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Premiere September 13, 1979
Finale April 19, 1986
Creator Susan Harris
Network/Provider ABC
Style 30-minute sitcom
Company Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions
Seasons 7
Episodes 158
Origin USA

Benson is a sitcom that aired on ABC.

In the show, Benson DuBois had been hired to be the head of household affairs for scatterbrained and widowed Governor Eugene Gatling, and his daughter Katie. Governor Gatling was cousin to the two sisters on whose families the stories centered on Soap. The state of which Gatling was governor remained unidentified throughout the series.

The show revolved around Benson's housekeeping dilemmas, his fights with the German cook Gretchen Wilhemina Kraus, and his interactions with John Taylor, who assisted Governor Gatling as chief of staff. After the first season, Taylor's job was filled by Clayton Endicott III, who was written out by having him run for political office and actually snub his employer's endorsement. He lost the election but returned at Benson's request. In spite of their adversarial relationship (during the early years, Kraus' trademark line was a loud "I hear you!" from off-stage), Benson and Kraus eventually became good friends. Benson also had very good friendships with the Governor's secretary, Marcy Hill, and her successor, Denise. Marcy left after her second-season wedding.

Denise and Pete Downey, the Governor's Press Secretary (introduced in Season 2), met and later married while working in the governor's mansion and were expectant parents for most of the third-to-last season. Both were written out, saying they left state government service because Denise got a job working for NASA.

Benson worked his way up the ladder during the series, going from head of household affairs to state budget director (at which time his surname—DuBois—was revealed), and eventually was elevated to the position of Lieutenant Governor. During the final episodes of the 1985–1986 season, Benson ran for governor against Gatling. Kraus (who had herself moved up to head of household affairs) proved to be Benson's biggest supporter during this time, and he made her his personal assistant and campaign manager.



Actor Character Duration
Main Cast 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Robert Guillaume Benson DuBois * * * * * * *
James Noble Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling * * * * * * *
Inga Swenson Miss Gretchen Wilomena Kraus * * * * * * *
Missy Gold Katherine "Katie" Olivia Gatling * * * * * * *
Caroline McWilliams Marcy Hill * * *
Lewis J. Stadlen John Taylor *
David Hedison (pilot only)
Rene Auberjonois Clayton Runnymede Endicott III * * * * * *
Ethan Phillips Peter "Pete" John Downey * * * *
Didi Conn Denise Florence Stevens Downey * * *
Billie Bird Mrs. Rose Cassidy * *


Season  Premiere Finale #
Season One September 13, 1979 May 8, 1980 24
Season Two October 31, 1980 May 22, 1981 22
Season Three November 6, 1981 May 14, 1982 22
Season Four October 22, 1982 March 31, 1983 22
Season Five September 16, 1983 May 4, 1984 22
Season Six September 21, 1984 April 5, 1985 24
Season Seven October 4, 1985 April 19, 1986 22


DVD Releases

Title Release Discs
Season Sets  (Region 1)
The Complete First Season July 24, 2007 purchase 3
The Complete Second Season September 2, 2014 purchase 2
Multiple Season Sets  (Region 1)
Seasons 1 & 2 September 2, 2014 purchase 4

External Links