Lorimar Television

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Former type Entertainment
Industry Television and film production
Fate folded into Warner Bros. Television
Founded February 1, 1969[1]
Defunct 1993
Key people Irwin Molasky,
Merv Adelson
and Lee Rich (founders)
Parent Independent (1969-1986)
Lorimar-Telepictures (1986-1989)
Warner Communications (1989-1990)
Time Warner (1990-1993)

Lorimar, later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American television production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969[1][2][3] until 1993. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich, who named the company by combining the name of Adelson's ex-wife, Lori, with Palomar Airport in San Diego, California.[1]


Early years[edit]

Lorimar initially started producing made-for-TV movies for the ABC Movie of the Week.[1] Rich bought the script to an adaptation of Earl Hamner Jr.'s novel "The Homecoming" and subsequently sold the rights to CBS. The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, airing during the 1971 holiday season, was a ratings success, and served as the pilot for Lorimar's first major hit production, The Waltons, premiering in 1972.[1] Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced several other shows as well, including Eight is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas. In 1980, Lorimar purchased the bankrupt Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.

In the 1980s, Lorimar's output swung toward family-friendly sitcoms; among these were Perfect Strangers and Full House, which were produced by Miller-Boyett Productions.

In 1986, Lorimar, in an attempt to expand into first-run syndication,[1] merged with television syndication firm Telepictures, becoming Lorimar-Telepictures; later that year, they purchased the MGM lot from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.[1]

Purchase by Warner Communications[edit]

In 1988, Lorimar-Telepictures' production arm became Lorimar Television; however, the L-T distribution business remained until 1989. In 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications,[2] which was merging with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, one of the world's largest media companies, now headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Lorimar's distribution business was folded into Warner Bros. Television Distribution and became Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; since then, the Telepictures name has been resurrected as both a production company (circa 1990), and once again as a syndication company (1996, after the Turner merger).

The former MGM studio lot was sold to Sony to house Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Sony's other film operations in which was later named Columbia Studios and is now Sony Pictures Studios. Lorimar continued as a production company until July 1993, when it was folded into Warner Bros. Television, for "economic issues" as a result of declining syndication sales.[4] The last series to premiere under the Lorimar name was Time Trax, as part of the 'Prime Time Entertainment Network' programming block.

Les Moonves (current president of CBS Corporation) was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1987-1993. Moonves would then become the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.

Key components Lorimar owned[edit]

Additionally, Lorimar has owned key components of the film library of the defunct Allied Artists film studio (originally Monogram Pictures), which includes Cabaret and Papillon; these too are now owned by Warner.

TV productions[edit]

Other ventures[edit]

Theatrical films[edit]

Lorimar not only specialized in producing television programs, they also produced (sporadically) a number of theatrical motion pictures, most of which were originally distributed by other studios as noted. Lorimar's entrance into feature films was predominantly sanctioned by Adelson; Rich was vehemently against it. This asset was among the many factors for Rich's exit from the studio in 1986.[1]

In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures. In January 1987, the film unit was renamed Lorimar Film Entertainment to coincide with its newly formed in-house distribution unit.[5] In 1988, Lorimar made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Under Warner, Lorimar continued to make theatrical films until 1990.

The rights to most of the films noted here have been retained by their original distributors (as noted with an * asterisk), while others are now in the hands of Warner Bros. (Including all of the Lorimar film productions released by United Artists, 20th Century Fox, almost all of the Lorimar film productions released by Paramount Pictures, and the Lorimar film productions released by Warner Bros.) The television rights to The Last Starfighter are owned by Warner, while Universal Studios holds theatrical and home video rights. In the UK, films produced by Lorimar in the late 1970s/early 1980s were distributed by ITC Entertainment. Lorimar Motion Pictures also distributed The Fourth Protocol and Siesta - neither of them produced by the company - in North America. ITV Global Entertainment now owns The Tamarind Seed. The rights to Twilight's Last Gleaming have since reverted to the film's German co-producers.

Home video[edit]

In 1984, Lorimar purchased Karl Video Corporation (KVC), also known as Karl Home Video, which was named after its founder, Stuart Karl (1953–1991). KVC, which was best known for producing the bestselling Jane Fonda workout videos, was renamed Karl-Lorimar Home Video after the acquisition. Relationships between Lorimar and Karl grew sour, which forced Karl to resign in March 1987. Karl-Lorimar continued to exist under the name Lorimar Home Video until it closed sometime later.[7][8] Lorimar Home Video closed in 1989 and was folded into Warner Home Video.

In Australia, Lorimar joined a venture with Village Roadshow Limited to create Roadshow Lorimar Home Video, which distributed movie titles by Lorimar Motion Pictures in that country.

Television stations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Lee Rich Interview: Archive of American Television. Retrieved on November 24, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Fortune
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Associated Press. "Movie Deal." Merced Sun-Star (January 17, 1987)
  6. ^ "The Postman always rings twice / an Andrew Braunsberg production ; produced in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced by Charles Mulvehill and Bob Rafelson ; directed by Bob Rafelson" (PA0000100011 / 1981-05-04). United States Copyright Office.
  7. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1988/02/07/business/troubled-entrepreneur-stuart-karl-from-fonda-and-hart-to-flops-and-hot-water.html?pagewanted=all
  8. ^ http://www.cedmagic.com/mem/whos-who/karl-stuart.html