Kate & Allie

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Kate & Allie
Kate & Allie.png
Main title screen
GenreSitcom
Created bySherry Coben
Directed byBill Persky (Seasons 1–5)
Linda Day (Season 6)
StarringSusan Saint James
Jane Curtin
Ari Meyers
Frederick Koehler
Allison Smith
Theme music composerRalph Schuckett
Opening theme"Along Comes a Friend" performed by John Loeffler
Composer(s)John Loeffler
Ralph Schuckett
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes122 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Merrill Grant
Mort Lachman
Bernie Orenstein
Producer(s)Anne Flett-Giordano
Bill Persky
Chuck Ranberg
Bob Randall
Saul Turteltaub
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Alan Landsburg Productions
Reeves Entertainment Group
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original runMarch 19, 1984 (1984-03-19) – May 22, 1989 (1989-05-22)
 
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Kate & Allie
Kate & Allie.png
Main title screen
GenreSitcom
Created bySherry Coben
Directed byBill Persky (Seasons 1–5)
Linda Day (Season 6)
StarringSusan Saint James
Jane Curtin
Ari Meyers
Frederick Koehler
Allison Smith
Theme music composerRalph Schuckett
Opening theme"Along Comes a Friend" performed by John Loeffler
Composer(s)John Loeffler
Ralph Schuckett
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes122 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Merrill Grant
Mort Lachman
Bernie Orenstein
Producer(s)Anne Flett-Giordano
Bill Persky
Chuck Ranberg
Bob Randall
Saul Turteltaub
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production company(s)Alan Landsburg Productions
Reeves Entertainment Group
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original runMarch 19, 1984 (1984-03-19) – May 22, 1989 (1989-05-22)

Kate & Allie is an American television situation comedy which ran from March 19, 1984, to May 22, 1989 on CBS, starring Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin as two divorced women, both with children, who decide to live together in the same house. The series was created by Sherry Coben.[1]

Overview[edit]

The show stars Susan Saint James as the free-spirited Kate McArdle and Jane Curtin as her more traditional childhood friend, Allie Lowell. The two decide to share a brownstone in New York City's Greenwich Village after their respective divorces, raising their families together.

The show also starred Ari Meyers as Kate's daughter Emma, and Frederick Koehler and Allison Smith as Allie's children Chip and Jennie.

Both Kate and Allie dated men regularly, but were portrayed as strong, independent women, which was still a relative novelty on television at the time. Unlike other successful career women portrayed before them, Kate and Allie were shown to be wise to the games men play, but not averse to remarrying if the opportunity presented itself.

Kate & Allie first aired on CBS as a midseason replacement series and only six episodes were initially commissioned, but the favorable response from critics and viewers alike (its first episode ranked #4 out of all the television shows airing that week) easily convinced CBS to commit to a full season in the fall of 1984. The show was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed sitcoms of the 1980s, consistently ranking in the Top 20 shows until its final season. Curtin won two Emmy Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, while Saint James was nominated in the same category three times.[citation needed]

Curtin and Saint James had previously worked together in the 1980 movie How to Beat the High Co$t of Living.

Series details[edit]

At the beginning of the series, Kate worked as a travel agent, while Allie stayed home and took care of the domestic duties. Kate's storylines often revolved around her struggles to be taken seriously in the workplace, while Allie's often revolved around learning to be more independent and sure of herself after her years as a housewife. In the show's fifth season, Kate quit her job and teamed up with Allie to start their own catering service.

In the show's second-to-last season, Allie was dating Bob Barsky (Sam Freed), a television sportscaster who proposed to Allie in the season finale. Following their marriage, Allie and Bob moved into a new apartment in the show's final season — however, Bob took a job which involved regular travel, and Kate moved into the new apartment as well. This plot development, frequently cited as one of the canonical examples of a television show jumping the shark, led viewers to lose interest,[2] and CBS chose not to renew Kate & Allie for a seventh season.

