Ellen (TV series)

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Ellen
EllenTVlogo.svg
Also known asThese Friends of Mine
FormatSitcom
Created byNeal Marlens
Carol Black
David S. Rosenthal
StarringEllen DeGeneres
David Anthony Higgins
Clea Lewis
Joely Fisher (Seasons 2–5)
Jeremy Piven (Seasons 3–5)
Arye Gross (Seasons 1–3)
Holly Fulger (Season 1)
Maggie Wheeler (Season 1)
Opening theme"So Called Friend" by Texas
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes109 (List of episodes)
Production
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeApproximately 22 minutes
Production company(s)Touchstone Television
Black-Marlens Company
DistributorBuena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runMarch 29, 1994 – July 22, 1998[1]
 
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This article is about the 1994-1998 ABC sitcom. For the 2001–2002 CBS sitcom, see The Ellen Show. For the talk show airing since 2003, see The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Ellen
EllenTVlogo.svg
Also known asThese Friends of Mine
FormatSitcom
Created byNeal Marlens
Carol Black
David S. Rosenthal
StarringEllen DeGeneres
David Anthony Higgins
Clea Lewis
Joely Fisher (Seasons 2–5)
Jeremy Piven (Seasons 3–5)
Arye Gross (Seasons 1–3)
Holly Fulger (Season 1)
Maggie Wheeler (Season 1)
Opening theme"So Called Friend" by Texas
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes109 (List of episodes)
Production
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeApproximately 22 minutes
Production company(s)Touchstone Television
Black-Marlens Company
DistributorBuena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runMarch 29, 1994 – July 22, 1998[1]

Ellen (originally titled These Friends of Mine during its first season) is an American television sitcom that aired on the ABC network from March 29, 1994 to July 22, 1998, consisting of 109 episodes. The title role of Ellen Morgan, played by stand-up comedian Ellen DeGeneres, as a neurotic bookstore owner in her thirties.

The series centered on Ellen's dealing with her quirky friends, her family and the problems of daily life. The series is notable for being one of the first with a main character to come out as gay, which DeGeneres' character did in the 1997 episode "The Puppy Episode". This event received a great deal of media exposure, ignited controversy, and prompted ABC to place a parental advisory at the beginning of each episode.

The series' theme song (used in Season 3 on up), "So Called Friend" is by Scottish band Texas. A running gag during the third and fourth seasons was that each episode had a distinct/different opening credits sequence (often with singing and dancing), resulting from Ellen's ongoing search for the perfect opening credits.

Episodes[edit]

"The Puppy Episode"[edit]

Main article: The Puppy Episode

In 1997, Ellen made television history when the title character came out as a lesbian in the famous "Puppy Episode" (DeGeneres herself came out concurrent with the episode on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in Time). To ensure a memorable moment, the coming out scene was made into a gag where, at an airport, Ellen turns and tells Laura Dern "I'm gay!" – only to realize that she had turned right into the intercom microphone, announcing her sexuality to the entire terminal. Ellen DeGeneres's mother Betty can briefly be seen as one of the people in the terminal with a shocked reaction to the announcement.[2]

The episode was ranked #35 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time.[3]

The revelation ignited a storm of controversy, prompting ABC to place a parental advisory at the beginning of each episode.

Ellen was successful enough in its early seasons to warrant annual renewal, due largely to DeGeneres's perceived appeal and comic ability, but only with Ellen's coming out did the show make its way into the wide public consciousness and hit a critical plateau. However, after the initial coming out frenzy, the show's ratings declined and ABC began feeling the pain of a backlash regarding the "gay content" being exhibited. The final episodes of Ellen were criticized for focusing too much on gay issues,[4] a criticism begun in anti-gay circles but which spread to the mainstream media. Eventually, even some members of the LGBT community, including Chaz Bono (who at the time was the media director for GLAAD), began to criticize the show's serious new tone as well.[5] ABC pulled the show from the air in May 1998 after five seasons.

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Note – Between seasons one and two, there was not only a title change from These Friends of Mine to Ellen, but several characters disappeared without explanation.

Recurring cast[edit]

Broadcast history[edit]

Ratings[edit]

SeasonEpisodesSeason PremiereSeason FinaleRankingViewers
(in millions)
11993–9413[a]March 29, 1994August 30, 1994N/A[6]N/A[6]
21994–9524September 21, 1994May 17, 1995#13[7]14.7[7]
31995–9625September 13, 1995May 21, 1996#39[8]10.6[8]
41996–9725[a]September 18, 1996May 25, 1997#30[9]10.6[9]
51997–9822September 24, 1997July 22, 1998#42[10]12.4[10]
[a]Two episodes that aired in Season 3, The Tape and The Mugging, were filmed at the same time as Season 1 and are included in the Season 1 DVD box set as "bonus episodes", and are not included in the Season 3 DVD release.

Syndication[edit]

Reruns of the show first started airing on Lifetime in the fall of 1998, and stopped in 2001. Starting October 4, 2003, during DeGeneres's surge in popularity through her role in Finding Nemo and her new daytime talk show, Lifetime began airing reruns again, on 1AM-2AM ET Sunday mornings, starting with the second season. Before long, it went into the 1:30AM-2AM ET time slot Monday-Friday. The reruns stopped two episodes into the controversial final season. Oxygen then picked up the entire series to air starting October 4, 2004, daily at midnight and noon ET, but it has since been removed from the schedule. In September 2013, Ellen began airing on FX Monday-Saturday from 9-11am.

Reruns of the show in the UK were until recently on ABC1 until the channel closed in September 2007. These were shown only on weekend mornings, along with other Touchstone Pictures productions. No other UK channels are currently airing the show.

In Australia episodes air on 111 HITS weekdays in a daytime timeslot. New Zealand is currently airing double episode reruns on TVNZ TV2 every Monday night.

In Canada, it is currently being aired by TVtropolis.

In the United States, it is currently being aired on FX

Awards[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Ellen The Complete Fourth Season DVD Cover Art

A&E Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1. They are currently out of print.

DVD NameEp #Release date
Season One13September 28, 2004
Season Two24February 22, 2005
Season Three25February 28, 2006
Season Four25September 26, 2006
Season Five22November 28, 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20050108213946/http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/e/ellen_7772475.shtml
  2. ^ Lowry, Brian (March 3, 1997). "Risks and Benefits Seen for an Out-of-the-Closet 'Ellen'". LA Times. Retrieved August 23, 1681. 
  3. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28-July 4). 1997. 
  4. ^ Ellen in Jump The Shark
  5. ^ Planet Out
  6. ^ a b Moore, Frazier (July 8, 1994). "NEWSMAGAZINES CROWD INTO TOP OF RATINGS". Sun Sentinel. p. 4E. Retrieved March 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Complete TV Ratings 1994–1995". Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Complete TV Ratings 1995–1996". Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Complete TV Ratings 1996–1997". Retrieved December 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly Published in issue #434 May 29, 1998. May 29, 1998. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]