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Watching Ellie is an Americanmarker sitcom that starred Julia Louis-Dreyfus and was created by her husband, Brad Hall. It aired on NBC from February 2002 to May 2003, though only sixteen episodes were broadcast before it was canceled due to low ratings.

Premise and formats

There were two incarnations of Watching Ellie, neither of which met with any success. Both focused on the character of cabaret singer Ellie Riggs (Louis-Dreyfus), with markedly different approaches.

The first was directed by Ken Kwapis, known for his innovative work in single-camera sitcoms such as The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm in the Middle and The Bernie Mac Show. Each 22-minute episode was meant to portray a 22-minute slice of Ellie's life, in real-time. In the earliest episodes, a clock was even shown in the corner of the screen. Thirteen episodes were filmed but only ten aired before the series was put on indefinite hiatus (the remaining first-season episodes have never aired). During its use, the clock had the unfortunate effect of reminding the audience that a half-hour situation comedy only contained twenty-two minutes of content.

Nearly a full year later, the show reappeared as a more traditional sitcom, with multiple cameras and a live studio audience (plus an added laugh track). This version fared even worse than its predecessor and was canceled after six episodes.

The show also cast Lauren Bowles as Ellie's sister Susan. Bowles also had a minor role on Seinfeld as one of the waitresses at Monk's Cafe. In real life, Bowles is Louis-Dreyfus' half-sister (they have the same mother).



Season 1
  • Episode 1: Pilot (2/26/02) - Viewers: 16.7 million
  • Episode 2: Wedding (3/05/02) - Viewers: 12.5 million
  • Episode 3: Dinner Party (3/12/02) - Viewers: 11.1 million
  • Episode 4: Aftershockes (3/19/02) - Viewers: 9.5 million
  • Episode 5: Cheetos (3/26/02) - Viewers: 9.7 million
  • Episode 6: Tango (4/02/02) - Viewers: 9.6 million
  • Episode 7: Gift (4/02/02) - Viewers: 10.4 million
  • Episode 8: Medicated (4/09/02) - Viewers: 7.6 million
  • Episode 9: Weekend (4/16/02) - Viewers: 8.0 million
  • Episode 10: Zimmerman (4/23/02) - Viewers: 6.9 million

Season 2
  • Episode 1: Shrink (4/15/03) - Viewers: 9.8 million
  • Episode 2: TV (4/22/03) - Viewers: 7.4 million
  • Episode 3: Date (4/29/03) - Viewers: 8.7 million
  • Episode 4: Buskers (5/06/03) - Viewers: 8.3 million
  • Episode 5: Fruit Shots (5/13/03) - Viewers: 7.5 million
  • Episode 6: Feud (5/20/03) - Viewers: 8.4 million

Seinfeld curse

Watching Ellie is seen as evidence of a "Seinfeld curse", as it is one of multiple sitcom vehicles for former Seinfeld stars that was quickly cancelled. Other instances include The Michael Richards Show, Bob Patterson and Listen Up!. However, the success of Louis-Dreyfus' next sitcom, The New Adventures of Old Christine (debuted 2006), suggests that, at least in this case, the "curse" may have been broken.

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