Lorimar Television

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Lorimar Productions, Inc.
FoundedFebruary 1, 1969; 52 years ago (1969-02-01)[1]
FoundersIrwin Molasky
Merv Adelson
Lee Rich
DefunctJuly 14, 1993; 28 years ago (1993-07-14)
Headquarters10202 West Washington Boulevard, ,
ProductsTelevision and film production
ParentIndependent (1969–1986)
Lorimar-Telepictures (1986–1989)
Warner Communications (1989-1990)
Time Warner (1990–1993)

Lorimar Productions, Inc., later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American 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. The company's name was a portmanteau of Adelson's then wife, Lori, and McClellan-Palomar Airport in San Diego.[1]

The firm "expanded from television and movies into advertising" in the 1980s.[4]


Early years and merger with Telepictures (1969–1986)[edit]

In the late 1960s, after a bank loan of $185,000 that Merv Adelson planned to furnish Lee Rich with, Lorimar Productions was founded. Prior to Lorimar, Rich had an established reputation; first as an advertising executive at Benton & Bowles, then as a television producer, co-producing (with Walter Mirisch) successful series such as The Rat Patrol.

Lorimar initially produced made-for-television 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, The Waltons, which premiered in 1972.[1] Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced a number of hit shows, including Eight Is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas.[5]

In 1976, Lorimar had to enter the syndication business.[6] It also operated such subsidiaries such as Lorimar Television, Lorimar Pictures, Lorimar Syndication, and Lorimar Distribution International during the time. On March 3, 1978, Robert B. Morin became executive vice president of the Lorimar Syndication unit.[7] Later that year, CBS vice president Edward O. Denault was named vice president of that production unit. It was served for the next nine years, until 1987.[8] In 1980, Lorimar purchased the Allied Artists Pictures Corporation library.

In the 1984–1985 season, three of the top 10 shows in the United States were produced by Lorimar; Dallas, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest. In the mid-1980s, Lorimar's output swung toward family-friendly sitcoms; among these were The Hogan Family (initially titled Valerie), Perfect Strangers, and Full House, which were produced by Miller-Boyett Productions.

In October 1985, Lorimar, in an attempt to expand into first-run syndication,[1] announced it would merge with television syndication firm Telepictures, becoming Lorimar-Telepictures.[9][10][11] That same year Lorimar announced their intention to buy a 15% share in the then-financially troubled Warner Communications. On February 19, 1986, the Lorimar-Telepictures merger was completed and the company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange as "LT."[12] In 1986 they purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio lot in Culver City from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.[1] The New York Times followed the financial fortunes of Lorimar Telepictures.[13][14]

Purchase by Warner Communications and merger with Warner Bros. Television (1987–1993)[edit]

In 1987, Lorimar-Telepictures's production arm became Lorimar Television, and, the L-T distribution business was rebranded as Lorimar Syndication. Also that same year, it is reported that Robert Rosenbaum was named vice president of production at the Lorimar Television unit.[15] This was part of a strategy on January 19, 1987, in which the parent company Lorimar-Telepictures had used Lorimar as a operating name for its units.[16] On January 11, 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications,[2][17] which the following year merged with Time Inc. to form Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), 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 operations towards the end of 1989 with the facilities renamed as Columbia Studios (now Sony Pictures Studios) at the beginning of 1990. Lorimar continued as a production company until July 1993, when it was eventually folded into Warner Bros. Television, for "economic issues" as a result of declining syndication sales.[18] In 1990, David Salzman left Lorimar to start Millennium Productions to cover affiliated production houses like Lorimar and Telepictures.[19] In 1991, after Orion Pictures shut down its television unit, before its eventual Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Gary Nardino moved to Lorimar, taking its current Orion-produced shows with them, and also took talent deals (Thomas Carter, Robert Townsend, Paul Stajonovich, Clifton Campbell and Deborah Joy Levine) with them.[20] In 1992, Barbara Corday, former CBS executive has struck a deal with the studio.[21]

The last series to premiere under the Lorimar name was Time Trax, as part of the Prime Time Entertainment Network programming block. Several shows slated to be Lorimar productions, such as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Living Single, It Had to Be You, Cafe Americain, The Trouble with Larry and Family Album ended up being produced by Warner Bros.[22]

Les Moonves, who would later become the chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1990 to 1993. Moonves then became the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.

Key components Lorimar owned[edit]

Additionally, Lorimar owned key components of the film library of the defunct Allied Artists film studio (originally Monogram Pictures),[5] which includes Cabaret and Papillon; these, too, are now owned by Warner. After the merger with Telepictures, they also took possession of the Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment animation house, along with the post-1973 library of that company, including its entry into the 1980s animation market, ThunderCats, which ran until 1989; a Warner Bros. Animation-produced revival show aired on Cartoon Network for one season in 2011.

