User Reviews (13)

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  • Sargebri20 October 2003
    When I first heard about this show twenty six years ago (God, time flies), I thought this would be an extension of the show it spun off from, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". What a surprise it was when this show turned out to be probably the greatest newspaper dramas in television history. The show wasn't afraid to take on controversial issues and even though it was a drama, it still had its lighter moments. Also, even though Ed Asner was the lead, it was more of an ensemble and the whole cast was great. This was an exceptional show and it is a lost classic.
  • James L. Brooks (As Good as it Gets, Terms of Endearment) was one of the producers and acted as executive producer of the fabulous series. Edward Asner (Mary Tyler Moore Show, Down on the Waterfront) played Lou Grant in a spin off of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The editor of the L.A. Tribune. Nancy Marchand (Dear God ) Margaret Pynchon was the big boss and owner of the newspaper. She would show up occasionally with her good advice, a walking cane, and wearing a very expensive suit. Although she was the head, she was very nice. Mason Adams (From the Earth to the Moon) was Charlie Hume, Managing Editor. Robert Walden (All the President's Men) Joe Rossi, was a reporter. Linda Kelsey (The Midnight Man) played Billie Newman McCovey who was a very smart reporter. The most interesting thing about this show was the serious journalism they engaged in providing for the audience. The issues raised on the show were very current. It raised some controversy which might have affected the future existence of the show. It was an outstanding series. It was nice to see Lou Grant more mature in his carrier as a journalist. The series was nominated for and won the most prestigious awards in the U.S. such as: Emmy, Golden Globe, American Cinema Editors, USA, Directors Guild of America, USA, Human Family Educational & Cultural Institute, USA, Won Humanitas. The series was done by very intelligent people and demonstrated that television can be good when the people doing the show are bright. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Good shows like Lou Grants are not readily available.
  • In the final episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"(CBS-TV:1970-1977),when everyone but idiotic anchorman Ted Baxter was fired from station WJM-TV in Minneapolis in 1977,Mary Richards and her fellow casualties were left reeling. It was a bittersweet finale for the beloved series after seven seasons. Then Mary's old crusty boss,station news director Lou Grant,made a smooth transition. Within weeks,he had blown Minneapolis and snagged a good job in Los Angeles as the city editor of The Tribune. That's right:Lou Grant went from the glamour and glitz of TV news(such as it was at bumbling WJM) to embrace print journalism. At The Tribune,the formerly comic Lou(still played by Edward Asner)got serious about news. What resulted was "Lou Grant," a superlative drama series that became one of the greatest dramatic shows ever to embrace the mid-1970's. This was a grand series that arrived in the blazing afterglow of Watergate coverage and the rehealing from the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The bracing message of that era: Two dogged reporters(and a newspaper that backed them up)could change the world-and earn the public's adoration.

    Anti-press fulminations from the Nixon administration were largely nullified by scandals and disgrace in the White House. It was only later that an anti-media crusade took hold,drawing the battle lines between the press and the government,and breeding suspicion among much of the citizenry. It was later,as well,that newspapers were obliged to adapt to emerging,unimagined challenges:new media platforms,"citizen journalists",and information-dispersing gadgets with global reach that anyone could buy. The Trib reporters were spared these distractions and identity crises. For them,news still took the form of ink on paper,preferably with comics,crosswords puzzles,and horoscopes were part of the deal. The zeitgeist of "Lou Grant" was set forth in the clever opening sequence and this show celebrated it. Sure it may seem primitive that,in its first season,Trib reports were getting information and their sources with pencil and paper and banging out their stories on the typewriters. But "Lou Grant" was breaking ground from its debut on September 20,1977 producing 114 episodes for CBS-TV until the series finale on September 13,1982. Produced under Mary Tyler Moore's production company,MTM Productions.

