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Lorimar Television

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Title: Lorimar Television  
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Subject: Getting By, Going Places (U.S. TV series), Perfect Strangers (TV series), Miller-Boyett Productions, The Hogan Family
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Lorimar Television

Industry Television and film production
Fate folded into Warner Bros. Television
Founded February 1, 1969[1]
Defunct 1993
Key people
Irwin Molasky,
Merv Adelson
and Lee Rich (founders)
Parent Independent (1969-1986)
Lorimar-Telepictures (1986-1989)
Warner Communications (1989-1990)
Time Warner (1990-1993)

Lorimar, later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American television production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969[1][2][3] until 1993. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich, who named the company by combining the name of Adelson's ex-wife, Lori, with Palomar Airport in San Diego, California.[1]


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Purchase by Warner Communications 1.2
    • Key components Lorimar owned 1.3
  • TV productions 2
  • Other ventures 3
    • Theatrical films 3.1
    • Home video 3.2
    • Television stations 3.3
    • Record label 3.4
  • References 4


Early years

Lorimar initially started producing made-for-TV movies for the ABC Movie of the Week.[1] Rich bought the script to an adaptation of Earl Hamner Jr.'s novel "The Homecoming" and subsequently sold the rights to CBS. The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, airing during the 1971 holiday season, was a ratings success, and served as the pilot for Lorimar's first major hit production, The Waltons, premiering in 1972.[1] Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced several other shows as well, including Eight is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas. In 1980, Lorimar purchased the bankrupt Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.

In 1984-85, three of the Top 10 shows in the United States were produced by Lorimar; Dallas, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest. In the mid-1980s, Lorimar's output swung toward family-friendly sitcoms; among these were The Hogan Family (initially titled Valerie), Perfect Strangers and Full House, which were produced by Miller-Boyett Productions.

In 1985, Lorimar announced their intention to buy a 15% share in the then-troubled Warner Communications company. In 1986, Lorimar, in an attempt to expand into first-run syndication,[1] merged with television syndication firm Telepictures, becoming Lorimar-Telepictures; later that year, they purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.[1]

Purchase by Warner Communications

In 1988, Lorimar-Telepictures's production arm became Lorimar Television; however, the L-T distribution business remained until 1989. In 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications,[2] which was merging with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, one of the world's largest media companies, now headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Lorimar's distribution business was folded into Warner Bros. Television Distribution and became Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; since then, the Telepictures name has been resurrected as both a production company (circa 1990), and once again as a syndication company (1996, after the Turner merger).

The former MGM studio lot was sold to Sony to house Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Sony's other film operations in which was later named Columbia Studios and is now Sony Pictures Studios. Lorimar continued as a production company until July 1993, when it was folded into Warner Bros. Television, for "economic issues" as a result of declining syndication sales.[4] The last series to premiere under the Lorimar name was Time Trax, as part of the 'Prime Time Entertainment Network' programming block.

Les Moonves (current president of CBS Corporation) was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1990 to 1993. Moonves would then become the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.

Key components Lorimar owned

Additionally, Lorimar has owned key components of the film library of the defunct Allied Artists film studio (originally Monogram Pictures), which includes Cabaret and Papillon; these too are now owned by Warner. After the merger with Telepictures, they also took possession of the famed Rankin/Bass animation house, along with the post-1973 library of that company, including its entry into the 1980s animation market, ThunderCats, which ran until 1989; a Warner Bros. Animation-produced revival show aired on Cartoon Network for one season in 2011.

TV productions

Other ventures

Theatrical films

Lorimar not only specialized in producing television programs, they also produced (sporadically) a number of theatrical motion pictures, most of which were originally distributed by other studios as noted. Lorimar's entrance into feature films was predominantly sanctioned by Adelson; Rich was vehemently against it. This asset was among the many factors for Rich's exit from the studio in 1986.[1]

In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures. In January 1987, the film unit was renamed Lorimar Film Entertainment to coincide with its newly formed in-house distribution unit.[5] In 1988, Lorimar made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Under Warner, Lorimar continued to make theatrical films until 1990.

The rights to most of the films noted here have been retained by their original distributors (as noted with an * asterisk), while others are now in the hands of Warner Bros. (Including all of the Lorimar film productions released by United Artists, 20th Century Fox, almost all of the Lorimar film productions released by Paramount Pictures, and the Lorimar film productions released by Warner Bros.) The television rights to The Last Starfighter are owned by Warner, while Universal Studios holds theatrical and home video rights. In the UK, films produced by Lorimar in the late 1970s/early 1980s were distributed by ITC Entertainment. Lorimar Motion Pictures also distributed The Fourth Protocol and Siesta - neither of them produced by the company - in North America. ITV Global Entertainment now owns The Tamarind Seed. The rights to Twilight's Last Gleaming have since reverted to the film's German co-producers.

