Julia (TV series)

Julia is an American sitcom. It is notable for being the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. Previous television series featured African American lead characters, but the characters were usually servants. The show starred actress and singer Diahann Carroll, and ran for 86 episodes on NBC from September 17, 1968, to March 23, 1971. The series was produced by Savannah Productions, Inc., Hanncarr Productions, Inc., and 20th Century-Fox Television.

Diahann Carroll, Lloyd Nolan, and Marc Copage.
Created byHal Kanter
Directed byDon Ameche
Luther James
Fletcher Markle
Coby Ruskin
Barry Shear
Ezra Stone
Bernard Wiesen
Hollingsworth Morse
StarringDiahann Carroll
Lloyd Nolan
Marc Copage
Michael Link
Betty Beaird
Lurene Tuttle
Theme music composerElmer Bernstein
Composer(s)Jeff Alexander
Elmer Bernstein
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes86 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Hal Kanter
Producer(s)Hal Kanter
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time24 mins.
Production company(s)Hanncarr Productions
Savannah Productions
20th Century-Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1968 (1968-09-17) 
March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23)

During pre-production, the proposed series title was Mama's Man.[1] The series was among the few situation comedies in the late 1960s that did not use a laugh track; however, 20th Century-Fox Television added one when the series was reissued for syndication and cable rebroadcasts in the late 1980s.

Julia was among the first acquisitions made by ASPiRE for its inaugural season in 2012.[2]


In Julia, Carroll played widowed single mother, Julia Baker (her husband, Army Capt. Baker, an O-1 Bird Dog artillery spotter pilot had been shot down in Vietnam), who was a nurse in a doctor's office at a large aerospace company. The doctor, Morton Chegley, was played by Lloyd Nolan, and Julia's romantic interests by Paul Winfield and Fred Williamson. Julia's son, Corey (Marc Copage) was approximately six to nine years old during the series run. He had barely known his father before he died. Corey's best friend was Earl J. Waggedorn, whom Corey almost always addressed and referred to precisely by his full name, though other characters (particularly his mother) would refer to him simply as Earl. The Waggedorns lived downstairs in the same apartment building, with father Len (Hank Brandt), mother Marie (Betty Beaird), and two sons, Earl and an infant.

The first two seasons included Nurse Hannah Yarby (Lurene Tuttle), who left to be married at the beginning of the third season, just as the clinic's manager, Brockmeyer, ordered downsizing — and removal of minorities from employment. (Chegley let Yarby go but kept Julia in defiance of the manager's edict. She was also kept after Chegley reminded Brockmeyer that such a move was a violation of the Civil Rights Act, which was just five years old at that point.) The second and third season included Richard (Richard Steele), a boy some one or two years older than Corey. Chegley's uncle, Dr. Norton Chegley (also played by Lloyd Nolan), made three appearances.



Though Julia is now remembered as being groundbreaking, during its run, it was derided by critics for being apolitical and unrealistic. Diahann Carroll remarked in 1968: "At the moment we're presenting the white Negro. And he has very little Negroness."[3] The Saturday Review's Robert Lewis Shayon wrote that Julia's "plush, suburban setting" was "a far, far cry from the bitter realities of Negro life in the urban ghetto, the pit of America's explosion potential."[4] Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" refers to Julia in the same breath as Bullwinkle, implying that the character was something of a cartoon. Ebony published a somewhat more supportive assessment of the program. "As a slice of Black America, Julia does not explode on the TV screen with the impact of a ghetto riot. It is not that kind of show. Since the networks have had a rash of shows dealing with the nation's racial problems, the light-hearted Julia provides welcome relief, if, indeed, relief is even acceptable in these troubled times."[5] The series also came under criticism from African-American viewers for its depiction of a fatherless Black family (albeit due to the father's death in military service rather than due to paternal abandonment). Excluding a Black male lead, it was argued, "rendered the series safer" and "less likely to grapple with issues that might upset white viewers."[6]

Nielsen ratings

1) 1968–1969#724.6
2) 1969–1970#2820.1
3) 1970–1971Not in the Top 30


Julia was well-rated in the first two seasons but dropped out of the top 30 most-watched shows during season 3. The series was canceled in 1971, reportedly because of Carroll's and series creator and executive producer Hal Kanter's desire to work on other projects.[7] Kanter created and produced The Jimmy Stewart Show for NBC the following season.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1969American Cinema EditorsNominatedBest Edited Television ProgramJohn Ehrin (For episode "Mama's Man")
Emmy AwardOutstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleNed Glass (For episode "A Little Chicken Soup Never Hurt Anybody")
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy SeriesDiahann Carroll; this nomination made Carroll the first African-American woman to earn an Emmy nomination in this category[8]
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy SeriesLloyd Nolan
Outstanding Comedy SeriesHal Kanter
1970Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in ComedyLurene Tuttle
1969Golden Globe AwardBest Television Series
WonBest TV Star – FemaleDiahann Carroll
1970NominatedBest TV Actress – Musical/ComedyDiahann Carroll
2003TV Land AwardsWon Groundbreaking ShowDiahann Carroll


  1. Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 174. ISBN 0-06-096914-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. "Magic Johnson's Multi-Million Dollar Aspire Network Projected To See Great Success". MadameNoire.
  3. Morreale, Joanne; Aniko Bodroghkozy (2003). Critiquing The Sitcom. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 138. ISBN 0-8156-2983-4.
  4. Farber, David R.; Beth L. Bailey (2001). The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 400. ISBN 0-231-11372-2.
  5. Ebony. Diahanne Carroll Stars in Family TV Series. Johnson Publishing Company. November 1968.
  6. Spigel, Lynn; Denise Mann (1992). Private Screenings: Television and the Female Consumer. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. p. 161. ISBN 0-8166-2052-0.
  7. Acham, Christine (2004). Revolution Televised: Prime Time and the Struggle for Black Power. U of Minnesota Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-8166-4431-4.
  8. Kate Stanhope (23 September 2013). "Diahann Carroll on African-American Emmy Nominees: "We're a Little Behind"". TVGuide.com.
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