    Reconfiguring a half-hour sitcom into a hour long drama was risky. The show dared to populate "Lou Grant" with a full-out ensemble cast which not only included Ed Asner,but also Robert Walden who played driven young investigate reporter Joe Rossi;Mason Adams as Managing Editor Charlie Hume;Linda Kelsey as reporter Billie Newman determined to make good in what was at the time a male-domination profession along with another ambitious young girl reporter Carla Mardigian portrayed by Rebecca Balding(who lasted one season). Also on board was the glorious Nancy Marchand(later,of course Tony's craven mother on "The Sopranos")was Mrs. Pynchon,who was the genteel owner of the Trib. Taking full advantage of its news-oriented setting,this was a brilliant series that dealt with issues ranging from nuclear accidents to religious freedom,media ethics and civil and social rights. This was a big-hearted series that won 13 Emmys,two Humanita Prizes and a Peabody award among many honors. This was drama-comedy hybrid that emerged from the series creators:James L. Brooks and Allan Burns(the writers-producers from "Mary Tyler Moore"),along with Gene Reynolds(who was not only the principal behind the TV incarnation of "M*A*S*H",but also was the producer of such shows as "Room 222"). This was a series that broke ground in the way television dramas are depicted and to this day it still holds the title some 30 years later.
  • Lejink28 March 2015
    Another great MTM studio production from the 70's taking the major risk of re-setting a familiar comedic character - the boozy, boorish TV editor Lou Grant as the central character in a 50 minute topical drama set in a major city news-room.

    Like its MTM comedy predecessors, likewise invariably named after one character "Lou Grant" of course isn't just about Lou, it's more about the interplay with an ensemble of strong, supporting characters. Better yet, the plot-lines were literate and credible slices of real life, often centring on corruption in high places, with the leg-work being done by the two bright young reporters Joe Rossi, played by Robert Walden and Billie, played by Linda Kelsey. Also in support are beatnik photographer Animal, presumably named after one of the Muppets, the style-conscious sub-editor Art Donovan and at the top end of the paper, its matriarch publisher Mrs Pynchon and her right hand man, Charlie Hulme. Edward Asner in the title role did a fine job re-inventing himself as the pugnacious but principled title character. The whole programme could have failed if his character had failed its transition but this was never in doubt right from the first episode I've recently re-watched.

    The plots invariably involved some sort of moral dilemma for one of the characters, not unnaturally given the post-Watergate interest in newspapers and their role in exposing dirty deeds done in high places. Critics might argue against the show's occasional bleeding-heart liberalism, but I remember it just as high quality US drama and staying up till well after 11 o'clock to watch it in the days before video recorders.

    In its wake came other MTM hit series like "Hill Street Blues" and "St Elsewhere" but I think I enjoyed this series even better than those. Bad fashion sense aside and even conceding the much lesser role that newspapers play in news dissemination today, I don't think this show has aged much at all, a testimony to good writing and good acting all round.
  • Immigration reform, hate crimes against gay people, teen pregnancy, illiteracy, eminent domain, Ponzi schemes, etc. If I stop here and ask you to finish this, you might conclude with a summary about Bernie Madoff or other recent event.

    But these are just some of the many subjects shown weekly on Lou Grant from 1977 to 1982. The stories are over 30 years old but amazingly still every bit as relevant in today's society as they were then. And just as amazing was the incredible risk Mary Tyler Moore's MTM Enterprises took when she transitioned to producing a hard-hitting drama from 2 decades of comedy experience. After winning 3 Golden globes, 23 other awards, and 61 various nominations (IMDB 2012), the show has proved worth the risk in a big way.

    I didn't have the education or knowledge of world events (such as it is) to appreciate the show's content when it first aired. But I'm glad I rediscovered and watched these episodes while in a nostalgic mood. Now, I can greatly appreciate how progressive MTM and her staff were in the production of Lou Grant and its relevance to today's events.
  • An earlier reviewer's "bleeding heart" references suggest a right-wing orientation. Perhaps this explains his sweeping but unsubstantiated comments concerning how this show's episodes were developed. "Lou Grant" was created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the writer-producers behind "Mary Tyler Moore," and Gene Reynolds, the force behind the TV incarnation of "M*A*S*H," who became the sole Executive Producer in the second year. Younger producers under Reynolds included Seth Freeman from "The Waltons" and Gary David Goldberg. However convenient it may be for people with an agenda to think otherwise the producers, not the star, dictated the content. There's no evidence Edward Asner ever suggested a single storyline, and plenty of testimony crediting others.

