Preview: Tony Danza’s New Series, ‘Teach,’ Feels Like An A

Tony Danza stars in the new reality series, 'Teach,' on A&E.  (A&E)

Tony Danza stars in the new reality series, 'Teach,' on A&E. (A&E)

At 59, Tony Danza could have done anything. His resume includes TV sitcom star, daytime talk show host, Broadway, Vegas, and being as generally well-liked of a personality as Hollywood has produced over the past 30 years. So what did he decide to do for his next act? He became a teacher. With the blessing of the Philadelphia School District, he signed up to teach 10th grade English to 26 sophomores at Northeast High School. His year was captured on video for the reality show ‘Teach: Tony Danza,’ airing October 1 on A&E. Don’t miss it. In fact, if you have school age children, grab the whole family and park yourself in front of the TV. Make watching a homework assignment. Even if you don’t have children, see it anyway. Think of it as a refresher course on the frightening, formative years that were high school – a reminder of the aspirations, hopes, and vulnerabilities of young people – and more so of the importance of the adults charged with shaping and informing hungry, young minds.

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As you can see in the special five-minute preview above, Danza steps into the role of teacher with warm, caring maturity that makes you envy the kids who describe Mr. D’s “positive attitude” and describe him as “a down to earth guy” and “pretty cool, actually.” During the first week, he cried three times. Six months later, he said that he felt like calling all of his former teachers and apologizing for not realizing how hard their jobs were. Whatever awards he may have at home, it’s hard to imagine any being more meaningful than the student who says, “He doesn’t give up on you if you start to fall down. He tries to bring you back up.”

While ‘Teach’ is not the call to arms and outrage that Davis Guggeinheim serves up in his excellent new documentary ‘Waiting For Superman,’ it is still quite effective, as well as a good idea well executed, which is nice to see. Danza attended the University of Iowa intending to become a teacher, but got sidetracked until last year when, as he recently told Parade magazine, “I began to wonder what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I heard President Obama’s call to service, and I talked about teaching with a friend of mine, a TV producer, who said, ‘That might make a good show.’ But I didn’t want to do it unless the kids came first. They’d be the priority, and I’d have a chance to live out my dream.”

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Take a look at the extended preview and let us know if it looks like a winner to you, too? Were there teachers who made a difference in your life? In the lives of your children? We’d love to hear those stories.

‘Teach: Tony Danza’ premieres October 1 at 10 p.m. on A&E.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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