A trio of black youths learn about life, love, friendship, credit cards, gambling, and a variety of other things while growing up in an inner city.
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1979   1978   1977   1976  
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Roger 'Raj' Thomas (65 episodes, 1976-1979)
Haywood Nelson ...
 Dwayne Nelson (65 episodes, 1976-1979)
 Dee Thomas (65 episodes, 1976-1979)
Fred Berry ...
 Freddie 'Rerun' Stubbs (64 episodes, 1976-1979)
Shirley Hemphill ...
 Shirley Wilson / ... (60 episodes, 1976-1979)
 Mabel 'Mama' Thomas / ... (42 episodes, 1976-1978)


Roger, Rerun and Dwayne are three buddies growing up in Los Angeles. The three of them always have a penchant for getting into mischief and trying to find ways of getting rich quick. Almost always the trio's schemes wind up getting them into trouble and it is up to Roger's mother to get them out of it. Also, half of the time, the boys get into trouble because of Roger's bratty sister Dee. Written by Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

5 August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Что творится!!  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(79 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


According to Haywood Nelson, he had a romantic crush on Danielle Spencer during their time on the series. He also enjoyed a flirtatious friendship with Shirley Hemphill. See more »


Dwayne Nelson: Hey HEY, hey!
Fred 'Rerun' Stubbs: What's Happening!
See more »

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User Reviews

The Adventures of Roger, Dewayne and Rerun: Commemorating What's Happening on it's 40th Anniversary
3 June 2016 | by (Durham,North Carolina) – See all my reviews

On the commemoration of the show's 40th Anniversary,the television series "What's Happening!" remains a bonafide staple of the great African-American comedies of the 1970's. Interesting note about this series that was well received with the critics,but not with the powers that be over at ABC-TV(which aired it for three seasons). "What's Happening!" was loosely based on Eric Monte's 1975 theatrical picture "Cooley High" about a group of teenagers who lived in mid-1960's Chicago that became a huge box office hit on which Eric Monte wrote the screenplay and was directed by Michael Schultz. Eric Monte was also the co-creator of another successful television series "Good Times" and was also the creative force behind this series "What's Happening!" along with the executive production team of Saul Turtletaub, and Bernie Orenstein("Sanford and Son"),and Bud Yorkin("All In The Family")who served as executive producers of this series under there production company T.O.Y. Productions which was Bud Yorkin's second series after he ended his partnership with Norman Lear in Tandem Productions.

"What's Happening!" premiered on ABC's Prime Time Thursday night schedule as a summer replacement series for "Barney Miller" on August 5,1976. From the pilot episode and excellent reviews and astounding ratings the series was given a prime-time slot on Thursday nights preceding "Welcome Back Kotter" on November 13,1976. A total of 65 episodes were produced for this series until its final episode on April 28,1979. During it's three seasons on the air it faced strong competition of CBS' Powerhouse Drama "The Waltons" on it's Thursday night schedule. Throughout the series entire three season-run of "What's Happening!" only actors Ernest Lee Thomas(Roger),Fred Berry(Frederick "Rerun" Stubbs), Haywood Nelson(Dewayne),along with Shirley Hemphill(Shirley),and Danielle Spencer(Dee)were the only cast members that stayed with the series for all 65 episodes. Mabel King was with the series for Seasons 1 and 2 only for 42 episodes(1976-1978). Mabel King left the show due to creative differences with the producers and left the series at the end of its Second Season. "What's Happening!" during the first 2 seasons provided hilarious hijinks and big laughs each week as the lives of three working class African-American teens living in mid-1970's South Los Angeles and the adventures and mischief they get into while learning the lessons from their mistakes. Recurring characters of this series included Rob(Earl Billings)who owns Rob's Place where Shirley is a waitress and where the teens are regular patrons. Other recurring characters included Miss Collins(Fritzi Burr),a sarcastic high school history teacher and was the sponsor of the high school newspaper. Thalmus Rasulala appear in seven episodes of the series as Roger and Dee's father and Mabel's ex-husband. Other characters in recurring roles were Ray Vitte(Gene Walker),Jonathan Welsh("Big Earl" Barnett), David Hollander("Little Earl" Barrett),Leland Smith("Snake"),and Bryan O'Dell("Marvin").

Unlike Eric Monte's other series "Good Times","What's Happening!" only rarely and mildly ventured into social commentary. Most of the episodes focused of meeting girls, finding after school jobs, and planning for the future. All of that would changed dramatically by the show's third and final season when the main central character was written out of the show and replaced by Caucasian characters that really brought the series down in the ratings. The guest star appearances on "What's Happening!" were seasoned actors like Chip Fields, Vernee Watson, Debbi Morgan, Henry Robinson, Greg Morris, Tim Reid, David White, Dick Van Patton, to notable guest stars like Sorrell Brooke, Nathaniel Taylor, Judy Pace, Wolfman Jack, Stu Gilliam, Rosalind Cash, Percy Rodriguez, Malachi Throne, Theodore Wilson, Alice Ghostley, Joe Morton, Irene Cara, Renn Woods, Raymond Allen, Kene Holliday, Harold Sylvester, Alan Oppenheimer, to other guest stars Richard Deacon, Hal Williams, Faye Hauser,and Mark Warren. Not to mention "The Doobie Brothers" featuring Michael MacDonald appearing as themselves in a two-part episode "Doobie or Not Doobie"(Season 2,Episodes 16 and 17).

The best episodes from the first two seasons of "What's Happening!" are considered classics and I start with the show's pilot episode "The Runaway"(Season 1, Episode 1),and "The Birthday Present"(Season 1, Episode 2),"The Burger Queen"(Season 1, Episode 6),"The Christmas Episode"(Season 1, Episode 9),to notable others including "When Daddy Comes Marching Home"(Season 1, Episode 3),"My Three Tons"(Season 1, Episode 4),"Roger and the Older Woman"(Season 2,Episode 19),"The Testimonial"(Season 2,Episode 12),"Going,Going,Gone"(Season 2,Episode 14). Third season episodes include "Shirley's Fired"(Season 3,Episode 15),"Disco Dollar Disaster"(Season 3,Episode 1)and the final episode of the series "The Benefit Show" (Season 3, Episode 22). The phenomenal success of "What's Happening!" spawned continue repeats in national syndication after its three season prime time run at ABC.

A spin-off "What's Happening Now!" airing in first-run syndication from 1985-1988 with most of the major cast members in reprising roles. Even after 40 years this is a grand series that still entertains so Happy Anniversary to Roger,Dewayne and Rerun!!!!

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