Often in collaboration with his longtime writing and production partner Jay Tarses, Tom Patchett worked on some of the most critically beloved television series of the 1970s and '80s, including the sitcom classic "The Bob Newhart Show" and the short-lived cult favorite "Buffalo Bill"; however, they're probably best known for a commercially successful but critically reviled family sitcom of the mid-'80s, "ALF. " Patchett got his start in variety shows, including several years on the writing staff of "The Carol Burnett Show," before moving into sitcoms with Newhart's early '70s hit, a low-key, intelligent show about a wry, self-effacing Chicago psychiatrist. Patchett and Tarses then created "The Tony Randall Show" for the actor and comedian following his TV success with "The Odd Couple," and co-wrote two films, the prep-school comedy "Up the Academy" directed by Robert Downey, and the successful family sequel, "The Muppets Take Manhattan." "Buffalo Bill," a sitcom starring Dabney Coleman as an irascible local talk show host, was critically adored but struggled to find an audience due to its deliberately unlikeable lead character. "ALF," an old-fashioned sitcom about an alien with the timing of a Borscht Belt comic, had exactly the opposite problem: Critics held their noses, but the series was such a popular success that, even after it went off the air, Patchett continued writing and producing direct-to-video sequels. The long partnership ended following "ALF"; Patchett moved into producing made-for-TV movies, often inspired by real-life stories of survival.