Other ventures[edit]

Theatrical films[edit]

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

In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures (or, sometimes, as Lorimar Pictures). In January 1987, the film unit was renamed Lorimar Film Entertainment to coincide with its newly formed in-house distribution unit.[23] In 1988, Lorimar made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Under Warner, Lorimar continued to make theatrical films until 1990. The theatrical film library of Lorimar was folded into Warner Bros. Pictures.

Warner Bros. now owns most of Lorimar's catalogue, though a few films remained with their original distributors.

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; Jane Fonda's Workout, 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.[24][25] Lorimar Home Video closed in 1988 and was folded into Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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

Television stations[edit]

Record label[edit]

In 1979, Lorimar formed Lorimar Records whose first release was the soundtrack to the film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. The label would have very few artists signed to it. It was mainly distributed by Columbia Records, but it was also distributed for one album from The Coyote Sisters by Motown via the Morocco subsidiary. Lorimar Records' final release was the soundtrack to Action Jackson (1988) which in that case was distributed by Atlantic Records.[26]

Sports broadcasting[edit]


TV productions[edit]

Lorimar's TV productions included:[27][28]

Theatrical feature films[edit]

Most of Lorimar's film and television library,[29] with several exceptions, is now owned by Warner Bros. Several of Lorimar's films are still owned by their original distributors or third parties, which are marked with an asterisk (*).

Release Date Title Notes
February 28, 1971 The Sporting Club distributed by Embassy Pictures*
July 19, 1972 The Man in association with ABC Circle Films; distributed by Paramount Pictures*
November 7, 1974 The Tamarind Seed in association with ITC Entertainment*; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
February 9, 1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming distributed by Monogram Pictures; co-production with Bavaria Media GmbH*
December 23, 1977 The Choirboys distributed by Universal Pictures*
June 29, 1978 Fedora inherited from Monogram Pictures, distributed by United Artists; co-produced by Bavaria Media GmbH*
October 6, 1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? originally distributed by Warner Bros.; WB summarily relinquished the rights, but reclaimed them after the Lorimar/WB merger
August 10, 1979 Americathon distributed by United Artists
October 16, 1979 Avalanche Express distributed by 20th Century Fox
November 6, 1979 The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh distributed by United Artists
December 19, 1979 Being There distributed by United Artists
February 15, 1980 Cruising distributed by United Artists
May 23, 1980 Carny distributed by United Artists
July 18, 1980 The Big Red One distributed by United Artists
March 20, 1981 The Postman Always Rings Twice co-production with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer;[30] distributed by Paramount Pictures
April 24, 1981 Night School distributed by Paramount Pictures
May 5, 1981 Second-Hand Hearts distributed by Paramount Pictures
June 5, 1981 The Sea Wolves distributed by Paramount Pictures
July 1, 1981 S.O.B. distributed by Paramount Pictures
July 30, 1981 Victory distributed by Paramount Pictures
February 12, 1982 Love & Money distributed by Paramount Pictures
August 13, 1982 An Officer and a Gentleman co-production with Paramount Pictures*
October 8, 1982 Fast-Walking distributed by the Pickman Film Corporation
October 8, 1982 Lookin' to Get Out distributed by Paramount Pictures
October 21, 1983 The Dead Zone in silent partnership with Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, who still owns major rights today*
March 16, 1984 Tank distributed by Universal Pictures*
July 1984 Scream for Help
July 13, 1984 The Last Starfighter distributed by Universal Pictures
January 31, 1986 Power distributed by 20th Century Fox
June 27, 1986 American Anthem distributed by Columbia Pictures
August 14, 1986 The Boy Who Could Fly distributed by 20th Century Fox
December 25, 1986 The Morning After distributed by 20th Century Fox
August 28, 1987 The Fourth Protocol U.S. distribution; produced by The Rank Organisation*
September 16, 1987 In the Mood a co-production with Kings Road Entertainment
September 18, 1987 Orphans
October 2, 1987 Big Shots distributed by 20th Century Fox
November 1987 Hearts of Fire
November 6, 1987 Made in Heaven
November 11, 1987 Siesta U.S. distribution
January 15, 1988 Return of the Living Dead Part II
February 12, 1988 Action Jackson
April 15, 1988 Tokyo Pop distributed by International SpectraFilm
April 22, 1988 World Gone Wild pickup from Apollo Pictures for U.S. theatrical distribution
April 29, 1988 Two Moon Junction pickup from DDM Film Corporation for U.S. theatrical distribution; produced with The Samuel Goldwyn Company*
September 9, 1988 Running on Empty distributed by Warner Bros.*
December 21, 1988 Dangerous Liaisons distributed by Warner Bros.*
October 29, 1988 Moonwalker distributed internationally by Warner Bros.
February 24, 1989 Bert Rigby, You're a Fool distributed by Warner Bros.*
The Toxic Avenger Part II distributed and co-produced by Troma Entertainment*
March 24, 1989 Dead Bang distributed by Warner Bros.*
April 14, 1989 See You in the Morning distributed by Warner Bros.*
August 23, 1989 Cookie distributed by Warner Bros.*
October 20, 1989 Next of Kin distributed by Warner Bros.*
November 3, 1989 Second Sight distributed by Warner Bros.*
August 24, 1990 The Witches distributed by Warner Bros.*

