Mama’s Family is an American television sitcom starring Vicki Lawrence as Thelma Harper. The series is a spin-off of a recurring series of comedy sketches on The Carol Burnett Show called The Family, which lasted from 1974 to 1978. Mama’s Family also has roots in the 1982 made-for-TV movie, named after Mama’s daughter Eunice.
The show’s theme song is “Bless My Happy Home,” a song created by Vicki Lawrence. Lawrence’s original version consisted of lyrics, however, the show’s producers chose to use an instrumental version instead.
Mama’s Family has two contrasting lives in production. The entirety of its first life originally aired on NBC and debuted on January 22, 1983. After a series of timeslot changes, the program’s ratings dropped and the network cancelled the series after a total of one and half seasons. The final episode of the show’s first life aired on April 7, 1984. NBC would continue to air the series in reruns until September 1985.
On September 27, 1986, Mama’s Family was revived for a second life, this time in first-run syndication by Joe Hamilton Productions and Lorimar-Telepictures. The show’s second life was retooled and several characters were rewritten out and two new characters were added. The show’s second life garnered substantially higher ratings than it did during its first and became the highest rated show in first-run syndication for the entirety of its second life. The series ran for an additional four seasons, ending with a series finale on February 24, 1990.