KRISTEN
On June 5, NBC-TV lauched this new series about a Baptist-Christian young woman named Kristen. Have you seen it yet? So tell me what you think of "Bible Belt Barbie" Kristen.



NBC-TV SUMMER 2001

This page was created on Sept, 2001
This page was last updated on
May 21, 2005

"CUTE AS A LITTLE BAPTIST BUTTON"

Click to enlargeKRISTIN CREDITS
Day & time (during Summer 2001): Tuesdays on NBC (9:30-10 p.m. ET)
Premiere date: June 5, 2001

Starring: Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Tenney, Larry Romano, Ana Ortiz, Christopher Durang, Dale Godboldo Executive producer/creator: John Markus Executive producer: Earl Pomerantz
Supervising producers: Dan Cohen, F.J. Pratt Producers: Teri Hicks, Jessie Ward
Co-producer: Bill Wrubel
Associate producer: Mark Petulla
Executive story editors: Dawn Urbont, Sky Varinaitis
Unit production manager: Dan Dugan Directors: James Widdoes (pilot), Paul Lazarus, Ken Levine, Brian Roberts, Lee Shallat-Chemel, Jerry Zaks
Casting directors: Susan Vash, Emily Des Hotel Editor: Andy Chulack
Director of photography: Ken Lamkin
Production designer: Roy Christopher
Origination: Los Angeles, California
Produced by: markusfarms productions in association with Paramount Network Television

KRISTEN "The Savvy Christian"

Click to enlargeSTUDIO SYNOPSIS:
Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth (?You?re a Good Man, Charlie Brown?) stars in this uptown comedy as Kristin Yancey, a small-town girl who leaves her sheltered life in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to pursue her dream of becoming a Broadway star. Until then, however, Kristin (Chenoweth) reluctantly accepts a job working for a handsome but morally bankrupt real estate tycoon, Tommy Ballantine (Jon Tenney, ?You Can Count On Me?) ? and just maybe by being herself she?ll be a good influence on him.

Click to enlargeThe misadventures of the virtuous actress surrounded by amoral New Yorkers begin when her unorthodox terms of employment are brokered by Reverend Thornhill (Tony Award nominee Christopher Durang, ?A History of the American Film,? ?Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You?), whose small Lower East Side chapel was saved from the wrecking ball by Tommy. While the bad-boy real-estate mogul remains skeptical that he can improve his image by hiring an assistant -- one who won?t end up suing him for harassment -- the reverend has faith that pairing Kristin with Tommy will answer everyone?s prayers.

Click to enlargeKristin?s allies in the Ballantine Enterprises offices are Aldo Bonnadonna (Larry Romano, ?King of Queens?), who is Ballantine?s right-hand-man with an appreciation of how Kristin keeps the boss in line and on track, and Tyrique Kimbrough (Dale Godboldo, ?Shasta McNasty?), the fearless and ?hell-bent-for-leather? messenger. However, jealous Santa Clemente (Ana Ortiz, ?NYPD Blue?) -- a former conquest of smooth-operator Tommy who is now his director of sales and leasing -- wants to turn what she considers to be Kristin?s down-home act into a limited run.

Emmy winner John Markus (?The Cosby Show,? ?The Larry Sanders Show,? ?Lateline?) is the creator. He and Earl Pomerantz (?Lateline?) are the executive producers of this production from markusfarms productions in association with Paramount Network Television.

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"The Savvy Christian"

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THE CAST

Click to enlargeKRISTIN CHENOWETH
as Kristin Yancey

Kristin Chenoweth?s distinctive voice often gets her recognized in supermarkets and airports nationwide. ?I?ve been called everything from kewpie doll to Marilyn Monroe to pipsqueak,? she says of her stature, shape and especially, her pitch or signature sound. ?I think it?s unique, and hopefully people won?t find it too irritating,? she adds.

Many have found it irresistible, as when she used it to full effect and recently won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Sally in the 1998 Broadway revival of ?You?re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.? The role of Sally had been added to the revival production.

That voice, and the woman who goes with it, are the result of being raised in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a suburb of Tulsa), by a homemaker/mother and business executive/father who encouraged their daughter?s performing aspirations through dance and piano lessons. Deemed too short (4?-11?) for ballet, Chenoweth earned a bachelor of arts degree in musical theater and a master?s degree in opera performance at Oklahoma City University. During one summer she performed in a stage revue at Opryland in Nashville. She later won the ?most talented up-and-coming singer? award from the Metropolitan Opera competition, which resulted in her receiving a full scholarship to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

She can be heard on the recordings of ?Steel Pier,? ?You?re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,? ?110 in the Shade,? Mandy Patinkin?s new album, ?Kidalts,? and her own solo debut album of 1930s-era music, ?Let Yourself Go,? which will be released by Sony Classics on May 29, 2001.

