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Kate & Allie ran from March 1984 until September 1989 on CBS.

Kate & Allie ( Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin), were two divorcees who had been friends since high school. They decided to share an apartment in New York's Greenwich Village to save money and give each other emotional support. Between them, they had 3 young children who caused turmoil. Kate's teenage daughter was named Emma ( Ari Meyers), and Allie had 2 children, Jennie ( Allison Smith) and Chip ( Frederick Koeher), the youngest. Kate & Allie themselves, had different life-styles. Kate was glamorous, frivolous and contemporary, while Allie was proper, old-fashioned and industrious to a fault.

Allie's ex-husband Charles( Paul Hecht), was seen occasionally, picking up the kids. Later in the series, he remarried. Kate did find romance in 1985 with plumber Ted Bartelo( Gregory Salata). They actually got engaged that spring but broke up after a short time.

Allie's hard-earned Bachelor's Degree proved of little help in getting her a good job and Kate became bored being a travel agent, so in the spring on 1987, they started their own catering business. In the fall, both of their daughters enrolled in Columbia University. Emma moved into a dormitory, giving her more freedom than her friend Jennie. Allie was forced to face the reality that her daughter was becoming a woman and reluctantly gave Jennie some of the same freedom at home that Emma had at the dorm. Kate's old boyfriend Ted was back and Allie was dating sportscaster, Bob Barsky( Sam Freed).

In December of 1988, Allie and Bob got married and proceeded to move into a new high-rise apartment. When Bob got a job as a sportscaster on a Washington, D.C. TV station and decided to commute to work from New York, Kate moved in to keep Allie and Chip company during the week while he was away. The two women were trying to make money with their catering business. Jennie was a sophomore at Columbia and Emma had transferred to UCLA to be close to her dad. Lou ( Peter Onorati), the high-rise's super , was forever trying to make time with a totally disinterested Kate.

The series was created by Sherry Koben , who got her inspiration while attending her tenth high school reunion , at which she encountered a large number of divorced women with children.

A Review from The New York Times


Published: March 19, 1984

TAKE two divorced New York City women, add three children between them, move them all into the same apartment, and you have the basic situation devised for ''Kate & Allie,'' a weekly series having its premiere on CBS tonight at 9.

Kate (Susan Saint James) and Allison (Jane Curtin) are, needless to say in sitcom land, two very different types. Kate, who has a teen-aged daughter (Ari Meyers), works in a travel agency and has a respectable veneer of sophistication. Allie, who has two children (Allison Smith and Frederick Koehler), stays at home, doing the housework and taking care of the children. A passing remark reveals that they met at an orthodonist's office, presumably their children's, not their own.

The first episode is decidedly on the sketchy side. When the women use the laundry room, they are always running into a young man named Roger (Jack Gilpin), who seems to have nothing to do in the show but indulge an obsession with cleaning clothes. One needs a press release to find out that, in the 1960's, Kate was ''a free spirit caught up in the radical movement'' while Allie was a ''traditionalist.'' Both settled down to start families in the 1970's and now find themselves tackling the problems of single parenthood together. Situation comedies are singularly adroit at using anything for a laugh.

In fact, ''Kate & Allie'' gets off to an unusually promising start. Created by Sherry Coben, the series has been fortunate enough to attract some first-rate talent, in front of and behind the cameras. The executive producer is Mort Lachman, a television veteran who served in the same capacity for ''All in the Family'' and ''One Day at a Time.'' The producer-director is Bill Persky, who began his television career co-writing and directing such series as ''That Girl'' and ''The Dick Van Dyke Show.'' And the producer/ writer is Bob Randall, author of the stage and television versions of ''6 Rms Riv Vu.''

With two very winning performances from Miss Saint James and Miss Curtin, ''Kate & Allie'' whips up some cleverly paced comedy with just the suggestion of a hard edge. When Kate goes on a blind date with a business associate she knows only by phone, she is unsettled to discover that he is only nice - ''nice is goodbye at the door.'' She is even more unsettled when he calls the next day and asks if it would be all right to take Allie out to dinner. Allie immediately takes to humming ''Strangers in the Night'' around the house. ''You mean he liked me better than you,'' she innocently purrs to Kate.

But Kate does help Allie to get ready for the big occasion, warning her that, among other things, clothing is language and Allie's dresses always seem to be saying ''the library is closing.'' Kate advises her that, above all else, she shouldn't talk about her divorce to her date. Of course, Allie does nothing else, turning her some enchanted evening into a nightmare of rejection. ''I'm going to change my name and move,'' she insists. Hugging her friend in sympathy, Kate says, ''You want to get married again some day?,'' adding, ''It wasn't a question - it was a proposal.''

Miss Curtin has been impressively demonstrating her acting versatility in everything from the television movie ''Divorce Wars'' with Tom Selleck to being one of the former Not for Prime Time Players on ''Saturday Night Live.'' Miss Saint James has won a slew of Emmy Award nominations for television series like ''Fame Is the Name of the Game'' and ''McMillan and Wife.'' They are clearly talented women and the combination seems to click so well that ''Kate & Allie'' may be a new show very much worth watching.

An Article From Time Magazine

On the Town on the Tube
Monday, Apr. 02, 1984


Four CBS shows feature sassy, streetwise women

In TV mythology, New York is Sin City: garbage on the streets, porno on the screens and larceny in the heart. And New York City women? Talk about pushy. Take Rhoda. Please. She was meant to be the quintessential New York woman, and she stood out like a kosher pickle on Minneapolis white bread. In the land of sitcoms, New York has rarely been a laughing matter. In fact, there has not been a successful sitcom set in the Big Apple since Taxi drove onto the screen in 1978, and with the exception of Rhoda no single woman has found a home there since Marlo Thomas perkily impersonated That Girl.

But that was yesterday. Now CBS is busily refurbishing the image of the city and its inhabitants. Four of the network's current shows revolve around street-smart New York women, all but one of them single, and none a ditsy ingenue. Cagney & Lacey and the newest show, Kate & Allie, feature pairs of female buddies trying to cope; Mama Malone and Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs showcase brassy and boisterous women who cannot help stirring up trouble.

For the past 15 years, Maggie Briggs has chased sirens as a hard-boiled reporter for the mythical New York Examiner. But she and her beefy sidekick, played with vulgar charm by Kenneth McMillan, have been lured into the newspaper's revamped Modern Living section, home for stories about boutiques and Mexican restaurants. "Walter," she recalls, "I saw my first dead body with you." Replies Walter: "Good times can't last forever, kid." The sassy and seasoned Pleshette could do credit to any town and role, but of all the show's fixtures only she seems credible. The hyperthyroid Examiner newsroom has untimely been ripped from The Front Page, the news is more suited to Poughkeepsie than Manhattan, and the other reporters are too blatant even for journalists.

Mama Malone is as proficient at making pasta as Maggie is at concocting stories. The voluminous star runs a TV cooking show from the kitchen of her walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. When she brays, "We'll be right back," the actual show also breaks for a commercial. But the spice of the device is soon overwhelmed by Mama's overcooked material. The failure is not the fault of Lila Kaye, late of the Royal Shakespeare Company (she was Mrs. Squeers and Mrs. Crummies in Nich olas Nickleby). Kaye plays Mama with manic lan, but she is giving flesh kilos of it to an ethnic stereotype that should have gone out with the organ grinder and his monkey.

Although the most authentic New York touch about Cagney & Lacey is the latter's Bronx accent ("I swear I'll take ya outta the game"), the relationship between the leads is canny and convincing. The pair do a balancing act: Cagney is hard bitten on the outside, a soft touch underneath; Lacey, played with subtlety and warmth by Tyne Daly, is motherly in manner but rough with the "poipatraters." The original show was canceled last spring, but CBS decided to bring it back to life in part because of a deluge of protest mail from viewers who responded to strong, intelligent female characters.

Those viewers should be delighted by Kate and Allie. The show, starring Jane Curtin of Saturday Night Live and Susan Saint James (McMillan and Wife; The Name of the Game), is a witty reinterpretation of The Odd Couple, plus three children. Both women are unabashedly in their 30s, divorced and skeptical about the mating game. If Pleshette Mary Tyler Moore developed a split personality, her two halves could be spun off as Kate and Allie. Played in wound-up preppie style by Curtin, Allie is the kind of roommate who makes meatloaf while wearing 5 pearls. Kate, a low-key tomboy, tries to unstarch Allie by taking her camping: "Come on, I'll teach you to make a fire by rubbing two credit cards to gether." Both women are ruthlessly verbal and seem actually to have read books. Although there is nothing overtly urban about the show, the clipped backchat makes it the most cosmopolitan of them all and in fact the only one that is entirely filmed in Manhattan.

CBS is obviously hoping that these up-scale comedies will attract up scale viewers, beloved of advertisers. Ironies are obvious: once the network that offered a haven for countrified fare like Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies, CBS has slowly been re-gentrifying itself. With three more pilots set in New York on the way, it seems ready to march to a different anthem: "My little town blues/ are melting away,/ I'll make a brand-new start of it/ in old New York." CBS and Manhattan may seem like another odd coupling, but given the influx of new shows, it just might take.

By Richard Stengel

An Article from USA TODAY
March 17, 1986

A character close to her heart

by Mary Ann Norbom
Special for USA TODAY

Susan Saint James describes tonight's episode of her show, CBS' Kate & Allie as "one of the most special things anyone has ever done for me."

The show's producer/director Bill Persky ordered the script-"Chip's Friend," about a homeless mentally retarded young man-in tribute to Saint James' involvement with the mentally handicapped.

" There is nothing condescending about this show," adds Saint James who plays Kate opposite Jane Curtin's Allie. " You can laugh with Louis and laugh at Louis. You react to him just like you would any other person. I think it's a very sweet show with a simple message: You don't have to fear the retarded."

Saint James speaks about the retarded with an experience gained from many years working with the Special Olympics. She is this year's national chairwoman, and also holds an office with her local Connecticut branch.

" Bill got involved with a TV public service announcement we did several months ago," she recalls , " and all the kids who were there gravitated to him. It was that meeting that motivated him to have this script written."

Saint James' own family life reads like a sitcom script. She and her husband , producer Dick Ebersol( formerly of Saturday Night Live and now with NBC's Friday Night Videos), live in a colonial mansion in rustic Litchfield , Conn. They share the estate with their 3 1/2 year old son Charles Duncan, and Susan's children from a previous marriage, 13-year-old Sunshine and 11-year-old Harmony. Her parents live in the guest house. Her three brothers, one sister, and their respective spouses and children all are frequent visitors.

" When we have everybody together, we have enough for two football teams," Saint James says, laughing in her trademark gravelly voice.

The couple also maintain an Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan, which is where Saint James spends her weeks while in production on Kate & Allie.

" I tell the kids that mom is going off to camp when I leave," she says. " Charlie spends half the week with me there and absolutely loves the city. The apartment has this gorgeous view of the city, and as soon as we walk through the door, he yells out " Live from New York!" He's a great little guy."

Saint James had wanted to have one more child but her miscarriage last September has left her uncertain.

" Losing the baby knocked my knees out from under me," she says. " I tried to get pregnant again right away, and it just didn't happen. Now I'm having second thoughts. I don't want to be one of those old broads who have babies when they're 80."

Actually she's a long way from that. But the former space-cadet-turned-supermom insists she is starting to feel her age.

" I'm almost 40," she concedes. " It used to be that I could have a hard night-stay up late and eat all the wrong foods-and shake it offin the morning. I can't do that anymore. I don't drink, so that's not an issue. But I'm now real careful about my diet. I try to get enough sleep and I take an exercise class every morning."

" Everything changed in my life," she says, laughing about what an old fogy she's become. " You know, Jane and her family live near me in Connecticut, and every fall we're on the phone to each other talking about how beautiful the foliage is."

An Aticle from The New York Times


Published: September 12, 1987

At the corner of 158th Street and Broadway earlier this week, in the middle of a downpour, a woman got out of a cab, then realized too late that she had left her purse on the seat. As she ran after the vehicle, a bystander joined her chase. The woman stopped, surprised, then doubled up with laughter.

The woman was Jane Curtin, star of the CBS program ''Kate & Allie,'' and she was taping a segment - the first in the show's five-year history to be set entirely out of doors. The bystander, however, was not in the script. He was but one of the added complications of taping on location.

The episode, which is scheduled to be broadcast in mid-October, is unusual for the comedy program in another way - it is a look at the very uncomical world of the homeless. Dressed in housecleaning clothes and bereft of her cash and identification because she had left them in the taxi, Ms. Curtin's character, Allie Lowell, wanders the streets looking for someone to help her get home. At the end of the show, viewers will be given the name and address of the Coalition for the Homeless, which cooperated with the producers on the segment.

But though this episode serves the beneficial purpose of focusing attention on the homeless problem, the script itself came about as a matter of chance. Last season Ms. Curtin's co-star, Susan St. James, who plays Kate McArdle, was hospitalized with a kidney stone. It looked as though she would miss the next week's taping, and the producers and writers scrambled for an idea that would not require her presence. The situation was further complicated because business trip and vacation scenarios had been used and re-used during the previous season, when Ms. St. James was on maternity leave. But when the homeless episode was proposed, it struck everyone as both timely and good drama. Street Scenes

The day after the script was agreed upon, Ms. St. James recovered. ''But the idea stuck,'' said Bill Persky, the program's director.

And because it stuck, the cast and crew spent this week on the streets of New York, following Allie as she learns what it is like to be dependent on strangers. During the taping, as the show wanders around the upper West Side, Allie sings for spare change and later is told by a pedestrian to get a job.

Along the way, New Yorkers stopped to stare at the glamorous tedium that is television production - replacing the peach tablecloths in front of Billy's Hamburger Grille with blue ones for no apparant reason; changing the yellow street signs at 97th Street and Broadway to green street signs that read 120th Street and Broadway; making sure that the ''No Parking Today'' signs put up to clear the streets do not show in the background.

This is not the first time the cast and crew have performed on location - the start of each ''Kate & Allie'' episode features an outdoor scene. But those are taped during four separate days of the year (''usually the hottest day of the summer and the coldest day of the winter,'' Ms. St. James said) and none are as complex as a full half-hour show. Onlooker Reactions

Earlier this week, when the shooting for the episode began, it was probably one of the rainiest days of the year. While the rain was heaviest, Mr. Persky and his crew set up the cameras. They began taping as soon as the downpour slowed, but by that time the wires were damp and the equipment failed to work.

Even in the rain, there were crowds. ''They were so sweet, standing there getting soaked,'' Ms. Curtin said. The personality of the crowds seemed to change as the crew moved downtown, she said. Up in Harlem, several people gave her quarters, but ''the more you move into the gentrified neighborhoods, the more impatient people get.''

Along the route, life imitated art and a handful of homeless people watched from the islands in the middle of Broadway.

The episode will coincide with the start of a national fund-raising campaign for the Coalition for the Homeless. Music written for the show will be used by the coalition as a theme song, he added.

Mr. Persky said that preparing for the episode made him more aware of the homeless problem in New York. In one scene, he said, at the beginning of Allie's story, a homeless man sits down next to her and she moves away quickly. But in another scene, he continued, toward the end of the show, another man sits next to her on another sidewalk, and she stays to talk.

''She has learned that there isn't that much difference between 'us' and 'them,' '' said Mr. Persky.

An Article from the Washington Post


By Patricia Brennan February 7, 1988

Ari Meyers, late for her interview, called from the Yale University library and apologized profusely: "I'm sorry," she murmured in a soft, breathy voice. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

No matter. This is simply a young woman whose life is so full it's overflowing.

In September, Ari Meyers enrolled at Yale. But also in September, she was already well into the shooting schedule for "Kate & Allie," the CBS sitcom she's appeared on since its debut in March 1984 as a midseason replacement series.

But that's not all. On Sunday and Tuesday this week she appears in a CBS miniseries as well, "Sidney Sheldon's Windmills of the Gods," with Jaclyn Smith and Robert Wagner. Meyers plays Beth, the teen-age daughter of Smith's character, Mary Ashley, who is uprooted when her mother is appointed American ambassador to Romania.

In real life, the challenge for Meyers is juggling both her lives, as a student and as an actress. Unlike former Yalies Jodie Foster and Jennifer Beals and recent Princeton graduate Brooke Shields, Meyers is still appearing on a continuing television series.

"It's working," she insisted. "We film in New York." Meyers takes the train into the city "every other week -- it's not really a set schedule. Tuesdays and Thursdays first semester I only had one class."

Her co-star, Allison Smith, is also a college freshman, attending New York University. They play the daughters of Kate McArdle (Susan Saint James) and Allie Lowell (Jane Curtin), single mothers and long-time friends who share a Greenwich village brownstone.

This year, when Meyers went to Yale, her character, Emma McArdle, went to live in a college dorm. Smith's character, Jenny Lowell, had to stay home with little brother Chip (Frederick Koehler).

Meyers, who is 18, enrolled in archaeology, English, French and psychology the first semester. The university also provided her with three roommates who aren't impressed with her celebrity and keep her on an even keel, she said.

"Yale -- it's great, it's wonderful," said Meyers. "I visited twice, and I loved it ... the whole system: the courses, the housing, the people. Also, it was close to New York so I could commute."

Meyers is strong for New York, having started working there at age 6, she said, when the Ford Modeling Agency started a children's division. "They came to my school because they needed people, and from there I did commercials and modeling and when I was 12, 'Author! Author!' {a 1982 film with Al Pacino and Dyan Cannon}. I did a lot of different TV movies and things like that."

All her TV movies, like the series, have been on CBS. In 1985 she made two, "Kids Don't Tell," about child molestation, and "Picking Up the Pieces," about an abused wife's quest for self-esteem. The previous year she was cast in "License to Kill," the story of the family of a high school girl killed by a drunk driver, and in 1983 in "Running Out," about a woman who comes back to the husband and daughter she abandoned earlier.

"My mom {Taro Meyers} is an actress and she sings and writes, but I never thought of it as a show-biz family. My mom, she was a great support, taking care of so many things, like coordinating in high school so I could work. She helped, but it was never anything that was pushed."

But, back to Yale: "I'm not at all fluent in French, but I will be soon -- I'm determined. I'd like to go to Europe to study ... But everything's great." And how's life at "Kate & Allie"? "Oh, I love it. I just love the people there."

An Article from The New York Times

Those Two 80s Heroines, Tough as Toenails
Published: January 7, 2007

ABOUT the time Cagney and Lacey were having their groundbreaking heart-to-heart talks in the ladies room of the precinct house, another pair of New York women were also meeting on the sly to kvetch: in the laundry room of a Greenwich Village brownstone.

They were Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell, divorced mothers sharing a home, three kids and a load of wisecracks on the CBS sitcom Kate & Allie, which began as a midseason replacement in 1984 and enjoyed critical and popular success until 1989.

Two decades ago, Kate registered as a mild shock in television land: it featured two single women (played by Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin) 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. Even before Seinfeld made it hard to have a heart, the great sitcoms Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show gained the distance necessary for humor by making most of their main characters into losers the audience could love without having to take seriously. But Kate & Allie, wearing feminism like a banner, champions its heroines. The scripts want us to admire them, and that makes it hard to laugh at them.

Jane Curtin's Allie, the ex-wife of a cheating Connecticut doctor, is truly miserable, and so the better character. She's recently divorced, she has no skills beyond laundry and needlepoint, and she's convinced she'll never go on a date again. When a subdued, pre- Frasier Kelsey Grammer asks her out in the first episode, Allie is so nervous that she turns into a drama queen and ruins her chances. Ms. Curtin's sketch-comedy background on Saturday Night Live serves her well: her exaggerated delivery jibes with the oppressive laugh track, and her tendency to fake prissiness is perfectly in keeping with her character. Even with bad lines, she is deft enough to have won two Emmys for this role.

Susan Saint James's Kate is less well-drawn. As the resident free spirit, she's supposed to help Allie loosen up. The problem is, Kate never does anything remotely irresponsible, unless you count dancing with her 14-year-old daughter to the latest Michael Jackson release. She's a travel agent whose idea of an expletive is tough toenails! Caught between Allie's conservatism and the network's idea of acceptable maternal behavior in 1984, Ms. Saint James has nowhere to go but perky. The wildest thing about her is her taste in sweaters.

Which brings us to wardrobe. From Kate's puffy, traffic-light-colored vest to Allie's starched blouses with floppy bows and pearls, the clothes really wear the women on this show. But the women wear the hair and how. Ms. Curtin's blondish curls are occasionally coiffed almost beyond recognition, and Ms. Saint James's glossy brown hair is sometimes sculptured into a gravity-defying sine curve. Just looking at them is an exercise in nostalgia, and one more reason women should be glad it's 2007.

To watch some clips from Kate & Allie go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For an article on Kate & Allie go to

For some Kate & Allie-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For 2 more reviews of Kate & Allie go to and

To watch the opening and closing credits go to
Date: Fri June 13, 2014 � Filesize: 70.0kb, 154.9kbDimensions: 791 x 1000 �
Keywords: Kate & Allie (Links Updated 7/19/18)


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