Synopsis by Hal Erickson
One of the first half-hour comedy series produced for HBO, 1st & Ten took full advantage of that cable service's relaxed censorship policies with an overabundance of four-letter words and female nudity. The series focused on the members of a professional football team, the California Bulls. During the first five seasons, Delta Burke headed the cast as sexy Diane Barrow, who had acquired the Bulls in a divorce settlement. Also seen during season one was Reid Shelton (best known as Daddy Warbucks in the original Broadway production of Annie) as Ernie Denardo, the Bulls' hard-driving, long-suffering coach. Beginning with the second season, O.J. Simpson co-starred as quarterback T.D. Parker, who was appointed assistant coach and then team manager once his playing days were over. Another former pro-footballer, John Matuszak, was seen in seasons one through six as Bulls player John Manzak. Others in the cast included Don Gibb as "Dr. Death" Crunchner, John Kassir (aka The Cryptkeeper of Tales from the Crypt) as Bulgarian place-kicker Zagreb Shkenusky; future Law & Order: Special Victims Unit leading man Christopher Meloni as quarterback Vito del Greco, alias Johnny Gunn; Jason Berghe as quarterback Tom Yinessa; Jay Kerr as Mac Daniels, an over-the-hill quarterback who somehow never got into the game; Prince Hughes as lineman Bubba Kincaid; Jeff Hochendonner as linebacker Elvin Putts; Keith Amos as receiver "Miracle Mile" Coolidge; Cliff Frazier as Jethro Snell; and Tony Longo as "Mad Dog" Smears. And at the outset of season five, softcore movie queen Shannon Tweed joined the cast as new team owner Kristy Fulbright (Delta Burke being busy with Designing Women). Many actual athletes, both active and retired, were seen during the series' seven seasons, six of which bore a different subtitle in the opening credits: "The Championship," "Going for Broke," "In Your Face!" etc. Debuting December 2, 1984, 1st & Ten popped up erratically on the HBO prime time schedule until August 30, 1991.