A successful performer of London’s West End, with a pop hit to her name in America, became the darling of new channel Fox TV with her variety show The Tracey Ullman Show.
Trying to break into the American market, Ullman was offered several tv projects, but none that suited her goals of not doing conventional television series. Her agent pursued former television producer James L. Brooks, who had moved into film with his successful movie Terms of Endearment.
But seeing the inventive skills of Ullman, Brooks decided to work with her to develop The Tracey Ullman Show, which became the second produced show on the fledgling Fox TV Network.
Debuting in April 1987, the show was a combination of comedy sketches starring Ullman and her cast of crazy recuring characters (Ullman created over 100 characters during the series). The half hour show would end with a musical segment starring Ullman.
Another part of the show were animated shorts starring a family called The Simpsons. These shorts were aired during the three year tenure of the series, later becoming another successful series on Fox TV – and their longest running series.
Ullman won three Emmys for her show, as well as garnering an Emmy for her peformance and the show winning an Emmy for the dance choreography from singer/choreographer Paula Abdul.
Although the show ended in 1990, the series inventiveness and fun led the way for Fox’s development as a channel and continued the unique mix of comedy and music that audiences loved.