Lou Grant (TV series)
|Created by||James L. Brooks
|Developed by||Leon Tokatyan|
|Composer(s)||Patrick Williams (majority of episodes)
Artie Kane ("Pills")
Hod David Schudson
James DiPasquale ("Bomb")
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||114 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Allan Burns
James L. Brooks
|Running time||46–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||MTM Productions|
|Original release||September 20, 1977– September 13, 1982|
|Preceded by||The Mary Tyler Moore Show|
|Followed by||Mary Tyler Moore: The 20th Anniversary 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.
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.
(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 & 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.
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.
- Douglass K. Daniel, Lou Grant: The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama, Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1996.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lou Grant (TV series).|
- Lou Grant at the Internet Movie Database
- Lou Grant at TV.com
- Lou Grant episode guide
- The Unofficial Lou Grant Internet Resource and Archive
- Lou Grant-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television