Ellen was an American television sitcom that aired on the ABC network from March 29, 1994, to July 22, 1998, consisting of 109 episodes. The title role is Ellen Morgan, played by stand-up comedian Ellen DeGeneres, a neurotic bookstore owner in her thirties. The title of the series was These Friends of Mine for the first season, but it was subsequently changed to avoid confusion with the NBC series Friends, which premiered in September 1994.
The series centered on Ellen’s dealing with her quirky friends, her family, and the problems of daily life, set in Los Angeles. The series is notable for being one of the first in the US with a main character to come out as gay, which DeGeneres’ character did in the 1997 episode “The Puppy Episode,” which aired shortly before DeGeneres publicly revealed that she was gay in real life. This event received a great deal of media exposure, ignited controversy, and prompted ABC to place a parental advisory at the beginning of each episode.
The series’ theme song (used in season 3 onwards), is a version of “So Called Friend” by Scottish band Texas with altered lyrics. A running gag during the third and fourth seasons was that each episode had a distinct/different opening credits sequence (often with singing and dancing), resulting from Ellen’s ongoing search for the perfect opening credits.