Just Shoot Me!

Just Shoot Me!
Just Shoot Me!
Genre Sitcom
Format Workplace comedy
Created by Steven Levitan
Starring Laura San Giacomo
George Segal
Wendie Malick
Enrico Colantoni
David Spade
Chris Hogan (season 1)
Rena Sofer (season 7)
Theme music composer Korbin Krauss
John Adair
Steve Hampton
Ending theme "Life Keeps Bringin' Me Back to You"
(vocals by Lauren Wood)
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 148 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Steven Levitan
Brad Grey
Bernie Brillstein (entire series)
Marsh McCall
Don Woodard
Tom Maxwell (all; season 4)
David Guarascio & Moses Port
(seasons 5-6)
Pamela Fryman (seasons 5-7)
Judd Pillot & John Peaslee
Jon Pollack
Kevin C. Slattery (season 7)
Camera setup Film; Multi-camera
Running time approx. 22-23 minutes
Production company(s) Brillstein-Grey Communications (1997–2000)
Brad Grey Television
Universal Television
Steven Levitan Productions
Columbia Pictures Television (1997–1999)
Columbia TriStar Television (1999–2002)
Sony Pictures Television
Distributor Sony Pictures Television (1997-present)
The Program Exchange (2008-present)
Original channel NBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run March 4, 1997 (1997-03-04) – August 16, 2003 (2003-08-16)

Just Shoot Me! is an American television sitcom that aired for seven seasons on NBC from March 4, 1997 to August 16, 2003, with 148 episodes produced. The show was created by Steven Levitan, the show's executive producer.



The show follows the staff at the fictional fashion magazine Blush. The show originally centers on Maya Gallo, played by Laura San Giacomo, a feminist writer, who reluctantly takes a job at the glamour magazine, owned by her father, the Donald Trump-like Jack Gallo played by George Segal (who in the story has a rivalry with Donald Trump). The cast includes womanizing (and usually over-sensitive) photographer Elliot DiMauro (Enrico Colantoni), and the heavy drinking and sexually promiscuous ex-model Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick).

After the show's original pilot for NBC, David Spade was added to the cast as smart-mouthed assistant Dennis Finch. While the show had been designed as something of a vehicle for San Giacomo, it developed into more of an ensemble format. The show has also been credited as bringing a surge of renewed popularity for Segal and Malick, who had been out of the public eye for some time up until Just Shoot Me!. Every episode of the 148-episode, seven season run features all five regular cast members.

The first season also includes Chris Hogan as Maya's roommate, Wally, who was dropped when the show quickly solidified as a workplace sitcom, making the Mary-Rhoda dynamic obsolete. Hogan did not appear in all six episodes of the first season and was only included in a few minutes of some episodes. Brian Posehn appears as mail clerk Kevin Liotta (Ray Liotta's cousin) through much of the last four seasons. Rena Sofer, the only regular added during the run of the show, plays young fashion savant Vicki Costa during the final season. Also in the final season, Simon Templeman plays the recurring role of British rock star Simon Leeds, who has a relationship with Nina.

Notable actors appearing in a recurring or guest star capacity include Rebecca Romijn (as supermodel Adrienne Barker, Spade's TV wife), Brian Dennehy (as Dennis' father who gets engaged to Nina in an episode), David Cross (as Elliot's younger brother who pretends to be mentally disabled), Rhoda Gemignani, Brooke Shields as Nina's younger sister, Cybill Shepherd, Stephen Root, Steve Carell, Tom Kenny, Dana Carvey, Ana Gasteyer, Jim Wise, Tiffani Thiessen, Andy Dick, Gina Gershon, Dave Foley, Ali Larter, Penn Jillette, Kevin Sorbo, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mark Hamill, Valerie Perrine, George Lucas, Amy Sedaris, Kadeem Hardison, Willie Garson, Melissa Rivers, French Stewart, Carmen Electra, Ray Liotta, Snoop Dogg, Judy Greer and Paul Parducci as Deke "The Dekester" Williams. Models who make guest appearances on the show include Tyra Banks, Stephanie Romanov, Amber Smith, Paige Brooks, Daphne Duplaix, Cassidy Rae, Cheryl Tiegs, and Rebecca Chaney.

The show is rooted in Levitan's earlier career as a writer for The Larry Sanders Show. He had once conceived of a story about Janeane Garofalo's character having to sit and talk with a vapid model with whom she had nothing in common. The idea went unproduced, but Levitan liked the dynamic and later used the idea to develop a pitch for NBC. Garofalo's persona would become a template for Maya Gallo.

