Living Single is an American television sitcom that aired for five seasons on the Fox network from August 22, 1993 to January 1, 1998. The show centered on the lives of six friends who share personal and professional experiences while living in a Brooklyn brownstone.
First season DVD cover
|Created by||Yvette Lee Bowser|
|Opening theme||"We Are Living Single", written and performed by Queen Latifah|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||118 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Yvette Lee Bowser (entire run)|
Roger S.H. Schulman
|Production location(s)||Warner Bros. Studios,|
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||SisterLee Productions|
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||August 22, 1993 –|
January 1, 1998
Throughout its run, Living Single became one of the most popular African-American sitcoms of its era, ranking among the top five in African-American ratings in all five seasons. The series was produced by Yvette Lee Bowser's company, Sister Lee, in association with Warner Bros. Television. In contrast to the popularity of NBC's "Must See TV"—first on Sunday nights and then later on Thursday nights in the 1990s—many African-American and Latino viewers flocked to Fox. For the 1993–94 season, Living Single aired on Sunday nights between Martin and Married... with Children, and then on Thursday nights from 1994 to 1998. The original title for the show was "My Girls".
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||27||August 22, 1993||May 15, 1994||#56||9.3|
|2||27||September 1, 1994||May 18, 1995||#84||8.7|
|3||27||August 31, 1995||May 9, 1996||#111||6.5|
|4||24||August 29, 1996||May 8, 1997||#104||6.2|
|5||13||September 11, 1997||January 1, 1998||#117||7.0|
Living Single centered on six people consisting of four women and two men living the single life in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.
The series focused on two different households in one brownstone, one shared by a trio of independent women and another shared by a pair of male friends who have known each other since they spent their youth in Cleveland, Ohio. In the first apartment, Khadijah James (Queen Latifah), a hard-working editor and publisher of the fictional urban independent monthly Flavor, lived with her sweet, but naive cousin, Synclaire James (Kim Coles), an aspiring actress who worked as Khadijah's receptionist and has an affinity for Troll dolls; and her childhood friend from East Orange, New Jersey, Regina "Régine" Hunter (Kim Fields), an image-conscious, boutique buyer who was in a constant search for a well-to-do man to spend her life with (and spend his money). Later in the series, Régine became a costume assistant for the soap opera Palo Alto. When the show was canceled, she became a wedding planner and left the apartment to move in with her fiancé, Dexter Knight (Don Franklin). Maxine "Max" Shaw (Erika Alexander), a sharp-tongued attorney and Khadijah's best friend from their college days at Howard University, frequently stopped by to share her unique insights, keep them entertained by sharing her day, to make sure that the girls' refrigerator isn't overstocked, and to start trouble with Kyle, looking for any chance to make his life worse.
Kyle Barker (T.C. Carson) lived in the second apartment with Overton Wakefield Jones (John Henton). Kyle was a stockbroker whose constant verbal sparring with Max did little to mask their obvious sexual attraction. Overton was the friendly, but country, maintenance man for the owner of their (and neighboring) building who held deep affection for Synclaire and plenty of hilarious homespun wisdom for everyone else. Kyle and Max ended up pursuing a sexual relationship, but when he decided to take a job in London and invited Max to join him, she turned him down. Maxine subsequently became distraught over her decision and, after defending a man who claims to be the second coming of Jesus (Harold Perrineau), she began to seriously look for the purpose of her life. Through a series of events, Max decided that her purpose must be to become a mother and during the insemination process unknowingly picked Kyle's sperm specimen based on a list of qualities she would like for her child to have. Kyle returned in the series finale and the two reconciled. Overton and Synclaire also got together and their relationship culminated in marriage by the end of the fourth season. In season five, they moved in together, leaving Overton and Kyle's apartment open for new character Roni DeSantos (Idalis DeLeon), a New York-area D.J., to move in. It was eventually revealed that DeSantos had a fling with Ira Lee "Tripp" Williams III, (Mel Jackson), the new roommate of Khadijah and Régine who moved in when Synclaire's room became available. Tripp was a songwriter. Synclaire joined a comedy improv troupe where she gained the attention of Tony Jonas, a Warner Bros. television exec who cast her as a nun for a new comedy series he was developing.
Along with trying to make Flavor a success, Khadijah also spent time looking for Mr. Right. She eventually found him in childhood friend Scooter (Cress Williams) with whom she left the brownstone for the final time in the series finale.
