A love triangle built for two

 

  When Time Warner bought out Lorimar Television, becoming Warner Bros. Television, a quick assessment of acquired property turned up DC Comics and thus Superman.

It was decided to build a romantic comedy around the famous superhero in hopes of attracting women who traditionally avoid comic book shows.

 

Deborah Joy LeVine was asked to helm the project. She had written several telefilms, two features and was creative consultant on the series Equal Justice.

LeVine said she locked herself in a room with 300 Superman comics (her brother Dan was also a comic book fan) and then sketched out the characters and wrote the pilot script.

 

 

 

The first season cast from left to right (top row) Lane Smith (Perry White), Michael Landes (Jimmy Olsen), Tracy Scoggins (Cat Grant). Bottom row, Teri Hatcher (Lois Lane), Dean Cain (Clark Kent/Superman) Deborah Joy LeVine (series creator), John Shea (Lex Luthor). For a look at the casting process for Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher click here

With the script ready and the principal roles cast, the pilot was ready to shoot. Robert Butler (said to be the man to hire if you want to sell a pilot) was set to direct. The pilot was given a lavish 8 million dollar budget and was filmed in wide screen format. It was hoped that if worse came to worse and the pilot didn't sell to a network, it could at least be released in Europe as a movie and recoup the investment costs.

 


 

Alphabet Supe

 

  Fortunately the worst case scenario didn't happen. The American Broadcasting Company bought the pilot and committed to a full (22 episodes) season for the series. However, a problem arose when ABC decided to schedule the series for Sunday nights at 8 o'clock.

 

 

"Danielle Steele Meets The Man of Steel"

 

LeVine was given to understand that Lois and Clark would basically be Moonlighting with a cape. However, when it landed on Sunday nights in the early evening, the heart of family viewing time, a formula for creating a series that would attract adults, yet not be inappropriate for children, had to be established.

Innuendo and euphemism became the workhorses of the adult banter. Profanity was nonexistent except for the very occasional "hell" or "damn." Superman, as should be, was played as a straight arrow hero, but never depicted as "square." It was a unique style mixture, or, as one former writer stated, "the hardest show to write for because of the wide age range that had to be considered."

 


 

The Race for Second Place

 

  The reigning queen of Sunday nights at 8 o'clock was Murder She Wrote on CBS starring Angela Lansbury as a mystery writer and amateur sleuth.

This show was thought of as unassailable. It had been the ratings champ for nearly a decade. Therefore, NBC and ABC decided they would slug it out for second place. They also hoped to acquire the youth demographics that the older skewing Murder She Wrote could not attract.

 

NBC would pit Steven Spielberg's science fiction submarine series against ABC's romantic Superman fantasy. seaQuest DSV, the oceanic spectacle from the famous film director, was ready to launch head-to-head against Lois and Clark.

 

In the meantime, to ensure Lois and Clark prevailed, ABC and Warner Bros. were blitzing the known universe with print ads, a multi-tiered visual campaign including black and white stylized promos, countdowns, humor ads and promoting the unknown actors Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher everywhere Part 2

 


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