Popular (TV series)

"The Consequences of Falling" redirects here. For the song, see The Consequences of Falling (song).
Created by Ryan Murphy
Gina Matthews
Starring Leslie Bibb
Carly Pope
Tamara Mello
Christopher Gorham
Sara Rue
Bryce Johnson
Tammy Lynn Michaels
Ron Lester
Leslie Grossman
Lisa Darr
Scott Bryce
Diane Delano
Opening theme "Supermodels" by Kendall Payne
Ending theme "High School Highway" by Sydney Forest
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 43 (list of episodes)
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Ryan Murphy Productions
Roundtable Ink
The Shephard/Robin Company
Touchstone Television
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Original network The WB
Original release September 29, 1999 (1999-09-29) – May 18, 2001 (2001-05-18)

Popular is an American teenage comedy-drama on The WB Television Network in the United States, created by Ryan Murphy and Gina Matthews, starring Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope as two teenage girls who reside on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum at their high school, but who are forced to get along when their single parents meet on a cruise ship and get married. The show was produced by Touchstone Television and ran for two seasons on The WB from 1999 to 2001.


Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Sam McPherson (Carly Pope), students at Jacqueline Kennedy High School, are polar opposites. Brooke is a popular cheerleader and Sam is an unpopular journalist. Their respective groups are forced to socialize when Brooke's father and Sam's mother get engaged and the two girls have to share a house.

The plot of the first season revolves around the girls' school life, rival groups of friends, mutual animosity and plan to separate their parents. At the end of the season, Sam finds Brooke's real mother and encourages her to come back to town, which breaks up the engagement and splits the new family apart.

By the second season, Brooke and Sam realize that their parents were happy together, and therefore team up to reunite them, a move which results in the girls slowly becoming close friends, and even referring to each other as "family," though tensions rise when they both get involved with the same boy. Also, a reversal of fortunes takes place, with Brooke resigning from cheerleading to focus on school issues and Sam experiencing a surge of sudden popularity at school. In the end of the second-season finale — which turned out to be the unexpected series finale when the show was cancelled — Brooke is run over by a drunk and angry Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels).


Despite fitting into a rather common category, as a teen-centered mix of drama and comedy, Popular differentiated itself from its peers in its quirky, non sequitur humor and overall satirical approach to characters and story lines, a feature that would grow as the series progressed. Such elements included Mary Cherry's long-lost sister from the ghetto, B. Ho (and even their mother's name, Cherry Cherry); an occasion where both groups switched hair colors; Bobbi Glass's lost finger being replaced with a metal one complete with extendable pointer and knife attachments; and Josh's work as a window salesman. The show also utilized a variety of pop culture references and nonsensical jokes (for instance, April Tuna's reference to "getting some frottage" in the hall closet).

The show's theme was excerpted from the song "Supermodels," a track from indie singer-songwriter Kendall Payne's 1999 album "Jordan's Sister." Released on Capitol Records, it was produced by Glen Ballard, best known for his co-writing and producing Alanis Morissette's breakthrough smash album, "Jagged Little Pill."





Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 22 September 29, 1999 May 18, 2000
2 21 September 22, 2000 May 18, 2001

Critical reception

In 2012, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at #20 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years," calling it "the proto-Glee and saying it "celebrated the value of outcasts and portrayed overplayed topics - Homecoming Court, sex, and secrets - through an absurdist lens."[1] It featured again at #21 on their "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever" list in 2013.[2]


Season U.S. ratings Time slot Network rank
1 1999–2000 2.9 million [3] Wednesday at 9:00 pm (Episode 1)
Thursday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 2-22)
2 2000–2001 1.7 million [4] Friday at 9:00 pm #11

DVD releases

The complete series of Popular has been released on DVD in region 1 by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (formerly Buena Vista Home Entertainment). The DVD versions of select episodes had to change the songs that were used in the original aired episodes.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 22 September 21, 2004
Season 2 21 March 8, 2005

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
2000 Casting Society of America Nominated Best Casting for TV, Comedy Pilot Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer, and Robert J. Ulrich
2000 GLAAD Media Awards Won Outstanding TV Individual Episode (For episode "Wild Wild Mess")
2001 Nominated Outstanding TV Comedy Series
2000 Genesis Awards Won Television - New Series (For episode "Under Siege")
2001 Won Television - Comedy Series (For episode "Joe Loves Mary Cherry")
2000 SHINE Awards Won Comedy Episode (For episode "Booty Camp")
2000 TV Guide Awards Nominated Favorite Teen Show
2000 Teen Choice Awards Nominated TV - Choice Sidekick Ron Lester
Nominated TV - Choice Comedy
Nominated TV - Choice Actress Carly Pope
Nominated TV - Choice Actress Leslie Bibb
Won TV - Choice Breakout Show
2001 Nominated TV - Choice Sidekick Ron Lester
Nominated TV - Choice Comedy


  1. "25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years." Entertainment Weekly. August 3, 2012, p. 42.
  2. 26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2013-09-22
  3. Quotenmeter GmbH, Würzburg, Germany. "US-Jahrescharts 1999/2000". quotenmeter.de.
  4. "TV Ratings 2000-2001". chez.com.
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