Flo (TV series)

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Based onCharacter created by Robert Getchell
Written byTom Biener
John Boni
David Brown
Dick Clair
George Geiger
Robert Getchell
Phillip Harrison Hahn
Bob Illes
Ron Landry
Jenna McMahon
Stephen A. Miller
Richard Orloff
James R. Stein
Directed byMarc Daniels
Bob LaHendro
Dick Martin
StarringPolly Holliday
Geoffrey Lewis
Jim B. Baker
Stephen Keep
Sudie Bond
Lucy Lee Flippin
Theme music composerSusan Glicksman
Fred Werner
Opening theme"Flo's Yellow Rose" performed by Hoyt Axton
Ending theme"Flo's Yellow Rose" (instrumental)
ComposerFred Werner
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes29
Executive producerJim Mulligan
ProducersTom Biener
George Geiger
Bob Illes
James R. Stein
Production locationsThe Burbank Studios
Burbank, California
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time24 min
Production companyWarner Bros. Television
Original release
ReleaseMarch 24, 1980 (1980-03-24) –
June 30, 1981 (1981-06-30)

Flo is an American sitcom television series and a spin-off of Alice that aired on CBS from March 24, 1980, to June 30, 1981. The series starred Polly Holliday reprising her role as sassy and street-smart waitress Florence Jean "Flo" Castleberry who returns to her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas—referred to as "Cowtown"—and becomes the proprietor of a rundown old roadhouse that she renames "Flo's Yellow Rose". Although the series started strong—in the Top 10 during its short first season run[1]—repeated timeslot changes resulted in it falling out of the Top 40 shows by mid-March 1981.[2] It was subsequently not renewed when CBS announced its 1981 fall lineup at the May upfronts.[3]


After several years as a waitress at Mel's Diner in Phoenix, Flo is on her way to a new restaurant hostess job in Houston, Texas as described in her final appearance on Alice, "Flo's Farewell" (season 4, episode 18). She stops to visit her family in her hometown of Cowtown, Texas (Cowtown is the popular nickname of Fort Worth) and in a fit of nostalgia, Flo buys a rundown old roadhouse she had enjoyed in her formative years and renames it "Flo's Yellow Rose". Coping with chauvinistic bartender Earl (Geoffrey Lewis) and the greedy and obnoxious banker Farley (Jim B. Baker) who holds the mortgage, as well as her mother Velma (Sudie Bond) and straight-laced sister Fran (Lucy Lee Flippin), causes most of the conflict in the series.

The rest of Flo's staff at the Yellow Rose includes her childhood best friend Miriam (Joyce Bulifant) as waitress/bookkeeper, and chain-smoking piano player Les (Stephen Keep). Randy, the mechanic (Leo Burmester) who worked at the garage next door, and Chester (Mickey Jones), were regular customers. Vic Tayback made one guest appearance as Mel Sharples from Alice. Once Flo began, Polly Holliday never appeared again on Alice, except in flashback clips in the last episode.


Theme song[edit]

The theme song, "Flo's Yellow Rose", written by Fred Werner and Susie Glickman, was sung by Hoyt Axton who would co-star with Holliday in the 1984 film Gremlins. Axton would later guest-star in the episode "You Gotta Have Hoyt", as himself.

Broadcast history[edit]

Flo was broadcast in these following timeslots during its two-season run on CBS:

  • March 1980 – April 1980: Monday 9:30–10:00 p.m.
  • July 1980 – January 1981: Monday 8:00–8:30 p.m.
  • February 1981: Saturday 9:00–9:30 p.m.
  • March 1981 – May 1981: Saturday 8:30–9:00 p.m.
  • June 1981 – July 1981: Tuesday 8:30–9:00 p.m.


