No. of seasons
6 + 2 TV movies
Final episode date
16 May 1998
Country of origin
First episode date
1 January 1993
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Michaela Quinn, Byron Sully, Cloud Dancing, Jake Slicker, Myra Bing
Dr quinn medicine woman 1993 1998 opening and closing theme with snippets
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is an American Western drama series created by Beth Sullivan and starring Jane Seymour who plays Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn, a physician who leaves Boston in search of adventure in the Old American West and who settles in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Dr quinn medicine woman 1993 1998 opening and closing theme with snippets
- Dr quinn medicine woman
- Production notes
- Colleen portrayer changes
- Other cast changes
- Broadcast history
- Demographics change and cancellation
- Dr Quinn Revolutions
- Dr Quinn The Heart Within
- Historical facts and filming information
- DVD releases
- Spin off
The television series ran on CBS for six seasons, from January 1, 1993 to May 16, 1998. In total, 149 episodes were produced, plus two television movies which were made after the series was canceled. It aired in over 100 countries, including Denmark (where it was aired on TV2), the United Kingdom, France, Canada (where it was aired on CTV throughout its run) and Bulgaria on BNT and later on NOVA television. Since 1997, reruns have been shown in syndication and on Freeform (TV channel), (formerly CBN Satellite Service), Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), the Hallmark Channel, Eleven Australian (TV channel), CBS Drama, UP, and INSP (TV Network).
Dr quinn medicine woman
The series begins in the year 1867 and centers on a proper and wealthy female physician from Boston, Massachusetts, Michaela Quinn (Seymour), familiarly known as "Dr. Mike". After her father's death, she sets out west to the small wild west town of Colorado Springs, to set up her own practice. She makes the difficult adjustment to life in Colorado with the aid of rugged outdoorsman and friend to the Cheyenne, Byron Sully (Joe Lando) and a midwife named Charlotte Cooper (played by Diane Ladd). After Charlotte is bitten by a rattlesnake, she asks Michaela on her deathbed to look after her three children: Matthew, Colleen, and Brian. Dr. Mike settles in Colorado Springs and adapts to her new life as a mother, with the children, while finding true love with Sully. Furthermore, she acts as a one-woman mission to convince the townspeople that a female doctor can successfully practice medicine.
The pilot episode was shot in early 1992 and aired in a two-hour television special on New Year's Day 1993. CBS aired a second, hour-long episode the next night in order to attract and maintain the audience's attention. The pilot served more as a made-for-television movie – or mini-series suggestion – which could either be developed later into a full series or remain as a stand-alone two-hour movie. CBS ordered the show picked up immediately for the full season. The show made some imperative casting changes, however. Several pilot leads and a few of the supporting cast were replaced. Henry Sanders was recast as Robert E.; Orson Bean replaced Guy Boyd as a more fatherly, cynically-comical Loren Bray; and Colm Meaney was replaced by Jim Knobeloch, a much younger, attractive Jake Slicker.
Veteran actress Jane Seymour, labeled a mini-series "queen," was a last-minute casting choice for Michaela Quinn after reading the script only a day before production was set to begin on the pilot. She was instructed beforehand to review the script and make a decision of whether or not she felt the role was right for her, and, if so, that she truly wanted to commit to the strict contract Sullivan had demanded for the title character. The next day she began the wardrobe fittings for the series.
Colleen portrayer changes
There were various cast changes of minor characters during the series. The most controversial change took place during the show's third season when the character of Colleen Cooper was recast halfway through the year. Unlike the other actors, who signed five-year contracts with the show, Erika Flores was hesitant. She held out for an increase in her salary and refused to sign a contract unless offered a contract of less than five years, or an increase in salary. Rumors circulated that Flores's father gave her an ultimatum to end the contract unless they offered her more money, or he would cut her off financially. Flores has denied such rumors, saying that she left the series for personal reasons and to pursue other opportunities. Whatever the reasons, the actress was abruptly dismissed with little warning by CBS after the show declined to meet her requests.
Beth Sullivan decided that she wanted the character to continue instead of being killed off or sent away. As a result, Jessica Bowman was cast as the new Colleen in Flores's place. Some of Erika Flores's fans were quite vocal in their anger over the change and wrote CBS demanding to know why the actress had been replaced. The producers of the show felt that Jessica Bowman had the ability to successfully recreate the character on her own.
Other cast changes
Numerous cast changes occurred throughout the series, although none was as significant. Most notable was the replacement of Jane Wyman as Michaela's mother, Elizabeth Quinn. Wyman signed on to play the role for the third episode of Dr. Quinn in season one. Later Wyman turned down an invitation to return for another guest appearance in season two, as she had retired completely from acting by this stage (her previous appearance in season one marked her final acting role of any kind). Georgann Johnson was hired to replace Wyman in the role and continued throughout the remainder of the series, making one guest appearance each season and appearing in the final Dr. Quinn television movie.
