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7th Heaven is an American drama television series, created and produced by Brenda Hampton. The series premiered on Monday August 26, 1996, on the WB, the first time that the network aired Monday night programming, and was originally broadcast from 1996-2007. The series finale was scheduled for May 8, 2006; however, the show was renewed by the CW when the intended final episode received high ratings. The 11th and final season premiered on Monday, September 25, 2006 and ended on May 13, 2007. 7th Heaven is the longest running series that has ever aired on The WB, and was promoted by WB TV network as the longest running family friendly drama in television history and the longest running show produced by Aaron Spelling. The show tells the story about a Protestant minister's family living in the fictional town of Glen Oak, California.

Premise

The cast of 7th Heaven
central characters are the Reverend Eric Camden (Stephen Collins), his wife Annie (Catherine Hicks), and their seven children: Matt (Barry Watson]), Mary (Jessica Biel), Lucy (Beverley Mitchell), Simon (David Gallagher), Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman) and the twins, David (Lorenzo Brino) and Sam (Nikolas Brino).

Denomination

Eric is the minister of the Glenoak Community Church, whose Protestant denomination is typically never disclosed. Exceptions to this were an episode that was narrated by Simon in Season 8; in a Season 11 episode in which Annie comments on how Protestants can't have confession; and in Season 6 episode 15 when Matt tells Sarah Glass that his father is Protestant.

In at least one episode, the Disciples of Christ denominational logo (St. Andrew cross and chalice) was displayed prominently on the front of the church's pulpit. Many of the church scenes were filmed at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of North Hollywood. Although the logo display was likely unintentional, there appears to be nothing about the Camdens' brand of Christianity that would be negated if they were not a part of the Disciples of Christ. The reason for the display of the Chalice is most likely due to the rental agreement of the church. On the wall hanging left to the pulpit, the church's logo is present (blue logo with a cross/anchor symbol). The church (First Christian Church of North Hollywood), has noted that when the cast was on set, they often went into the church office to observe how church staff really act.

In an earlier online show guide from Warner Brothers Television, the back story for Eric Camden described him as being an Episcopal Priest leading, with his Bishop's permission, a non-denominational church.

Clerical family

The family originally consisted of five children (Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon, and Ruthie), but in the third season, Annie gave birth to twins, Sam and David.

Three of the young Camdens (Matt, Mary and Simon) moved away from home sometime during the show's run due to real-life circumstances or requests from the actors that portrayed them. On the show, Simon went to college and Matt married and pursued his career as a doctor. Despite these three all being absent from the Camden home at varying points throughout the show, the house is still always full. Lucy and Ruthie never leave the Camden home during the course of the series (when Lucy marries, she and her husband move into the garage apartment and start to raise their family), and the Camdens offer shelter to various houseguests at different points in the show.

Due to a dissatisfaction with the show and the image that was being created for her by portraying Mary Camden, Jessica Biel asked to leave the series and was slowly written out of the show beginning in 2000; after an appearance on an episode in September 2003, did not appear again on the show until the final episode of the tenth season. This is in sharp contrast to Watson and Gallagher, who regularly guested on the show following their characters' departure from the Camden household.

Themes

Each episode deals with a moral lesson or controversial theme that the family handles either directly or indirectly. Some range from the traumatic (e.g., Eric's sister came to visit and the children found out that she was an alcoholic) to the somewhat trivial (e.g., in one episode, every child acquired an addiction, with even Ruthie being addicted to gum). Beyond the moral lesson in each show, there are also longer-running story arcs. The first episode involved Lucy's (lack of) period. In the later seasons, Eric had to deal with his wife entering menopause and his daughter Ruthie needing a training bra. The topics are usually approached from a socially and politically conservative Protestant Christian point of view (devoting almost all of Season 9 to the need not to have pre-marital sex while, however, several pre-marital episodes occur, including a Season 10 episode where Eric mentions that his parents had to marry because his mother became pregnant with him and most recently Ruthie disclosing that she lost her virginity while in Europe over the summer, although it was revealed to be a lie), although the series avoided touching "hot button" issues (i.e. affirmative action, abortion, and homosexuality). A 2004 episode about the importance of voting on election day seemed to suggest that men in the family were voting for incumbent president George W. Bush, while the women were voting for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, although the script went out of the way to make sure that no mention of either candidate was ever made directly by name, leaving the viewer to decide and the message of the episode simply being "vote, no matter who you vote for". However, in the same episode in which Matt discloses that the family is Protestant, he also discloses to Sarah that his father is a Democrat.