Season 1 (1980)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Homecoming"Marc DanielsDick Clair & Jenna McMahonMarch 24, 1980 (1980-03-24)
On her way to a new restaurant hostess job in Houston, Flo gets a flat tire and ends up buying an old roadhouse in her hometown of Cowtown, Texas.
22"Showdown at the Yellow Rose"Marc DanielsStephen MillerMarch 31, 1980 (1980-03-31)
A showdown looms at sundown at the Yellow Rose between Earl and Bad Joe Shaw (Ben Davidson), whose girlfriend was stolen by Earl 17 years earlier.
33"Happy Birthday, Mama"Marc DanielsRon Landry, George Geiger and Tom BienerApril 7, 1980 (1980-04-07)
Flo and Fran plan a surprise Hawaiian-theme birthday party for Mama at the Yellow Rose, including reuniting her with an old beau (Henry Jones).
44"Take My Sister, Please"Marc DanielsRobert Illes & James SteinApril 14, 1980 (1980-04-14)
Flo reluctantly hires her prim-and-proper sister Fran to work at the Yellow Rose, but she turns out to be so obnoxious that nobody in the bar can stand her – especially Flo.
55"The Hero of Flo's Yellow Rose"Marc DanielsRich OrloffApril 21, 1980 (1980-04-21)
Les saves Farley from choking to death and when Flo calls a radio station to suggest him for its "Citizen of the Week" award, Les mysteriously disappears.
66"The Reunion"Marc DanielsRich OrloffApril 28, 1980 (1980-04-28)
Flo is reunited with an old high school beau (Arlen Dean Snyder) who makes an offer to travel the world and share his wealth with her sound very tempting.

Season 2 (1980–81)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
71"The Enemy Below"Marc DanielsTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryOctober 27, 1980 (1980-10-27)
A skunk has stationed itself under the Yellow Rose, driving customers out and Flo into battle against the critter to save the Yellow Rose from bankruptcy.
82"Farley, the People's Choice"Dick MartinStephen A. MillerNovember 3, 1980 (1980-11-03)
Farley is elected zoning commissioner and, much to his disappointment, it is not all it is cracked up to be.
93"Bull is Back in Town"Bob LaHendroTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryNovember 17, 1980 (1980-11-17)
Bull (G. W. Bailey), a wild and crazy prospector, comes to town on his annual binge – seeking a good drink, bath and a pretty woman – and insists that he's going to marry Flo.
"A Castleberry Thanksgiving"Dick MartinBob Illes & James R. SteinNovember 24, 1980 (1980-11-24)
Flo invites her father (Forrest Tucker), who ran out on the family 30 years earlier and hasn't been seen since, to spend Thanksgiving with the Castleberry clan.
126"Willoughby vs. Willoughby"Lee LochheadPhillip Harrison HahnDecember 1, 1980 (1980-12-01)
Miriam wins a Yellow Rose lottery to accompany Flo on a free trip to Disney World, provided she can leave her husband and kids.
137"So Long, Shorty"Bob LaHendroBob Illes & James r. SteinDecember 8, 1980 (1980-12-08)
Flo vows to give "Shorty", a favorite customer, his dying wish – a wingding of a funeral at the Yellow Rose – but then she realizes they eulogized the wrong man.
148"Deserted Islands"Nick HavingaTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryDecember 15, 1980 (1980-12-15)
After a quarrel with his father, Randy quits his job to become a country music star and moves into the storeroom of the Yellow Rose which Flo soon regrets.
159"The Miracle of Casa de Huevos"Marc DanielsTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryDecember 22, 1980 (1980-12-22)
While on their way to the annual Snowflake Ball on Christmas Eve, an ice storm maroons Flo, Earl, Les – and Earl's expecting mare – in Earl's drafty old barn.
1610"Grey Escape"Marc DanielsPhillip Harrison HahnJanuary 5, 1981 (1981-01-05)
Mama runs away from home when Flo and Fran, determined that she should lead a more productive life, sign her up for every volunteer project in town.
1711"Pretty Baby"Marc DanielsCoslough JohnsonJanuary 12, 1981 (1981-01-12)
Flo's dream of winning the "Miss Rodeo Days" contest is almost spoiled when friends leave their seven-month-old baby in her care.
1812"Not with My Sister, You Don't"Tony MordenteBob Illes & James R. SteinJanuary 26, 1981 (1981-01-26)
Flo is worried when a vulnerable Fran attaches herself to Les after her longtime fiancé Wendell elopes with an exotic dancer.
1913"The Price of Avocados: Part 1"Bob LaHendroTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryFebruary 7, 1981 (1981-02-07)
When Flo can't pay her rent, Farley threatens to take her trailer (which she put up for collateral to buy the Yellow Rose) but somebody beats him to it.
2014"The Price of Avocados: Part 2"Bob LaHendroTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryFebruary 14, 1981 (1981-02-14)
Flo, in debt to Farley for the rent, has her house trailer disappear and secretly hidden in Earl's barn to keep Farley from getting his hands on it.
2115"Welcome to the Club"Wesley S. KenneyBob Illes & James R. SteinFebruary 21, 1981 (1981-02-21)
Flo's coarse brother torpedoes her efforts to impress a snooty businesswoman (Barbara Babcock) who is writing an article on the Yellow Rose.
2216"Gunsmoke at the Yellow Rose"Bob LaHendroJohn BoniFebruary 28, 1981 (1981-02-28)
Flo borrows a few characters from Gunsmoke when she fantasizes an Old West shoot-out at the Yellow Rose as a roaring saloon in the 1880s.
2317"What Are Friends For?"Bob LaHendroBob Illes & James R. SteinMarch 14, 1981 (1981-03-14)
Mel Sharples (Vic Tayback), Flo's former boss, visits the Yellow Rose and he gives her some unwelcomed advice on how to run a business.
2418"Just What the Doctor Ordered"Bob LaHendroPhillip Harrison HahnMarch 21, 1981 (1981-03-21)
Flo gets tonsillitis and can't talk and Earl discovers her age through her birth certificate, but an anniversary edition of the newspaper mistakenly lists her birthdate as 1931.
2519"Footsie"Bob LaHendroDavid G.B. BrownApril 4, 1981 (1981-04-04)
When Earl plans to take his birthday off to accompany a friend to a rodeo – he neglects to tell Flo that the friend is his ex-girlfriend, B.J. (Joanna Cassidy).
2620"You Gotta Have Hoyt"Bob LaHendroPhillip Harrison HahnApril 11, 1981 (1981-04-11)
Country-western singer Hoyt Axton visits the Yellow Rose to see if all the stories he has heard about Flo are true and she doesn't disappoint him.
2721"Flo's Encounter of the Third Kind"Bob LaHendroPhillip Harrison HahnApril 18, 1981 (1981-04-18)
Nobody believes Flo when she claims to have seen a flying saucer on her way home, and then she takes a skeptical Earl back there to camp out and wait for the UFO to return.
2822"No Men's Land"Bob LaHendroJohn BoniJune 23, 1981 (1981-06-23)
Buddy (George Lindsey), who runs the gas station next to the Yellow Rose, tells Flo that the bathrooms in her bar are on his land and she has to pay for them.
2923"The Daynce"Bob LaHendroTom Biener, George Geiger & Ron LandryJune 30, 1981 (1981-06-30)
When Flo convinces Earl into escorting her to a formal ball marking her membership in an exclusive club, he helps her make a big impression, but not the kind she hoped for.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

