|Hangin' with Mr. Cooper|
Main cast, from Season 2 (l-r): Saundra Quarterman, Raven-Symoné, Mark Curry, Holly Robinson, Marquise Wilson.
|Created by||Jeff Franklin|
Holly Robinson Peete (credited as Holly Robinson in seasons 1-3)
Dawnn Lewis (season 1)
Raven-Symoné (seasons 2-5)
Marquise Wilson (seasons 2-5; season 1, recurring)
Saundra Quarterman (seasons 2-5)
Nell Carter (seasons 2-3)
Omar Gooding (seasons 2-5; season 1, recurring)
|Theme music composer||Denzil Foster &
Thomas McElroy (season 1)
Steve Tyrell (season 2)
Gary Boren &
Steven Chesne (seasons 3-5)
|Opening theme||Dawnn Lewis & Holly
Robinson with En
Howard Hewett (season 2)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||101 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jeff Franklin
Danny Kallis (season 1)
Cheryl Gard (season 2)
Michael Warren (seasons 3-5)
Barry O'Brien & Cheryl Alu (season 4)
David Chambers (season 5)
Warner Bros. Studios,
Burbank, California (taping location)
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Jeff Franklin Productions
Bickley-Warren Productions (seasons 3-5)
Lorimar Television (season 1)
Warner Bros. Television (seasons 2-5)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original run||September 22, 1992 – August 30, 1997|
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper is an American television sitcom that originally aired on ABC from 1992 to 1997, starring Mark Curry and Holly Robinson. The show took place in Curry's hometown of Oakland, California. Hangin with Mr. Cooper was produced by Jeff Franklin Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television (it was produced by Lorimar Television for the first season only, and was the last sitcom produced by Lorimar before it was absorbed by Warner Bros.) and also became produced by Bickley-Warren Productions by the third season.
The show originally aired on Tuesdays in prime time after sister series Full House (which was also created by Jeff Franklin and set in the San Francisco Bay area). The show found its niche as an addition to the already successful TGIF Friday night lineup on ABC, and was part of the lineup from September 1993 to May 1996 (spanning the show's second, third and fourth seasons; airing in-between Step By Step and the newsmagazine 20/20), before moving to Saturdays for its fifth (and last) season.
The series, set in Oakland, California (Mark Curry's hometown), centers on NBA player-turned-substitute teacher/gym coach (and later basketball coach) Mark Cooper. Mark is a "somewhat suave" single guy with a zany personality; he always gets a few laughs from his friends. Mark's childhood friend Robin Dumars (Dawnn Lewis) and Robin's other best friend Vanessa Russell (Holly Robinson) live in a rented house that they cannot afford without an additional roommate. Though the events just prior to Mark's moving in are never shown, he agreed to move in with Robin and Vanessa. His "bedroom" is the den near the living room; Robin and Vanessa occupy the only bedrooms in the house. Although living with women may not be easy at times, Mark does appreciate them. They often teach him a thing or two when he gets in over his head.
Early episodes of the series featured references by Robin of Mark possibly having a crush on Vanessa, though that was mostly deemphasized. Near the end of season four, he and Vanessa became a couple. Almost as quickly as they started dating, they became engaged. Midway through the first season, Tyler Foster (Marquise Wilson) was introduced as Mark's annoying neighbor kid; he would become a regular character starting in season two. By the second season, Robin was phased out after Lewis' departure. Mark's two cousins from Georgia, Geneva Lee (Saundra Quarterman) and her daughter Nicole (Raven-Symoné) moved into the house. Tyler quickly became the best friend of Nicole.
In the first season, the characters were Mark Cooper, Vanessa Russell, and Robin Dumars. They all lived as roommates in a house that was rented by Mark, Vanessa and Robin. In the pilot episode, Mark got a job as a substitute teacher for a high school science class. Later in the season, he got a job teaching physical education which was what he wanted to teach. Mark was also a basketball coach for the school's team. Robin was a music teacher at the same high school. In the middle of the season, the original landlord died and the house was purchased by the parents of Tyler Foster (who were Mark's neighbors). After purchasing the house, Tyler's father told Mark, Vanessa, and Robin that they were allowed to stay in the house for 1 month. After Tyler told his parents that he liked the trio, they decided to let them stay permanently.
Mark had briefly played basketball with the Golden State Warriors, but was soon cut from the team.
The show moved to Friday nights in the second season as part of the TGIF block. It also was remodeled into more of a family-oriented show, instead of an adult oriented show, as in the first season. In the second season premiere, Tyler mentioned that Mark had purchased the house from his parents. Also in the second season premiere, Mark's cousin, Geneva Lee, and her daughter, Nicole Lee, moved in with Mark and Vanessa. Robin was no longer living with Mark and Vanessa. Geneva took over teaching music at Mark's school. Around the time Geneva and Nicole joined the show, Mark's school welcomed a new principal, P.J. Moore (played by Nell Carter), who was Mark's babysitter when he was a child. She was replaced in Season 4 by Geneva.
In 1996, Mark proposed to Vanessa in the episode "Will She or Won't She". This episode was a cliffhanger season finale that was aired on May 10, 1996. The following season premiere episode ("The Ring") was not aired until June 21, 1997, more than a year later. Vanessa accepted Mark's proposal in this episode. "The Ring" is the first episode of the fifth and last season of the series.
