Hot l Baltimore

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For the play by Lanford Wilson, see The Hot l Baltimore.
Hot l Baltimore
Created by Lanford Wilson
Written by Ron Clark
Decia Baker
Woody King
Lanford Wilson
Directed by Bob LaHendro
Starring Richard Masur
Conchata Ferrell
James Cromwell
Al Freeman, Jr.
Jeannie Linero
Gloria LeRoy
Robin Wilson
Stan Gottlieb
Lee Bergere
Henry Calvert
Charlotte Rae
Composer(s) Marvin Hamlisch
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Norman Lear
Producer(s) Rod Parker
Editor(s) Terry M. Pickford
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) T.A.T. Communications Co.
Distributor Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release January 24, 1975 (1975-01-24) – April 25, 1975 (1975-04-25)

Hot l Baltimore is a 1975 American television situation comedy series adapted from a hit off-Broadway play of the same name by Lanford Wilson.

Premise and run[edit]

The show took place in the fictional Hotel Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, and drew its title from the cheap establishment's neon marquee which had a burned-out letter "e". The half-hour series premiered January 24, 1975,[1] and was produced by Norman Lear for ABC. It was the first Norman Lear property to air on ABC. The cast included Conchata Ferrell, James Cromwell, Richard Masur, Al Freeman, Jr., Gloria LeRoy, Jeannie Linero, and Charlotte Rae.

The series had several controversial elements, including two primary characters who were prostitutes, one of whom was an illegal immigrant, and one of the first gay couples to be depicted on an American television series. Because of the subject matter, the show was the first ABC network show to have a warning at its opening, cautioning viewers about mature themes. (All in the Family, also produced by Norman Lear, ran a similar disclaimer when it debuted in 1971 on CBS.) The network supported the show and gave it a full publicity campaign, but it failed to win an audience and was canceled after 13 episodes. Its last telecast was June 6, 1975. Ironically, the show was never carried by the local ABC affiliate in Baltimore, anytime during its run. WJZ-TV in Baltimore carried alternative programming, leaving Baltimore viewers to watch the show on WJLA, ABC's Washington. D.C. affiliate.[1]

Significance for Norman Lear[edit]

This series is notable as the first failure for producer Norman Lear after a streak of mega-hit TV series, beginning with All in the Family (1971) and continuing with Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons.


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (Oct 1995) [1979]. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present (trade paperback) (Sixth ed.). New York: Ballantine Books, a Division of Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-345-39736-3. 

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