Coupling (U.S. TV series)

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Also known as Coupling U.S.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Steven Moffat
Developed by Phoef Sutton
Written by
Directed by Andrew D. Weyman
Opening theme "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"
Composer(s) Ralph Schuckett
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 11 (7 unaired) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael E. Stokes
  • Liz Astrof
  • Paul Corrigan
  • Brad Walsh
  • Robert Peacock
  • Joe Bella
  • Danny White
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Reveille Productions
NBC Studios
Universal Television
Original network NBC
Original release September 25 (2003-09-25) – October 23, 2003 (2003-10-23)
Related shows Coupling (UK)
Joking Apart

Coupling is a 2003 American remake of the British television sitcom of the same title, which aired on NBC.


By 2003, three series of Coupling had been broadcast on BBC Two, all written by the show's creator, Steven Moffat. The show was loosely based on the beginnings of Moffat's real-life relationship with Sue Vertue.[1]

NBC commissioned a remake of the show for the American market, reportedly as a replacement for Friends, which was nearing the end of its run.[2] Moffat and original producers from Hartswood Films, Sue and Beryl Vertue, served as executive producers on the NBC adaptation, alongside Phoef Sutton and Ben Silverman.[3]

Unlike most adaptations, the NBC adaptation would reuse Moffat's original scripts, although these were adapted by Sutton and were shortened to comply with the reduced running time (NBC has multiple advertisement breaks compared to the original broadcaster, BBC Two, which has none).[4] Other writers, such as Danny Zuker and Paul Corrigan worked on episodes later in the series.

The original unaired pilot starred Breckin Meyer as Jeff, Melissa George as Susan and Emily Rutherfurd as Sally. NBC then fired the writers and replaced Meyer, George and Rutherford with Christopher Moynihan, Rena Sofer and Sonya Walger, respectively.[5][6] George later commented that she "dodged a bullet" by being replaced before the show aired.[7]

Thirteen episodes were commissioned. However, due to poor critical reception, NBC announced the show's cancellation on October 31, after only four episodes had been broadcast. The final three planned episodes were not filmed, with the remaining six episodes unbroadcast.[3]


It failed to perform in the ratings and was canceled before the November sweeps, with six episodes remaining unaired despite heavy publicity by the network.[3] It was immediately panned as a poor imitation of the original UK series by viewers and critics. BBC America even ran commercials noting that they would play the original British versions on their station just after the American equivalent episodes on NBC aired, so that viewers could see instantly just how superior the original was. Miscasting and stilted delivery of a nearly identical script were believed to be the reasons for the failure, though creator Moffat blamed the show's failure on NBC's intervention during the creative and production processes. In 2007, he said: "The network f--ked it up because they intervened endlessly."[8]

The American adaptation came at a time when NBC was having success with remakes of BBC shows, such as The Weakest Link and Dog Eat Dog. NBC would find success in 2005 with a remake of another BBC series, The Office, which aired for nine seasons.

Because of what was deemed to be indecent content, two affiliates of NBC refused to air the program; KSL-TV (Channel 5) in Salt Lake City, and WNDU-TV (Channel 16) in South Bend, Indiana. Both stations were owned by religious organizations, as KSL is owned by the Bonneville International division of the LDS Church, while WNDU was at the time owned by a subsidiary of The University of Notre Dame. In those markets, WB affiliate KUWB (Channel 30) and a UPN digital subchannel of CBS affiliate WSBT-TV (Channel 22), respectively, aired the series after their network's primetime lineups.

Jeff Zucker, former President and CEO of NBCUniversal, later said of Coupling that it "just sucked".[9]



Ep#[10] Production
Original airdate[10] Episode title[10] Written by Based on UK episode
0 Unknown Unaired "Pilot" Steven Moffat "Inferno"
1 101 September 25, 2003 "The Right One" Steven Moffat "Flushed"
2 102 October 2, 2003 "Size Matters" Steven Moffat "Size Matters"
3 103 October 9, 2003 "Sex, Death & Nudity" Steven Moffat "Sex, Death & Nudity"
4 106 October 23, 2003 "Check/Mate" Danny Zuker
5 104 Unaired "Present Tense" Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh
6 105 Unaired "A Foreign Affair" Phoef Sutton & Steven Moffat "The Girl with Two Breasts"
7 107 Unaired "Nipple Effect" J.J. Philbin
8 108 Unaired "Dressed" Steven Moffat & Phoef Sutton "Dressed"
9 109 Unaired "Object Lessons" Liz Astrof
10 110 Unaired "Holiday" Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh


  1. ^ Sternbergh, Adam (2003-09-07). "Selling Your Sex Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  2. ^ BIANCULLI, David (17 January 2003). "WITH THIS SIX, YOU GET SEX Brit gang back for fun & frolic". Daily News. New York. p. 126. 
  3. ^ a b c Griffin 2008, p. 51
  4. ^ Griffin 2008, p. 53
  5. ^ "Coupling: Season 1, Episode 0 Original Pilot (2003)". 
  6. ^ "Coupling (2003– ) Full Cast & Crew". 
  7. ^ "The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Melissa George (Cinemax's "Hunted")". Bullz-Eye. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Sodano, Todd Michael (2008). "All the Pieces Matter: A Critical Analysis of HBO's "The Wire"". proQuest/Syracuse University. ISBN 0549998896. 
  9. ^ Crupi, Anthony (June 14, 2011). "Mormon Station Refuses NBC's 'The Playboy Club': Second time church-owned affiliate dumps a series". Adweek. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d Archived 2008-03-02 at the Wayback Machine.


  • Griffin, Jeffrey (2008). "Coupling Crosses the Atlantic: A Case Study in the Format Adaptation of a Fictional Series". Warsaw Journal for the Study of the United States. 24. 

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