Jessica Tate's sharp-tongued former butler, Benson DuBois, moves up in the world, becoming first the governor's "director of household affairs," then the state's budget director, then lieutenant governor and candidate for the executive mansion.


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Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Benson DuBois (159 episodes, 1979-1986)
 Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling / ... (159 episodes, 1979-1986)
 Miss Gretchen Wilomena Kraus / ... (159 episodes, 1979-1986)
 Katherine 'Katie' Olivia Gatling / ... (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
 Clayton Runnymede Endicott III (135 episodes, 1980-1986)
 Peter 'Pete' John Downey / ... (96 episodes, 1980-1985)
 Denise Florence Stevens Downey / ... (72 episodes, 1981-1985)


In this spinoff of "Soap", Benson DuBois is sent out West to serve as butler to widowed state governor Gene Gatling, an honest but bumbling servant of the people. Although he has his rivals in German maid Kraus and persnickety aides Clayton and Taylor, Benson, armed with an acerbic wit and plenty of smarts, becomes the Governor's close friend and helper, and eventually is elected Lieutenant Governor! Written by Marty McKee <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

13 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Poderoso Benson  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


The Governor's Daughter Katie was modeled after then First Daughter Amy Carter. See more »


In the episode "Fools Gold" the blueprints Benson was hiding in his robe weren't visible in early shots (long or close-up) of the scene, but can be clearly seen sticking out of his robe right before he takes them out to show the Governor. See more »


Gretchen: So, all we have to do is knock a hole in the wall and let the sunshine in.
Benson DuBois: Why don't you knock a hole in your head and let some brains in.
See more »


Referenced in The Nanny: When You Pish Upon a Star (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Friday nights at 7p.m. CST
6 September 2006 | by (Topeka,Kansas,USA) – See all my reviews

I watched this show regularly for about four years or so,all the way to it's last show in 1986. By then,it had been moved to Saturday nights,with ABC clearly putting it out to pasture as the ratings were probably slowing(if not outright dipping)and the writing and story-lines getting more contrived and preachy over the last two seasons. Still,I got into this show and enjoyed it quite a bit.

A spin-off of the groundbreaking,controversial and(in my and I'm sure not the only opinion)brilliant "Soap",this show followed the life of acerbic but humane and wise butler-turned-house servant-turned-budget secretary-turned lieutenant Governor Benson DuBois(Robert Guillame,who seemed to be born to play this role). He,similar to his role on "Soap",has to put up with his share of rich(and almost entirely white)stuffed-shirts and makes friends with the TAte-Gatling family,only this time it's with Jessica Tate's cousin,the Governor himself(JAmes Noble,who is FANTASTIC here)and his daughter KAtie(Missy Gold,who will always be a cute blonde kid to me).It is the Governor,in fact,who appoints Benson to his posts in the Mansion,and Benson in turn puts up with the jovial absent-mindedness that the Gov exudes,being an aid as well as a gentle foil. The primary antagonism/grudging compatriots in the show came from the dour German housekeeper Gretchen Kraus(Inga Swenson,who probably had trouble getting casting directors to NOT cast her as Teutonic women after this show)and the pompous ass of an adviser Clayton Endicott III(Rene Auberjonois,another great actor that probably had to work hard to free himself from being typecast). Also,Benson ended up befriending his secretary Denise(Didi Conn,who will always be Frenchy from Grease to millions!)and her eventual husband,the lovably scattered gubernatorial staffer Pete Downey(Ethan Phillips,still working,Thank God!).Also featured as the staff(mostly in the first two seasons,which I must confess I have not seen as much of as the later shows) were Harris/Thomas/Witt standby Caroline McWilliams,Lewis Stadlen,co-producer Bob Fraser and Jerry Seinfeld(!).

This show was early Friday nights for me when I was too young to have much (if any) of a social life,and while the humor and pacing may seem dated and slow by today's standards(put this up against something like "Seinfeld" or "Scrubs" and see what I mean),watching it on TVLand again had me laughing out loud at times and appreciating this show for what it was:simple sitcom material done right. While this show does SEEM like twenty years or more has passed,it's a good t.v. memory,something that to me makes television worth watching.

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