The short first season (spring 1980) was a ratings success ranking at No. 7 and had 24.4 million viewer average.[4] The following season brought a sharp decline in numbers (due to repeated timeslot changes), and CBS opted not to renew the series for a third season.[5]

Award nominations[edit]

Home media release[edit]

On November 5, 2013, Flo: The Complete Series was released on DVD in Region 1 by Warner Home Video via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release available via WBShop.com & Amazon.com.[6]


A book chronicling the development of the TV series Alice and Flo entitled Alice: Life Behind the Counter in Mel's Greasy Spoon (A Guide to the Feature Film, the TV Series, and More) was published by BearManor Media in September 2019. Flo was also considered in the book Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s by Bob Leszczak, published by McFarland in 2016.


  1. ^ "The TV Ratings Guide: 1979-80 Ratings History".
  2. ^ "TV ratings March 16-22, 1981". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 25 March 1981. p. 30.
  3. ^ "Fall 1981 lineup announced". Fort Lauderdale News. May 1981. p. 32.
  4. ^ "80sxchange.com: Ratings of TV shows from 1979 and 1980". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2006-01-02.
  5. ^ "Fall 1981 lineup announced". Fort Lauderdale News. May 1981. p. 32.
  6. ^ Lambert, David. "Flo - Warner Archive Kisses Your Grits; Schedules Complete Series for Tuesday!". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2015.

External links[edit]