Chenoweth?s television credits include starring in the hit movie remake of ?Annie? as Lily St. Regis and starring as a regular on the cable series ?Paramour? on American Movie Classics

Click to enlargeJON TENNEY
as Tommy Ballantine

?Tommy Ballantine is a completely egotistical, amoral and ambitious guy,? says Jon Tenney of the playboy real-estate mogul he portrays in ?Kristin.? ?Tommy?s a ruthless businessman, extremely self-centered and considers everything to be about closing the biggest deal. In his mind, that?s the game you play and anything that happens is just business. I think his single-mindedness is humorous.?

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Tenney graduated from Vassar College, where he majored in drama and philosophy. His extensive background on stage includes training at New York?s Circle-in-the-Square Theatre and the Juilliard School, where his studies were interrupted when he was cast in the national tour of "The Real Thing," directed by Mike Nichols.

Tenney?s feature-film credits include ?Fools Rush In,? ?Tombstone,? ?Watch It,? ?Lovelife,? ?With Friends Like These,? and the upcoming ?Advice from a Caterpillar,? ?Buying the Cow? and Kenneth Lonergan?s ?You Can Count on Me ? (grand jury prizewinner at the Sundance Film Festival, 2000).

A veteran regular of numerous television series, Tenney has starred on ?Equal Justice,? ?Brooklyn South,? ?Good Company? and ?Get Real.? Other TV credits include the miniseries ?The Ring? and the film ?Twilight of the Golds.?

Tenney resides in Los Angeles and New York City with his wife and daughter.

Click to enlargeLARRY ROMANO
as Aldo Bonnadonna

?I think I could be the first in American television history to play an Italian-American who?s not mobbed-up and who?s educated and successful,? says Larry Romano regarding his character of real-estate executive Aldo Bonnadonna on ?Kristin.? ?There?s a lot of guys like Aldo out there in real life who are successful and straight-up honest.?

Originally from New York, Romano has become familiar to television audiences the past two seasons for his role of Richie Ianucci, series star Kevin James? high school buddy on ?The King of Queens.? Romano will continue to make appearances on the comedy while co-starring on ?Kristin.?

Romano originally began performing as a drummer with several rock ?n? roll bands, and continues to compose music and perform with his two bands, ?Eljay Are? and the hard-rock ?Deficit.? These two bands have each released a CD that appeared on the college radio charts and will mount West Coast tours in 2001.

Romano?s additional film credits include: ?The Thin Red Line,? which required him to spend five months in Australia working for director Terrence Malick; ?Donnie Brasco? in which he portrayed Al Pacino?s drug-addicted son; ?Sleepers?; and ?City Hall.?

Romano?s TV credits also include playing a mob killer on a number of episodes of ?NYPD Blue? and other guest-starring roles on ?Civil Wars?; ?L.A. Law? and ?Mad About You.?

Click to enlargeANA ORTIZ
as Santa Clemente


?We are opposites and we?re smart,? says Ana Ortiz, who portrays the worldly and sexy cutthroat office rival to the title character in ?Kristin.?

?Kristin?s character and mine are both going to get where we?re going to go, but we?re just going to take different paths,? she adds with a laugh.

Born in New York City, Ortiz is the daughter of the first Puerto Rican city councilman in Philadelphia and a mother who works in Manhattan with autistic children and runs a soup kitchen.

Click to enlargeDALE GODBOLDO
as Tyrique Kimbrough

?He?s always on edge because it?s very important for him to get in and out and not dilly-dally,? says Dale Godboldo of Tyrique, real-estate mogul Tommy Ballantine?s exclusive bike messenger. ?I think the one thing that can distract him from his work is his desire to be debonair and suave with the ladies.?

Born in Detroit and raised in Dallas, Godboldo has been interested in acting since he was a child. As a teenager, he was cast in the Disney Channel?s ?The New Mickey Mouse Club,? on which his fellow ?Mouseketeers? included Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Britney Spears and ?N Sync?s JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake. He later starred on that cable network?s drama series ?Emerald Cove.?

Click to enlarge CHRISTOPHER DURANG
as Reverend Thornhill

?The reverend is sweet-natured and sincere, though he likes to make quirky jokes,? says actor/playwright Christopher Durang of his character on ?Kristin.? ?But at his core, he?s an innocent. On a related topic, I seem to have some sort of ?clergy karma.? On stage and in movies, I?ve played three priests; and this is my second minister.?

Durang was born in Montclair, New Jersey, and educated at Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama (master of fine arts degree). Among the honors he has received for his playwriting are a Guggenheim and a Rockefeller grant, a Tony Award nomination (?A History of the American Film? as Best Book of a Musical), and numerous Obie awards (?Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You?). As a member of the Dramatists Guild Council, he is co-chair of the playwriting program at the Juilliard School.

