Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Modern Classic: Kate & Allie (1984)

As Laverne & Shirley was winding down at ABC, a more contemporary comedy about two BFF's sharing an apartment surfaced at CBS.

Kate & Allie was a mid-season replacement, debuting in March 1984. Original executive producer Alan Landsburg (Gimme A Break, In Search Of...) would eventually sell his production company to Reeves Entertainment Group during the course of the series' run, with MCA, at the time Universal's parent company, distributing the series for syndication. The casting of the show's two leads was genius, pairing Susan Saint James (ex-McMillian & Wife, The Name of the Game) with Jane Curtin (ex-Saturday Night Live) as two divorcees sharing an apartment in New York with their children, though by the end of the series, the kids were gradually being written out.

As it was, Curtin became one of the first SNL alumni to "graduate", if you will, to primetime. Garrett Morris briefly had a supporting role on Hunter, which didn't last very long, but Curtin was the first to land a lead role. Another original SNL cast member, Chevy Chase, would follow suit several years later with Community.

Kate & Allie anchored CBS' Monday lineup for virtually the entirety of its run, carrying on a long standing tradition at the network dating back as far as the days of I Love Lucy. WE-TV (Women's Entertainment) has held the cable rights, though the series has also aired on Retro when that network stocked its lineup with Universal/MCA properties.

From the series' final season, here's "Better Never Than Late":




It would be a full decade or so before Curtin landed another primetime role, this time a supporting role, on 3rd Rock From The Sun. However, Kate & Allie would be Susan Saint James' last series.

Rating: B.

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