Release Date Title Notes
February 28, 1971 The Sporting Club distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
July 19, 1972 The Man in association with ABC Circle Films; distributed by Paramount Pictures
November 7, 1974 The Tamarind Seed in association with ITC; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
February 9, 1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming distributed by Allied Artists
December 23, 1977 The Choirboys distributed by Universal Studios*
October 6, 1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? originally distributed by Warner Bros.; WB summarily relinquished the rights, but reclaimed them after the Lorimar/WB merger
August 10, 1979 Americathon distributed by United Artists
October 16, 1979 Avalanche Express distributed by 20th Century Fox
November 6, 1979 The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh distributed by United Artists
December 19, 1979 Being There distributed by United Artists
February 15, 1980 Cruising distributed by United Artists
May 23, 1980 Carny distributed by United Artists
July 18, 1980 The Big Red One distributed by United Artists
March 20, 1981 The Postman Always Rings Twice co-production with MGM;[6] distributed by Paramount Pictures
April 24, 1981 Night School distributed by Paramount Pictures
May 5, 1981 Second-Hand Hearts distributed by Paramount Pictures
June 5, 1981 The Sea Wolves distributed by Paramount Pictures
July 1, 1981 S.O.B. distributed by Paramount Pictures
July 30, 1981 Victory distributed by Paramount Pictures
February 12, 1982 Love & Money distributed by Paramount Pictures
August 13, 1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Lorimar/Paramount co-production*
October 8, 1982 Lookin' to Get Out distributed by Paramount Pictures
October 21, 1983 The Dead Zone in silent partnership with Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, who still owns major rights today*
March 16, 1984 Tank distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*
July 13, 1984 The Last Starfighter distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*
January 31, 1986 Power distributed by 20th Century Fox
June 27, 1986 American Anthem distributed by Columbia Pictures
August 14, 1986 The Boy Who Could Fly distributed by 20th Century Fox
December 25, 1986 The Morning After distributed by 20th Century Fox
August 28, 1987 The Fourth Protocol U.S. distribution
September 16, 1987 In the Mood a co-production with Kings Road Entertainment
September 18, 1987 Orphans
October 2, 1987 Big Shots distributed by 20th Century Fox
November 6, 1987 Made In Heaven
November 11, 1987 Siesta U.S. distribution
January 15, 1988 Return of the Living Dead Part II
February 12, 1988 Action Jackson
April 15, 1988 Tokyo Pop
April 22, 1988 World Gone Wild
April 29, 1988 Two Moon Junction
September 9, 1988 Running On Empty distributed by Warner Bros.*
December 21, 1988 Dangerous Liaisons distributed by Warner Bros.*
October 29, 1988 Moonwalker distributed by Warner Bros.*
February 24, 1989 Bert Rigby, You're a Fool distributed by Warner Bros.*
The Toxic Avenger Part II distributed and co-produced by Troma Entertainment*
March 24, 1989 Dead Bang distributed by Warner Bros.*
April 14, 1989 See You in the Morning distributed by Warner Bros.*
August 23, 1989 Cookie distributed by Warner Bros.*
October 20, 1989 Next of Kin distributed by Warner Bros.*
November 3, 1989 Second Sight distributed by Warner Bros.*
August 24, 1990 The Witches distributed by Warner Bros.*

Home video

In 1984, Lorimar purchased Karl Video Corporation (KVC), also known as Karl Home Video, which was named after its founder, Stuart Karl (1953–1991). KVC, which was best known for producing the bestselling Jane Fonda workout videos, was renamed Karl-Lorimar Home Video after the acquisition. Relationships between Lorimar and Karl grew sour, which forced Karl to resign in March 1987. Karl-Lorimar continued to exist under the name Lorimar Home Video until it closed sometime later.[7][8] Lorimar Home Video closed in 1989 and was folded into Warner Home Video.

In Australia, Lorimar joined a venture with Village Roadshow to create Roadshow Lorimar Home Video, which distributed movie titles by Lorimar Motion Pictures in that country.

Television stations

Record label

In 1979, Lorimar started Lorimar Records which started with the soundtrack to the film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. The label would have very few artists signed to it. It was mainly distributed by Columbia Records, but it was also distributed for one album from The Coyote Sisters by Motown Records via the Morocco subsidiary. Lorimar Records' final release was the soundtrack to Action Jackson which in that case was distributed by Atlantic Records.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h . Retrieved on November 24, 2010.Archive of American TelevisionLee Rich Interview:
  2. ^ a b Fortune
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Associated Press. "Movie Deal." Merced Sun-Star (January 17, 1987)
  6. ^ "The Postman always rings twice / an Andrew Braunsberg production ; produced in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced by Charles Mulvehill and Bob Rafelson ; directed by Bob Rafelson" (PA0000100011 / 1981-05-04). United States Copyright Office.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
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