Lou Grant (TV series)

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For the character, see Lou Grant.
Lou Grant
Opening title
Created by James L. Brooks
Allan Burns
Gene Reynolds
Developed by Leon Tokatyan
Starring Edward Asner
Robert Walden
Linda Kelsey
Mason Adams
Jack Bannon
Daryl Anderson
Nancy Marchand
Rebecca Balding
Composer(s) Patrick Williams (majority of episodes)
Artie Kane ("Pills")
Miles Goodman
Hod David Schudson
Les Hooper
James DiPasquale ("Bomb")
Shirley Walker
(incomplete listing)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 114 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Allan Burns
James L. Brooks
Gene Reynolds
Running time 46–48 minutes
Production company(s) MTM Productions
Distributor 20th Television
Original network CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 20, 1977 (1977-09-20) – September 13, 1982 (1982-09-13)
Preceded by The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Followed by Mary and Rhoda

Lou Grant is an American television drama series starring Ed Asner in the title role as a newspaper editor. This drama series was a spin-off from a sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Aired from 1977 to 1982, Lou Grant won 13 Emmy Awards, including "Outstanding Drama Series". Asner won the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" in 1978 and 1980. In doing so, he became the first person to win an Emmy Award for both "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" and "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series" for portraying the same character. Lou Grant also won two Golden Globe awards, a Peabody award, an Eddie award, three awards from the Directors Guild of America, and two Humanitas prizes.

Broadcast history[edit]

Lou Grant was a spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and premiered on CBS in September 1977. Unlike The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which was a 30-minute situation comedy, Lou Grant was a one-hour drama.

Lou Grant ran from 1977 to 1982 and consisted of 114 episodes.

The theme music for the series was composed by Patrick Williams.


Lou Grant works as city editor of the fictional Los Angeles Tribune daily newspaper, a job he takes after being fired from the WJM television station at the end of the situation comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Grant mentions several times on Mary Tyler Moore that he began his career as a print journalist.) Given the shift from comedy to drama in this show, the nature of Grant's interactions with others is toned down. References to Grant's oftentimes excessive drinking, which had been an ongoing comedic theme on Mary Tyler Moore, were deemphasized on the new show.

The rest of the main cast includes: general-assignment reporters Joe Rossi (Robert Walden) and Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey) (Kelsey joined the show in the fourth episode, replacing Rebecca Balding, who had portrayed reporter Carla Mardigian); managing editor Charles Hume (Mason Adams), an old friend of Lou's who has convinced him to move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles; assistant city editor Art Donovan (Jack Bannon); photographer Dennis Price (Daryl Anderson), usually referred to as "Animal," and widowed, patrician publisher Margaret Jones Pynchon (Nancy Marchand), a character loosely based on a composite of real-life newspaper publishers Dorothy Chandler of the Los Angeles Times and Katharine Graham of The Washington Post. Recurring actors who played editors of various departments included Gordon Jump and Emilio Delgado; Peggy McCay had a recurring role as Charlie Hume's wife, Marion.

(Ironically, during the show's run, there was a real-life Lou Grant who worked at a real-life Tribune. The real-life Grant was an editorial cartoonist at the Oakland Tribune).

Asner won two Emmys for his portrayal of Grant; Marchand won an Emmy for "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" four of the five years the series ran; Walden, Kelsey, and Adams all received multiple nominations for supporting Emmys.

Despite the show's connection with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, none of that series's other regular characters ever appeared (and were not referred to onscreen); the only other "crossover" character was MTM recurring character Flo Meredith (Eileen Heckart) (Mary Richards' aunt), a churlish veteran journalist with whom Lou had had a brief fling while in Minneapolis, and who appeared on a single episode of Lou Grant. However, lead actors from other MTM shows did appear in guest roles as other characters, including Jane Rose, Richard Schaal and Julie Kavner.

The episodes often had Grant assigning Rossi and Billie to cover news stories, with the episode's plots revealing problems of the people covered in the stories as well as frustrations and challenges reporters experienced to get the stories. The younger reporters are frequently seen turning to Lou for guidance and mentorship over some of the hard questions and moral dilemmas they experience as they work on their stories. The series frequently delved into serious societal issues, such as nuclear proliferation, mental illness, prostitution, gay rights, capital punishment, child abuse, rape and chemical pollution, in addition to demonstrating coverage of breaking news stories such as fires, earthquakes, and accidents of all kinds. The series also took serious examination of ethical questions in journalism, including plagiarism, checkbook journalism, entrapment of sources, staging news photos, and conflicts of interest that journalists encounter in their work. There were also glimpses into the personal lives of the Tribune staff.

Gene Reynolds, James L. Brooks and Allan Burns were executive producers, and Gary David Goldberg was a producer.


Lou Grant won several critical honors during its run, including 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody Award, and two Humanitas Prizes.


Ed Asner served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, in which capacity during the 1980s he opposed US policy in Central America, working closely with Medical Aid for El Salvador. The sudden cancellation of Lou Grant in 1982 was the subject of much controversy. The show had high ratings, the level of which should have justified its ongoing presence in primetime (it was in the ACNielsen top ten throughout its final month on the air). However, the CBS television network declined to renew it. It has been Asner's consistent position that his political views, as well as the publicity surrounding, were the actual root causes for the show's cancellation.[1]

DVD release[edit]

On May 3, 2016, Shout! Factory will release the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.[2]


  • Douglass K. Daniel, Lou Grant: The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama, Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1996.


  1. ^ Kassel, Michael B. (November 29, 2007). "Asner, Ed". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved April 6, 2008. 
  2. ^ Shout! Suprises Us Again: DVDs for 'The Complete 1st Season'

External links[edit]