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Series / Lou Grant

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Back row, left to right: Charlie Hume (Mason Adams), Margaret Pynchon (Nancy Marchand), Dennis "The Animal" Price (Daryl Anderson), Adam Wilson (Allen Williams), Art Donovan (Jack Bannon). Front row, left to right: Lou Grant (Edward Asner), Joe Rossi (Robert Walden), Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey).

This Dramatic Hour Long series is a Spinoff of the Sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Edward Asner reprises his role of Lou Grant from there.

After the Grand Finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou is now in Los Angeles working as the city editor for the fictional Los Angeles Tribune. He manages to keep his character, in both senses, for five seasons of this. The other regulars were 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 general assignment reporter Carla Mardigian); managing editor Charles Hume (Mason Adams), an old friend of Lou's who 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 the Tribune's widowed, patrician publisher, Margaret Jones Pynchon (Nancy Marchand).



  • The Alcoholic: While played for laughs in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the tone becomes serious here, as Lou's drinking problem at times is referenced. At one time, it becomes deadly serious when he is arrested for drunk driving and has to attend a drinking driver's school to get his license back.
  • Author Filibuster: Many Lou Grant episodes dealt with social issues, but it did not come off nearly as preachy as Quincy, M.E..
  • Badass Grandpa: Lou Grant has four grandchildren, one of whom is deaf.
  • Bald of Awesome: Lou Grant
  • Benevolent Boss: While Mrs. Pynchon, Charlie Hume, and Lou Grant all had gruff and demanding demeanors, they were all passionate about journalism and preserving its integrity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Several, including when Charlie Hume accepted his son's decision to join the Hare Krishnas.
  • Advertisement:
  • Book-Ends: The opening titles for the first season, which begin with a bird in a tree, which is then cut down. And so, we see the process (though, not the whole process, mind you) of how trees are turned into newspapers. The titles end with one Los Angeles Tribune reader using a piece of the day's newspaper she just finished reading to line her bird's cage.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Pynchon
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lou Grant and his reporters ran into quite a few of these during the course of the series.
  • Da Editor: Lou Grant
  • Downer Ending: Lou and the others did everything they could to help an elderly man preserve the apartment building murals he lovingly dedicated to his deceased wife, but despite getting a court order against demolition, they could not stop the wrecking ball.
  • The Eponymous Show:
  • A Father to His Men: Lou Grant
  • Fictional Document: Lou Grant and his cohort work at The Los Angeles Tribune.
  • First-Name Basis: Lou, Charlie, and Billie.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • From the Ashes: After Lou Grant and all his co-workers are fired from the station in the finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou survives and thrives as the city editor of a busy Los Angeles newspaper — and maintains his humanity and integrity throughout the series.
  • Hanging Judge: Lou Grant is held in contempt of court and thrown in jail when investigating reports of a ruthless judge.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Joe and Billie are undercover in a motel room. Joe starts watching porn on the TV. Billie starts making comments about how silly it is, and how none of it is remotely erotic. Then she stops, tilts her head, and says "Now that's erotic."
  • Hostage Situation: The Trib newsroom was held hostage in the appropriately named episode "Hostages".
  • Intrepid Reporter: The hallmark of the show. Lou Grant and his reporters braved everything from organized crime to corrupt politicians to natural disasters to bring the news to the people of Los Angeles.
  • Last-Name Basis: Rossi and Donovan.
  • Mythology Gag: The character of Flo Meridith, Mary Richard's Aunt and a very respected newspaper reporter, was the only MTM Show character to appear on Lou Grant. A running gag during the sitcom episodes had Flo making snide remarks to Lou about being in "trivial" television journalism instead of "real" newspaper journalism. On her first of two appearances on the drama, she congratulates Lou on finally returning to his newspaper roots... although she implies the Trib isn't exactly the most respected newspaper around, thereby keeping their friendly feud alive.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Dennis "Animal" Price looks like an unfocused slob, but is an award-winning photographer.
  • One Name Only: "Animal" Price is virtually always referred to by his nickname.
  • Police are Useless: Many of the problems faced in Lou Grant were too complex to be handled by the police, who were often hamstrung by some flaw of the system.
  • Reassignment Backfire: Averted. For violating a newspaper policy, Rossi is assigned to the dullest story Lou can think of — profiling a minor state official, who commutes between Los Angeles and Sacramento (he even admits to his subject that he's being punished). But then Rossi discovers that the official is a bigamist, with a family in each city...and gloats that his story is "going to write itself." But in the end, he can't bring himself to ruin two families' lives, and instead turns in a story which Lou dismisses as drivel.
  • Red Shirt Reporter: In episodes that involved natural disasters.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Barney, Mrs. Pynchon's yappy Yorkshire terrier.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Allen Donovan.
  • Shown Their Work: Often, real-life problems are showcased with outstanding attention to detail.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism
  • The Smurfette Principle: Billie, not including the matriarch Mrs. Pynchon.
  • Spin-Off: Lou Grant's character was largely unchanged since his departure from the Twin Cities via the The Mary Tyler Moore Show, though going from a comedy to a drama could lead you to believe he had (e.g., his alcoholism now being portrayed more realistically, instead of being played for laughs).
  • The '70s: From building interiors, to Animal's attire, to episodes like "Sect", Lou Grant is clearly a creation of the seventies.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Mrs. Pynchon.
  • A Very Special Episode: Every episode.
  • Welcome Episode: Fresh from his firing at WJM Minneapolis, Lou Grant relies on his old friend Charlie Hume to secure a City Editor job at a busy Los Angeles newspaper.


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