Laurie Hill (TV series)

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Laurie Hill
Laurie Hill opening title
Created byNeal Marlens
Carol Black
Directed byLinda Day
StarringDeLane Matthews
Robert Clohessy
Eric Lloyd
Ellen DeGeneres
Kurt Fuller
Joseph Maher
Doris Belack
ComposerW.G. Snuffy Walden
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (5 unaired)
Production companiesThe Black/Marlens Company
Touchstone Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 30 (1992-09-30) –
October 28, 1992 (1992-10-28)

Laurie Hill is an American sitcom that ran on ABC from September 30, 1992 until October 28, 1992.[1] It starred DeLane Matthews as Dr. Laurie Hill, a pediatrician who tried balancing her roles as a doctor, wife and a mother to her young son. The series was created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black and produced by Touchstone Television.[2]


Laurie Hill (Matthews) was a pediatrician who partnered in a local neighborhood clinic known as Wiseman, Kramer & Hill. She was as fiercely loyal to her clinic and profession as she was compassionate in all aspects of her life. Constantly on call, Laurie was also on the emergency staff of the large St. John's Hospital, where cases often brought this otherwise low-key and gentle series into more adult territory. Balancing her personal and professional lives was another matter, as Laurie tried her best to make time for her husband Jeff (Robert Clohessy), a freelance writer who worked from home, and to be a pro-active mother to her rambunctious, adorable five-year-old son Leo (Eric Lloyd). Jeff, who was a kid at heart, took Laurie's schedule in stride as he reveled in the joys of being home for Leo. Father and son bonded over televised football games and other forms of manhood, which helped Leo cope with the longing he often felt for his busy mother. However, Jeff would sometimes wish for Laurie to slow down as well, expressing his desire for them to have more children. Laurie was not opposed to the idea, but wasn't sure how it would all work.

Laurie's colleagues at the clinic were truly family as well. She often engaged in silly, but more often witty banter with fellow doctors Spencer Kramer (Kurt Fuller), a neurotic and somewhat vain practitioner who had an aversion to treating children, and Walter Wiseman (Joseph Maher), the senior partner who was considering whether or not to retire. Adding to the office camaraderie were motherly receptionist Beverly Fielder (Doris Belack) and flaky nurse Nancy MacIntyre (Ellen DeGeneres), who became something of soul sisters to Laurie.

Stories alternated between Laurie's personal and professional fronts, and the variety of patients and cases assigned to her. Some of the latter were lighthearted and simplistic; to further add to the comedy/drama aspect of the series, some stories dealt with more serious issues, such as a patient's run-in with domestic violence, and Laurie and Nancy's suspicion that a young boy's low white blood cell count may be the sign of a more serious illness--AIDS—than what was first suspected. Laurie found herself getting emotionally involved with the case of the young boy, as she compared the parents' fears with the concern she would share for son Leo.



Guest stars[edit]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Pilot"UnknownUnknownSeptember 30, 1992 (1992-09-30)
2"Women on the Verge"UnknownUnknownOctober 7, 1992 (1992-10-07)
3"Crush"UnknownUnknownOctober 14, 1992 (1992-10-14)
4"Grasshopper"UnknownUnknownOctober 21, 1992 (1992-10-21)
5"Sick and Tired"UnknownUnknownOctober 28, 1992 (1992-10-28)
6"The Birds, the Bees and the Elephants"TBDTBDUnaired
7"The Heart Thing"TBDTBDUnaired
8"Walter and Beverly"TBDTBDUnaired
9"Much Ado About Nancy"TBDTBDUnaired
10"The Babysitter"TBDTBDUnaired

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Laurie Hill aired Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c,[3] creating bookending of shows from creators Marlens and Black[4] for that evening's comedy lineup. The Wonder Years, which Marlens and Black also created/produced,[5] kicked off the Wednesday night schedule. Set to air in the coveted time slot[6] after sophomore hit series Home Improvement (which had moved into the Wednesday 9/8c slot just prior to that season's start), and given its creative lineage, Laurie Hill was expected to be successful. However, when Marlens and Black appeared on a press tour for the series in the summer of 1992, the first questions asked by those who had screened the pilot concerned whether or not they were serious about airing the program. This reception eventually lead to reviews that cited the series as being uninspired, sorely lacking and not living up to the innovative Wonder Years.