Series history

Early on, the series was a very competitive hit, consistently winning its time slot.[1] The show was so popular that its first season of six episodes were all aired by NBC in a single month in March 1997. It was renewed for a 13-episode second season, fitted at 9:30 after Frasier, and then was moved in the spring to Thursdays between Friends and Seinfeld.[2] After just two of these airings, the order was bumped up to a full season. When Seinfeld left the airwaves in 1998, Just Shoot Me! was one of the contenders to take the coveted 9 p.m. Thursday slot.[3] Frasier instead won the slot, and Just Shoot Me was instead given Frasier's 9 p.m. Tuesday slot.

The series main cast, from left to right: Malick, Spade (seated), Segal, San Giacomo, and Colantoni.

Just Shoot Me! was never given a definitive time slot during its series run. The show ended up being moved around to various slots on the NBC schedule. It still retained good ratings, though: in its fourth season, it was the top-rated show for NBC Tuesday nights and had an average rating of 6.1/16 share.[4]

For the fifth season of the series, when Frasier underperformed in the coveted Thursday slot and NBC returned that show to Tuesdays at 9, Just Shoot Me! was moved to Thursdays at 9:30, between Will & Grace and ER, where ratings saw an immediate (though expected) spike and where the show would remain for two years.

The show's seventh season saw several drastic changes that inevitably led to its cancellation. Series showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio left the show at the end of the sixth season to pursue a development deal with NBC, and were replaced with Jon Pollack (Spin City, Home Improvement) and Judd Pillot and John Peaslee (Coach, Anything but Love). Also noted as a big factor was the addition of Rena Sofer to the cast. Her addition was mandated by NBC, who had sought a successful vehicle for her for years.[citation needed] At the same time, NBC also gave the show one of its most difficult timeslots, Tuesdays at 8 pm. Ratings fell sharply in the first few weeks, and the show was put on hiatus by November, showing only one new episode until the following April. During this time, production resumed, but Sofer's character was written out immediately. By this point, NBC had canceled the show, and promised Levitan to run the remaining episodes twice a week until the series finale. When the first of such installments was not as successful as NBC had hoped with its "Return of Just Shoot Me!" campaign, the show was again pulled, and new episodes were burned off in the summer, the final pair of episodes airing on a Saturday in August 2003. Three more episodes, including Sofer's farewell episode, were not aired in the United States until their respective slots in syndicated airings. Levitan publicly denounced NBC's treatment of a former Must-See TV show and refused production deals for several years.[citation needed]

Nielsen ratings

Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Season Premiere Season Finale Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 6 Tuesday 9:30
Wednesday 9:30
March 4, 1997 March 26, 1997 #64 8.10
2 25 Tuesday 9:30
Thursday 8:30
September 23, 1997 May 12, 1998 #12 11.66
3 25 Tuesday 9:00 September 22, 1998 May 25, 1999 #37 11.40
4 24 Tuesday 8:00
Tuesday 9:30
September 21, 1999 May 16, 2000 #53 11.70
5 22 Thursday 9:30 October 12, 2000 May 10, 2001 #19 15.61
6 22 September 27, 2001 May 2, 2002 #20 14.40
7 24 (21 aired) Tuesday 8:00
Tuesday 8:30
Saturday 8:00
Saturday 8:30
October 8, 2002 August 16, 2003 #107 6.39



Maya Gallo

The character of Maya Gallo was portrayed by Laura San Giacomo. Maya was largely portrayed as a hot-tempered, sassy journalist who took a job at the fictional glamour fashion magazine Blush, which happened to be owned by her father Jack Gallo, in the pilot after she was fired for tampering with an anchorwoman's teleprompter and making her cry on the air. She was a dichotomy on several levels, with her headstrong smarts coupled against a naïveté about life and sometimes even love. Maya frowned upon men looking at women solely as objects of sexual desire, and in keeping with her feminist views, instead encouraged people to admire women for their intelligence or other attributes. Unfortunately for her, this was not a popular view for a fashion magazine and it therefore put her at odds with much of the magazine's staff thus providing much of the comedic conflict of the series.

She is sometimes mistaken for a Puerto Rican. Her birthday is January 1 (In the episode "Nina Van Grandma" her birthday is (mistakenly) placed in the summer; Jack's line is "I was in that delivery room 14 hours on the hottest day of the year..... then why did it snow today"). Maya was often shown dating on the show. She and Elliot were a couple for quite some time, and they were briefly engaged. Among her other dates were Michael Tenzer (David Rasche), Chris (Dean Cain), Ray Liotta and another man named Chris (Joe Rogan). Although she was involved in several relationships, she was never depicted getting (legally) married in the series. She is also very skilled at pitching; when she pitched a baseball to Dennis Finch, he thinks his hand is broken. Also disclosed in the same episode, If Maya starts pitching, she can't stop (she wanted to practice softball with Finch in the rain).

