Christy (TV series)

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Christy Complete Series.jpg
Created byCatherine Marshall (author of novel)
StarringKellie Martin
Tyne Daly
Randall Batinkoff
Stewart Finlay-McLennan
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes21
3 Television movies (list of episodes)
Running time45–48 minutes
Production companiesThe Rosenzweig Company
MTM Enterprises
DistributorInternational Family Entertainment
Original networkCBS
Original releaseApril 3, 1994 (1994-04-03) –
August 2, 1995 (1995-08-02)

Christy is an American period drama series which aired on CBS from April 1994 to August 1995, for twenty episodes.[1][2]

Christy was based on the 1967 novel Christy by Catherine Marshall, the widow of Senate chaplain Peter Marshall. Inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, the novel had been a bestseller in 1968, and the week following the debut of the TV-movie and program saw the novel jump from #120 up to #15 on the USA Today bestseller list.[3] Series regular Tyne Daly won an Emmy Award for her work on the series.


Storyline and characters[edit]

The show starred Kellie Martin as Christy Huddleston, a new teacher arriving to the fictional Appalachian village of Cutter Gap, Tennessee, in 1912. The villagers have old-fashioned ways. For example, they maintain rules and vengeances similar to the Highland clans of old Scotland. They also have a strong belief in folk medicine. At the same time many of their ways are portrayed in an idealized fashion as well. The show emphasized their culture by making Christy, and most of the main cast, outsiders in one fashion or the other. These "outsiders" included a minister, David Grantland (played by Randall Batinkoff); and Quaker missionary woman Alice Henderson, played by Tyne Daly. The television show maintained the book's romance novel element by showing Christy drawn both to the minister and the doctor.

The show's last episode was a cliffhanger concerning Christy's fate in the town and with the two rival male love interests. Later TV movies resolved the love triangle according to the ending of the novel.[4]

Christy was developed for television by Emmy Award-winning writer Patricia Green.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

The show received mixed reviews from critics. Writing for the Washington Post, Tom Shales said: “It is earnest, well intentioned, based on a beloved book by Catherine Marshall, handsomely photographed, wholesome as a tea cozy, cute as a kitten and almost unspeakably humdrum.” He criticized the performances of Martin and Batinkoff.[5]

John J. O’Connor of the New York Times was more positive. “This is an impressive production,” he wrote. “The cast is generally quite good; Ms. Martin is extraordinary, making Christy's fresh-faced innocence utterly captivating on these beautiful and sometimes dangerous mountains.”[6] Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called it “highly appealing” and “too nice to pick apart.”[7]

The series developed a loyal following among readers of the novel and families. It was an initial ratings success, with the pilot episode placing fifth in the weekly Nielsen ratings and inspiring hundreds of letters to CBS from grateful viewers.[8] But it later faltered, as it came on in a period of two years where CBS lost strong affiliates to Fox due to NFL football rights and issues with CBS that had built up years before. Episodes were also expensive to produce, with each installment costing $1.2 million despite generating advertising revenues of only $900,000, in part because it performed poorly among young urban viewers most highly sought by advertisers.[9] The series was cancelled by the network to make way for an attempt to program for younger audiences, but the show's fanbase remained strong despite the cancellation.[10]


Season 1: 1994[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Pilot"TBATBAApril 3, 1994 (1994-04-03)
33"Lost and Found"TBATBAApril 7, 1994 (1994-04-07)
44"Both Your Houses"TBATBAApril 14, 1994 (1994-04-14)
55"A Closer Walk"TBATBAApril 21, 1994 (1994-04-21)
66"Judgment Day"Michael Ray RhodesTom BlomquistApril 28, 1994 (1994-04-28)
77"Eye of the Storm"Michael Ray RhodesPamela K. Long & Patricia GreenMay 5, 1994 (1994-05-05)
88"Amazing Grace"TBATBAMay 5, 1994 (1994-05-05)