    The entire MTM library was sold several times after Grant Tinker divested himself in order to run NBC. The likelihood of ever again seeing this fine show, which won 16 Emmys, two Humanitas prizes, and the Peabody Award, is absolutely zilch. Write to 20th Century Fox Television if you'd like the chance to see it, but don't expect to get anywhere.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'd love to see Lou Grant on DVD soon,it was only shown in some areas of the UK but Channel 4 ran it in the 80s and I loved it. Looking now at the "Mary Tyler Moore Show",Ed Asner's terrific performance throughout,as the complex Lou Grant,was a character,crying out for a spin off and what a great idea to turn a sitcom character, into a dramatic lead! I loved the relationship between Mrs Pynchon and Lou,I love it,in early episode when Lou is waiting for a bus to view a house,Mrs Pynchon says she can drive him here,he says its too out of her way,she agrees and drives off!

    I was surprised when Carla was replaced by Linda Kelsey as Billie,I liked her but read the powers that be,thought she was too young,so wanted an older actress for the Tribune's female reporter.

    Rossi was a great character,not likable but complicated too,maybe Lou saw something of himself deep down in Rossi,and liked him although he'd never admit it.
  • paulmccomas7 August 2010
    Judged by 1977-82 standards, this show was peerless.

    Today, it's a bit "dated" in certain ways. But these elements actually make it a valuable portrait of its era.

    Talented cast, right down the line. Terrific writing. Skillful, sensitive directing. Highly relevant. Courageous. And one of TV's all-time-best role models in the lead.

    Every Emmy -- & there were MANY -- was fully deserved. Also the Peabody, the Humanitas, & all the other awards it won.

    Each season was as strong as or stronger than its predecessor; this is one show that was NOT running out of steam.

    In fact, during the Reagan Years, we needed it more than ever! (Would have loved to see its take on Iran-Contra.)

    Shame on CBS for bowing to pressure because of Asner's politics and the show's oft-controversial scripts.

    LOU still shines.

    Waiting impatiently for (legal) DVD release!
  • In the UK this series was not networked, but in the regions of the country it was shown it collected a devoted following. Ed Asner played his roll with gusto, but with help from the excellent cast, the show began to resemble more of a documentary than a drama, as it bravely tackled contemporary social issues and concerns. American import shows had never been like this, living a fantasy world of copsnrobbers, witches and talking horses, but this was perhaps the start of a new wave? which would include shows like 'Quincy' and 'Soap'. It was apparent when this was being run in the UK that the American far right did not like the show one bit! regarding it as wet liberalism . However in countries where it was shown, it possibly showed a compassionate side of America in which it did have concerns for the ' loosers ' as well as the winners in life. Theme tune must be a classic also? Don't think it could be made in the USA today?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This episode is what makes Lou Grant a truly exemplary television drama (from any era). It also makes routine, mediocre TV shows look even worse than they are, because the bar is set so high with an episode like this. Again, story editor April Smith writes a top script, and it features some very thorough research about what happens when a strike occurs, especially one involving a large city newspaper. The strike of the real-life Washington Post is referenced in this episode and I'm sure Ms. Smith used that event as one of the main inspirations here. What gets me, is that many years later, strikes like this still occur.

    In Hollywood, the writers guild has gone through similar ordeals, complete with scab writers and negotiations where the major studios are careful not to give the store away to the unions (most recently involving royalties on home video and streaming). It should be noted that SAG (the screen actors guild) has had several strikes, too, and that Ed Asner was the president of SAG during production of this series.

