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7th Heaven

This article may require cleanupto meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this articleif you can. (September 2007) This article is about the television series. For other uses, see Seventh Heaven (disambiguation). 7th Heaven
The 7th Heaven title card. Format Family DramaCreated by Brenda Hampton Country of origin  United StatesNo. of seasons 11 No. of episodes 243 (List of episodes) Production Running time 60 minutes
(with commercials) Broadcast Original channel The WB(1996-2006)

The CW (2006-2007)

Original run August 26, 1996
May 13, 2007External links IMDb profileTV.com summary

7th Heaven is an American drama television series, created and produced by Brenda Hampton, about a Protestant minister's family living in the fictional town of Glenoak, California. The series premiered on Monday August 26, 1996, on the WB Television Network, the first time that the WB 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 Television Network 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. In January 2008 7th Heaven started airing in syndication on The Hallmark Channel. 7th Heaven is the longest running series that has ever aired on The WB network and the longest running family drama in television history.

Tagline: You can relate...

Contents

Cast and characters

Main article: List of 7th Heaven characters

Camden family

Recurring/Guest characters with starring roles

Other recurring characters

Premise

Denomination

The cast of 7th Heaven

The central characters are the Reverend Eric Camden (Stephen Collins), his wife Mrs 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). The Reverend Eric Camden is the senior minister of the Glenoak Community Church, whose Protestant denomination is typically never disclosed (with the exception of 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 a confession; in Season 6 episode 15 when Matt tells Sarah Glass that his father is Protestant). One can, however, rule out certain US denominations considering that Lucy has become a clergywoman, given that some American Protestant denominations do not permit women to occupy a clerical position.

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 (Studio City).[1] 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![citation needed]

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. Some people find this interesting in light of Stephen Collins' real-life attendance at an Episcopal parish in the Pacific Palisades area.

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 children (Matt, Simon, and Mary) moved away from home. Simon went to college, and Matt married and pursued his career as a doctor. Nevertheless, the house is always full; Lucy, her husband Kevin, and their daughter Savannah all live near the Camdens. Frequent house guests also find the Camden house a home of their own. Due to dissatisfaction with the show and her image, Jessica Biel was slowly written out of the show starting in 2000 and, after an appearance on September 22, 2003 she did not appear again until the Season 10 finale on May 8, 2006. On the other hand, Matt and Simon have regularly found themselves involved with the family since they moved out and Simon (David Gallagher) returned for most of the ninth season and the entire tenth season. Mackenzie Rosman (Ruthie) remained with the show for its entire run, with the exception of the first six episodes of the eleventh season.

Themes

Each episode deals with a moral lesson or controversial theme that the family deals with 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 alleged 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. Along with the show's family-oriented storyline, this conservative nature has been responsible, in part, for the show's longevity—appealing to an audience who are rarely targeted. This appears to extend even to the question of the denomination of Eric's church ("Reverend Camden", in the vocabulary of the program's producers and writers).

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.

Changes in the show's tone

This section may contain original researchor unverified claims.
Please improve the articleby adding references. See the talk pagefor details. (January 2008)

Many long-time viewers noticed a gradual change in the tone of the show throughout the years. In the early seasons, Eric and Annie are very strict with their children, often harshly lecturing and/or severely punishing them for minor (by most families' standards) offenses. The show also had a more dramatic tone in earlier seasons, featuring very serious issues in each episode, such as alcoholism and self-injury. In later seasons, however, Eric and Annie are much more laid-back, and the show has a lighter, more comic, tone to it. Because of Executive Producer Aaron Spelling's death, 7th Heaven was the final production under the Spelling brand name. Although never formally announced, it is believed that CBS/Paramount has retired the Spelling name following the conclusion of 7th Heaven, out of respect for its namesake.

Jessica Biel's departure

Jessica Biel played daughter Mary from the show's beginning. However, gradually dissatisfied with her "goody goody" image, Biel eventually posed for semi-nude photographs for Gear magazine of which 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 Buffalo, New York 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, which aired on September 22, 2003, 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 in April 2003.

While she was away, from 2003-2006, Mary has 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 got a job teaching and was going to coach basketball.

