When the very popular The Mary Tyler Moore Show sitcom came to an end on March 19, 1977, the staff of the WJM newsroom were all fired — with the exception of inept anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). A few months later, gruff Lou Grant (Ed Asner) became the lead character in his own show. It’s one of the few times in which a sitcom has spun-off a drama.
As the Lou Grant pilot episode begins, we see Lou arriving in Los Angeles and then traveling to the LA Tribune newspaper offices. Both the tone of the music and the footage are reminiscent of Mary Richards’ journey to Minneapolis-St. Paul. You’ll also note that, while the setting and filming style are different, the character of Lou Grant is essentially the same — a credit to Asner’s acting abilities and the show’s writing.