On This Day In Comedy on February 16, 1994 Thea aired its last episode on ABC
Premiering on September 8, 1993, this sitcom made history because it was the first to star and be named after a Black comedienne. Thea Vidale was that comedienne. On the show she was Thea Turrell, a Houston, Texas supermarket worker / home based cosmetologist. Her porch was her station and there was no booth rent. Besides the two jobs she had four kids. That’s why she needed the two jobs. Ratings were strong out of the box, but declined steadily until by the end of its only season, Thea was #43 in the ratings. ABC pulled the plug after 19 episodes aired.
Besides having the historical significance of its racial first, Thea was like a who’s who of unknown future household names. Grammy Award winning singer, Brandy Norwood was featured on the show. It was her first sitcom. Comedienne, Yvette Wilson was a regular and so was Countess Vaughn. Years later all of them would star (Brandy) and be featured in Moesha for UPN. Comedians, Miguel Nunez, Jr. (Life) and Blake Clark (Community) were also in the cast, along with Jason Weaver (singer J-Weav), Cleavant Derrick (Sliders), Arvie Lowe, Jr. (Lizzie McGuire), Venus Demilo Thomas (Sister, Sister), Dennis Burkley (Sanford), Marcus T. Paulk (Moesha) and the future Miss Regina “Piggy” Grier in the form of Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Steve Harvey Show) playing Thea’s baby sister.
Thea received a Young Artist Awards nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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