Coach, The Drew Carey Show, Ellen and Grace Under Fire


Coach (1989-1997)
The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)
Ellen (1994-1998)
Grace Under Fire (1993-1998)
Type: Crossovers
Group: 2

   Oh how this page pains me. I have tried as much as possible with only a few exceptions to keep these pages limited to two shows per page, going into the specifics of how these shows were interconnected. That's tough to do with the shows listed above. I think ABC was inspired by the stunt programming NBC had done with The Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Nurses. NBC would have a big crossover night where all three of these shows would have a common plot thread and characters from each show would appear on the other shows as well. This worked well because all three of the shows were from the same producers, were all set in Miami and from the start had been set up as sharing a common reality.

   This was not the case with the sitcoms in ABC's Wednesday lineup. Coach, Drew Carey, Ellen and Grace Under Fire all had different setting, different producers and up until the crossover night no common reality. On top of that, all the characters on NBC's shows had been set up as knowing each other so the crossovers helped add something to each show. With the ABC shows, the crossover would be the first, last and only time the characters would meet and those meetings were brief and served as nothing more than a ratings stunt. Okay, all crossovers are actually rating stunts but as you'll see this was verrry blatantly one from its inception.

   Okay, these crossovers all occurred as part of ABC's Viva Las Vegas night where members of the casts of all the shows mentioned ended up in Las Vegas and appearing on each others shows. That means in terms of who met who things get very confusing. That's why I did one page about all four shows instead of individual pages about each show crossing over with each other show. For example, characters from all four shows made appearances on The Drew Carey Show. So then if in that episode the folks from Grace Under Fire met someone from Ellen then I would have to include that as part of their crossover page even though it was on a third show altogether. But maybe they didn't bump into each other in that Drew episode. To find out I would have to hunt out each of these shows and take tons of notes on who actually met who and on what show. Then I would have to have someone clean up my brains off the floor when my head exploded.

   Actually, if I can catch these shows in repeats I might actually try to do this (I must be insane) but for now I will just give a quick overview of the night and who was on what show.

GRACE UNDER FIRE

Jerry Van Dyke as Luther from Coach
Drew Carey as Drew Carey from The Drew Carey Show

   Grace and her ex mother-in-law Jean fly to Vegas to look into a retirement community for Jean. Once there Grace hooks up with a gentlemanly retired cop who lives at the home. Grace goes off with this guy while her mother-in-law sits through the sales pitches for the home. When Grace returns to the home, Jean has gone out onto the Vegas strip. Grace heads out to find her and (HERE IT COMES) she instead runs into Drew Carey and Coach's Luther who are both gambling at the same table. She blows on some dice for them, they do a joke or two and then she's off (CROSSOVER OVER). Grace finds Jean who is making a killing and tells Grace to go back to what she was doing. Grace heads back to her new ex-cop "friend". She and the cop are planning to get frisky. In expectation he does some push ups, has a stroke and dies. Oh the hilarity! Odd. Usually a plot like this would have the guy die during or after sex, not before. I guess that was too much for ABC Prime time, especially for an ABC event night. He and Grace never got close to getting busy.

COACH

Kathy Kinney as Mimi and Drew Carey as Drew Carey from The Drew Carey Show
Joely Fisher as Paige Clark and Jeremy Piven as Spence Kovak from Ellen

   Like I said at the very start, with NBC's crossovers the shows were all from the same producers which meant they were something the shows' creators wanted to do. This crossover stunt was a ABC programming guy's idea though, not the producers. That meant not everyone was thrilled with the idea. The view of this as a cynical attempt to get ratings can be sensed in the title of episode of Coach involved in the stunt. "Viva Las Ratings" had Coach's Luther in a bidding war with Drew Carey's Mimi at an auction of Elvis memorabilia. It also had folks from Ellen wandering around (they wandered through all the shows). Another sign that not everyone was hog wild for this crossover stunt? The titular Coach Hayden Fox himself did not take part in the festivities. He wasn't the only one to take a pass (See "Ellen" below).

THE DREW CAREY SHOW

Brett Butler as Grace Kelly from Grace Under Fire
Jerry Van Dyke as Luther from Coach
Joely Fisher as Paige Clark and Jeremy Piven as Spence Kovak from Ellen

   The main plot had Drew getting conned into getting married and had no direct need for any of the other guests. This is the one show that had characters from all the other three shows on it.

ELLEN

Drew Carey as Drew Carey from The Drew Carey Show
Brett Butler as Grace Kelley from Grace Under Fire

   Like Craig T. Nelson from Coach, Ellen DeGeneres was not thrilled with the idea of this netwrok devised stunt. She was actually more focused at the time on the then upcoming and hugely hyped "The Puppy" episode where her character would admit to being gay. If you were stuck in a glaring public spotlight over you and your TV character's sexuality would you give a rat's ass about "Viva Las Stupid Night"? This meant that while the show Ellen joined in, its star Ellen DeGeneres didn't. Her character stayed home with her own storyline and as a result she didn't go hopping between shows either. Instead her friends Spence and Paige went to Vegas as the show's ambassadors and they did the whole crosssover thing. They were on all four shows! In the Ellen episode "Secrets And Ellen", using a classic (or is that "worn out") TV premise, while in Vegas with Paige, Spence gets amnesia! Oh the fun! Meanwhile, Ellen was back in L.A. involved in a plot (unimportant as far as the crossover goes) involving her grandmother.

   So back to why this crossover stunt was so flawed. Right off the bat if you've read the above you can already see the problems. It was a huge crossover stunt where none of the main stars did much actual crossing over. Craig T. Nelson and Ellen both bowed out altogether and Brett Butler's participation was limited. That meant Drew Carey was the big gun for the night and Coach's Jerry Van Dyke and Ellen's Joely Fisher and Jeremy Piven had to try and help pick up the slack. Having less than enthusiastic support from all the shows ABC should have nixed this whole thing.

Other Coach Crossover Links
Coach and Newhart

Other Drew Carey Show Crossover Links
The Drew Carey Show and The Geena Davis Show
The Drew Carey Show and Home Improvement
The Drew Carey Show and N.Y.P.D. Blue
The Drew Carey Show and Norm/The Norm Show

Other Ellen Crossover Links
Ellen and These Friends Of Mine

Click here to return to main Crossover List

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