The eponymous star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
launches her third season in the role of Mary Richards, the still lovable, still unmarried associate producer of "The Six O'Clock News" on Minneapolis TV station WJM-TV. Also returning are the familiar supporting characters: irascible producer Lou Grant (Edward Asner
), cheerful newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod
), vain-and-stupid anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight
), Mary's tough-talking best friend Rhoda Morganstern (Valerie Harper
), and her flighty landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman
). The season opener is the classic "The Good-Time News," in which Mary lobbies for a raise from her chauvinistic boss Lou, while Ted makes a public ass of himself (again!) by trying to be an on-the-air jokester. The subsequent episode "Rhoda the Beautiful" unveils the "new," svelte-and-slim Rhoda Morganstern, reflecting the well-publicized diet upon which Valerie Harper embarked during the summer hiatus (and which encouraged co-stars Edward Asner and Gavin MacLeod to drop several pounds themselves). In "But Seriously, Folks," Jerry Van Dyke, brother of Mary Tyler Moore's former sitcom co-star Dick Van Dyke, makes his first appearance as aspiring comedian (and Mary Richards' erstwhile boyfriend) Wes Callison; and in "Rhoda Morganstern: Minneapolis to New York," future series regular Georgia Engel is introduced as Ted's naïve, soft-spoken girlfriend, Georgette Fanklin. Also, Ted tries to fatten his bank account by doing embarrassing pork-sausage commercials in "Farmer Ted and the News." Phyllis' 15-year-old daughter, Bess (Lisa Gerritsen), is beside herself when her same-aged boyfriend falls for Mary in "It Was Fascination, I Know"; and in the season's most talked-about episode, Mary spends the night with former beau Tom Vernon (Joseph Campanella) in "Remembrance of Things Past." Emmy awards this season went to star Mary Tyler Moore and co-stars Valerie Harper and Ted Knight. As a bonus, season three found the series posting its highest-ever ratings, securely fastened into the number seven slot.