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Cleghorne! titles.png
Created by
Directed by
ComposerTom Rizzo
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes15 (3 unaired)
Executive producersSteve Pepoon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustaric
ProducersCoral Hawthorne
Adam I. Lapidus
Nancylee Myatt
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companiesPepoon/ Silverman/Sustarsic Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original networkThe WB
Original releaseSeptember 10 (1995-09-10) –
December 17, 1995 (1995-12-17)

Cleghorne! is an American sitcom television series starring comedian Ellen Cleghorne that aired on The WB from September 10 to December 17, 1995. Garrett Morris and Alaina Reed Hall costarred as Ellen's character's parents, Sidney and Lena, with Steve Bean, Cerita Monet Bickelmann, Michael Ralph and Sherri Shepherd.

Among the first batch of original programming ordered by the newly launched WB network, the series was put on hiatus after December 1995 having aired just 12 episodes. The show was later cancelled with three episodes left unaired.


The series focuses on the life of Ellen Carlson (Cleghorne), a single mom who is raising her nine-year-old daughter Akeyla on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Comedic situations arise as Ellen tries to balance raising her daughter, running a local production company in SoHo, and the interference her overbearing parents, Sidney and Lena, who live next door.



  • Ellen Cleghorne as Ellen Carlson, a single mother who runs a struggling television commercial production company
  • Garrett Morris as Sidney Carlson, Ellen's father, a U.S. Post Office letter carrier and part-time building doorman
  • Alaina Reed Hall as Lena Carlson, Ellen's mother, a part-time schoolteacher
  • Steve Bean as Brad, Ellen's partner
  • Cerita Monet Bickelmann as Akeyla Carlson, Ellen's daughter
  • Michael Ralph as Tyrell Livingston, Ellen's ex-husband
  • Sherri Shepherd as Victoria Carlson, Ellen's dim-witted sister who aspires to become a model


  • Cathy Silvers as Coral, a waitress at Piccolo's, the local bar
  • Dorien Wilson as Jeff, a man Ellen dates who is the father of George, a student at Akeyla's private school


Cleghorne was the third black woman to be credited on Saturday Night Live (1991–1995), after Yvonne Hudson and Danitra Vance, and the first woman of color to appear on the series as a full-fledged cast member for longer than a single season.[1] She left to focus on her starring role in her own sitcom, Cleghorne!.[2] In 1995, Cleghorne! was among the first batch of original programming ordered by the newly launched WB network, then run by former Fox executives who had worked on shows like In Living Color, in which Cleghorne had also appeared.[1] The sitcom was also the first time two Saturday Night Live cast members of color (Cleghorne and original SNL cast member Morris) had worked together on a show after appearing on SNL.[1] The series was also the first television acting job for Shepherd,[3] who would later be known for her roles in the sitcoms Less Than Perfect and 30 Rock and as co-host of the ABC talk show The View.[4][5]


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Genesis"September 10, 1995 (1995-09-10)
Ellen reluctantly lets her parents and Victoria move into the apartment next door.
2"Sister of the Bride"September 17, 1995 (1995-09-17)
Facing deportation, Tyrell proposes to Ellen. She says no, but Victoria offers to marry him instead.
3"My Daughter Attends the French School of New York (and Yours Doesn't)"September 24, 1995 (1995-09-24)
Ellen enrolls Akeyla in an exclusive private school.
4"All Grown up and No Place to Go"October 1, 1995 (1995-10-01)
Ellen attends Akeyla's school dance and connects with another parent, Jeff.
5"Adventures in Babysitting"October 8, 1995 (1995-10-08)
Ellen's father will not let Ellen pay her mother babysit Akeyla, but Ellen does not want Lena to do it for free.
6"The Parent Trap"October 15, 1995 (1995-10-15)
Ellen and Tyrell speak at Career Day at Akeyla's school.
7"twenty-ninesomething"October 29, 1995 (1995-10-29)
Ellen learns she is a year older than she thought.
8"Losing Faith"November 5, 1995 (1995-11-05)
After the reverend she has encouraged Ellen to date confesses he is already married, a disillusioned Lena casts aside her religious beliefs and decides to live life in the fast lane for a while.
9"Home Alone"November 12, 1995 (1995-11-12)
With their parents out of town, Victoria feels neglected and clings to Ellen, who urges her to enjoy her independence. The advice backfires when Victoria throws a wild party that ends with a burglary.
10"Girlfriendz"November 19, 1995 (1995-11-19)
Ellen cancels a meeting to tend to a friend who has left her husband, but winds up in a sticky situation when she runs into her client at a restaurant.
11"This Magic Moment"November 26, 1995 (1995-11-26)
Ellen tries to have a night alone with her boyfriend, but the family cannot stay away.
12"Brother from Another Planet"December 17, 1995 (1995-12-17)
Ellen's therapist brother Rob comes home for Sidney and Lena's 35th-anniversary party, but his over-analysis of his parents' relationship causes Sidney to move out.
13"Akeyla Doesn't Live Here Anymore"Unaired
Ellen and Jeff take a ski trip with Akeyla and Jeff's son George, who are not getting along.
14"Money for Nothing and Your Chicken for Free"Unaired
Tyrell opens a restaurant.
15"Sidney's Choice"Unaired
Sidney enlists the family to help him win a bowling tournament.


Cleghorne! debuted on The WB on September 10, 1995, but was put on hiatus in December 1995 having aired just 12 episodes.[2][6] The show was later cancelled with three episodes left unaired.[2][1] Cleghorne later said, "I don't think I was ready. In terms of being strong and saying, 'I can write, this is what I do,' and feel confident in that. And to be able to say, 'No, this does not work, this works better.'"[1]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Cleghorne! has an approval ratings of 40% based on 5 reviews, with an average score of 0.85/10.[7] Slate called Cleghorne! "part of a chapter in television history, a rare moment when black audience demographics were taken seriously by networks and advertisers. Aside from the 1970s, this period [in the 1990s] featured one of the highest concentrations of black scripted programming ever."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hoglund, Andy (December 13, 2018). "How SNL's Ellen Cleghorne Laid the Groundwork for a Generation of Black Comedians". Slate. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Wright, Megh (August 14, 2012). "Saturday Night's Children: Ellen Cleghorne (1991-1995)". Vulture. Archived from the original on July 6, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Grant, Teddy (August 27, 2018). "Sherri Shepherd on Overcoming Fear and if She Would Ever Go Back to The View". Ebony. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (October 1, 2002). "New ABC sitcom is Less Than Perfect". Deseret News. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  5. ^ Montgomery, Katrina (February 7, 2013). "Actress Sherri Shepherd Talks 30 Rock, Plan D, and Her Upcoming Stand-Up Show at Tempe Center for the Arts". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Variety staff (December 17, 1995). "WB Net Revamps Sunday Slate". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Cleghorne! at Rotten Tomatoes

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