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Personal Problems Force 'Nurse Jackie' Creators From Show

Tumultuous break-up forced Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius to part ways

There is some good news and bad news coming from Showtime when it comes to its critical-fave comedy "Nurse Jackie." It looks like there will be a fifth season of the show, but it will be without its creator and showrunner team of Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius.

Showtime announced that the two have departed "Nurse Jackie" after four seasons, not because of issues with their creative efforts, but more because the one-time couple have separated, and it has not been a pleasant break-up, reportedly affecting life on the set.

Although the fourth season starring "The Sopranos" one-time leading lady Edie Falco has already premiered, filming has wrapped, and won't affect this season. Showtime has yet to announce the fate of "Nurse Jackie," which attracts just over 650,000 viewers each week, but the news that they are looking for a replacement for Wallem and Brixius means the cable channel is likely going to bring the show back for at least a fifth season.

While the viewership numbers are nowhere near other Showtime programs like "Dexter" and "Homeland," Showtime is a premium cable channel and does not solely rely on actual viewers of its original programs to make them successful. Instead, the business model is what creates enough buzz and attention to attract paying subscribers to the channel. Falco, already known for being the wife of Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series, has already attracted award attention in 2010 when she was won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on "Nurse Jackie."

The show has been nominated for eight Emmys and won two in 2010 (the other went to Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman for Outstanding Original Main Title Music). The number of Emmy nominations dropped in 2011, however, to just two. Falco was nominated again for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (losing to Melissa McCarthy from CBS' "Mike & Molly"), while the show's casting department was also nominated.

Wallem was a producer on shows like "Cybill," "That '70s Show" and "That '80s Show" as well as "The Comeback" in 2005. Her brother, Stephen Wallem, plays Thor Lundgren in the show. It's likely he will remain with the show despite his sister's departure.

Brixius got her start writing the broken pilot "Insatiable" in 2007 with Lance Barber and Peter Facinelli. Her biggest contribution to television, however, has been her work with Wallem in creating "Nurse Jackie."

"Nurse Jackie" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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