The show is reliant on the very special episode concept, attempting to introduce contemporary social issues to lend greater emotional resonance to episodes. These episodes do in fact lead to high ratings for the show. The January 24, 2005 episode, which featured the birth of Lucy's daughter Savannah, garnered 7.99 million viewers—the highest WB rating since 2003. Another example included the would-be series finale, now simply known as the Season 10 finale, which scored 7.56 million viewers on May 8, 2006.

Cast and characters

A list of main, recurring and guest stars on 7th Heaven.

Jessica Biel's departure

Jessica Biel, gradually dissatisfied with what she thought was her "goody goody" image, eventually posed for semi-nude photographs for Gear magazine. The producers of the show did not approve. During the fifth (2000-2001) season, her character had gone through a rebellious phase, and this storyline was used to write Biel out of the show, sending Mary to her grandparents' house in Buffalomarker for some tough love to counter her rebellious behavior. During Season 6 (2001-2002), Mary returned home, but the differences between Biel and the producers led to Mary leaving home full time and becoming a flight attendant.

Biel returned for five episodes during Season 7 (2002-2003), including Lucy's wedding episode and the season finale. She then appeared in the second episode of Season 8, when she revealed to the family that she had married Carlos Rivera (Carlos Ponce) whom the Camdens assisted in returning home to his family in the Christmas episode "Here Comes Santa Claus" in Season 3, and was pregnant with his child. After a nearly three-year absence, it was announced on April 3, 2006 that Jessica would make a triumphant return for the season finale "And Thank You", reuniting all nine Camdens for the first time since the Season 7 finale "Life and Death".

While she was away, from 2003-2006, Mary had major storylines off-camera, including giving birth to son Charles "Charlie" Miguel Rivera in 2004, and then subsequently divorcing her husband and signing away custody of her child in the May 2005 ninth season finale Mi Familia. Her on-screen ex-husband Carlos Ponce, made several appearances during her absence to deliver these stories. Minor stories or tidbits include Mary taking a political stance in Season 9 by sending her husband to the voting booth and attending rallies, sending Lucy a baby shower gift, going through job training in London, relocating to Chicago following her divorce, and most recently, helping Simon in Season 10 with financial difficulties. However, she has clearly maintained a connection with Carlos and Charlie, and up until the divorce was made known, kept in contact with her siblings semi-regularly at least.

Her appearance in the Season 10 finale, though limited, shed light on events taking place during the last few months. Mary graduated from college the same weekend as Matt and Sarah, reunited with husband Carlos, and was pregnant with twin girls. Although she was not with the family, her conversation with her husband during the episode revealed that Mary's reunion with the family would take place during Matt and Sarah's graduation ceremony. All of this brought resolution to the estrangement that had been present since Season 5. In the Season 11 premiere it is revealed that Mary had the twin girls over the summer. She and Carlos also returned to New York for reasons unknown. She became a teacher and a basketball coach.

Episodes

List of episodes for the longest running family show on TV, to date.

DVD releases

The list of DVDs, released in Regions 1, 2 & 4.

Ratings

7th Heaven was the most watched TV series ever on the WB. It holds the record for the WB's most watched hour at 12.5 million viewers, on February 8, 1999; 19 of the WB's 20 most watched hours were from 7th Heaven. On May 8, 2006, it was watched by 7.56 million viewers, the highest rating for the WB since January 2005. When the show moved to the CW, ratings dropped. Possible reasons for the decline include an aired "Countdown to Goodbye" ad campaign for the last six months of the 2005-06 season which promoted that season as the final season ever; though the New CW Network announced the series' unexpected renewal, it didn't promote the new season strongly via billboards, bus stops, magazine or on-air commercials. Lastly, the network moved 7th Heaven to Sunday nights; the returning viewers may have thought the series was removed from the schedule. The show had a season average of just 3.3 million on the new network, losing 36% of the previous year's audience. It was the third most watched scripted show on the CW. Overall, it was the seventh most watched show.

