

Not a female driven show at all.  We've been watching that. Rich is a huge fan.

Sharon Johnson  1:00:54

Yeah. Not at all. I mean, this is outside of the things I'm watching for the podcast. But, I am still watching Grey's Anatomy. I am one of those people who is still watching Grey's Anatomy.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  1:01:06

I watched it last week. I hadn't for a while. And I liked it. Because you know, it's addictive. I always ask myself that when, when they're all together, like watching a surgery or in a, or in the hall talk.. Who's running the hospital? All the leads are in the same room doing something. And you know, I'm sure there are gunshot victims somewhere needing attention. But you know, it's kind of a Hollywood Hospital.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:01:31

What is your most sort of action/hero television moment that you've experienced in real life? Or you can tell me your favorite moment on set.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  1:01:41

I can tell you my, one of my favorite moments was very stressful. But it was the first time I directed Lois and Clark and it was a big Action Sequence. It was, it was a first night. It was a Night Shoot. It was the first night so I had the whole, whatever, 10 days ahead of me. I had to, you know, keep my sanity for 10 days. And it's really hard work. And I felt, you know, overwhelmed. And so we were on the backlot at Warner Brothers in Burbank. You guys are all from the neighborhood, so you know what that looks like. I mean, it's the Warner Brothers Studio. And we were shooting outside on the street. And, and my husband, who was on a different show, was shooting a Night Sequence way up the hill at Universal,  which overlooks Warner Brothers. And we happen to be doing Night Sequences together... Action Sequences at the same time, and we were sharing the same Stunt Crew. So even though a lot of the guys were different the head, the Stunt Director was having to go back and forth between both sets. And I felt particularly needy this, since I was I was a neophyte. I wanted him with me. And but you know, I couldn't quite get, pull that off. So he was going back and forth. It was night. Lights for glowing everywhere. And I had a sequence where the first story window in this building, all the glass was going to break. And these guys were gonna catapult out vertical... uh yeh, horizontally. Not you know, not fall drop, but somehow, or, and then plop, and everybody swore it could be done. It was gonna work. Fine, fine, fine. And you can only shoot these things a couple of times, because you have to reset and rebuild glass windows and all that. So I'm there and the guy is not there. He's up with my husband, on his set. But I'm. I got, I'm covered. I got people around who know more than I do. And you could sometimes hear what was happening. The way the sound patterns were at from my husband set, you could sort of hear gunshots and explosions. And you could sort of, and he could hear mine every once in a while. So all this odd noise was happening. And I felt like I was in a dreamscape. You know, it didn't feel real. I first of all, was so... I'm under such pressure did not screw this up. It's nighttime. It's a full on movie set that I'm saying words like 'Action!". You know, 'Settle!", and I can barely get the words I'm saying (squeeking like a mouse) you know I don't wanna talk loud. I don't want to upset anybody. I'm terrified. But I say 'Action.' They come out the window. There's some explosion at Universal at the same time from Bobby's set. And so the two things happen. I'm only focusing on what I'm happening and it works. It's you know, it's fine. The guys fall on mattresses. They're Okay. And I hear later that Bobby who has a full view, Bobby my husband , has a full view of... He can see his set and my set. So he can see what's happening on my set while he's keeping an eye on what he's doing. And he said it was like... so it's really almost more his story. He said it was like this Hollywood, this cheesy Hollywood Story of the couple that like works together and plays together. Because we're both shooting. And the star of our, of our movie is the Stunt Man who has to go back and forth and tell each one of us what to do, and you know, say action. And it was like... there's no big punchline except that it I can't explain. It was like this odd Nexus, which I felt was a metaphor for my life at the time of reality and imagination meeting somehow and both having the same power over me. Because I was living in this moment. I mean, I had to, I had to produce this scene it had to happen. But I was also kind of worried and interested about what was going on with my husband's life. And he was doing the exact reverse. And I don't know if that makes any sense. But it was such a, it just felt like, this oughtta be in someone else's movie. It felt like it really wasn't my life. I was, I was part of a bigger movie. You know you could say, as a metaphor for everybody. But it was so palpably Grand to have two big, highly lit, expensive Action Sequences happening at the same time… by a Couple. I don't know, that was, so I always remember that as a fun thing to be able to tell people.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:05:48

That's a great, that's a great story. That's amazing. This has been so great. I've been so excited. And to have you on and thank you very much.

Eugenie Ross-Leming  1:05:58

My pleasure. Please say hi to Martha, when you see her, who I haven't seen, you know, decades. But she was really a stand-up person.  She was good.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:06:07

She seems amazing. We've really enjoyed our email conversation. And and so we're excited. Maybe we're gonna try to do a little... we'll get you all back on, at the same time, and just let you guys tell stories.

Sharon Johnson  1:06:19

Thank you so much for doing this. We really appreciate it.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:06:22

All right, and today's Audio-ography We have the Facebook Fan site for Scarecrow and Mrs. King. facebook.com/ScarecrowAndMrsKing. And I want to do a shout out to the SMK Fans who are incredibly lovely and helpful folks, especially Jeanette Valarie and Taya Johnson and the entire team over the podcast, Mrs. King Chronicles. You guys should check that out. They do a walk through of every episode. It's amazing. They're adorable. It's really fantastic. The books I want to talk about and again, these are on the website, When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Kay Armstrong, and Ladies of the Evening: Women Characters in Primetime Television by Diana M. Meehan. Anyway, check those out if you want to read more. And the website again is 80sTVSadies.com. That's eight zero S, TV, ladies (la d ies) .com. And of course you can follow us on the social medias @80sTVLadies, that's @80sTVLadies.

Sharon Johnson  1:07:20

Let us know if you're liking this podcast. Giving us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram really helps a lot.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:07:27

We hope you will join us for the next episode where we continue our Scarecrow and Mrs. King love. Because I love it. So please send us your questions and we will ask them, we want to hear from you.

Sharon Johnson  1:07:38

We hope 80s TV Ladies brings you joy and laughter and lots of fabulous new and old shows to watch.

All of which leads us forward toward being amazing ladies of the 21st century.

Theme Song:    

80s TV Ladies.  I’m so sexy and so pretty.

80s TV Ladies. I’m steppin out into the city.

80s TV Ladies.  I been treated kind of sh#*ty.  

Working hard for the money in a man’s world.

80s TV Ladies!