Jack Gallo

The character of Jack Gallo, portrayed by George Segal, is the owner and publisher of Blush. During his daughter Maya's childhood, Jack was an absent workaholic. The relationship between the two of them develops throughout the series reaching its pinnacle when he hands the magazine over to Maya in the series finale after retiring. When extolling the virtues of an assistant to Maya, he notes that an assistant (in his case Finch) can even become one's "best friend," although the sentiment was slightly dulled by his use of the pronoun "it" to refer to the hypothetical assistant (and therefore to Finch).

Jack is four times divorced, although he was married to Maya's high school classmate Allie for the first half of the series. They have a daughter (Maya's half-sister) named Hannah who was born in the first episode, "Look Who's Coming to Blush". Jack has a running contest with Donald Trump as to who is, among other topics, the smartest, the richest, and the best gift giver.

In "The Book of Jack", Finch refers to Jack as "Jackson Gilbert Gallo".

Nina Van Horn

The comical character of Nina Van Horn (born Claire Noodleman in Colby, Kansas), portrayed by Wendie Malick, was a cover girl in the 1970s and 1980s, and found that when she retired, people forgot her as quickly as they knew her. In a special Biography program about her, Pat Sajak says that no one is able to guess her name and the contestants are sent home. Due to her former status as a supermodel, she has been plagued by an obsession to party all night long and to return to work the following morning with a hangover. Her partying once caused her to die in 1986 (to which she responded, "it was only for 12 minutes, I'm obviously fine!"). Nina is considered an alcoholic partially due to her casual nip of alcohol during the day at work. She is also, if no longer an addict, extremely experienced in recreational pharmacy with a wide knowledge of (and access to) uppers, downers, mood regulators and hallucinogenic compounds (she is able to identify not only that a Chinese sweet Lemon Wacky Hello is a hallucinogen, but also its chemical make up, by taste alone). Her slow witted and even foolish demeanor create a lot of embarrassing situations for her character. She is understood to be promiscuous and possibly bisexual.

Nina is obsessed with her age and looks. In one episode, she mentioned that she had the telephone number of a plastic surgeon on speed dial, and when her age is nearly revealed over the P.A., she runs into Jack's office to destroy the P.A. so nobody will know her age. Throughout the run of the show she was vaguely in her late forties to early fifties, once blurting out that life's no fun at fifty (EP: "Sid and Nina").

In most seasons Nina constantly talks about her friend Binny. She is almost never seen but is heard about all the time. This usually leads to groans by other members of Blush who have to listen. In the episode "Bye Bye Binny", we hear that Binny dies and Nina must face the fact that she lost her only friend. At one point, she mentions that she was the one who broke up music bands such as The Eagles and the Jackson 6 (as well as having toured with Iggy Pop). Binny appears as a ghost to Nina in "Strange Bedfellows", but her face is almost never shown. The exception is a black-and-white clip, when her face was partly bandaged after a facelift.

Elliot DiMauro

The character of Elliot DiMauro, portrayed by Enrico Colantoni, is a photographer for Blush who often dates the models. Elliot was "discovered" by Jack, who found him selling his photography on the street, which all happens before the series begins. He also dated Maya for a period of time. In one episode, when he reveals that he is not allowed to vote in an election, he reveals that he was once arrested and spent time in jail. In a season four episode, it is revealed that he had planned to propose to a former girlfriend but as he was buying flowers, he was subsequently the victim of a hit-and-run — the driver turned out to be Nina. Though Elliot was angry at Nina for ruining his chances (he and his girlfriend's relationship ended the night of the accident), upon meeting his ex later, Elliot discovered that his ex-girlfriend had three husbands who died in accidents involving boats. Elliot also has a brother (in the episode "Slow Donnie") named Donnie (played by David Cross). When they were kids, Elliot accidentally threw a frisbee into a tree. Donnie climbed up the tree to get the frisbee, but slipped and fell out. From then on, his brain had been severely damaged, so he was almost retarded. In the episode, it is Donnie's birthday. Elliot invited Maya along and while at the party, Donnie reveals to Maya (with no-one else in the room) that he is faking to have everything done for him and so he doesn't need to pay for anything (he still lives with his parents).