The last season was 13 episodes long, half the length of most television seasons, and was aired in the summer, when most television shows are in reruns. In addition, this season was aired on Saturday nights—a move away from its traditional Friday night slot on TGIF.
The series finale ("Getting Personal") was aired August 30, 1997. In this episode, Vanessa wrote a personal ad in the newspaper, and wanted Mark to figure out which ad was hers, and to answer it. Mark decided to answer all ads in the paper, tell everyone to look for the man with the rose, and then not wear a rose. Mark figured that Vanessa would be happy enough that Mark answered her ad, and would not worry about the rose, and that the other women would not get mad at him because, without a rose, they would not know that Mark is the one who answered their ads. Earvin knew about Mark's plan, and decided to go to the restaurant with the rose, so that he could get a date with 1 of the women whose ad Mark had answered. Vanessa and the other women figured out that the same man had answered all their ads. They decided that the man with the rose would be the dead man with the rose. When Earvin showed up, they all got mad at him, thinking he was the one who answered their ads. The finale ended with a goodbye from the cast.
While the series finale was viewed in its entirety on ABC affiliates in the Eastern, Central, and Mountain time zones, ABC pre-empted the episode on the West Coast, 5 minutes in, to break the news of the death of Princess Diana, and the finale was never re-run on ABC. Other than several complaints from viewers on the West Coast, there was little, if any, controversy, as this episode generally had low ratings, and aired on a Saturday. However, the episode aired in syndication.
ABC actually intended to bring back Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Step By Step to TGIF for the 1996-97 season as midseason replacements if freshmen series Sabrina the Teenage Witch and/or Clueless were cancelled (Clueless was cancelled by February and was replaced by Step by Step by March, Clueless was picked up by UPN the next season; while Sabrina lasted four seasons on ABC, before being picked up by The WB in 2000, where it spent its last three seasons).
The wedding of Mark and Vanessa would have most likely been the sixth season premiere episode had the show been renewed after season five, as Mark Curry reportedly wanted the wedding to begin a new season, not be a series finale. Hangin' with Mr. Cooper was the only TGIF show that ABC cancelled after the 1996-97 season (Step by Step and Family Matters were the only others) that was not picked up by CBS when that network attempted a TGIF-style comedy lineup on Fridays called "The CBS Block Party". On Robinson's TV series For Your Love, Curry returns to his longtime castmate Holly Robinson Peete where Robinson plays Malena Ellis where she gets pregnant on the episode titled "The Pregnant Pause" which aired April 28, 2000 on the fellow Warner Bros. Television series.
The series was created by Jeff Franklin (who also created one-time lead-in Full House in 1987, of whose cast John Stamos, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen made a guest appearance in HWMC's second episode), the series was originally executive produced by Franklin, and became produced by William Bickley and Michael Warren (who created the popular ABC sitcoms Family Matters and Step by Step, which moved to CBS in 1997), by the third season.
It is also the only videotaped sitcom produced by Bickley-Warren Productions (all other Bickley-Warren-produced comedies, all of which, except for Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and the short-lived WB sitcom Kirk, were produced in conjunction with Miller-Boyett Productions, were shot on film), and is one of only two series executive produced and/or created by Bickley and/or Warren, that Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett did not executive produce.
The show had three different theme songs throughout its run. The first season's theme song was performed by Dawnn Lewis, Holly Robinson, and the R&B quartet En Vogue, and was written by Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy. Lewis and Robinson perform most of the theme, while En Vogue sings "Cooper" in the chorus. This sequence was styled similarly to a music video. This was the only opening title sequence during the show's to feature two different versions. The version used in most episodes lasted only 32 seconds. However, a couple of episodes used a minute-long version which included an extra stanza that was not included in the short version.
R&B male crooner and Shalamar lead singer Howard Hewett sang the second season theme, which was a remake of Sam & Dave's R&B Top 10 hit "Soul Man". This version was produced by singer Steve Tyrell, who also composed the scene change music used during season two. The opening sequence accompanying the theme during this season featured Mark, Geneva, Nicole and Vanessa in the kitchen getting ready to go to work and school.
Soul singer James Brown would go on to help sing the third season theme, which became the main theme song until the series ended. This theme was written by Gary Boren and Steven Chesne, who also composed the music cues to signify scene changes and commercial breaks during the last three seasons. The sequence, created by graphic design firm Creative Tool, featured shots of various places in Oakland in static and regular form with posterized shots of the cast members with clips on the opposite side of the cast members (though clips of Mark Curry are shown on both sides in his part of the sequence).
In the United States, episodes of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (along with many other shows produced/distributed by Warner Bros. Television) can currently be seen on AOL's In2TV video-on-demand service.
The show went into off-network broadcast syndication (via Warner Bros. Television Distribution) in the fall of 1997, where it lasted until the fall of 2000 (airing until the fall of 1999 in some markets). From July 7, 2008 to January 9, 2009, it aired on Ion Television as part of the network's Laugh Attack hour of African-American sitcoms, initially running from 5-6PM/ET, then moved an hour later (switching timeslots with The Steve Harvey Show) on August 4. Although the show lasted 101 episodes, a third of the show's episodes were unaired by ION until September 15, 2008, when the third broadcast cycle began.