|Created by||Ralph Farquhar|
Sara V. Finney
|Theme music composer||Kurt Farquhar|
|Opening theme||"Gotta Move" performed by Brandy|
|Ending theme||"Gotta Move" (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||127|
|Production location(s)||ABC Television Center Hollywood (season 1)|
Paramount Studios (season 3)
Sunset Gower Studios (seasons 2, 4-6)
|Running time||22-24 minutes|
|Production||Regan Jon Productions|
Jump at the Sun Productions
Big Ticket Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||January 23, 1996 -|
May 14, 2001
|Related shows||The Parkers|
Moesha is an American television sitcom that aired on UPN from January 23, 1996, to May 14, 2001. The series stars R&B singer Brandy Norwood as Moesha Denise Mitchell, a high school student living with her family in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was originally ordered as a pilot for CBS' 1995-1996 television season but was rejected by the network. It was then picked up by UPN, which aired it as a mid-season replacement. It went on to become the biggest success for the nascent network and one of the greatest hits over the course of the network's entire run. The series was a joint production for UPN by Regan Jon Productions, Saradipity Productions, and Jump at the Sun Productions in association with Big Ticket Television.
The show focused on the life of an upper-middle class Black family through the eyes of a typical girl named Moesha. Her father Frank, a widower and Saturn car salesman (and later owner of his own dealership, Brothers Saturn), has married Dee, the vice principal at Moesha's high school, much to Moesha's disapproval. The series was created by Ralph Farquhar, along with the writing team of Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears. The settings for the show include the Mitchell household, the teen hangout, The Den, and in some cases, Crenshaw High School, the school attended by Moesha, Kim, Niecy, and Hakeem. The sitcom was set in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The show dealt with real social issues affecting teenagers, such as premarital sex, the death of a parent, teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, sexuality, dementia and day-to-day issues teenagers faced at home and school such as gender prejudice and inequality. In one of the most controversial episodes, "Secrets and Lies" (aired February 7, 2000), the Mitchell family learned from Aunt Hattie that Frank is the biological father of Dorian, whom the Mitchells and Dorian himself believed to be Frank's nephew. The shocking news of Frank's infidelity during his first marriage turned the family upside-down and resulted in Dorian's rebellion and Moesha moving out of the family home.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||14||January 23, 1996||May 21, 1996|
|2||24||August 27, 1996||May 20, 1997|
|3||23||August 26, 1997||May 19, 1998|
|4||22||October 6, 1998||May 25, 1999|
|5||22||August 23, 1999||May 22, 2000|
|6||22||September 4, 2000||May 14, 2001|
|Brandy Norwood||Moesha Denise "Mo" Mitchell||Main|
|William Allen Young||Franklin "Frank" Mitchell||Main|
|Countess Vaughn||Kimberly Ann "Kim" Parker||Main||Does not appear|
|Marcus T. Paulk||Myles Mitchell||Main|
|Lamont Bentley||Hakeem Campbell||Main|
|Yvette Wilson||Andalusia Louise "Andell" Wilkerson||Main||Does not appear|
|Sheryl Lee Ralph||Deidra "Dee" Mitchell (née Moss)||Main||Recurring|
|Shar Jackson||Denise "Niecy" Jackson||Recurring||Main|
|Fredro Starr||Quinton "Q" Brooks||Does not appear||Main||Guest||Recurring|
|Ray J||Dorian Long||Does not appear||Main|
There have been different versions of the opening credits theme song.
Although the same recording of the theme song was used for the last three seasons, two different openings were used for each of the first three seasons.
Given her popularity for four seasons on Moesha, Countess Vaughn left the show in 1999 for her own show, The Parkers, which premiered on August 30, 1999 on UPN. It centered on Kim attending community college with her mother, played by comedian Mo'Nique. Leaving Moesha, Yvette Wilson joined the cast of The Parkers as Andell Wilkerson, Nikki's childhood friend.
Though not direct spin-offs of Moesha, the shows Girlfriends and The Game were created by Moesha writer Mara Brock Akil and exist in the same universe as Moesha. The character Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks) from Girlfriends lives in Leimert Park like the characters of Moesha, and appeared in an episode babysitting for her sister-in-law Barbara Lee, who happened to be Dorian's birth mother. Niecy later appeared in an episode of Girlfriends.
The Game was spun off from Girlfriends with the loose thread of main character Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry) being a cousin of Girlfriends main character Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross). Though this was never mentioned again on The Game, the Melanie and Derwin characters re-appeared in the Girlfriends Season 7 finale episode for a cameo. On Moesha, Brandy played herself as a celebrity doppelganger to Moesha, and ironically Brandy joined the cast of The Game in its fifth season as Chardonnay Pitts, further complicating the notion of the shows existing in the same universe.
By the sixth season, ratings for Moesha had dropped and UPN opted not to renew or air the series for a seventh season. The series ended on an unresolved cliffhanger with Myles being kidnapped by a rival of Dorian, Moesha considering moving in with Hakeem, and a positive pregnancy test being found in the trash at Moesha's dorm room, without positive identification as to whose it was. Entertainment Weekly put out a rumor that certain plots were to be resolved on The Parkers, but those plans never came through, and the storylines were ultimately never resolved.
The show aired in syndication on UPN, Fox, and The WB affiliates. The series aired on WGN America from 2005 to 2008, Noggin (as part of its teen block, The N) from 2005 to 2009, Up TV, BET Her, and BET until mid 2016, and Fuse until 2019. On Up, it was edited for content to make it more "family-friendly" and was often edited heavily for broadcast on BET and BET Her due to airtime constraints. Bounce TV currently airs the series.
In the UK, Moesha aired on Channel 4 from 1996 until 1998, with only the first three seasons being broadcast. the first three seasons. It also aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000, who only showed episodes from the first four seasons which were edited so they would be more suitable for broadcast on children's television. Paramount Channel aired the series from 2000 to 2003, as did Trouble from 2003 to 2006. From 1 November 2019, the programme started airing on Trace Vault following its rebrand from The Vault.
Since 2008, the show has been airing in international syndication in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Israel, the Middle East, Russia, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, Latin America, Brazil, and Australia. In Spain, it ran on Disney Channel from 2005 to 2011 in an edited format deemed suitable for children's television.
The series is currently streaming on Netflix in the US, while spinoff series The Parkers is available to stream on the platform as well. The series is also available to stream on CBS All Access.
On September 27, 2011, CBS Home Entertainment released Moesha: The First Season on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com. It is unknown if the remaining 5 seasons will be released.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete 1st Season||14||September 27, 2011||N/A||N/A|
The following table summaries the U.S. television ratings for the series:
|Season||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Ranking||Viewers|
|1st||January 23, 1996||May 21, 1996||1996||#141||3.5|
|2nd||August 27, 1996||May 20, 1997||1996-1997||#134||3.5|
|3rd||August 26, 1997||May 19, 1998||1997-1998||#141||4.0|
|4th||October 6, 1998||May 25, 1999||1998-1999||#137||3.3|
|5th||August 23, 1999||May 22, 2000||1999-2000||#130||2.4|
|6th||September 4, 2000||May 14, 2001||2000-2001||#130||3.3|
|1997||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress||Brandy Norwood|
|1998||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Countess Vaughn|
|2000||SHINE Awards||Comedy Episode||For episode "Let's Talk About Sex"|