Without Miami Vice, There Would Be No Golden Girls

The story of the inception of “The Golden Girls” has been captured in books that include Jim Colucci’s “Golden Girls Forever” and Matt Baume’s queer TV history “Hi Honey, I’m Homo!” Regardless of the source, the setting is roughly the same: a 1984 taping of an apparently rather boring hour-long TV special meant to hype up NBC’s September lineup. According to Baume, the lineup featured a section with running commentary from two stars of the network’s current shows, Selma Diamond (“Night Court”) and Doris Roberts (“Remington Steele,” though she would ultimately become most famous for her turn on “Everybody Loves Raymond”). When it came time to introduce “Miami Vice,” the pair apparently bantered lustily about stars Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, playing the part of two terrifically funny cougars. “It had been the highlight of laughter in a long, boring shoot night,” future NBC president Warren Littlefield (then VP of Comedy Programs) recalled in “Golden Girls Forever.”

Before the “Miami Vice” introduction, Roberts and Diamond also riffed on the show’s title, with Diamond joking that she had misconstrued the title as “Miami Nice.” That fictional show sounded a lot different than the pop art time capsule “Miami Vice” ended up being. “We’re here to introduce a show that takes place at the most wonderful resort in the world,” Diamond said, according to Baume’s book. She continued: “Miami: a land of Coppertone and corned beef, mink coats, cha cha lessons, The Jackie Gleason Show …” The joke show seemed to appeal to the sensibilities of Floridian retirees. “Selma, honey, this show is not called ‘Miami Nice,’ this is called ‘Miami Vice,'” Roberts corrected.

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