How Did Ugly Betty Stack Up Against Television's Other Magazine Workplaces?

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As the actual magazine industry contracts and the number of scripted television series plummets, it makes sense that the number of scripted television series about magazines -- fashion, sports, tabloids, whatever -- dwindles, too. With that sad realization in mind, it's time to prepare for tonight's emotional finale of Ugly Betty and the likely extinction of this narrow genre. In a tribute to all the onscreen assistants who've ever gotten coffee for their villainous editors and the comically overworked journalists who rushed to meet impossible deadlines, Movieline looks back at the magazine-set shows that paved the way for Betty Suarez's Mode magazine.


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The Name of the Game (1968)

This NBC series (based on the television movie Fame is the Name of the Game) featured three employees of a large magazine publication played by Jeff Dillon, Glenn Howard and Dan Farrell. Susan St. James co-starred as an editorial assistant.

Number of Season: 3

Fictional Publications: People (before the actual People magazine) and Crime

Trivia: The series provided Steven Spielberg with his first directing gig in 1971 for an episode called "L.A. 2017."


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Anything But Love (1989)

This quirky ABC sitcom starred Richard Lewis and Jamie Lee Curtis as co-workers at a Chicago magazine who try to contain their mutual attraction.

Number of Seasons: 4

Trivia: In addition to winning Jamie Lee Curtis a Golden Globe, the series was responsible for the most famous matzo-throwing scene in sitcom history.


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The Naked Truth (1995)

After one season at ABC, NBC picked up this tabloid series starring Téa Leoni as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photographer who starts working at a sleazy tabloid after a rocky divorce. Tim Curry and Holland Taylor's characters ran the magazine during the first season before a character played by George Wendt purchased the publication. Leoni's Flirting with Disaster costars Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal frequently guest-starred as the parents of her character.

Number of Seasons: 3

Fictional Publication: The Comet (Seasons 1 & 2), The National Inquisitor (Season 3)

Trivia: Chris Elliot co-starred during the show's third season as a National Inquistor employee who claims to be the illegitimate son of Bing Crosby.

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Comments

  • Mikey says:

    Having worked and written at a number of magazines, I can say that Ugly Better was the least believable. Dental insurance? Right.
    And there was never a scene in UB where a freelancer arrived in the lobby wearing a "bomb" made of hot dogs and duct tape, demanding to be paid.

  • nedrick says:

    The thing I'll miss most about "Ugly Betty" is counting all the things she did that would get her fired immediately at a real magazine.

  • Emotionally Retarded says:

    You listed the character names from "The Name of the Game," when the pictured actors are clearly Robert Stack, Tony Franciosa and Gene Barry.
    And I can't believe "The Doris Day Show" is so quickly forgotten.

  • stretch65 says:

    Lets not forget MadTV...:-)

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