1 9 7 7 – 1 9 8 2 (USA)
110 x 60 minute episodes
Lou Grant drew on the comedy character of the executive producer of TV news in the long-running Mary Tyler Moore Show but transformed that comic persona into a serious, reflective, committed newsman at a major metropolitan newspaper.
On the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which aired in September 1977) the entire news staff at WJM-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota, were fired. Lou Grant, who was 50 years old at the time, moved to Los Angeles where he got a job as the city editor on the Los Angeles Tribune.
The series sought weekly to explore a knotty issue facing media people in contemporary society, focusing on how investigating and reporting those issues impact on the layers of personalities populating a newspaper company.
Topics treated dramatically included gun control, invasion of privacy, confidential sources, child abuse and Vietnamese refugees. Mingled with each episode’s issue was an interplay of personalities, often light-hearted, among featured characters.
Also featured in the series were the autocratic owner of the newspaper, Margaret Pynchon, played by Nancy Marchand (who later became better known as Livia Soprano in the popular Sopranos series), Lou’s boss, managing editor Charlie Hume (Mason Adams), hotshot investigative reporter Joe Rossi (Robert Walden), ambitious young reporter Carla Madigan (Rebecca Balding) – who was replaced by reporter Billie Newman McCovey (Linda Kelsey), Art Donovan, Lou’s assistant city editor (Jack Benson); and Dennis ‘Animal’ Price, an unconventional news photographer, played by Daryl Anderson.
Lou Grant was first scheduled on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 PM, in the second and following seasons it was aired on Mondays at that time.
The series received critical acclaim, receiving a Peabody award in 1978, Emmy awards in 1979 and 1980 for outstanding drama series, plus other Emmy’s for writing and acting during its five years on the air.
Few independent production companies have had such visible success in crossing lines among television genres.
Billie Newman McCovey
Dennis “Animal” Price
National Editor (1)
National Editor (2)
Barbara Jane Edelman