Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Format Western / Family drama
Created by Beth Sullivan
Starring Jane Seymour
Joe Lando
Chad Allen
Erika Flores (1993-95)
Jessica Bowman (1995-98)
Shawn Toovey
Composer(s) William Olvis (theme and all but four episodes)
David Bell (four episodes, and additional on "The Secret")
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6 + 2 TV movies
No. of episodes 150
Plus 2 TV movies
(List of episodes)
Running time 47 mins.
Production companies The Sullivan Company
MTM Enterprises
CBS Productions
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original channel CBS
Original run January 1, 1993 – May 16, 1998

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 American West and who settles in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The television series ran on CBS for six seasons, from January 1, 1993 to May 16, 1998. In total, 150 episodes were produced, plus two television movies which were made after the series was cancelled. It aired in over 100 countries. Since 1997, reruns have been shown in syndication and on ABC Family, Ion Television, the Hallmark Channel, gmc, Eleven, CBS Drama, and INSP.


The series begins in the year 1867 and centers on a proper and wealthy female physician from Boston, Massachusetts, Michaela Quinn (Jane Seymour), familiarly known as 'Dr. Mike'. After the death of her father, Dr. Mike 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 (Chad Allen), Colleen (played by Erika Flores and later, Jessica Bowman) and Brian (Shawn Toovey). 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.

Broadcast history

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.

About the show

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.

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. Seymour is quoted as saying she was moved to tears by the script and that she was literally born to portray Michaela Quinn, the second most perfect character role she'd ever portray in her career. The next day she began the wardrobe fittings for the series.

The pilot episode was shot in early 1992 and aired in a 2-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. Expectations for the show were low due to its airtime alongside the Orange Bowl that year. Initially, critics panned the series and predicted that it would be quickly cancelled. Therefore, 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 2-hour movie.

To the network's surprise however, the ratings for the pilot and the first episode were remarkably high. 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.

The series' central, inevitably-blossoming romance between Michaela and Sully grew popular with audiences. The popularity was related to the obvious on-screen chemistry between Seymour and Joe Lando. In the season 3 finale, titled, "For Better or Worse", they were married during a special two-hour episode, which gained huge notoriety alongside its ratings, and very highly dramatized publicity in popular magazines and on television commercial break specials. During season 4, Seymour's real-life pregnancy was written into the show. Soon, another very highly-rated episode centered on the long-awaited birth of Michaela and Sully's daughter, Katie.

Members of the large supporting cast were each given the opportunity, over time, to fully develop their own characters. The producers soon began leaving the doors open for the supporting cast to make suggestions and contribute ideas to the writers.

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.

Replacement of Erika Flores with Jessica Bowman

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 5-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 5 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. CBS issued the following statement to the press:

Official "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Web Site" – February 7, 1996

"Dear Viewers:

Over the past several months we have received numerous letters regarding the re-casting of "Colleen" on our show. When this change occurred, we released a statement to the effect of, "Unwilling to commit to 5 years, Erika Flores is leaving the series to pursue other interests." Well, it's now over one year and, the fact remains that Erika Flores left the show to pursue other interests.

Now, what are those other interests? I can tell you its primarily school. She's auditioned for movies, but her primary focus, to our knowledge, is school. After all, she's only 16 years old. The events leading up to her decision to leave the show did include CBS's request that she sign a 5-year contract. Erika did not want to commit to that extended period of time, and CBS would not allow it (all the series regulars, including Jane Seymour, are required to sign a 5-year contract.)

We, as producers of the show, were able to convince CBS to double Erika's salary in an attempt to keep her on the show, but she still was unwilling to commit to 5 years. This being the case, we had no other choice but to replace her.

I hope that this will help clarify your questions about Erika Flores. She remains a very close friend of the show, often visiting the set for lunch and we wish her all the best in her future pursuits.

Tim Johnson
Producer, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"

(c) 1996 CBS"

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. Sources say that Seymour and Wyman did not get along during the shooting of the episode. Later Wyman refused to return for another guest appearance in season two. 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. She 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 season 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.


The cast was reported to get along well despite some tensions, which led to minor cast changes and some disagreements between the show's writers and cast.

The most documented tension came during the show's fifth season, as Joe Lando was unhappy with both the show's and his character's direction. He seriously considered leaving. Lando, who felt the show needed a real shake up, openly stated, after a heated argument with Sullivan, that Dr. Quinn could continue just fine with Sully being killed off. Since it was not known if Lando would return, the fifth season finale showed Sully being thrown over a cliff into a river. Viewers were left to wonder, along with Michaela Quinn, if Sully had died or survived.

During the early months of 1997, it appeared Lando was not returning. John Schneider was asked to return to the show playing Sully's best friend Daniel Simon. The intent was for Schneider to take Lando's place as the show's leading man and Michaela Quinn's new love interest. But, upon learning this, Dr. Quinn fans created a campaign, known as "Save Our Sully". By the time shooting had started for season 6 and its premiere in early 1997, Lando, now free from his involvement with other projects, had agreed to return. He was allotted part-time status, meaning he would have full involvement in certain episodes but only occasional screen appearances in others.