Advertising agency investments[edit]

Kenyon & Eckhardt[edit]

Lorimar acquired Kenyon & Eckhardt, an advertising agency, in 1983.[31]


Lorimar acquired Bozell Jacobs in 1985, and merged it with Kenyon to form Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt.[32][33] The firm renamed to Bozell Worldwide in 1992.[34]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Lee Rich Interview: Archive of American Television. Retrieved on November 24, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Crash Landing Merv Adelson--TV mogul, multimillionaire, and friend of the famous--lived a show-business fantasy. His bankruptcy has shocked Hollywood. - November 10, 2003". money.cnn.com.
  3. ^ "Lorimar Reports $19.2-Million Loss". Los Angeles Times. February 13, 1988.
  4. ^ Todd S. Purdum (September 11, 1985). "Operating Officer Resigns at Lorimar". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Aljean Harmetz (March 21, 1981). "Small Movie Companies Gamble For 'One Big Hit'". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Closed Circuit" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 10, 1976. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  7. ^ "(print ad)" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 6, 1978. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  8. ^ "Denault was head of production at CBS, Lorimar TV". Variety. August 27, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "Lorimar in Merger". The Pittsburgh Press. October 7, 1985.
  10. ^ Sherman, Stratford P.; Caminiti, Susan (May 12, 1986). "A TV TITAN WAGERS A WAD ON MOVIES". CNN Money. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  11. ^ Delugach, Al (January 12, 1989). "Warner Completes Merger With Lorimar Telepictures". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  12. ^ "Bottom Line" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 24, 1986. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  13. ^ "Lorimar Telepictures reports earnings for Qtr to Sept 30". The New York Times. November 1, 1988.
  14. ^ "Lorimar-Telepictures reports earnings for Qtr to Jan 25". The New York Times. March 13, 1986.
  15. ^ "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 27, 1987. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  16. ^ "Syndication Marketplace" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 26, 1987. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  17. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: Advertising; Warner Merges With Lorimar". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 12, 1989. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  18. ^ Lippman, John (July 14, 1993). "Warner Bros. Consolidates TV Production: Hollywood: Leslie Moonves, who had been president of Lorimar, will head the studio's new division". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Salzman leaves Lorimar for Millennium" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 15, 1990. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  20. ^ "Nardino makes it official with Lorimar" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 1, 1991. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  21. ^ "Telepictures targets prime time and more" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 10, 1992. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  22. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 14, 1993). "Moonves rises in WB combo". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  23. ^ Associated Press. "Movie Deal." Merced Sun-Star (January 17, 1987)
  24. ^ Stevenson, Richard W. (February 7, 1988). "TROUBLED ENTREPRENEUR: Stuart Karl; From Fonda and Hart To Flops and Hot Water". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  25. ^ Howe, Tom. "Stuart Karl – Who's Who in RCA VideoDisc". www.cedmagic.com. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Lorimar Records".
  27. ^ "Toy-based Tv: Effects On Children Debated". The New York Times. February 3, 1986.
  28. ^ "Networks Face a Drop In Viewing by Children". The New York Times. May 25, 1988.
  29. ^ Paul Vitello (May 30, 2012). "Lee Rich Dies at 93; Helped Create Both J.R. and John-Boy". The New York Times.
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ "Bozell Jacobs Trims Its Name". The New York Times. March 31, 1989.
  32. ^ "Firm to Pay $40 Million for Ad Agency : Lorimar Will Buy Bozell Jacobs". Los Angeles Times. June 13, 1985.
  33. ^ "Lorimar To Acquire Bozell". The New York Times. June 13, 1985.
  34. ^ Stuart Elliott (May 27, 1992). "A Shake-Up For Bozell". The New York Times. will be consolidated into one, called Bozell Worldwide.