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 (1975-01-24) – April 25, 1975 (1975-04-25)

Hot l Baltimore is an American sitcom adapted from an 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, but ceased doing so after that.) 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, WJZ-TV, then ABC's Baltimore affiliate, never carried the show, but instead, carried alternative programming, leaving Baltimore viewers to have 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.


Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
1 "Suzy's Wedding" Bob LaHendro Ron Clark,
Rod Parker
January 24, 1975 (1975-01-24)
Suzy announces she is going to marry a Hollywood producer.
2 "Millie's Beau" TBA Rudy De Luca,
Barry Levinson
January 31, 1975 (1975-01-31)
Millie's new boyfriend turns out to be one of Suzy's clients. The residents try to figure out a way to tell Millie.
3 "Suzy's New Job" Bob LaHendro Woody Kling,
David Swift
February 7, 1975 (1975-02-07)
After she loses her job as a dance teacher, Suzy decides to complain to the White House.
4 "The Rent Increase" TBA Barry E. Blitzer,
Jack Kaplan
February 14, 1975 (1975-02-14)
Ainsley's mother issues an unexpected rent increase to the tenants. On the verge of being evicted, the residents are moved to protests, with a highly imaginative maneuver by Moose.
5 "George and Gordon" Burt Brinckerhoff Woody Kling February 21, 1975 (1975-02-21)
George and Gordon's latest spat promises to blossom into a hotel-wide fray.
6 "The Date" Bob LaHendro Ron Clark February 28, 1975 (1975-02-28)
Just to prove that he's not afraid of anything, Bill agrees to take April out on a date.
7 "The Deportation of Suzy" Bob LaHendro Elias Davis,
David Pollock
March 7, 1975 (1975-03-07)
Suzy is threatened with deportation as an undesirable alien.
8 "Mrs. Bellotti's Boyfriend" TBA Charlie Hauck March 14, 1975 (1975-03-14)
Mrs. Bellotti has fallen deeply in love with Chapman Packer, but her first love is her son Moose, and everything hinges on a very successful meeting of the two men in her life.
9 "Bingham's Con" TBA Jay Sommers March 21, 1975 (1975-03-21)
Ex-convict Mojo Thompson arrives at the hotel in search of his old buddy Charles Bingham. Mojo soon enthralls the residents with wild tales of his former shenanigans, but in the process he also happens to divulge a few secrets from Charles' past, things Bingham would rather keep dead and buried.
10 "Historic L Baltimore" TBA Douglas Arango,
Phil Doran
March 28, 1975 (1975-03-28)
Ainsley's mother has successfully targeted the Hotel Baltimore for a wrecking ball. Hoping to save the building from an untimely demolition, Clifford manages to have it declared a historic landmark. However, the scheme quickly backfires; with the building now more valuable ever, a Japanese corporation decides to purchase it, but the unlikeliest of residents may prove to be the hotel's ultimate savior.
11 "Ainsley Loves April" TBA Woody Kling April 4, 1975 (1975-04-04)
An armed gunman invades the hotel lobby and threatens the residents, but is defeated by April. Having witnessed April's heroism, Clifford Ainsley suddenly sees her in a very different light; he falls head over heels in love with her, giving April a rare opportunity to be treated like a queen.
12 "Suzy's Problem" TBA Charlie Hauck April 11, 1975 (1975-04-11)
13 "Ainsley's Secret" TBA Elias Davis,
David Pollock
April 25, 1975 (1975-04-25)
Evie, a woman from Ainsley's past, arrives at the hotel and accuses him of being the father of her child, which he vehemently denies. Ultimately, he agrees to settle the problem with a payoff to Evie. Although he couldn't possibly be the father, the reason he couldn't forms the crux of Ainsley's secret.


  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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