‘Living Single’ 20 Years Later: Still Laughter & Love!

(Photo credit: tvguide.com)

Before the hugely successful Friends sitcom came along, there was Living Single. Starring Queen Latifah (Khadijah), Kim Coles (Synclaire), Kim Fields (Regine), Erika Alexander (Max), T.C. Carson (Kyle) and John Henton (Overton), the show debuted in 1993 and was a hit all the way through 1997.

In 1993 the race for Sunday night ratings was close. Critics agreed that the big contenders were CBS’ Murder, She Wrote and NBC’s seaQuest DSV, but out of left field came a sitcom deemed underdog: Fox’s Living Single. The sitcom chronicled the adventures of four single ladies living in New York City. Living Single captured viewers with its on-point comedy and catchy opening credits song. Featuring six African-American comedic stars, the show quickly became the most popular sitcom of its era.

During her latest appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Queen Latifah revealed that she’s not only in the process of rebooting the fan favorite in the next couple of years, but also confirms the concept for Friends was essentially a white version of Living Single, revamped for NBC’s audience.

“It was one of those things where there was a guy called Warren Littlefield, who used to run NBC,” explains Latifah. “They asked him, ‘When all the new shows came out, if there was any show you could have, which one would it be?’ And he said Living Single…and then he created Friends.”

But Latifah maintains she and the rest of the Living Single production team harbor no ill will toward the show, saying, “Friends was so good, so it wasn’t like we hated on it.”

The show’s creator—television writer and executive producer Yvette Lee Bowser, now 52—saw the need for a strong black female voice in the television. After leaving A Different World as a writer, and while producing Hanging With Mr. Cooper, she created the concept for Living Single.

“I feel blessed that my vision and the characters have stuck with people through the decades. It’s a blessing to set out to make art, make TV and to end up making history. It feels great. It makes me smile, and it’s certainly something to be proud of,” Bowser tells The Root. “After A Different World went off the air, it left a void. There was no longer a platform for strong black female voices. Suddenly, I didn’t see myself. That was my impetus for creating the show.”

Twenty years later after the last show aired, audiences around the country still enjoy the laughter in syndication and all the cast went on to become successful in their own right.

After Living Single was canceled, Kim Fields took on directing and has worked on a few of Tyler Perry’s movies and BET’s Let’s Stay Together. In 2015, Fields joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, although her gig only lasted one season. The actress’ dive into reality continued as she competed in season 22 of Dancing with the Stars in 2016, finishing in 8th place.

When the role of the hilarious Synclaire was over, Kim Coles went on to make appearances on shows like Fraiser, Six Feet Under, and…