Lou Grant

Lou Grant (Ed Asner) arrives in Los Angeles to interview for a position with the Los Angeles Tribune. Grant has not worked for a newspaper in 10 years. The 50-year-old, though, convinces managing editor Charlie Hume (Mason Adams) and publisher Margaret Pynchon (Nancy Marchand) to hire him as city editor.

Grant's staff includes reliable assistant city editor Art Donovan (Jack Bannon) and reporters Joe Rossi (Robert Walden) and Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey). Rossi is a brash, aggressive, competitive and confident reporter who believes all his stories are worthy of the front page. Newman is a young and smart former women's section feature writer who has to prove on a daily basis that she is tough enough to compete in the world of hard news. The friendly Donovan is the perfect complement to the gruff Grant. The staff photographer is the sloppy but talented and resourceful Dennis Price (Daryl Anderson). Price is called The Animal by everyone in the newsroom.

Pynchon, who is frequently seen with her small dog, took over the newspaper from her late husband. She runs the Tribune from her office in the tower and is rarely seen in the newsroom. Pynchon holds everyone, especially Hume and Grant, to a high standard established by her late husband.

In the first season of Lou Grant, the Tribune's newsroom has to tackle a number of important social issues, including prostitution, gay rights and child abuse. In one episode Rossi goes undercover and enters a mental institution as a patient. Grant and his staff also deal with numerous journalistic concerns, including checkbook journalism, the changing role of newspapers and just how far to go to get a story. The reporters and editors are dedicated to their profession and have little time for their social lives.

The one-hour drama series includes 114 episodes and originally aired from 1977-82.

5 Seasons, 114 Episodes
September 20, 1977
Cast: Edward Asner, Robert Walden, Mason Adams, Jack Bannon
Lou Grant

Lou Grant Full Episode Guide

  • A bad day for Charlie involves firing misfits and dealing with static from reporters over their assignments; meanwhile, Donovan suspects his girlfriend is pregnant.

  • Lou is shot in an armed robbery in a parking lot, and the robber is soon killed by a police officer who has trouble dealing with his actions.

  • The Tribune is blamed for inflaming rivalries between surfer gangs. Billie and Ted differ on the place of a group home in their neighborhood.

  • As the Tribune covers the fate of a girl being treated in a burn unit, the possibility arises that a confrontation in the Middle East will lead to a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the burn unit is mobilized.

  • Billie covers a story about a fireworks bill from the Tribune's Sacramento bureau where she encounters her ex-husband, who is now an aggressive lobbyist on behalf of the fireworks industry. Meanwhile, Lou raises ethical questions about the sponsor of an award for which the Tribune is nominated.

  • The proliferation of litigation on various fronts is pursued: Billie's story on a political recall movement leads to people she named in her story being sued by the target of the recall; Lou hires Animal's brother to represent him in legal action against a crooked plumber; meanwhile, the Tribune considers switching law firms.

  • When one of the paper reporters' father comes to town to perform. It seems he was a folk singer in the 50's and he was blacklisted during the Communists Witch Hunts. They learn that one of the paper's reporters may have been involved with his blacklist.

  • At the last minute, Billie is pulled from a plane that crashes. She writes the obituaries of four Tribune staffers killed. Animal has to face the dilemma of reporting the impending extinction of a moth without tipping bug collectors to its location.

  • Rossi pursues a story about land claims by Japanese-Americans who sold cheaply prior to their forced internment during World War II, but Lou and Charlie try to stop him from following through with a key source. Billie traces a scam to a politician.

  • Rossi makes a bet with that he can get a story from anyone on the street. And the person he chooses is a woman who goes through the garbage who gets used by still viable food. He learns that she's a nun who runs a soup kitchen and feeds indigents. But he shifts the focus of the story to how people in a Third World country are starving which doesn't make the editors happy. And Mrs. Pynchon is instructing the staff to be less wasteful which makes them crazy.

  • The Tribune hires an old acquaintance of Animal's from 'Nam: photographer Lee Van Tam. But Tam's domestic troubles interfere with his work. Lou tries to get out of meeting visiting relatives.

  • Charlie becomes a member of a news council and finds one member who seems to have a grudge against him and the Tribune. Mrs. Pynchon asks Billie to help her write an autobiographical piece but refuses to talk about one important subject: her taking over from her late husbands at the newspaper.

  • A stick-up at a Mr. Ginty's fast-food restaurant turns into a hostage situation with a group of birthday party kids. The possible trauma caused by this becomes a big part of the subsequent trial. Billie thinks one mother in particular is telling her son how to react and feel, but when she writes it down Lou finds her story too soft and rewrites it.