Michelle Bonilla originated the role of Theresa Morales in season five and was replaced by Alex Meneses in season six. Bonilla was abruptly let go for reasons that were never publicly stated. Meneses's portrayal was well received and she was featured throughout the sixth season, when her character fell in love with Jake Slicker.
The role of Anthony (Grace and Robert E.'s adopted son) was played by Brenden Jefferson for four episodes in season four. He was replaced by Brandon Hammond, who continued in the role throughout seasons five and six.
Jennifer Youngs did not begin playing Ingrid until the character's second appearance; the first time the character appeared, she was played by Ashley Jones.
Dr. Quinn was best known for its large, supporting cast, and its high-concept storytelling. The series often used its semi-historical setting as a vehicle to address issues of gender and race within the community. For example, one episode took on homophobia when the famous poet Walt Whitman came to town. Religion played a somewhat minor role in the series, but was also used to address certain issues and new ideas.
In the season three finale, "For Better or Worse", Michaela and Sully were married during a special two-hour episode. During season four, Seymour's real-life pregnancy was written into the show. The following season saw the birth of Michaela and Sully's daughter, Katie.
During its entire original run on CBS, the show aired from 8–9 pm Eastern time on Saturday nights. It was the last successful TV Western drama to date until the premiere of Deadwood on HBO in March 21, 2004 and the premiere AMC Western series Hell on Wheels on November 6, 2011, and also one of the last original series to find long term success in a Saturday timeslot.
Dr. Quinn was one of the few dramatic shows that allowed fans full access to their filming sets at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. Fans were permitted, often invited, to watch episodes being shot each week. Cast members were known to speak with their fans and sign autographs during shooting breaks. During the show's final season run, an official web site was established, which remains active. Two fans went on to create the Dr. Quinn Times, a newsletter in which interviews with the cast, producers, directors, and technical specialists were conducted and distributed to fans, twice each year.
Seymour and Barbara Babcock were the only cast members to receive Emmy nominations for their work on the series. Seymour was nominated several times during the series' run, while Babcock received a single nomination in 1995 for the episode entitled "Ladies' Night". Her character, Dorothy Jennings, underwent a mastectomy.
The show did win many technical awards, as well as hair and make-up honors. Seymour also won a Golden Globe in 1996 for her portrayal of Michaela Quinn.
Demographics change and cancellation
The show was a major hit in the United States for CBS and drew large ratings even though it aired on Saturday nights. Despite the high ratings, CBS claimed that the demographics changed during the show's run. During its final season, the majority of Dr. Quinn's viewers were women 40 years of age and older, and not the male and female 18-to-49 demographic that networks try to reach. In response, CBS ordered the writers to give the show a slightly darker feel than in previous seasons. As a result, season six was darker than any other season before it, with the death of several characters as well as some highly sensitive subject matter: the painful miscarriage of Michaela's second child, as well as an episode entitled Point Blank where Michaela was shot by a man and then later developed post-traumatic stress disorder. Many fans did not like the changes while others felt that the tensions and high drama benefited the show after the overall pleasant past seasons. Despite these opposing opinions, the ratings still proved to be steady and consistent (finishing at #51 for the year). The series was suddenly canceled in 1998 after its sixth season.
The show has enjoyed strong ratings in reruns. Dr. Quinn was one of the rare instances of a show entering rerun syndication in the middle of a TV season. It debuted reruns in most American markets on Monday, December 30, 1996, just two days shy of the show's 4th anniversary. With 4 seasons being the minimum requirement for syndication pickup, Dr. Quinn reruns could have started at the more traditional launch date of September 1996, but the show's distributor, like many, had an additional minimum episode limit in order for the show to be eligible for syndication. This episode count was not reached until several episodes into Dr. Quinn's fifth season (1996–1997), and since stations had already purchased the show at the beginning of that season, the distributor decided not to hold off until the next fall and let the stations start airing reruns right away.
When PAX TV launched in August 1998, it acquired reruns of current family-friendly series from CBS, including Dr. Quinn. Because dedicated Dr. Quinn fans were angered by the show's cancellation by CBS that year, these national reruns via PAX helped relieve the blow, especially in markets where local stations were not airing reruns in syndication.
Until late 2005, the Hallmark Channel aired it daily, but in late 2005 Hallmark removed Dr. Quinn from its lineup, citing a drop in viewership. It is also believed that the high cost in Dr. Quinn distribution rights played a role in its removal. Dr. Quinn continues to be seen throughout the world and has been translated to several languages.
Starting in June 2009, the Gospel Music Channel began airing Dr. Quinn weekdays at 5:00 and 6:00. More recently Vision TV Canada began airing Dr Quinn week nights at 6PM AT. It also airs on CHNU10 in the Lower Mainland of BC, Canada at 3 PM PST Weekdays. It has also been shown continuously in Denmark since 2001, with plans on to keep it at its daily broadcast time of 1:00, Monday to Friday, on Danish TV station, tv2.
Since the last movie in 2001, many of the show's cast members have expressed interest in reprising their roles and would like to do another reunion movie, or even a new season. Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Chad Allen, and other cast members have stated they would all like to work together again and would reprise their Dr. Quinn roles if the opportunity arises. The show's creator, Beth Sullivan, has also stated her interest in writing another Dr. Quinn movie.