Though his episodes were spread out during the final season, they were shot over a period of several weeks. Lando then returned only in the final episode to appropriately finalize the series.


Season U.S. ratings Network Rank
1 1993 N/A CBS #19
2 1993–1994 13.46 million CBS #25
3 1994–1995 10.7 million CBS #49
4 1995–1996 9.6 million CBS #55
5 1996–1997 8.5 million CBS #58
6 1997–1998 11.7 million CBS #51

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, when networks rarely air new episodes owing to low viewership. 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-40 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.[1]

Dr. Quinn: Revolutions

The cancellation of Dr. Quinn caused a massive fan uproar, the likes of which had not been seen since the campaign to save Star Trek in the mid-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 than the rest of the series, incorporating more guns and violence – allegedly 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's 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 eventually failed in the ratings due to a lack of promotion.

Dr. Quinn would not return again unless CBS decided to give it another go. This seemed highly unlikely, as Joe Lando was not returning as Sully, and Chad Allen, Jim Knobeloch, and Orson Bean were said to have moved on to other projects. Also, in spite of rumors that new contracts were being negotiated with the remaining leads and supporting cast, CBS abruptly pulled the plug, blaming the show's demise on hugely declining ratings due to Lando's brief departure in season five.

Dr. Quinn: The Heart Within

A second 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 1867. 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, and 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 -just nine years earlier; in the same Bostonian sector- in that she is not respected; nor 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 beat out all its competition in the ratings, marking first place, and was much more in nature of the actual series.

Reruns and future

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."[2]

Historical facts and filming information

  • While much of Dr. Quinn was fictional, some of the events and people were based on historical fact:
  • In what most consider the final episode of the series, the town's often-antagonist banker, Preston A. Lodge III, went bankrupt as a result of the great stock market crash, caused by the Panic of 1873, a historically-accurate event. Lodge lost much of the townspeople's money along with his own, in the Panic.
  • The episode The Body Electric features Walt Whitman, who was a poet and a true historical figure
  • One of the major historical oversights of the show is that Colorado Springs was not technically founded until 1871, by General William Palmer, and was mainly a resort town. There were no saloons, as Palmer declared Colorado Springs to be alcohol-free. Colorado Springs stayed "dry" until the end of Prohibition in 1933. However, nearby towns, including Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs did permit saloons.
  • Dr. Quinn was largely filmed at the western set on Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Fans of the show were able to visit the sets, talk to the actors and watch episodes being shot, during its 6-year run. Since Dr. Quinn ended, the ranch has been used numerous times for other filming projects. Numerous buildings, including the church, Sullys Homestead, the school house, and the Chateau Springs Hotel, were leveled soon after the series was canceled. However, the entire town still remains. Despite minor changes over the years, it is still recognizable as the Dr. Quinn set, and is a popular tourist attraction for many fans, today.
  • Other areas used throughout the series were the backlot at Universal Studios in Hollywood, including The New England Street as the location of Quinn Family Home, and the New York Streets, doubling as the streets of Boston and Washington. The setting of Boston in the final movie was filmed in Canada, using various locations in Old Montreal.
  • William Olvis wrote the underscoring music for the series, except for a few episodes in season one (where he either alternated with Star Trek spin-off series composer David Bell, or co-scored with Bell) and the Revolutions movie.
  • Jane Seymour's husband, James Keach, directed and produced numerous episodes of the show, and guest starred in the season 5 episode entitled, "The Hostage."
  • Due to child labor laws, the role of Katie; Dr. Mike and Sully's young daughter, was portrayed by identical triplets; Alexandria, McKenzie, and Megan Calabrese.
  • Jane Seymour is the only cast member who appeared in every episode of the series. Shawn Toovey missed only one episode as did Chad Allen, who also did not appear in episode titled "Reunion" (Season 4), as well as the two made-for-TV movies. Joe Lando came in third, missing only a few episodes in the sixth and final season.


Supporting cast

Guest Stars

DVD releases

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 6 seasons on DVD in the UK. The 2 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.

DVD Name Ep # Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season One 17 May 27, 2003 March 20, 2006
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Two 24 September 30, 2003 June 19, 2006
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Three 25 March 30, 2004 March 26, 2007
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Four 27 October 26, 2004 June 18, 2007
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Five 26 January 25, 2005 October 22, 2007
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Six 22 July 26, 2005 March 10, 2008
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Movies 2 June 27, 2006 March 8, 2010
July 19, 2010
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Complete Series 151 October 20, 2009 October 4, 2010

See also


External links

  • Official Dr. Quinn Web Site
  • Internet Movie Database
  • TV.com
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