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The Love Boat (ABC, 1977-1987)

The Love Boat was an American sitcom/romantic TV series set on a cruise ship. It aired on ABC from September 24, 1977 to February 27, 1987. It ran for 9 seasons (or 249 episodes), 3 TV movies and a sequel TV series were produced as well. The Love Boat was based on the 1976 TV movie, The Love Boat, based off of a nonfiction book, The Love Boats.

The one-hour long sitcom centered around the ship’s Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod), its crew and passengers. The passengers were always played by guest actors, including popular celebrities of the time. The Love Boat was produced by TV phenom Aaron Spelling. The ship’s crew also included: Dr. Adam Bricker (Bernie Kopell); Burl Smith (Fred Grandy); Isaac Washington (Ted Lange), the bartender; Julie McCoy (Lauren Tewes), the cruise director; Vicki Stubing (Jill Whelan), the captain’s daughter and Ashley Covington Evans (Ted McGinley), the photographer. MacLeod, Kopell and Lange appeared in every TV episode and the three TV movies. The Love Boat was a Princess Cruise ship entitled The Pacific Princess.

For the first seven years, The Love Boat consistently ranked in the Top 20. Its highest rated season was in 1980-1981 at #5. A unique sitcom, The Love Boat featured several storylines per episode and each of these storylines were written by different writers. Each writer would work on their group of guest stars and their own particular storylines. This (unfortunately) led to frequent continuity errors. The Love Boat was one of the few hour long programs to use a laugh track.

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