    I think it's significant that as Lou, Ed does walk the picket line toward the end of this episode. But what's really great is that April Smith shows the more human side of this situation, that neither side is a true villain, and that eventually there has to be a compromise on the numbers. I liked the scene where Lou tells Rossi to leave, when Rossi's temper flares and he purges the story he's working on as the strike begins. And I thought the part where Billie gets injured was very realistically staged. Also worth noting are the historical aspects of this story, in terms of where print media was and how technology was evolving. There are several scenes where we see how news layouts are being done and how the process is being modernized.
  • I try not to review old stuff from a present day perspective, because those films and shows were meant primarily for people at the time they were made.

    Having said that, I love to watch old stuff to revel in the cultural tidbits from bygone eras. L.A. from '77-'82 was still America. People all over town were born in America and were mostly white or black. It was not yet Tijuana , or some other Third World satellite.I love to see the typewriters, old phones, old cars, etc., but I realize that at the time, nothing was old, it was all state-of-the-art.

    I also enjoyed seeing the lifestyle of Reporters and Editors on salary. They were not chained to a desk. They could take a long lunch or go about town interviewing people at their leisure. As long as it relates to a story. I like to see how the show incorporates vignettes at restaurants and bars, because they used to play an important role in the Reporter lifestyle.

    The mission of a Reporter is to hold the feet of people in power to the fire, or keep them in check so to speak. So yes, investigative reporters would often be hunting down corporate types, cops, the military, etc. That would be the case whether they are liberal or otherwise. Of course this show was developed during the Carter administration and influenced by the general Liberal mentality of that 70s era.

    The first episode was more balanced than I expected. Cops are accused of sleeping with teen aged girls, but they claim that the girls looked like women. A reporter with a dad who is a cop, brings in a teenage girl whom everyone thinks is a grown woman. This shows that there was some truth to their claim.

    Say what you want about Asner being a blow-hard, but he did play this role with a good deal of intensity and compassion. I don't remember all the social issues brought up, but I don't doubt that they were presented from a Liberal perspective. It's all part of the Hollywood indoctrination process. They used T.V. and film to brainwash multiple generations. But you could say that conservative shows of the 50s and early 60s presented a world view too. The Rifleman comes to mind.

    I also loved the presentation of a Newspaper being enormously important as the heartbeat of a city. Again, I am saying this while watching old VHS reruns in the present day. When it was made, Newspapers were kings and no one knew that the Internet was coming in 20 years. So I am watching it as nostalgia. It was not meant as nostalgia when it came out.

    Overall, a good ensemble cast, a fun and interesting workplace setting, and some intellectual grit for subject matter. Nice job. It could have been worse.
  • This show started out with some fairly good episodes. But it quickly slid into series of boring episodes where the people who put this show together, including Edward Asner. Aired their politics, with thinly veiled episodes, where the watcher is lectured on evil war monger, or destroyers of the environment, some other cause. This wouldn't be so bad if they came even close to using factual information. A lot of the arguments they made on this show could not stand up to scrutiny. If your hearts bleeds for every loser you see, or find yourself going AWWWW! a lot during Ophra or Dr Phil, this is the show for you. Hated it when it was new, still hate it.
  • djdekok2 December 2007
    What do I mean, shoehorned dialogue? What I mean is this: it seems as though every issue-oriented episode (and there were a LOT of them) had someone spouting some obscure statistic as casually as they would say, "I'll take cream and two sugars in my coffee". The overly earnest dialogue was a harbinger of things to come--Quincy, ER, Designing Women all used the same technique to advance a largely left-wing agenda.

    That being said, I really enjoyed Rossi and Billie's constant bickering. He never gave up (or had a clue). Ed Asner's portrayal was REALLY better in the MTM Show. The crustiness was just endearing, when he'd threaten to rearrange Ted Baxter's face. Here it was just pontificating. Sorry guys, just can't give the thumbs up to this one.