It's Your Move

It's Your Move
It's Your Move
It's your move title.jpg
Title card
Genre Sitcom
Created by Ron Leavitt
Michael G. Moye
Written by Al Aidekman
Fred Fox, Jr.
Ron Leavitt
Michael G. Moye
Pamela Norris
Sandy Sprung
Marcy Vosburgh
Directed by Peter Bonerz
Jim Drake
John Pasquin
Tony Singletary
Arlando Smith
Starring Jason Bateman
Caren Kaye
Tricia Cast
Ernie Sabella
David Garrison
Adam Sadowsky
Theme music composer Rik Howard
Bob Wirth
Opening theme "It's Your Move" performed by Mark Riddles
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 18
Executive producer(s) Ron Leavitt
Michael G. Moye
Producer(s) Al Aidekman
John Maxwell Anderson
Kathleen Green
Fred Fox, Jr.
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Embassy Television
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 26, 1984 (1984-09-26) – February 23, 1985 (1985-02-23)

It's Your Move is an American sitcom starring Jason Bateman, Tricia Cast, Caren Kaye, Ernie Sabella, David Garrison, and Garrett Morris. The show originally aired on NBC from 1984 to 1985.



The show centered on Matthew Burton (Bateman), a teenage scam artist who lived in a Van Nuys, California apartment with his older sister Julie (Cast) and widowed mother Eileen (Kaye). Matt ran various underhanded dealings with his high school friends, especially his sidekick Eli (Adam Sadowsky), such as term paper sales, exam answer keys, and blackmail.

The status quo of Matthew's world changed forever in the series' pilot, when Norman Lamb (Garrison) moved into the apartment across the hall. A quick-witted but impoverished writer from Chicago, Norman struck up a friendship with Eileen and the two were soon dating. Dismayed that his mother had chosen someone so far beneath her, Matt set upon sabotaging their relationship, but soon finds he has met his match—Norman reveals himself to be cut from the same cloth as Matthew, and foils plot after plot.

Matt and Norman's cat and mouse game continued and escalated for thirteen episodes, fighting relentlessly while always shielding the aggressively gullible Eileen from one another's true nature.

"The Dregs of Humanity" episode

A notable episode was a two-parter entitled "The Dregs of Humanity".[1] In the first half of the episode, Eli loses the school's money that had been trusted to Matt for hiring a band for a school dance. To cover the loss, Matthew crafts the rise and fall of a band—The Dregs of Humanity—and acts as their manager. The fictitious band, which actually consisted of four skeletons stolen from the biology lab (and controlled by strings with a smoke machine to cover them up), is a little too successful and Matthew soon finds himself agreeing to allow Norman an interview with the band for Music Press magazine, figuring that if the truth ever comes out, Norman will be humiliated.[2] The interview only fuels the Dregs' popularity, and this sets up the cliffhanger: the Palladium calls and offers a $20,000 gig for the Dregs. While heretofore willing to let the Dregs retire, the money is too enticing and Matt agrees to the gig.

The second installment of the two part episode was scheduled to air the following week, but was preempted by a speech by then-President Reagan.[2]

In second part of the episode, Matthew is scrambling to explain why The Dregs failed to show up to a sold-out concert. To make matters worse, Norman is starting to suspect that the band doesn't exist and Matthew gets sued. He finally has the brilliant idea to send the "band" to a watery grave by concocting a story that the "band" drove off a cliff into the ocean. In a later episode, it is revealed that the fake band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[2]

Series changes and cancellation

The series opened with some positive reception from critics,[3][4][5] but its time slot competed with TV's #1 show Dynasty on ABC,[5]

In episode 14, the series was retooled via the plot device of Eileen finally catching Matthew red-handed during an ambitious (and, somewhat unusually for the show, purely illegal) scheme to prove Eileen's value to her boss. In the remaining five episodes of the series, Matthew's scams were almost completely excised from the show, and It's Your Move became a much more conventional sitcom. These changes did little to improve the ratings, and the series was cancelled in early 1985.

Production notes

The show's creators and executive producers were Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt, who some years later would take the harder tone of the It's Your Move concept and put it in an entirely different context: Fox's Married...With Children, in which Garrison starred for four seasons (and was also produced by Embassy Television).


Episode # Episode title Original airdate
1 Pilot September 26, 1984
2 "Put to the Test" October 3, 1984
3 "Dating Games" October 17, 1984
4 "Night Work" October 24, 1984
5 "Pajama Party" October 31, 1984
6 "Love Letters" November 14, 1984
7 "Dad and Me" November 21, 1984
8 "The Rival" November 28, 1984
9 "Top Dog" December 5, 1984
10 "Don't Leave Home Without It" December 12, 1984
11 "The Christmas Show" December 19, 1984
12 "The Dregs of Humanity: Part 1" January 2, 1985
13 "The Dregs of Humanity: Part 2" January 9, 1985
14 "Caught in the Act" January 26, 1985
15 "Eli's Song" February 2, 1985
16 "A Woman Is Just a Woman" February 9, 1985
17 "The Experts" February 16, 1985
18 "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" February 23, 1985

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1985 Young Artist Awards Nominated Best Young Actor in a Television Comedy Series Jason Bateman
Best New Comedy or Drama Television Series
1986 Nominated Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Tricia Cast


The show was rerun (albeit in edited form) on the USA Network from 1989 to 1992.


  1. ^ Weinman, Jaime (3 July 2009). Weekend Viewing: It's Your Move, Maclean's, Retrieved December 15, 2010
  2. ^ a b c Childs, Mike T. (2004). The Rocklopedia Fakebandica. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 59. ISBN 0-312-32944-X. 
  3. ^ Holston, Noel (26 September 1984). TV's junior con man proves oddly endearing, Ottawa Citizen, Retrieved December 15, 2010
  4. ^ Duffy, Mike (Knight-Ridder) (28 September 1984). 'It's Your Move' Shows Promise, The Beaver County Times, Retrieved December 15, 2010
  5. ^ a b Jicha, Tom (26 September 1984). NBC makes the wrong move with new sitcom, The Miami News, Retrieved December 15, 2010 (noting that debut episode of the series had to go up against Dynasty and a miniseries installment)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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