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I vaguely remember watching a TV show some 20-odd years ago, but remember only a few details from the pilot episode:

  1. This guy dies, and is told he has to go back in time to watch over some teenager.
  2. In an attempt to make life easy for the teen and his family, he gives the teen a lottery ticket that he thinks will win millions of dollars. Instead, he missed a couple of numbers, and the teen won a much smaller amount.
  3. The guy is then invited to stay with the teen, and the guy looks up to heaven with a bit of a concerned look about how long he'll have to stay on earth before he can go to heaven.

If I remember correctly, the show also only lasted about 1 season.

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Was it Teen Angel? – drone.ah Feb 17 '13 at 15:51
@drone.ah No, it wasn't. The dead guy was a middle-aged man, not a teenager. – Barry Hammer Feb 20 '13 at 8:10
I believe I know the answer (allowing for a certain amount of mistaken memory). In "Second Chance" (1987-1988, on Fox), middle-aged Charles Russell is sent back by Heaven's Saint Peter to be a mentor to his own younger self, guiding himself onto a better path. The pilot episode does involve lottery tickets, though I don't remember any of them winning. He moves in with his teenage self, posing as "Charles Time". The show lasted about half a season in this format and about half a season in a retooled format called "Boys Will Be Boys" that dropped the supernatural element. – afeldspar Sep 11 '14 at 18:20
@afeldspar - i've reopened so you can answer – iandotkelly Sep 13 '14 at 13:10
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The program you're talking about is a short-lived sitcom from Fox called "Second Chance" that aired in 1987. Matthew Perry (later to be famous on "Friends") played the teenage Chazz Russell, and Kiel Martin (previously on "Hill Street Blues") played Charles Russell - who is actually Chazz's future self from 2011.

In the pilot, Charles Russell dies in 2011 in a hovercraft accident and goes to St. Peter's office. St. Peter tells him that he's neither bad enough for Hell nor good enough for Heaven, so he's given the chance to go back and guide his past self onto a better path.

Back in 1987, Charles poses as "Charles Time" and tries to avert his teen self Chazz's most major mistake: trying to solve his family's pressing money woes by robbing a mini-mart of the cash it's collected from lottery tickets just before the drawing.

Charles is there at the mini-mart as the clerk and discourages the robbery; he also changes the numbers on the ticket Chazz buys, so that four of the six match and the ticket is worth a few thousand dollars (Charles was trying for a larger win, but he couldn't remember the last two numbers.)

He thinks he should go to Heaven now, but St. Peter explains that he only changed the circumstances; he's going to have to stay on Earth until he and Chazz both learn the difference between right and wrong ("That long?!", Charles exclaims.) Since he'll be staying longer than expected, Charles rents a room in Chazz's house to be on-site as a mentor.

The show only lasted nine episodes in this format; it was put on hiatus, and came back in a format that dropped the supernatural elements (and thus the characters of Charles Time and St. Peter) called "Boys Will Be Boys". The revamped show only lasted twelve episodes.

The pilot episode is on YouTube in three parts; you can see in the final segment most of the elements of your description.

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Thanks for not only posting the answer, but a video of the show. It's too bad I can only give you 1 point for your answer! – Barry Hammer Sep 29 '14 at 13:46

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