Just Shoot Me! is an American sitcom that originally aired on NBC from March 4, 1997 to August 16, 2003 with a total of 148 half-hour episodes spanning over seven seasons. It was created by Steven Levitan, the show's executive producer. The show follows the staff at the fictional fashion magazine Blush.
The show follows the staff at the fictional fashion magazine Blush. The show originally centers on Maya Gallo, played by Laura San Giacomo, a feminist writer, who reluctantly takes a job at the glamour magazine, owned by her father, the Donald Trump-like Jack Gallo played by George Segal (who in the story has a rivalry with Donald Trump). The cast includes womanizing (and usually over-sensitive) photographer Elliot DiMauro (Enrico Colantoni), and the heavy drinking and sexually promiscuous ex-model Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick). After the show's original pilot for NBC, David Spade was added to the cast as smart-mouthed assistant Dennis Finch. While the show had been designed as something of a vehicle for San Giacomo, it developed into more of an ensemble format. The show has also been credited as bringing a surge of renewed popularity for Segal and Malick, who had been out of the public eye for some time up until Just Shoot Me!. Every episode of the 148-episode, seven-season run features all five regular cast members. The first season also includes Chris Hogan as Maya's roommate, Wally, who was dropped when the show quickly solidified as a workplace sitcom, making the Mary-Rhoda dynamic obsolete. Hogan appeared in all six episodes of the first season, but was only included in a few minutes of most episodes. Brian Posehn appears as mail clerk Kevin Liotta (Ray Liotta's cousin) through much of the last four seasons. Rena Sofer, the only regular added during the run of the show, plays young fashion savant Vicki Costa during the final season. Also in the final season, Simon Templeman plays the recurring role of British rock star Simon Leeds, who has a relationship with Nina. Notable actors appearing in a recurring or guest star capacity include Rebecca Romijn (as supermodel Adrienne Barker, Spade's TV wife), Brian Dennehy (as Dennis' father who gets engaged to Nina in an episode), David Cross (as Elliot's younger brother who pretends to be mentally disabled), Rhoda Gemignani, Brooke Shields as Nina's younger sister, Stephen Root, Steve Carell, Tom Kenny, Dana Carvey, Ana Gasteyer, Jim Wise, Tiffani Thiessen, Andy Dick, Gina Gershon, Dave Foley, Ali Larter, Penn Jillette, Kevin Sorbo, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mark Hamill, Valerie Perrine, George Lucas, Amy Sedaris, Kadeem Hardison, Willie Garson, Melissa Rivers, French Stewart, Carmen Electra, Ray Liotta, Snoop Dogg, Judy Greer, Cheri Oteri, and Paul Parducci as Deke "The Dekester" Williams. Models who make guest appearances on the show include Tyra Banks, Stephanie Romanov, Amber Smith, Paige Brooks, Daphne Duplaix, Cassidy Rae, Cheryl Tiegs, and Rebecca Chaney. The show is rooted in Levitan's earlier career as a writer for The Larry Sanders Show. He had once conceived of a story about Janeane Garofalo's character having to sit and talk with a vapid model with whom she had nothing in common. The idea went unproduced, but Levitan liked the dynamic and later used the idea to develop a pitch for NBC. Garofalo's persona would become a template for Maya Gallo.
Early on, the series was a very competitive hit, consistently winning its time slot. The show was so popular that its first season of six episodes were all aired by NBC in a single month in March 1997. It was renewed for a 13-episode second season, fitted at 9:30 after Frasier, and then was moved in the spring to Thursdays between Friends and Seinfeld. After just two of these airings, the order was bumped up to a full season. When Seinfeld left the airwaves in 1998, Just Shoot Me! was one of the contenders to take the coveted 9 p.m. Thursday slot. Frasier instead won the slot, and Just Shoot Me was instead given Frasier's 9 p.m. Tuesday slot. The series main cast, from left to right: Malick, Spade (seated), Segal, San Giacomo, and Colantoni. Just Shoot Me! was never given a definitive time slot during its series run. The show ended up being moved around to various slots on the NBC schedule. It still retained good ratings, though: in its fourth season, it was the top-rated show for NBC Tuesday nights and had an average rating of 6.1/16 share. For the fifth season of the series, when Frasier underperformed in the coveted Thursday slot and NBC returned that show to Tuesdays at 9, Just Shoot Me! was moved to Thursdays at 9:30, between Will & Grace and ER, where ratings saw an immediate (though expected) spike and where the show would remain for two years. The show's seventh season saw several drastic changes. Series showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio left the show at the end of the sixth season to pursue a development deal with NBC, and were replaced with Jon Pollack (Spin City, Home Improvement) and Judd Pillot and John Peaslee (Coach, Anything but Love). Also noted as a big factor was the addition of Rena Sofer to the cast. Her addition was mandated by NBC, who had sought a successful vehicle for her for years. At the same time, NBC also gave the show one of its most difficult timeslots, Tuesdays at 8 pm. Ratings fell sharply in the first few weeks, and the show was put on hiatus by November, showing only one new episode until the following April. During this time, production resumed, but Sofer's character was written out immediately. By this point, NBC had canceled the show, and promised Levitan to run the remaining episodes twice a week until the series finale. When the first of such installments was not as successful as NBC had hoped with its "Return of Just Shoot Me!" campaign, the show was again pulled, and new episodes were burned off in the summer, the final pair of episodes airing on a Saturday in August 2003. Three more episodes, including Sofer's farewell episode, were not aired in the United States until their respective slots in syndicated airings. Levitan publicly denounced NBC's treatment of a former Must-See TV show and refused production deals for several years.
Cast and Characters Edit
- Main article: List of Just Shoot Me! characters