Notable guest stars included Ben Stiller, Kelsey Grammer, William H. Macy, Lindsay Wagner, Mercedes Ruehl, Ricki Lake, Dick Cavett, Wendie Malick, Patricia Richardson, Barbara Barrie, Paul Gleason, Rosemary Murphy, Andrea Martin, John Heard, Debra Jo Rupp, Marilyn Cooper, Susie Essman, Joe Namath, and Peggy Pope.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The cast of Kate & Allie

The test name for the script was entitled Two Mommies and was seized upon by Saint James who was able to use the show as a way to work without relocating her family from Litchfield, Connecticut. Kate & Allie was taped on soundstages constructed at the Ed Sullivan Theater (CBS Studio 50) and also at the Teletape Studios at West 81st Street and Broadway in New York City, which at the time was the production facility for Sesame Street.[3]

Cold opening dialog sequences between Saint James and Curtin documenting city life were featured, shot on location in Manhattan with no laugh track. The theme song Friends by John Lefler and Ralph Schuckett played instrumentally over the title shot of the Empire State Building. Closing credits also included vocals with indicative lyrics, "just when you think/you're all by yourself/you're not."[4]

Under pressure from higher-ups at CBS to quash the suggestion that Kate and Allie were lesbians, the producers were instructed to show Kate and Allie entering separate bedrooms to sleep at the end of each episode. That pressure may have been the impetus for an episode showing Kate and Allie pretending to be lesbians when they were faced with a large increase in rent.[5]

Saint James was pregnant during the taping of the fourth season. Her pregnancy was hidden by filming her behind a desk, under a sheet in a hospital bed, or in a bubble bath. The exception was a flashback which showed both Kate and Allie pregnant.

An episode broadcast in 1987, produced in cooperation with the Coalition for the Homeless, was filmed entirely outdoors, on the streets of Manhattan. The episode was prompted by the likely absence of Saint James, who had been hospitalized due to kidney stones, and featured Allie struggling to find a way home after accidentally leaving her keys and money in a taxi.[6]

The show's final season was affected by the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike.

Ratings[edit]

Following are the Nielsen ratings for the show:[citation needed]

According to an essay by Christine R. Catron from the Museum of Broadcast Communications's Encyclopedia of Television,[2] the decline in ratings for the show's last season is attributable to the fact that the show's premise had been fulfilled at the end of the previous season, when Allie accepted Bob Barsky's marriage proposal.

Syndication[edit]

The American syndication rights are held by NBCUniversal Television Distribution; the show aired on RTN. Kate & Allie previously aired on WE tv, from 2007–2008. FremantleMedia owns the international rights, as they own Thames Television and have access to the Reeves Entertainment product.

DVD releases[edit]

United States[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first season of Kate & Allie on DVD exclusively in the United States in May 2006.

Canada[edit]

For the Canadian market, Visual Entertainment has released all six seasons on DVD. On May 4, 2010. VEI released Kate & Allie: The Complete Series, a 16-disc boxset featuring all 122 episodes of the series.[7] As of 2013, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

DVD NameEp #Release Date
The Complete First & Second Seasons28June 6, 2006
The Complete Third Season23February 6, 2007
The Complete Fourth Season25July 3, 2007
The Complete Fifth Season24September 9, 2008
The Complete Sixth and Final Season22November 3, 2009
The Complete Series122May 4, 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. "'KATE & ALLIE,' ABOUT 2 DIVORCED WOMEN, ON CBS", The New York Times, March 19, 1984. Accessed December 1, 2007. "Created by Sherry Coben, the series has been fortunate enough to attract some first-rate talent, in front of and behind the cameras."
  2. ^ a b Kate and Allie from the website of the Museum of Broadcast Communications
  3. ^ People.com
  4. ^ Lynn C. Spangler (2003). Television women from Lucy to Friends. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 152. ISBN 0-313-28781-3. 
  5. ^ BBC – Comedy Guide – Kate & Allie BBC. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
  6. ^ A TV Sitcom Takes to the Streets, a September 12, 1987 article from The New York Times
  7. ^ "Kate & Allie - What IS the Situation with The Complete Series on DVD? VEI Answers!". 

External links[edit]