  • Billie investigates the death of a woman in a house that is said to be haunted. This leads her to attend a séance and search out the owners of a Ouija board.

  • Rossi runs into a bass player that used to be in the famous Sonny Goodwin Quartet and sets about reuniting the four of them. Tribute reporters Crosley and Banks split up when Banks retires and Crosley soon falls behind on his assignment. This leads Lou to team him up with Billie.

  • Charlie's nephew Scott comes to stay with him, and turns out to have a mental condition. But the young man refuses to take his medication. The staff is busy tracking an escaped zoo bear called Ziggy.

  • Billie suspects the gold cross found in a time capsule has been switched for a fake. Her investigations unearth the reasons behind an old family feud between the extremely rich side and the less rich side of the Matheson family.

  • When Lou goes back to his elderly home to settle his aunt's estate, he meets an old flame and gets his first story assignment in years from Charlie.

  • Lou is arrested for driving under the influence. His sentence includes attending a group meeting which culminates in a drunk driving test. Charlie sets up a 'Private Eye' hot-line at the Tribune for people to phone in crimes. Rossi is asked to write a success story about the initiative even though he is very skeptical about it's accuracy.

  • Kitty Larsen, a young woman on death row picks Rossi to tell her story. Although hesitant at first, he soon begins to like her. But Lou has personal feelings against her because she killed a reporter from the Trib'.

  • Billie gets a marriage proposal from Baseball scout Ted McCovney. Lou meets up with his youngest daughter Janie, who feels he's always neglected her for work.

  • Mrs. Pynchon is on the verse of buying 'Lively Arts' magazine when she suffers a stroke. Her nephew Fred Hill swiftly makes a grab for the Tribune's ownership. Lou chooses Billie over all the male reporters to cover college girls posing for 'Suave Magazine'.

  • When a veteran reporter attempts suicide, Lou tries to help him by reuniting him with his family. Charlie is upset that Mrs. Pynchon overlooked him for a newly created position.

  • Rossi does a story on a controversial football player whose brutal hit left an opposing player paralyzed. Lou starts a relationship with a film critic.

  • Rossi publishes a highly critical story on a controversial company that seems to have a lot to hide.

  • Rossi is asked to cover a migrant workers strike in California's Central Valley and gets so involved he ends up in jail wit them. The fight between the two faction leaders becomes personal as more Tribune reporters gather at the location.

  • Animal becomes obsessed with finding out why a pretty young woman with a bright future would commit suicide. Someone tries to extort money from the paper by threatening to publish the newspaper's salary list.

  • When Lou and Rossi investigate a secret society of survivalists, who believe that the world is going to end, they become stranded in a violent storm.

  • When the Tribune is hit by a worker's strike, Lou sides with management but is sympathetic toward the union.

  • Lou fears a possible letdown when the staff use their connections to try to help a reporter find her biological parents. A glowing review on Lou's favorite restaurant makes it harder for him to get a table.

  • Charlie allows his father to move in after he is arrested for shoplifting. Lou tries to help an elderly neighbor who is being harassed by neighborhood kids.

  • When Rossi and Billie come upon the hot story of illegally exported medical supplies, Lou holds off on publication due to the lack of tenable facts. However, a visiting reporter disagrees with Lou and has no reservations about exposing the story.

  • Lou and Rossi try to offer comfort to a staff reporter who returns to work the day after she is robbed and raped.

  • Billie is assigned to do a story on a controversial business venture which may throw tenants out of the their apartments. However, she soon becomes biased after she meets and falls in love with one of the investors, baseball player Ted McCovey. Computer problems plague the office staff.

  • Rossi and a fellow black reporter clash when they are assigned to investigate the controversial police killing of a drug dealer who had earlier killed a cop.

  • Lou gets into hot water when the paper is sued for libel after writing a scathing story on a supermarket tabloid.

  • Charlie and Mrs. Pynchon are worried about misrepresentation when Billie poses as a employee at a chemical company to expose their dumping of hazardous materials.

  • Charlie and Lou do some thorough investigating when Charlie's new tenant seems to be using his house for suspicious purposes.

  • Billie is given a tough time when she tours with a political candidate to conduct an investigation.

  • When the paper decides to do a story on sexual harassment in the workplace, Billie finds that harassment is prevalent at the Tribune. A new female reporter develops a romantic interest in Lou, which creates a conflict of interest.

  • With the staff short-handed, Lou decides to work the night shift.

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