Season 2: 1994–95[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"The Sweetest Gift"TBATBANovember 24, 1994 (1994-11-24)
113"To Have and to Hold"TBATBAApril 15, 1995 (1995-04-15)
124"The Hunt"Michael Ray RhodesPamela K. LongApril 22, 1995 (1995-04-22)
135"A Man's Reach"TBATBAApril 26, 1995 (1995-04-26)
146"Secret Story"TBATBAJune 14, 1995 (1995-06-14)
157"Echoes"TBATBAJune 21, 1995 (1995-06-21)
168"The Lie"TBATBAJune 28, 1995 (1995-06-28)
179"Green Apples"TBATBAJuly 5, 1995 (1995-07-05)
1810"The Hostage"TBATBAJuly 12, 1995 (1995-07-12)
1911"Babe in the Woods"TBATBAJuly 19, 1995 (1995-07-19)
2012"Second Sight"Gene ReynoldsKathryn FordJuly 26, 1995 (1995-07-26)
2113"The Road Home"Michael Ray RhodesPamela K. LongAugust 2, 1995 (1995-08-02)

Television movies[edit]

In 2000, the family-friendly network Pax TV produced three made-for-television movies based on unresolved stories from the novel and original CBS series in response to demand from loyal fans, though Kellie Martin did not return as Christy, with Lauren Lee Smith taking over the role. On November 19, 2000, Pax aired Christy: The Movie. The second and third films aired in 2001 as a two part mini-series entitled Christy, Choices of the Heart, with Part 1 entitled Christy: A Change of Seasons and airing on May 13, 2001, and Part 2 entitled Christy: A New Beginning and airing on May 14, 2001. Stewart Finlay-McLennan (who played Doctor MacNeill), Bruce McKinnon (Jeb Spencer), Mike Hickman (Birds-Eye Taylor), Andy Stahl (Tom McHone), and Dale Dickey (Opal McHone) were the only original TV-series cast members to appear in the telefilms.

The Christy movies were developed for television by executive producer Tom Blomquist, who served as supervising producer of the original CBS series.


The show began airing on Gospel Music Channel in June 2009, with a later migration to INSP.

Home media[edit]

20th Century Fox released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on March 20, 2007.


An annual festival, called "ChristyFest," dedicated to Christy, the novel, television series and movies, was held in Townsend, Tennessee, also home to a private, non-profit museum called Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. Taking place during summer, it was a gathering of those dedicated to the preservation of "Christy" and Southern Appalachian culture.[11][12] Early in 2018 it was announced that the ChristyFest event would never again be held, but that a successor organization called "Christy Friends" would preserve its spirit.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "One Week Out: Events coming next weekend," The Daily Times (Maryville, TN), June 13, 2008, Weekend section: "Although Cutter Gap does not exist, it is widely believed that Marshall based the village on the real community of Morgan Branch in nearby Cocke County. Townsend served as Cutter Gap for the popular CBS television series 'Christy' in the mid-1990s."
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "USA Today best-selling books," USA Today, April 14, 1994, page 4D.
  4. ^ Karen Pierce. "Who will the lucky husband be? 'Christy' insiders keep mum on subject," The Daily Times (Maryville, TN), November 17, 2000 (no page number).
  5. ^ Shales, Tom (April 2, 1994). "TV Preview". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  6. ^ O'Connor, John J. (1994-04-07). "Review/Television; Settling In Amid Appalachia's Trials". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  7. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1994-04-02). "TV REVIEWS : 'Christy's' Pioneering Spirit Enriches a Homespun Tale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  8. ^ Cerone, Daniel (1994-04-06). "TV Ratings : CBS Chalks Up a Winner in 'Christy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  9. ^ Kennedy, John W. (November 14, 1994). "Last Chance for Television's Christy". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ "Religious/Inspirational | Read North Carolina Novels".
  12. ^ "Christy and Leonora: City Girl, Country Gal". 3 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Christy Friends". Retrieved 16 December 2021.

External links[edit]