In 2003, A&E Network managed to buy the distribution rights for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman from CBS. All six seasons plus the two made-for-TV movies have been released on DVD. The series appears on the GMC Network. GMC aired all the series episodes, including the season six episodes not shown in a decade, during the summer of 2010. Joe Lando did several teasers and promotions for the weekend marathons, and says he finds GMC's ad campaign "funny," saying: "Truthfully, I haven't had that many opportunities to make fun of Sully. No one's really found me that funny. But it's fun to do it now. GMC came up with a great ad campaign. My kids were entertained by it and my wife got a kick out of it."
Dr. Quinn: Revolutions
The cancellation of Dr. Quinn caused a massive fan uproar, the likes of which had not been seen since Star Trek in the 1960s. CBS decided that instead of producing another season, as the cost involved was deemed too high, it would instead produce a TV movie. In May 1999, one year after its cancellation, CBS aired Dr. Quinn: Revolutions, a television movie special, set in 1877. However, the actual date should have been 1875, two years following the final episode, which would have been in 1873. In this TV movie, Katie Sully, now age 4, is kidnapped, and Dr. Mike and Sully, with help from some townsfolk, embark on a desperate search for their missing daughter in Mexico. Fans were delighted that a special movie was being produced, but they were not altogether impressed with its overall concept. The movie was very different in tone from the rest of the series, incorporating more guns and violence in an effort to please the twenty-something male audience demographics. Furthermore, both Jessica Bowman and Chad Allen declined appearances in that episode, due to its content, and William Olvis' entire score was scrapped in favor of more cost-effective music that was completely unlike that of the original series.
Fans were shocked to find a Dr. Quinn episode that did not include the main title sequence or theme. Moreover, the script, acting, and interpretations of the original characters came across as unfamiliar and very unlike their portrayals in the series. Beth Sullivan was so furious with CBS's control over the whole project that she declined any involvement. It was critically panned and failed in the ratings.
Dr. Quinn: The Heart Within
A second TV movie entitled Dr Quinn: The Heart Within, aired in May 2001. The movie was set a year after Revolutions, making it 9 years since the first episode of Dr. Quinn in the year 1876. This time around, CBS gave Beth Sullivan total creative control; however, there were some strong ground rules. To save money, the movie had to be filmed in Canada, and only the principal cast could be involved. Jane Seymour also served as an executive producer. The plot revolved around Michaela and the Sully family returning to Boston to attend Colleen's graduation from Harvard Medical School. Having transferred from The Women's Medical College to the male dominated university since the series finale, Colleen has met harsh criticism from the board as well as from Andrew's father, who resents the fact that she continues to pursue medicine, despite his misgivings. Unfortunately, Michaela's mother, Elizabeth, has fallen ill due to a heart condition, and eventually passes, leaving her entire estate to Michaela to establish a hospital back in Colorado Springs. Colleen soon finds herself in a similar situation as her mother, Michaela did just nine years earlier – in the same Bostonian sector—in that she is not respected or taken seriously as a woman doctor.
The movie is a proper finale to the series, depicting the now-adult Cooper children's farewell to Colorado Springs, and finding their new futures in Boston, while Michaela and Sully inevitably return to Colorado Springs to begin a new chapter in their own, now older, adult lives.
While this movie was far better received by fans, they did complain that more of the townspeople and original supporting cast were not involved, due to CBS's demands, as well as the last-minute absence of Chad Allen's Matthew (Allen had declined after learning that none of his original supporting costars were offered any appearances). Despite these criticisms, the movie was a success. It was filmed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Historical facts and filming information
A&E Home Video has released all six seasons of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on DVD in Region 1. They have also released the two television movies that were made after the series ended.
In Region 2, Revelation Films has released all six seasons on DVD in the UK. The two TV-movies were released separately, the first was entitled Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman – The Movie and the second was entitled Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman – The Heart Within.
The books by Dorothy Laudan were originally released in Germany and have never appeared in English version. However, it was these books which were most commonly translated into other languages. The series of nine covers most of the series, although the episodes on which they are based were shortened and some scenes were left out or were mentioned only briefly.
In 1997 there were plans of making a spin-off series centered around the Hank Lawson character. Some of the other regular Dr. Quinn characters, including the ones of Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Jim Knobeloch, Frank Collison and Orson Bean, were in as well.
It was directed by Jerry London, with Robert Brooks Mendel as the first assistant director, Timothy O. Johnson as the executive producer, and Beth Sullivan as the producer. The rest of the cast members were Laura Harring (Christina Guevara), Edward Albert (Ted McKay), James Brolin (Sheriff), Eddie Albert (Ben McKay), Carlos Gómez (Father Thomas Guevara) and John Saxon (Rafael Guevara).
The show was entitled California and it is likely that only the pilot episode was filmed. It remains unclear whether it has ever aired on television, but it is still available on the YouTube service.