Kate & Allie

Kate & Allie

infobox television
show_name = Kate & Allie

caption = (back, left to right) Saint James, Meyers
(front) Curtin, Koehler, Smith.
format = Comedy
runtime = 30 minutes (per episode)
creator = Sherry Coben
starring = Susan Saint James
Jane Curtin
Ari Meyers
Frederick Koehler
Allison Smith
country = USA
network = CBS
first_aired = March 19, 1984
last_aired = May 22, 1989
num_seasons = 6
num_episodes = 122
imdb_id = 0086742
tv_com_id = 616|

"Kate & Allie" is an American television situation comedy which ran from March 19, 1984 to May 22, 1989. "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 series was created by Sherry Coben. [O'Connor, John J. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07EEDE1039F93AA25750C0A962948260 "'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."]


The show starred Susan Saint James as the free-spirited Kate McArdle and Jane Curtin as her more traditional childhood friend, Allie Lowell. The premise: 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 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 wiser to the games men play, but if the opportunity presented itself, they would not be against remarrying.

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.

Series details

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-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 [ [http://www.jumptheshark.com/forum/kate-allie/1099 Kate & Allie in Jump The Shark] ] , led viewers to lose interest [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/K/htmlK/kateandalli/kateandalli.htm "Kate and Allie] from the website of the Museum of Broadcast Communications] , and CBS chose not to renew "Kate & Allie" for a seventh season.

Regular cast

* Susan Saint James as Katherine Elizabeth Ann "Kate" McArdle
* Jane Curtin as Allison "Allie" Lowell. Curtin and Saint James had previously worked together in the 1979 movie "How to Beat the High Co$t of Living".
* Ari Meyers as Emma McArdle, Kate's daughter. Meyers left the show a few episodes into the fifth season to attend Yale University (although her name remained in the opening credits to the end of the season); she returned for the season-ending 100th episode retrospective.
* Frederick Koehler as Charles "Chip" Lowell, Allie's son
* Allison Smith as Jennie Lowell, Allie's daughter
* Sam Freed was featured as three different characters during the series run. In the first season he played a married candidate for office named Johnathan Conti who flirts with Allie. At the end of season 2 he played Keith in the episode Late Bloomers (a supposed spinoff for Lindsey Wagner. In the final seasons, he was best known as Bob Barsky, the boyfriend and later husband of Allie. Actress Wendie Malick, best known for her appearances on "Just Shoot Me!" had one of her earliest roles as the new wife, Claire, of Allie's ex-husband, Charles.


"Kate & Allie" was taped on soundstages constructed at the Ed Sullivan Theater and also at the Teletape Studios at West 81st Street and Broadway in New York City. Under pressure from higher-ups at CBS to squash 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. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/k/kateallie_7773945.shtml BBC - Comedy Guide - Kate & Allie] BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2007.]

Saint James was pregnant during the filming 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. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7DD1E3EF931A2575AC0A961948260 A TV Sitcom Takes to the Streets] ] , a September 12 1987 article from "The New York Times"]

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


Following are the Nielsen Ratings for the show:fact|date=March 2008

* 1983-1984: #8
* 1984-1985: #17
* 1985-1986: #14
* 1986-1987: #19
* 1987-1988: #19
* 1988-1989: #82

According to an essay by Christine R. Catron from the Museum of Broadcast Communications's Encyclopedia of Television, the dramatic 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.


The American syndication rights are held by NBC Universal Television Distribution; the show currently airs on WE tv and on RTN, weekdays at 11:30 am Eastern. FremantleMedia owns the international rights, as they own Thames Television and have access to Alan Landsburg Productions and Reeves Entertainment Group product.

DVD releases

United States

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first season of "Kate & Allie" on DVD exclusively in the United States in May 2006. A January 2007 review of the season's six episodes suggests the series has not aged well: [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/arts/television/07stew.html Those Two ’80s Heroines, Tough as Toenails] , a January 2007 DVD review from "The New York Times"] ::Two decades ago, "Kate" registered as a mild shock in television land: it featured two single women...rearing their children together with only minimal help from their ex-husbands. In 1984, when the top-rated network shows were “Dynasty” and “Dallas,” that qualified as feminist television. Times have changed. The first six episodes of this sitcom, now available on DVD, seem mostly quaint and a little cloying. There’s a lot of hugging and a lot of learning, two things that can seriously date a comedy in the post-"Seinfeld" universe.


For the Canadian market, Visual Entertainment has released the first five seasons on DVD. Season 5 was released on September 9, 2008. [ [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Kate-Allie-Season-5/9988 Kate & Allie - 5th Season DVDs Formally Announced: Date, Cost & Cover Art! | TVShowsOnDVD.com ] ]


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