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Suddenly Susan

Suddenly Susan was a Syndication network sitcom series created by Gary Dontzig and Steven Peterman.

The show aired from September 19, 1996 to December 26, 2000, lasting for four seasons & 93 episodes.

PlotEdit

The series centered on Susan Keene, a magazine writer from San Francisco, California who adjusts to be single after she abruptly leaves her fiance at the altar and learns how to be independent-minded as well.

CastEdit

  • Brooke Shields as Susan Keane
  • Nestor Carbonell as Luis Rivera
  • Kathy Griffin as Vicki Groener
  • Barbara Barrie as Helen "Nana" Keane
  • Judd Nelson as Jack Richmond
  • David Strickland as Todd Stities
  • Andrea Bendewald as Maddy Piper
  • Sherri Shepherd as Miranda Charles
  • Eric Idle as Ian Maxtone-Graham

ProductionEdit

Original pilotEdit

In the show's original pilot (which was written by Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore) was based on a dramatic script by Clyde Phillips.

Susan worked at a publishing house editing children's books. After breaking up with her live-in boyfriend Ted (Brian McNamara), Susan finds herself "single" for the first time in years.

Concurrently, Susan faces even greater challenges at work when her boss, Eric (Philip Casnoff), assigns her the task of working as an editor with Charlotte (Elizabeth Ashley), a hugely successful and highly opinionated romance novelist.

Always on hand to provide support is Susan's grandmother, Nana (Nancy Marchand), her co-workers, acerbic best friend Marcy (Maggie Wheeler) and Neil (David Krumholtz), who has a crush on Susan.

When the series was picked up by Syndication, Brian McNamara's "Ted" character did not return, though McNamara did later play the part of Cooper Elliot, who took Susan to Italy at the end of season one.

Other changes between the pilot episode and the series were Barbara Barrie replacing Nancy Marchand in the role of Nana, while Swoosie Kurtz and Ray Baker replaced Kurt Fuller and Caroline McWilliams as Susan's parents, Bill and Liz.

In the series, though the setting switches from a publishing house to a magazine, the main office set retained most of its features from the pilot; the most noticeable difference was that the elevator was to the right.

While the pilot's storyline featuring Elizabeth Ashley as one of the publishing house's clients was not used in the series, a cardboard cut out of Ashley that was featured in the pilot appears throughout the first three seasons of the show; it can be seen briefly behind Susan's desk, near the filing cabinets along the back wall.

The actual location for the exterior shots of the office was the Newhall Building at 260 California Street in San Francisco.

The death of David StricklandEdit

David Strickland committed suicide in a Las Vegas hotel room on March 22, 1999. Strickland's death was later incorporated into the show's third-season finale, which killed off his character, Todd Stities.

Todd has gone missing, and throughout the episode, Susan desperately tries to find him. As the episode progresses, she learns about a number of good deeds that Todd had done around his neighborhood that she never knew about.

Out-of-character interviews with the supporting cast also appear throughout the episode, with each actor sharing their personal experiences that they had with Strickland before his death.

As the episode comes to an end, Todd's favorite song, "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim, plays outside in the street as Susan and her co-workers sit in a circle praying for Todd's well-being. At last, the phone in the middle of the room rings, but the camera cuts away before the news of Todd's fate can be revealed.

The episode ends with an archive video footage of Strickland and its titles: "The Gods of comedy looked down upon you and smiled."

Final Season\CancellationEdit

At the beginning of the fourth and final season, Judd Nelson & Andrea Bendewald left the show.

Series developers and executive producers Steven Peterman & Gary Dontzig also left the series, and the show replaced almost its entire writing staff (with the exception of new co-showrunner Maria Semple, who joined the series the previous season).

The Gate was transformed into a men's magazine by its new owner, Ian Maxtone-Graham and relocated from its trendy uptown offices overlooking the bay to a dingy former warehouse in Chinatown.

In tow, Ian brought his own team of workers, including executive assistant and U.S. Navy veteran Miranda Charles, sports writer Nate Knaborski and freelance photographer Oliver Browne. Faced with new challenges, Susan suddenly had to prove herself all over again.

Airing between "Seinfeld" and "ER" during its first season, "Suddenly Susan" was a ratings success, attracting almost 25 million viewers per episode, despite mostly unfavorable critical reviews.

When the show was moved to Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. (against the Top 30 hit "Cosby") in the second season, the show experienced a large ratings fall, sliding from #3 to #71 in one year, bringing in less than 11 million viewers.

The ratings failed to bounce back, and in its final season, "Suddenly Susan" barely ranked in the top 100, prompting Syndication to pull it from the prime-time lineup with four episodes left unaired in June of 2000; this final quartet of shows were burned off from 2:00 to 4:00 am (EST) on December 26, 2000, where they aired during the "Syndication All Night" block.

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