Cast and characters
- Queen Latifah – Khadijah James, editor and publisher of Flavor Magazine, an independent magazine devoted to the interests of the urban community.
- Kim Coles – Synclaire James-Jones, Khadijah's good-natured cousin and roommate; receptionist at Flavor and aspiring actress.
- Erika Alexander – Maxine "Max" Felice Shaw, strong-willed attorney and Khadijah's best friend from college; spends much of her time at the girls' apartment.
- John Henton – Overton "Obie" Wakefield Jones, Kyle's roommate and the brownstone's handyman; Synclaire's sweetheart.
- Kim Fields (credited as Kim Fields-Freeman) – Regina "Regine" Hunter (Episodes 1–115), Khadijah and Synclaire's gossip-loving roommate; Khadijah's childhood friend.
- T.C. Carson – Kyle Barker (Episodes 1–107; guest appearance in episode 118), Overton's roommate and stockbroker; Max's verbal sparring partner and on-again, off-again love interest.
- Mel Jackson – Ira Lee "Tripp" Williams (Season 5), Khadijah and Regine's new roommate; aspiring songwriter.
- Cress Williams — Terrence "Scooter" Williams, Khadijah's childhood friend and love interest
- Richard Lyons — Michael Janson (Season 1–2), Max's "old stand-by."
- Shaun Baker — Russell Montego, Jamaican-born music editor at Flavor
- Bobby Hosea — Lawrence (Season 1–3), Kyle's rival at the brokerage
- Chip Fields — Laverne Hunter, Regine's mother
- Rita Owens — Rita James (Season 1–4), Khadijah's mother
- Heavy D — Darryl (Season 2–4), Regine's friend
- Steven Gilborn — Jeffrey Higgins (Season 2–4), Kyle's boss
- Bumper Robinson — Ivan Ennis (Season 3–4), college-age messenger turned Flavor copy aide; infatuated with Khadijah; a journalism major at New York University.
- J. Anthony Brown — Tibby Jones (Season 3–4), Overton's favorite uncle
- Khalil Kain — Keith (Season 3–4), Regine's boyfriend and artist
- Dorien Wilson — Rev. Leslie Taylor (Season 3–4), pastor at the group's church
- Isaiah Washington — Dr. Charles Roberts (Season 4), Khadijah's anesthesiologist and boyfriend
- Denise Nicholas — Lilah James (Season 4), Synclaire's mother
- Ron O'Neal — Clinton James (Season 4), Synclaire's father
- Antonio Fargas — Otis Jones (Season 4), Overton's father
- Gladys Knight — Odelle Jones (Season 4), Overton's mother
- Michael Warren — Ed James (Season 4), Khadijah's estranged father
- Idalis DeLeon — Roni De Santos (Season 5), popular New York City deejay and Tripp's love interest
- Cylk Cozart - Brad Hamilton, Regine's boyfriend who turned out to be married (Season 1, Episode 1)
- Freda Payne - Miss Harper (Season 1, Episode 2)
- Thomas Mikal Ford - Michael Edwards, Synclaire's date (Season 1, Episode 3)
- Jeffrey D. Sams - Greg, Maxine's ex-boyfriend (Season 1, Episode 4)
- Miguel A. Nunez - Goldie (Season 1, Episode 6)
- Isabel Sanford - Eunetta Ryan, Synclaire's replacement at Flavor (Season, Episode 10)
- Ed McMahon as himself
- Flip Wilson as himself
- Nia Long - Stacey Evans, photographer for Flavor and Kyle's date (Season 1, Episode 13)
- Terrence Howard - Brendan King, Maxine's college-aged boyfriend (Season 1, Episode 17)
- Cree Summer - Summer, Overton's date (Season 1, Episode 18)
- Morris Chestnut - Hamilton Brown, the girls' new neighbor in the brownstone (Season 1, Episode 18)
- Michael Jai White - Steve (Season 1, Episode 20)
- Charnele Brown - Jackie, Khadijah's college friend (Season 1, Episode 21)
- Adam Lazarre-White - Alonzo Ford, Khadijah's schoolteacher boyfriend (Season 1, Episode 24)
- Mark Curry - Tony Ross, Regine's boyfriend, a standup comedian (Season 1, Episode 25)
Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Living Single on DVD in Region 1 on February 14, 2006. The entire series is also available for digital download on Amazon.com and the iTunes Store.