U.S. ratings

Season Year US Ratings Network Rank Rank (Network)
1 1996-1997 3.2 Million The WB #148 #10
2 1997–1998 5.8 Million The WB #131 #2
3 1998-1999 7.6 Million The WB #106 #1
4 1999–2000 6.4 Million The WB #108 #1
5 2000–2001 6.9 Million The WB #100 #1
6 2001–2002 7.0 Million The WB #102 #1
7 2002–2003 6.6 Million The WB #106 #1
8 2003-2004 5.8 Million The WB #132 #1
9 2004-2005 5.3 Million The WB #103 #1
10 2005-2006 5.2 Million The WB #111 #1
11 2006-2007 3.3 Million The CW #133 #9


Production

Although originally produced for Fox in 1996, the show aired on the WB. It was produced by Spelling Television, and distributed for syndication by (corporate sibling) CBS Television Distribution. Its producers, including Aaron Spelling, considered it wholesome family viewing, incorporating public service announcements into the show. The final season of 7th Heaven was shown on the inaugural season of The CW. The show wrapped production on the final episode March 8, 2007 about one month before most shows film their last episodes of the season. This was due largely to the fact that after ten years of working together, the actors, producers and crew had gotten production down to a well-oiled machine, slashing costs repeatedly and routinely coming in well under budget. This resulted in 7th Heaven filming episodes in shorter time during the final seasons.

Broadcast and Syndication

7th Heaven stopped airing on The CW in September 2007. The show in reruns begin airing in syndication on September 25, 2000. The show then aired on the ABC Family television network until 2008. It started airing on WGN on September 8, 2008 and also on Hallmark.

2006 renewal

After much deliberation within the now-defunct WB network, it was made public in November 2005 that the tenth season would be the program's final because of high costs, which were revealed to be due to a poorly-negotiated licensing agreement by the WB network a few years earlier. The program's future was hanging in the balance and it was entirely in the hands of the newly-established CW network whether to renew it for an eleventh seasonal run. In March 2006, the main cast of characters were approached about the possibility of returning for an eleventh season.

After further consideration by the CW network, it was decided three days after the airing of its "series finale", that 7th Heaven would be picked up for an eleventh season, which would air on their network in the Monday-night slot that had helped make it famous. Originally the show was renewed for thirteen episodes, but on September 18, 2006 the renewal was extended to a full twenty-two episodes.

Along with the show's unexpected and last-minute, renewal came some changes. The show's already-low budget was moderately trimmed, forcing cuts in the salaries of some cast members and shortened taping schedules (seven days per episode instead of the typical eight). Furthermore, Mackenzie Rosman, who played youngest daughter Ruthie, did not appear in the first six episodes. She had appeared in every episode of the series prior to that. Catherine Hicks missed three episodes in Season 11, as another cost-cutting move. Additionally, for the first time since joining the cast in 2002 as a series regular, George Stults was absent for a few episodes at the beginning of Season 11. Stephen Collins and Beverley Mitchell ended up being the only two cast members to appear in every single episode of 7th Heaven's eleven seasons.

Also, after airing Monday nights at 8/7c for ten seasons, plus the first two episodes of Season 11, the CW unexpectedly moved 7th Heaven to Sunday nights as of October 15, 2006. The Sunday/Monday lineup swap was attributed to mediocre ratings of shows on both nights. While 7th Heaven did improve in numbers over the CW's previous Sunday night programming, it never quite hit its Monday-night momentum again, and the shows that replaced it in its slot on Monday night never matched what it had achieved in that time slot.

Awards and nominations

  • Emmy Awards
    • 1997: Outstanding Art Direction for a Series (Patricia Van Ryker and Mary Ann Good) - Nominated


  • ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
    • 2000: Top TV Series (Dan Foliart) - WON
    • 2001: Top TV Series (Dan Foliart) - WON


  • Family Television Awards
    • 1999: Best Drama - WON
    • 2002: Best Drama - WON


  • Kids' Choice Awards
    • 1999: Favorite Television Show - Nominated
    • 2000: Favorite Animal Star (Happy the dog) - Nominated
    • 2001: Favorite Television Show - Nominated
    • 2002: Favorite Television Show - Nominated
    • 2003: Favorite Television Show - Nominated


  • TV Guide Awards
    • 1999: Best Show You're not Watching - WON
    • 2000: Favorite TV Pet (Happy the dog) - Nominated


