The 9 Lives of 'Living Single': Network Reverses Itself and Reschedules Top-Rated Show

Ebony, November 1997 | Go to article overview

The 9 Lives of 'Living Single': Network Reverses Itself and Reschedules Top-Rated Show


THE Fox TV sitcom Living Single is remarkably similar to the proverbial cat that people wrote off as dead time and time again, but which resurfaces and survives to live another day.

A true television oddity, Living Single has consistently been the highest-rated prime-time program with Black viewers. Yet it has never cracked the list of top shows watched by the much larger White audience.

So just when Fox officials thought they were able to kill it off and blame it on low ratings, the show that has confounded observers for much of its four seasons showed that its claws were just sharp enough to scratch its way to at least another half season (13 episodes).

The sitcom, now in its fifth season, was quietly dropped by the fledgling network only to be resurrected at the last minute in August when loyal fans waged a vigorous, unprecedented letter-writing campaign to keep the characters they'd come to love for four years as part of their weekly entertainment.

Living Single revolves around the humorous antics of four professional Black women in New York City and their two male friends. From the beginning, three of the women--Khadijah (Queen Latifah), Regine (Kim Fields Freeman) and Synclaire (Kim Coles)--shared a brownstone apartment. Their close friend Max (Erika Alexander) visits their dwelling so often she might as well be the fourth roommate.

John Henton and T.C. Carson portray the two male friends (Overton and Kyle respectively) who also live in the brownstone building and are actively involved in the lives of the women. The characters Synclaire and Overton married during the season finale last spring and now share their own brownstone apartment. For the 1997 season, Mel Jackson joins the cast as the male roommate of Khadijah and Regine. Carson also has a recurring role.

Some television industry observers had questioned the show's long-range potential for success after the first two seasons because, although Black viewership remained high, it did not have much success attracting a White audience. …

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