|DVD name||Episodes||Region 1|
|The Complete First Season||27||February 14, 2006|
|The Complete Second Season||27||September 19, 2017|
|The Complete Third Season||27||November 21, 2017|
|The Complete Fourth Season||24||March 20, 2018|
|The Complete Fifth Season||13||June 05, 2018|
- Half & Half: Erika Alexander and T.C. Carson reprised their roles of Maxine Shaw and Kyle Barker on the UPN sitcom, Half & Half (a series produced by Living Single creator Yvette Lee Bowser). In the episode ("The Big Performance Anxiety Episode", third season), ambitious law student Dee Dee learns that her mother's co-star in a play is engaged to Maxine, Dee Dee's idol. However, her mother gets Maxine's beau, Kyle, fired because she fears he will take attention away from her. The episode also revealed that Maxine and Kyle remained a couple and were the proud parents of their seven-year-old daughter named Kyla.
- The Crew: In one episode "The Mating Season" of the short-lived Fox sitcom The Crew, Regine becomes a passenger on a flight and argues with a sassy stewardess in hopes of upgrading to first class. On another episode, "The Worst Noel", Synclaire also becomes a passenger. The episode served as a bridge for The Crew and its lead-in show, Living Single.
Living Single started reruns in syndication on September 22, 1997. Reruns of the series currently run daily on BET, TV One, MTV2, and Bounce TV and VH1. As of January 11, 2018, all episodes began streaming on Hulu.
An hour-long retrospective special, Living Single: The Reunion Show, aired on TV One on September 22, 2008. Coles, Henton, Fields, Carson and Alexander reunited to share fond memories with the fans. Queen Latifah and Mel Jackson were unavailable to participate. The special featured clips and revealing secrets of the cast from the show's five-year run.
From August 24–26, 2018, TV One aired a weekend marathon of "Living Single" to highlight the 25th anniversary of the show. Coles, Henton, Fields, and Carson reunited once again to share memories with the fans, to share their thoughts on the characters they portrayed, and provided a tribute to Rita Owens (Queen Latifah's real-life and TV mother), who had passed in early 2018. Queen Latifah, Erika Alexander and Mel Jackson were unavailable to participate.
Yvette Lee Bowser, show creator's, initial goal was to create a show about her and her friends that changed the portrayal of young Black people on television. Her overall goal was to portray Black characters in a positive and less sterotypical light. She also noted that the women represented on Living Single are four different sides of her, saying in an interview that "I've been as ditsy as Synclaire, as superficial as Regine, as bitter as Max and as focused and driven as Khadijah."
Living Single remained one of the highest-rated program among Black audiences during its run from 1993-1998. However, the show had struggled to break into lists of top telvision programs that were viewed by larger White audiences. Those who loved and watched the show regularly have told show creator, Yvette Lee Bowser that they connect with the chracters of the show, love the cast, and are inspired by the positive, elegant, and professional portrayal of Black people on television. Bowser noting that, "People say our characters remind them of themselves, their friends or their relatives. They all know someone like one of the characters."
Awards and nominations
|1998||Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Erika Alexander||Won|
|Outstanding Comedy Series||Won|
|Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Queen Latifah||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Kim Coles||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||T.C. Carson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||John Henton||Nominated|
In 1995 and 1996, Living Single was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Comedy Series (Bryan Hays).
- "Complete TV Ratings 1994-1995". fbibler.chez.com.
- "Complete TV Ratings 1995-1996". fbibler.chez.com.
- "Final Ratings for '97-'98 TV Season".
- Living Single - HOORAY! Warner Archive Announces 'The Complete 2nd Season' 3-disc MOD set will finally be available in mid-Septembers Archived 2017-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
- Living Single - Warner Archive Announces DVDs for 'The Complete 3rd Season' MOD release is available online during the second half of November Archived 2017-10-21 at the Wayback Machine.
- Living Single - The Next-to-Last Season, 'The Complete 4th Season,' is Now Scheduled! MOD title will be available online in March from Amazon/CreateSpace and the WBshop!.
- "Living Single: The Complete Fifth Season". 6 June 2018 – via Amazon.
- Peoples, Betsy (1996). "A Serious Sitcom Success". Emerge. 7 – via Proquest Central.
- Anonymous (1997). "The 9 Lives of 'Living Single'". Ebony Magazine. 53: 94–96 – via Proquest Central.