He wrote the screenplay for the upcoming feature-film version of ?Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You,? starring Oscar winner Diane Keaton in the title role.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge
EPISODE STORYLINES

Click to enlargeEpisode Title: PILOT
Original Air Date: June 05, 2001

Kristin Chenoweth stars in this uptown comedy as a small-town girl who leaves her sheltered life in Oklahoma to pursue her dream of becoming a Broadway star. However, until then, Kristin (Chenoweth) reluctantly accepts a job working for a handsome but morally bankrupt real estate tycoon, Tommy Ballantine (Jon Tenney, ?Get Real?) -- and sets out to reform him. Meanwhile, smooth-operator Tommy is convinced by his right-hand man Aldo (Larry Romano, ?King of Queens?) that her upright values will upgrade his public image. Kristin gets a little help from her friends, such as her roommate Sloane (Marquita Terry, ?Party of Five?), a sexy, successful model, and her spiritual adviser, Reverend Thornhill (Christopher Durang, ?Lateline?). Mindy Sterling (?Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me?) also stars as the dictatorial office manager. ?Kristin? is produced by Markusfarms in association with Paramount Network Television. John Markus (?The Cosby Show?) and Earl Pomerantz (?Lateline?) are executive producers. Markus wrote the pilot and James Widdoes (?Frasier?) is the director.

Click to enlargeEpisode Title: THE IN-CROWD
Original Air Date:

RUBBED WRONG WAY -- Kristin hopes to gain the respect of the other women in the office who tease her about her straight-laced ways, but when she joins them for a day of beauty climaxing in a "relaxation massage," she risks losing her good-girl reputation. Meanwhile, Tommy (Jon Tenney) assigns messenger Tyrique (Dale Godboldo) to photograph potential dates for Tommy

MESSAGE FROM DAVID
On June 5, NBC-TV lauched this new series about a Baptist-Christian young woman named Kristen. Did you watch it? The sitcom airs every Tuesday at 9 pm Eastern time. It features Kristen, a born again Christian, in a favorable light and star of the show. The critics have not been kind to the show, however.

Also, I am interested in you take on the show.

NEEDED A FEW MORE EPISODES
Subject: Kristen
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001
From: Bill

It was my feeling that this show could use at least a few more episodes in order to hit its stride. This has promise, due to good casting. It is always good to remember that other long-running hit shows did not start off right away with a bang. A good example of that would be "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". With that said, it would be a shame not to see more of Kristen Chenoweth, as she certainly is quite unique as well as talented.
From Bill

A HUMAN CHRISTIAN THAT STRUGGLES
Subject: Kristen
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
From: Todd

I caught the show once and I've been trying to catch it again for fairness, but I am always amazed at the insistence of Christians that it's gotta be "all or nothing" when faith is presented even subtly. While there've been cases of miracle conversions, touching a person's soul does not occur overnight. Even "Touched by an Angel" is seriously flawed but it gives people a reason to feel good about doing what is right and relying on faith. Kristen was shown to be working in the same types of scenarios that I face at work, and she handled herself (at least on this episode) with dignity and even humor about her own naivet?. I will not apologize for the fact that I don't scoff rudely and walk away from these types of situations either. I was glad to see a "human" Christian who "struggles" as we all do but is independent, assertive and has a personality! This episode revealed that she had to learn by experience where she did not belong... not all of us grew up in Christian homes and not all of us avoided painful sins. We need to realize that for the world to even "accept" a serious Christian on our TV's, they will have to be able to relate to her and even accept her as normal but with different values. And yes, sometimes she makes mistakes too. She also showed an excellent Christian witness by allowing a co-worker who had nowhere to stay to sleep in her bathtub. Please realize the necessity for "baby steps" here, give the show its fair shake, and be grateful we've finally made prime-time in a world of bizarre "reality" television. We were instructed to be salt and light, not hot sauce and a ray gun.

FAVORABLE?
Subject: Kristen
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001
From: TERRY

I can't even begin to fathom how you think this show features born-again Kristen in a favorable light. I've shuddered through it twice. The second show features her trying to fit into the world... so eager is she to befriend her co-workers that she fakes an orgasm with her masseuse. Favorable? She's a cultural Christian at best.

DISAPPOINTMENT
Subject: Newsletter 26
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001
From: Paula

I made a special effort to view the sitcom Kristen last week. Quite frankly, I was disappointed in the quality of the program. It was the usual mindless sitcom nonsense with the only difference being a Christian character. I was not impressed with the writing or the acting. Bless Kristen's heart, but her rather high-pitched delivery grated on my nerves. I thought the fake sex scene was inappropriate and not all that funny. I suppose the moral of the story was that she did confess and repent and learned a rather predictable lesson from her experience. The character of the minister was an insult to the clergy. I cannot imagine that this will be popular.
Paula (Please do not publish my e-mail address. Thanks!)

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