Originally slated to have a mid-September preview telecast in the Tuesday 9:30/8:30 slot (after Roseanne), Laurie Hill was denied a special preview in the eleventh hour, and had its proper debut moved up to September 30,[7] in its regular time slot. It also became the last of ABC's new fall series to premiere. The pilot episode ranked a respectable 38th place[8] in the Nielsens when it finally aired, but it lost a lot of the audience from Home Improvement,[9] the #4 program that week and its lead-in. ABC canceled[10][11] Laurie Hill after the fifth episode's airing on October 28, 1992,[12] leaving five remaining episodes unaired.[13]

After cancellation[edit]

From the show's premiere, Ellen DeGeneres was critically praised for her performance as Nancy MacIntyre. In the September 30, 1992 edition of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, columnist Tom Jicha explained in his review of the series, "The only comic relief comes from Ellen DeGeneres as Laurie's assistant. It's a brief – almost cameo – appearance,[14] but it's sufficient to raise speculation she would make a more enjoyable character in her own program."[15]

Months after the cancellation of Laurie Hill, Marlens and Black, together with partner David Rosenthal, received a new development deal with ABC, which resulted in the sitcom pilot entitled These Friends of Mine. Marlens and Black had enjoyed working with DeGeneres on Laurie Hill, and cast her as one of the four leads in their new comedy project. These Friends of Mine aired as a midseason replacement series beginning in March 1994, with DeGeneres again being a breakout talent among the cast. The series would be subsequently revamped to emphasize DeGeneres as the principal lead, and continued more familiarly thereafter as Ellen, running until 1998.


  1. ^ Cotter, Bill (1997). The Wonderful World of Disney Television. Hyperion Books. p. 434. ISBN 0-7868-6359-5.
  2. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 665. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  3. ^ Rosenbluth, Jean (September 30, 1992). Variety TV REV 1991-92 17. ISBN 9780824037963.
  4. ^ Tracy, Kathleen (25 February 2005). Ellen: The Real Story of Ellen Degeneres. p. 102. ISBN 9780786017508.
  5. ^ Irvin, Robert (2016). Forgotten Laughs: An Episode Guide to 150 TV Sitcoms You Probably Never Saw.
  6. ^ Voorhees, John (September 28, 1992). "'Child Of Rage' Boasts All The Elements Of Believability". The Seattle Times.
  7. ^ Zurawik, David (September 30, 1992). "'Laurie Hill' is a bit too selfless to be believable". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2021-06-20.
  8. ^ "These 12 sitcoms of the 1990s were brief hits but only lasted a year". MeTV. May 15, 2017.
  9. ^ King, Susan (January 6, 1995). "PRESSURES OF SUCCESSFUL TV SHOW DRIVES ACTRESS". Greensboro News & Record.
  10. ^ Sharkey, Betsy (January 10, 1993). "TELEVISION; The Short Life and Unhappy Death of 'Laurie Hill'". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Shales, Tom (October 23, 1992). "'LAURIE HILL' CUT". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ "October 28, 1992: Wednesday". TV Tango.
  13. ^ Kurland, Daniel (November 12, 2018). "20 Best (And 10 Worst) Forgotten '90s Sitcoms, Officially Ranked". ScreenRant.
  14. ^ O'Dell, Cary. "Awful 1990s TV shows!". TVparty!.
  15. ^ Jicha, Tom (September 30, 1992). "After 'Wonder Years', It's All Down 'hill'". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2018-08-20.

External links[edit]