Dennis Finch

The character of Dennis Finch, often referred to as simply "Finch", was portrayed by David Spade. Born in Albany, New York (of Norwegian ancestry), Dennis attended Hudson River Junior College where he joined the cheerleading team. In general, Finch has been described as “a self-centered horny pig who’d stop at nothing to get laid.” Surreptitiously, Dennis writes articles for the “Dear Miss Pretty” advice column. Dennis used to compete in figure skating, as revealed in the season 3 episode, 'Softball'. Dennis also likes to collect action figures and ceramic kittens. He lives in an apartment, number 803, in New York City, NY (Manhattan). He is also known to have a fear of owls from his mother's side. He works as the executive assistant of Blush owner Jack Gallo, toward whom he has a slavish devotion (he once claimed he expected to be buried with Jack) and with whom he has a virtually telepathic rapport, enabling him to foresee Gallo's every need and provide answers to even his vaguest questions (i.e. "What's that song that I like?"). He also has a seemingly mystical ability to tell when something sexual is happening or even being mentioned; for example, he was able to figure out that Maya and Elliot were in a relationship simply by mentally comparing Elliot's bite mark on an apple he was eating with a hickey on Maya's neck, as well as seemingly appearing to cross a massive distance across countries to appear in a room just as Maya was propositioned by a photographer. In season three, he marries a supermodel. Highly intelligent, as a child he was able to hack into a German bank and steal $18,000 worth of Deutsche Mark as disclosed in season 3; he also reveals in the season 2 episode "Jack's Old Partner" that he is so adept at twisting tax laws to favor him that the previous year, the IRS paid him 20 thousand dollars not to grow corn.

Kevin Liotta

The character of Kevin Liotta, portrayed by Brian Posehn on a recurring basis, was the mail guy at Blush and in the show's fifth season is revealed to be a cousin of film actor Ray Liotta. He is known for having an obsessive crush on Nina Van Horn, which often disturbed her. However, in one episode he develops a brief crush on Maya, about which she becomes disturbed after initially thinking when he was still interested in Nina that she should give him a chance. He is also revealed to be a very good operatic singer, which Jack discovers.

Vicki Costa

The character of Vicki Costa, portrayed by Rena Sofer, was hired by Jack and worked at Blush for part of the seventh and final season.

Wally Dick

Wally is Maya's roommate in Season 1, but was discarded when the writing staff thought it would be better to follow Blush magazine instead of Maya's life at home and at work.

Writing staff

  • Steven Levitan
  • Marsh McCall
  • Stephen Engel
  • Andy Gordon & Eileen Conn
  • Tom Martin
  • Sivert Glarum & Michael Jamin
  • Jack Burditt
  • Don Woodard & Tom Maxwell
  • Moses Port & David Guarascio
  • Susan Dickes
  • Tom Saunders & Kell Cahoon
  • Jeff Lowell
  • Bill Steinkellner
  • Brian Reich



Sony Pictures Television, which produced the series also handles syndication rights to the series, and since 2008 has done so in tandem with The Program Exchange, and distributed the series for broadcast television stations around the United States starting in September 2002; the series continues to be aired in broadcast syndication, but is aired in fewer markets than when the series was first rolled out into syndication.

Syndicated versions do not show each season's respective opening title sequences, instead using the opening titles used during the sixth and seventh seasons for all episodes; the opening titles from seasons one through five have not been seen in television airings since the NBC network run. The opening titles are also often shown at different points of the opening scene, depending on the episode, than they were shown in the original broadcasts, and occasional scenes (particularly in episodes from earlier seasons) in some episodes are edited in such a manner that a scene might end earlier than it did in the original airings, often switching to the magazine cover shots very quickly.

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released the first 3 seasons of Just Shoot Me! on DVD in Region 1 for the first time. Season three was released on February 24, 2009.[5]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons 31 June 8, 2004
The Complete 3rd Season 25 February 24, 2009

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ SUSAN KING (1997, November 25). Sophomore 'Just Shoot Me' Proves Timing Is Everything; Television: When the series moved from Wednesdays to Tuesdays behind 'Frasier', its ratings took off: [Home Edition]. Los Angeles Times, p. 2. Retrieved September 13, 2007, from Los Angeles Times database. (Document ID: 23603986).
  2. ^ STEVE WEINSTEIN (1998, April 16). Lightweight With a Punch; With his TV, film and stand-up careers all booming, David Spade is the first to acknowledge he's not a 'studly guy.' Thank heavens: [Home Edition]. Los Angeles Times, p. 50. Retrieved September 13, 2007, from Los Angeles Times database. (Document ID: 28683320).
  3. ^ Bill Carter (1998, January 28). Show Could Be A Contender. The New York Times (Late Edition (east Coast)), p. 9. Retrieved September 13, 2007, from National Newspapers (5) database. (Document ID: 25669289).
  4. ^ Joe Schlosser (2000, April). 'Just Shoot Me'--for the fifth time. Broadcasting & Cable magazine, 130(17), 34. Retrieved September 13, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 52852274).
  5. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Just-Shoot-Season-3/10949

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • shoot the messenger — shoot/blame/kill/the messenger phrase to blame the person who brings bad news, even though it is not their fault Don’t shoot the messenger – I’m just telling you what I heard! Thesaurus: to criticize, accuse or blamesynonym words used to describe …   Useful english dictionary

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