  • Teen Choice Awards
    • 1999: TV Choice Actor (Barry Watson) - Nominated
    • 1999: TV Choice Drama - Nominated
    • 2000: TV Choice Drama - Nominated
    • 2001: TV Choice Actor (Barry Watson) - Nominated
    • 2001: TV Choice Drama - Nominated
    • 2002: TV Choice Drama/Action Adventure - WON
    • 2002: TV Choice Actor in Drama (Barry Watson) - WON
    • 2002: TV Choice Actress in Drama (Jessica Biel) - Nominated
    • 2003: TV Choice Drama/Action Adventure - WON
    • 2003: TV Choice Actor in Drama/Action Adventure (David Gallagher) - WON
    • 2003: TV Choice Breakout Star - Male (George Stults) - WON
    • 2003: TV Choice Actress in Drama/Action Adventure (Jessica Biel) - Nominated
    • 2003: TV Choice Breakout Star - Female (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz) - Nominated
    • 2004: TV Choice Breakout Star - Male (Tyler Hoechlin) - Nominated
    • 2004: TV Choice Actor in Drama/Action Adventure (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 2004: TV Choice Drama/Action Adventure - Nominated
    • 2005: TV Choice Actor in Drama/Action Adventure (Tyler Hoechlin) - Nominated
    • 2005: TV Choice Actress in Drama/Action Adventure (Beverley Mitchell) - Nominated
    • 2005: TV Choice Parental Units (Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks) - Nominated
    • 2005: TV Choice Drama/Action Adventure - Nominated
    • 2006: TV Choice Breakout Star - Female (Haylie Duff) - Nominated
    • 2006: TV Choice Parental Units (Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks) - Nominated


  • Young Artist Awards
    • 1997: Best Family TV Drama Series - WON
    • 1997: Best Performance in a Drama Series - Young Actress (Beverley Mitchell) - WON
    • 1997: Best Performance in a Drama Series - Young Actor (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 1997: Best Performance in a TV Comedy/Drama - Supporting Young Actress Age Ten or Under (Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Family TV Drama Series - WON (tied with Promised Land)
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Leading Young Actress (Beverley Mitchell) - WON (tied with Sarah Schaub)
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actor (Bobby Brewer) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Danielle Keaton) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Molly Orr) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Leading Young Actor (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Leading Young Actress (Jessica Biel) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Supporting Young Actress (Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated
    • 1999: Best Family TV Drama Series - Nominated
    • 1999: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actor (Craig Hauer) - Nominated
    • 1999: Best Performance in a TV Series - Young Ensemble (Beverley Mitchell, Barry Watson, Jessica Biel, David Gallagher, Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated
    • 2000: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Kaitlin Cullum) - WON
    • 2000: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Leading Young Actress (Beverley Mitchell) - WON
    • 2000: Best Family TV Series - Drama - Nominated
    • 2001: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Brooke Anne Smith) - WON
    • 2001: Best Family TV Drama Series - Nominated
    • 2001: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Jamie Lauren) - Nominated
    • 2002: Best Family TV Drama Series - Nominated
    • 2002: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Ashley Edner) - Nominated
    • 2002: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Leading Young Actor (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 2002: Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Supporting Young Actress (Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated
    • 2004: Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actress (Mackenzie Rosman) - WON
    • 2005: Best Family Television Series (Drama) - Nominated
    • 2005: Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actor (Tyler Hoechlin) - Nominated
    • 2006: Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger (Drake Johnston) - Nominated
    • 2007: Best Family Television Series (Drama) - Nominated
    • 2007: Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actress (Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated
    • 2007: Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger (Nikolas Brino and Lorenzo Brino) - Nominated
    • 2008: Best Performance in a TV Series - Young Actor Ten or Under (Lorenzo Brino) - Nominated
    • 2008: Best Performance in a TV Series - Young Actor Ten or Under (Nikolas Brino) - Nominated


  • Young Star Awards
    • 1997: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV Series (Beverley Mitchell) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV Series (Jessica Biel) - Nominated
    • 1998: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series (David Gallagher) - WON
    • 1999: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 2000: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series (David Gallagher) - Nominated
    • 2000: Best Young Ensemble Cast - Television (David Gallagher, Jessica Biel, Beverley Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman) - Nominated


References

  1. 7th Heaven at IMDb - Awards


External links




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