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Watching Ellie is an American sitcom that starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus and was created by her husband, Brad Hall. It aired on NBC from February 2002 to May 2003, though only sixteen episodes were broadcast before it was canceled due to low ratings.

Watching Ellie
Created by Brad Hall
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Steve Carell
Don Lake
Lauren Bowles
Peter Stormare
Darren Boyd
Composer(s) Oscar Castro-Neves
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 19 (3 unaired)
Production
Camera setup Single-camera (season 1)
Multi-camera (season 2)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Hammond's Reef
NBC Studios
Release
Original network NBC
Original release February 26, 2002 (2002-02-26) – May 20, 2003 (2003-05-20)

Contents

Premise and formatsEdit

There were two incarnations of Watching Ellie, neither of which met with any success. Both focused on the character of cabaret singer Ellie Riggs (Louis-Dreyfus), with markedly different approaches.

The first was directed by Ken Kwapis, known for his innovative work in single-camera sitcoms such as The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show. Each 22-minute episode was meant to portray a 22-minute slice of Ellie's life, in real time. In the earliest episodes, a clock was even shown in the corner of the screen. Thirteen episodes were filmed but only ten aired before the series was put on indefinite hiatus (the remaining first-season episodes have never aired).

Nearly a full year later, the show reappeared as a more traditional sitcom, with multiple cameras and a live studio audience (plus an added laugh track). This version fared even worse than its predecessor and was canceled after six episodes.

The show also cast Lauren Bowles as Ellie's sister, Susan. In real life, Bowles is Louis-Dreyfus' half-sister (they have the same mother).

ProductionEdit

Louis-Dreyfus and Hall earned salaries of $350,000 each per episode and their contracts stipulated 15 episodes per season, rather than the usual 22. Carsey-Werner-Mandabach Productions, the original production company, dropped out because of the high costs, and was replaced by NBC Studios.[1]

The show was pitched to ABC, CBS, Fox and HBO, who all turned down the series.[2]

CastEdit

EpisodesEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings
First aired Last aired Rank Average viewership
(in millions)
1 10 February 26, 2002 (2002-02-26) April 23, 2002 (2002-04-23) #55 10.0
2 6 April 15, 2003 (2003-04-15) May 20, 2003 (2003-05-20) #79 8.6

Season 1 (2002)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 1 "Pilot" Ken Kwapis Brad Hall February 26, 2002 (2002-02-26) 16.7
2 2 "Wedding" Ken Kwapis Brad Hall March 5, 2002 (2002-03-05) 12.5
3 3 "Dinner Party" Ken Kwapis Brad Hall March 12, 2002 (2002-03-12) 11.1
4 4 "Aftershocks" Michael Lehmann Jack Burditt March 19, 2002 (2002-03-19) 9.5
5 5 "Cheetos" Michael Engler Teleplay by: Brad Hall
Story by: Andrew Gottlieb & Brad Hall
March 26, 2002 (2002-03-26) 9.7
6 6 "Tango" Michael Engler Andrew Gottlieb April 2, 2002 (2002-04-02) 9.6
7 7 "Gift" Kevin Rodney Sullivan Joe Furey April 2, 2002 (2002-04-02) 10.4
8 8 "Medicated" Craig Zisk Teleplay by: Joe Furey
Story by: Jeffrey Ross
April 9, 2002 (2002-04-09) 7.6
9 9 "Weekend" Howard Deutch Andrew Gottlieb April 16, 2002 (2002-04-16) 8.0
10 10 "Zimmerman" Allison Liddi-Brown Mike Armstrong April 23, 2002 (2002-04-23) 6.9
11 11 "Dream" TBA TBA UNAIRED TBD
12 12 "Junk" TBA TBA UNAIRED TBD
13 13 "Drive" TBA TBA UNAIRED TBD

Season 2 (2003)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
14 1 "Shrink" Robert Berlinger Brad Hall & Andrew Gottlieb April 15, 2003 (2003-04-15) 9.8
15 2 "TV" Craig Zisk Andrew Gottlieb April 22, 2003 (2003-04-22) 7.4
16 3 "Date" Craig Zisk Brad Hall & Joe Furey April 29, 2003 (2003-04-29) 8.7
17 4 "Buskers" Kevin Rodney Sullivan Brad Hall & Andrew Gottlieb May 6, 2003 (2003-05-06) 8.3
18 5 "Fruit Shots" Andy Ackerman Brad Hall & Andrew Gottlieb May 13, 2003 (2003-05-13) 7.5
19 6 "Feud" TBA Brad Hall May 20, 2003 (2003-05-20) 8.4

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (January 14, 2002). "You Loved Elaine, Now Meet Ellie; A High-Stakes Gamble Brings Another 'Seinfeld' Star Back to TV". New York Times. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Rice, Lynette (May 1, 2002). "Testing: One, Two, Three..." Entertainment Weekly. 

External linksEdit