A year after Taxi hit US screens, the producers were given an opportunity to follow it up with another sitcom for ABC. Later described as a ‘white-collar version of Taxi’, The Associates was based on the novel by John Jay Osborn Jr, and developed by James L Brooks, Stan Daniels, Charlie Hauck, and Ed Weinberger. it was the first starring role for Martin Short, and also featured Wilfrid Hyde-White, Alley Mills, and Shelley Smith.
That’s a phenomenal roster of talent rolling through the credits, so the show should have been in good stead.
Critics loved it.
Audiences did not.
It was cancelled after nine episodes, leaving four more unaired. (Actually, it was hauled of the air after only five episodes, but ABC bought it back a few months later).
I have a real soft spot a show [for] The Associates … It was about a group of associate lawyers, and we were doing a comedy about kids who were making $70,000 a year which I thought was maybe just a little bit early with that. Making that pilot was one of the great experiences of my life.James L Brooks.
In spite of its cancellation, the show garnered two Golden Globe nominations.