Joanie Loves Chachi

Joannie Loves Chachi

As has been proven time and time again, there are no sure things in the television industry when it comes to the next big hit. Even the best-laid plans can fizzle in the blink of an eye. Take the popular series, Happy Days, for example – plenty of longevity, beloved by millions of television viewers, and boasting a track record of two reasonably successful spin-off series (Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy). Three times is a charm, right? Well, in the case of Joanie Loves Chachi, not necessarily.

Two of the stars of the successful 70s sitcom ventured out on their own, away from their hometown of Milwaukee – young thug with a good heart Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio) and everyone’s favorite shortcake, Joanie Cunningham (Erin Moran). Hopelessly in love, the duo set out for Chicago with big city dreams of fame and fortune as they attempted to launch a successful career in rock and roll.

Thankfully, the two lovebirds weren’t alone in the Windy City. Chachi’s mom lived there with her new husband, Al Delvecchio, the kind-hearted restaurateur and former owner of Al’s Diner back in Milwaukee. Together they ran an Italian restaurant, which coincidentally would make a perfect place for an aspiring rock band to perform. Joanie and Chachi moved in with the newlyweds and began their life as up-and-coming music stars. They got Chachi’s two cousins and a crazy drummer named Bingo to join the band and their road to success was, well … paved with good intentions at least.

Offered originally as a mid-season replacement in 1982, Joanie Loves Chachi showed promise when it finished in the top five. When the new season rolled around, however, the teen stars watched their Nielsen Ratings plummet like the stock market of ’29 – down to a dismal 68th place – and proving that in the wacky business of television programming, there is no such thing as a formula for success.

Luckily for their fans, the show’s cancellation didn’t mean the end for all of the disappointed (and now jobless) Happy Days alumni that had broken ranks to appear on the fledgling series. They were all welcomed back to Milwaukee with nary a mention of the ugliness that occurred over in Chicago.

Were you one of the adoring fans that tuned into Joannie Loves Chachi each week? We’d love to hear any memories you have of this short-lived series in our comments section below.

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