The Starter Wife (TV series)

The Starter Wife
Created by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott
Starring Debra Messing
Judy Davis
Chris Diamantopoulos
David Alan Basche
Danielle Nicolet
Brielle Barbusca
Hart Bochner
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Gigi Levangie Grazer
Debra Messing
Josann McGibbon
Sara Parriott
Running time 1 hour
Original network USA Network
Original release October 10 – December 12, 2008

The Starter Wife was a USA Network television series based on the miniseries of the same name, and the novel of the same name by Gigi Levangie Grazer. It premiered on October 10, 2008 and ended on December 12, 2008, lasting one season. The series starred Debra Messing as Molly Kagan, the ex-wife of a former studio executive named Kenny Kagan (Peter Jacobson).

Picking up where the mini-series left off, Molly finds herself trying to carve out a new life as a single mother raising her daughter Jaden in the middle of the dysfunctional world surrounding the film industry. Molly has vowed to swear off men after the failure of her "happy ending" relationship with a homeless man, and soon finds herself developing as a writer even as her relationship develops with her writing group leader.

The series ran one season and was cancelled by USA in February 2009.[1] In regard to the show's cancellation, Debra Messing, during a conference in 2012, told reporters: "We were finishing the first season right when the economy collapsed." She added, "We were the most expensive show the network had ever had...I heard rumors about we doing half the original budget ($1 million per episode), but that couldn't work because it was about the brand, and that luxurious world. And when you take that away from it, it stops being the show what it is. The dark humor, and comedy won't land."[2]


Recurring characters

Hollywood metaphors

The series uses extensive Hollywood metaphors as part of its narrative structure. Each episode includes two or more fantasy sequences, featuring Molly as the lead character in a well-known, generally big box-office film. Every episode opens with the first of these, which takes place in the form of Molly's dreams about recent events in her life. Typical of this is the fantasy from the opening episode, a play on the end of the film Elizabeth. In the fantasy Molly swears off men in the manner of Elizabeth I declaring herself married to England at the film's end. Other fantasy sequences punctuate important story points. Similarly, episode titles are frequently corruptions of film titles (as with The French Disconnection and Look Who's Stalking) or suggestive of Hollywood phenomena (such as Mollywood, a play on the name Hollywood.)


# Title Original airdate Fantasy sequences
1-01 "The Forty Year Old Virgin Queen" (Premiere, Part 1) October 10, 2008 Elizabeth (opening)
1-02"The Diary of a Mad Ex-Housewife" (Premiere, Part 2) October 10, 2008 Mission Impossible (opening)
1-03 "The Remains of the Snow Day" October 17, 2008 Blair Witch Project (opening)
1-04 "Mollywood" October 24, 2008 Castaway (opening); The Deer Hunter
1-05 "Das Booty Call" October 31, 2008 Body Heat (opening)
1-06 "The Ex-Files" November 7, 2008 Hello, Dolly! (opening)
1-07 "The French Disconnection" November 14, 2008Scream (opening)
1-08 "Look Who's Stalking" November 21, 2008 The Godfather (opening), Dirty Harry
1-09 "Her Old Man & The Sea" December 5, 2008 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (opening), A Few Good Men
1-10 "A Woman Over the Influence" (Series Finale) December 12, 2008 The Green Mile (opening), Basic Instinct

DVD release

On March 10, 2009, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the full series on DVD in Region 1. The DVD includes audio commentary on two episodes and a segment on the creation of the fantasy sequences.

International broadcast

The Starter Wife was shown on Irish TV Channel 3e[3] It was shown for a time on TV3 in New Zealand on Saturdays at 3:00pm.


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