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Brain Dennehy in "The Fighting Fitzgeralds" on NBC

Fourth Time's the Charm?


Brain Dennehy's scorecard on series TV isn't all that great. Who among you recalls "Big Shamus, Little Shamus," Dennehy's detective series that ran for all of two weeks on CBS back in 1979? Or "Birdland," his medical drama that ran for a month on ABC back in 1994?

This is not to say that Dennehy is no good as an actor. Far from it. His big-screen and TV-movie credits are enviable: His 40 feature films include "Cocoon," "Silverado," "Gorky Park" and "F/X." On TV, his made-for-movie credits are respectable: "A Killing in a Small Town," "A Season in Purgatory" and "The Burden of Proof" come to mind. And he recently won a Golden Globe award for his role in a revival of the play "Death of a Salesman."

But then there was "Star of the Family," his 1982 sitcom on ABC. It ran for all of three months.

So why is Dennehy giving series TV another shot with "The Fighting Fitzgeralds?"

Maybe there's a big payment due on his yacht?

Or maybe he's just determined to keep trying until he gets it right?

Beginning Tuesday, March 6, at 8:30 p.m., Dennehy will play the outspoken but endearing head of the Fitzgerald clan. Dennehy's character is a retired fire captain and widower who presides over a nesting place for his adult sons, who are: gym teacher Jim, married with a 6-year-old daughter; layabout bartender Terry; and Patrick, a successful Wall Street whiz and his father's pride — until he burns out, quits and returns home to bunk on the sofa.

NBC has committed to six

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