Lorimar Television

Lorimar Productions, Inc., later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American 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. The company's name was a portmanteau of Adelson's ex-wife, Lori, and Palomar Airport (now McClellan-Palomar Airport) in San Diego, California.[1]

IndustryTelevision and film production
FoundedFebruary 1, 1969 (1969-02-01)[1]
FounderIrwin Molasky, Lee Rich 
DefunctJuly 14, 1993 (1993-07-14)
HeadquartersCulver City, California, U.S.
Key people
ParentLorimar-Telepictures, Warner Communications Inc., WarnerMedia 


Early years and merger with Telepictures (1969-1987)

In the late 1960s, after a bank loan of $185,000 that Merv Adelson planned to furnish Lee Rich with, Lorimar Productions was founded. Prior to Lorimar, Rich had an established reputation; first as an advertising executive at Benton & Bowles, then as a television producer, co-producing (with Walter Mirisch) successful series such as The Rat Patrol.

Lorimar initially produced made-for-television 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, The Waltons, which premiered in 1972.[1] Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced a number of hit shows, including Eight Is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas. In 1980, Lorimar purchased the bankrupt Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, in order to revive the company from bankruptcy.

In the 1984-1985 season, 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 studio lot in Culver City from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.[1]

Purchase by Warner Communications and merger with Warner Bros. Television (1988-1993)

In 1988, Lorimar-Telepictures's production arm became Lorimar Television; however, the L-T distribution business remained until 1989. In January 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications,[2] which was merging in March that year 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 operations, which were 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, who would later become the Chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1990 to 1993. Moonves then became the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.

Key components Lorimar owned

Additionally, Lorimar 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 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.

Other ventures

Theatrical films

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

In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures (or, sometimes, as Lorimar 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 theatrical film library of Lorimar was folded into Warner Bros. Pictures.

Warner Bros. now owns most of Lorimar's catalogue, though a few films remained with their original distributors.

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.[6][7] 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 formed Lorimar Records whose first release was 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 (1988) which in that case was distributed by Atlantic Records.[8]

Sports Broadcasting


TV productions

Theatrical feature films

Most of Lorimar's film and television library, with several exceptions, is now owned by Warner Bros. Several of Lorimar's films are still owned by their original distributors or third parties, which are marked with an asterisk (*).

Release Date Title Notes
February 28, 1971The Sporting Clubdistributed by Avco Embassy Pictures*
July 19, 1972The Manin association with ABC Circle Films; distributed by Paramount Pictures*
November 7, 1974The Tamarind Seedin association with ITC Entertainment*; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
February 9, 1977Twilight's Last Gleamingdistributed by Allied Artists; co-production with Bavaria Media GmbH*
December 23, 1977The Choirboysdistributed by Universal Studios*
June 29, 1978Fedorainherited from Allied Artists, distributed by United Artists; co-produced by Bavaria Media GmbH*
October 6, 1978Who 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, 1979Americathondistributed by United Artists
October 16, 1979Avalanche Expressdistributed by 20th Century Fox
November 6, 1979The Fish That Saved Pittsburghdistributed by United Artists
December 19, 1979Being Theredistributed by United Artists
February 15, 1980Cruisingdistributed by United Artists
May 23, 1980Carnydistributed by United Artists
July 18, 1980The Big Red Onedistributed by United Artists
March 20, 1981The Postman Always Rings Twiceco-production with MGM;[9] distributed by Paramount Pictures
April 24, 1981Night Schooldistributed by Paramount Pictures
May 5, 1981Second-Hand Heartsdistributed by Paramount Pictures
June 5, 1981The Sea Wolvesdistributed by Paramount Pictures
July 1, 1981S.O.B.distributed by Paramount Pictures
July 30, 1981Victorydistributed by Paramount Pictures
February 12, 1982Love & Moneydistributed by Paramount Pictures
August 13, 1982An Officer and a Gentlemanco-production with Paramount Pictures*
October 8, 1982Fast-Walkingdistributed by Pickman Films
October 8, 1982Lookin' to Get Outdistributed by Paramount Pictures
October 21, 1983The Dead Zonein silent partnership with Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, who still owns major rights today*
March 16, 1984Tankdistributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*
July 1984Scream for Help
July 13, 1984The Last Starfighterdistributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*
January 31, 1986Powerdistributed by 20th Century Fox
June 27, 1986American Anthemdistributed by Columbia Pictures
August 14, 1986The Boy Who Could Flydistributed by 20th Century Fox
December 25, 1986The Morning Afterdistributed by 20th Century Fox
August 28, 1987The Fourth ProtocolU.S. distribution; produced by The Rank Organisation*
September 16, 1987In the Mooda co-production with Kings Road Entertainment
September 18, 1987Orphans
October 2, 1987Big Shotsdistributed by 20th Century Fox
November 1987Hearts of Fire
November 6, 1987Made in Heaven
November 11, 1987SiestaU.S. distribution
January 15, 1988Return of the Living Dead Part II
February 12, 1988Action Jackson
April 15, 1988Tokyo Popdistributed by International SpectraFilm
April 22, 1988World Gone Wildpickup from Apollo Pictures for U.S. theatrical distribution
April 29, 1988Two Moon Junctionpickup from DDM Film Corporation for U.S. theatrical distribution; produced with The Samuel Goldwyn Company*
September 9, 1988Running on Emptydistributed by Warner Bros.*
December 21, 1988Dangerous Liaisonsdistributed by Warner Bros.*
October 29, 1988Moonwalkerdistributed internationally by Warner Bros.
February 24, 1989Bert Rigby, You're a Fooldistributed by Warner Bros.*
The Toxic Avenger Part IIdistributed and co-produced by Troma Entertainment*
March 24, 1989Dead Bangdistributed by Warner Bros.*
April 14, 1989See You in the Morningdistributed by Warner Bros.*
August 23, 1989Cookiedistributed by Warner Bros.*
October 20, 1989Next of Kindistributed by Warner Bros.*
November 3, 1989Second Sightdistributed by Warner Bros.*
August 24, 1990The Witchesdistributed by Warner Bros.*


  1. Lee Rich Interview: Archive of American Television. Retrieved on November 24, 2010.
  2. Fortune
  3. Los Angeles Times
  4. Lippman, John (1993-07-14). "Warner Bros. