Jane Curtin, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, and Susan Saint James, formerly of the long-running McMillan and Wife, had experienced a great deal of small-screen success by the time they were teamed up in the half-hour CBS sitcom Kate and Allie. The resulting hit gave both stars another major credit to add to their illustrious TV resumes.
The show focused on Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell, two New Yorkers who decide to share an apartment in Greenwich Village after both went through a divorce. This seemingly simple decision was more complex than it seemed, for two reasons: First, although the two had been good friends since high school, both women had very different personalities: Kate was very much a modern woman, while Allie leaned on traditional ways of thinking and behaving. The second reason was that both had children to add to the mix—Kate’s daughter Emma, and Allie’s daughter Jennie and son Chip.
The stories usually centered on Kate and Allie’s attempts to keep their careers and love lives afloat while adjusting to each other’s differences and dealing with the problems of raising children in an urban setting. Apparently the two learned to get along pretty well, because in 1987, Kate and Allie started their own catering business. The two did everything together, from laundry to shopping to attending school functions, acting as a sort of two-woman support group. Allie was there for Kate when empty nest syndrome set in after Emma left for college, and Kate helped Allie deal with her budding relationship with TV sportscaster Bob Borsky. Allie and Bob were married in 1988, and the show ended at the end of the 1988-89 season.
The show’s creator, Sherry Koben, was inspired to create the show when she went to a class reunion and discovered that many of her former female classmates were divorced with children. As one might imagine, the show had a large female following, women who appreciated the show’s exploration of female issues and the positive image it gave to the concept of single-mother parenting. These devoted viewers made the show a consistent success, keeping Kate and Allie together for five years of ups and downs.
USA / CBS – Reeves Entertainment – Lachman Prod. / 112×25 minutes / Broadcast 19 March 1984 – 11 September 1989
Creator: Sherry Cohen / Producer: Bob Randall, Anne Flett, Chuck Ranberg
Susan Saint James as Kate McArdle
Jane Curtin as Allie Lowell
Ari Meyers as Emma McArdle (1984-88)
Allison Smith as Jennie Lowell
Frederick Koehler as Chip Lowell
Sam Freed as Bob Barskey (1987-89)
Paul Hecht as Charles Lowell (1984-86)
Peter Onorati as Lou Carello (1988-89)
Gregory Salata as Ted Bartolo (1984-85, 1987-88)