"Providence," which became television’s highest rated new drama of the season when it premiered in January 1999, is a family drama series created by John Masius ("Touched By an Angel," "St. Elsewhere") and starring Melina Kanakaredes ("NYPD Blue") as an altruistic plastic surgeon who abandons her career specialty and unfulfilling lifestyle to return to her colorful family and hometown in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dr. Sydney Hansen (Kanakaredes) entered the field of cosmetic surgery with noble ambitions, but several years of performing collagen lip treatments and nose jobs for celebrities and over-privileged teenagers in Los Angeles began to erode her sense of purpose. Sydney’s disenchantment with her career combined with a relationship breakup and a family crisis prompts her to move back to the safe haven of Providence where she finds fulfillment working in a low-income medical clinic.

Sydney arrives as her engaging but turbulent family struggles to recover after her mother Lynda’s (Concetta Tomei, "Murphy Brown") sudden death. She soon feels that the collective weight of the close-knit Hansen clan has become her responsibility, in particular her father Jim (Mike Farrell, "M*A*S*H"), who relates better to the cuddly animals in his veterinary practice than he does to his family. Sydney’s younger sister Joanie (Paula Cale, "Local Heroes") is an unwed new mother who divides her time between her infant daughter and assisting her dad in his cozy vet office in the basement of their home. Robbie (Seth Peterson, NBC’s "Profiler") is Sydney’s scheming, bad-boy baby brother.

As if Sydney’s reality check needed any more familial interference, her dreams are frequently interrupted by the presence of her overbearing mother, who brusquely imparts wisdom and advice from her vantage point in the hereafter.

In its debut season "Providence" averaged a 4.9 rating and 17 share in the key adult 18-49 demographic and 14.0 million viewers overall – making it the most-watched freshman drama series on NBC since "ER" in 1994-95.

"Providence," which is filmed in Los Angeles and on location in Providence, is produced by John Masius Productions in association with NBC Studios. Masius is the creator and executive producer and Bob DeLaurentis ("The Big Easy") is the executive producer. Michael Fresco ("Murder One," "Northern Exposure") is the co-executive producer.

'Providence' © 1999 National Broadcasting Company.