With Demond Wilson having completed a six-season run as Lamont Sanford on NBC's Sanford and Son, and Denise Nicholas being a hot commodity, the two were cast in a CBS sitcom pilot entitled Baby, I'm Back, which became a regular series in midseason 1978. Wilson stars as Raymond Ellis, a compulsive gambler who abandoned his family (Nicholas as wife Olivia, Tony Holmes as son Jordan, and a pre-Facts of Life Kim Fields as daughter Angie) to live in California. Seven years later, he discovers that not only has he been declared legally dead, but his wife plans to remarry former husband Colonel Wallace Dickey (Ed Hall). This prompts Raymond to move back to Washington, D.C. and try to win back his family by proving he is a better man that he previously was, despite having to deal with mother-in-law Luzelle (Helen Martin) and Olivia's future husband Dickey.
According to the book Funny You Should Ask: Oral Histories of Classic Sitcom Storytellers, Lila Garrett created the series in order to address the issue of black people not being able to get jobs and having to abandon their families. However, the character of Raymond eventually found one, and moved back in, hence the show's name. Despite drawing decent ratings, CBS cancelled the program after 13 episodes, and according to Garrett, this was due to Norman Lear wanting another season of Good Times. Fortunately, reruns were aired on BET in the late 1980s, and in 2014 MantronixRetroTV posted the entire series to YouTube.