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. Lou Grant was created by The Mary Tyler Moore Show co-creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, along with Gene Reynolds.

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 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 executives 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.

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.Lou Grant (CBS-TV series 1977-1982] Shown: Ed Asner

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