Episodes

Main article: List of 7th Heaven episodes

DVD releases

Season Episodes Originally aired 7th Heaven DVD releases Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Discs 122 19961997September 14, 2004[2]September 4, 2006[3]September 7, 2006[4]6 223 19971998February 8, 2005[5]March 24, 2008[6]January 10, 20086 322 19981999November 28, 2006[7]TBA TBA 6 422 19992000March 27, 2007[8]TBA TBA 6 522 20002001December 4, 2007[9]TBA TBA 6 622 20012002June 10, 2008[10][11]TBA TBA 6 722 20022003TBA TBA TBA TBA 823 20032004TBA TBA TBA TBA 922 20042005TBA TBA TBA TBA 1022 20052006TBA TBA TBA TBA 1122 20062007TBA TBA TBA TBA

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. No other WB series had as much success as 7th Heaven. On May 8, 2006, it was watched by 7.56 million viewers, the highest rating for the WB since January 2005. However, on the CW, ratings dropped. This is most likely because The WB had formally cancelled the series in November of 2005 and aired a "Countdown to Goodbye" ad campaign for the last six months of the 2005-06 season which promoted that season as the final season ever. Whatsmore, after The New CW Network announced the series' unexpected renewal, they didn't promote the new season well (no billboards or bus stops and few magazine or on-air commercials). To make things worse, the network moved 7th Heaven to Sunday nights, and, as a result, most of the few returning viewers thought the series was removed from the schedule, causing a dismal season average of just 3.3 million, 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 Paramount Television. 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 which is about 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, explaining why the show stopped filming earlier than other network dramas.

Broadcast and Syndication

7th heaven stopped airing on The CW Television Network in September 2007. The show did air on the ABC Family television network, but the network stopped airing the show in 2008. The show now is being aired on the Hallmark Channel starting in 2008. When the show began airing on the Hallmark Channel the network shortened the opening credits. In Canada, the show also airs daily on Vision TV. In Latvia show airs every working day, since 3th March 2008, on TV3 Latvia at 14:20 (GMT +2) and 4:20 (GMT +2) (except Mondays) and TV6 Latvia at 17:05 (GMT +2). Translation to Latvian made by SDI Media Latvia (exactly - Agnija Anča, Rūta Aukšmukste), Latvian voice over by Baiba Rožkalna (for female voices) and Ainārs Ančevskis (for male voices).

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 later revealed to be no fault of the show (which had a very low budget itself), but rather due to a poorly-negotiated licensing agreement by the WB network a few years earlier. Regardless, because of this, 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.[12][13]

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. [14] Originally the show was renewed for thirteen episodes, but on September 18, 2006 the renewal was extended to a full twenty-two episodes.[15]

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 Camden, 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 11 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.[16]

References

  1. ^ First Christian Church. fccnh.org. Retrieved on 1996-08-26.
  2. ^ Official Announcement: Studio's SRP, complete info, better cover art!. TVShowsOnDVD.com (2004-07-22). Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
  3. ^ Season 1 (Region 2). Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
  4. ^ Seventh Heaven; Season 1: 6DVD (7th) (DVD). Sanity.com.au. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
  5. ^ 2nd Season Knocking on Heaven's Door Once More!. TVShowsOnDVD.com (2004-12-05). Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
  6. ^ Season 2 (Region 2). Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
  7. ^ Divine Intervention? Season 3 Coming in Nov!. TVShowsOnDVD.com (2006-08-18). Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
  8. ^ It's an early Christmas present for 7th Heaven fans - Season 4 news!. TVShowsOnDVD.com (2006-12-12). Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
  9. ^ Praise Be! 5th Season Announced For Holiday Release. TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-21.
  10. ^ 7th Gets Its 6th: New Season Set Arrives in June. TVShowsOnDVD. Retrieved on 2008-03-04.
  11. ^ Rear Cover Art Arrives for 7th Heaven - The 6th Season on DVD. TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
  12. ^ "7th Heaven" Cancelled Because of Costs. TVFodder.com. Retrieved on 2006-01-16.
  13. ^ Collins Celebrates New Life For '7th Heaven'. Zap2it.com. Retrieved on 2006-05-19.
  14. ^ '7th Heaven' Back for an 11th Season. TVWeek.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-19.
  15. ^ The CW gives full season orders to new comedy "The Game" and "7th Heaven". TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved on 2006-10-20.
  16. ^ CW Flips Sunday, Monday Lineups. Zap2it.com. Retrieved on 2006-10-05.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: 7th Heaven Categories: 1996 television series debuts | 2007 television series endings | 1990s American television series | 2000s American television series | Christian television | CW network shows | WB network shows | Teen dramas | Television series by CBS Paramount Television | Television shows set in California | TV shows by Aaron SpellingHidden categories: Cleanup from September 2007 | All pages needing cleanup | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since May 2008 | Articles that may contain original research since January 2008 | All articles that may contain original research

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