Comedy writer-director Rachel Lichtman on Wednesday posted the loving comedic short "The William Joel Show," a one-minute pastiche of 1980s sitcom credits, envisioning an imaginary series starring a young Billy Joel as news anchor for a small Long Island TV station.

In this alternate reality in which Hicksville-raised Joel became an actor instead, the show's theme song is a languid saxophone version of his "Leave a Tender Moment Alone." It plays over establishing shots of New York — Rockefeller Center, Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, token-taking subway turnstiles — as Joel ambles through city streets, occasionally in split-screen à la the opening of the 1970s sitcom "The Odd Couple."

Eventually we see Billy as "News 52 Long Island" anchor Bill Carlton, reporting on a toxic truck spill, a school snow day and, anachronistically, the women's liberation movement of the previous decade.

"I'm very interested in title credits and things like that," the Los Angeles-based Lichtman, 48, said by phone. "You can really tell a story just within that context," as she does at her website Programme4.com's slick title sequence for a "Mad Men"-esque "Brady Bunch" prequel, "A Man Called Brady," about a high-powered corporate architect, co-starring Carolyn Jones as wife Joanna Brady.

"I'd heard that version of 'Leave a Tender Moment,' and I couldn't shake what I saw" in her mind's eye, Lichtman says of her "William Joel Show" video, which debuted on her social media but which an unrelated YouTube page reposted without attribution or permission. "I just had to see it through," she says. "I just had to create a world where this existed."

The trickiest part was finding film of Joel walking around a city. Because the only usable footage showed him in London, Lichtman utilized split-screen to add New York scenes and cut off London locales. The result looks seamlessly Big Apple.

The faux show's co-starring credits include repurposed shots of Dinah Manoff and Diana Canova, who were among the stars of the 1977-81 sitcom "Soap," plus former Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto in shots that evoke sitcom best-friend tropes. Actor Vincent Bufano, in a working-class shot from the short-lived 1979 Brooklyn-set sitcom "Flatbush," summons imagery of the neighborhood pal the fictional Bill Carlton grew up with. A final fillip is the great "James Coco as Mr. Balesworth," evidently the long-suffering station manager.

While the on-screen creator-credit of this imagined show, "Jerry Koetchpis," is fictional, other producer credits are familiar: the late Bud Yorkin ("All in the Family)" and the team of Bernie Orenstein and the late Saul Turteltaub ("That Girl"), all three of whom had worked together on "Sanford and Son."

And while not from Long Island herself, Lichtman, who directs music videos for the likes of Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, is gratified that Long Islanders appreciate her alternate-reality TV show "because you're tough cookies!"

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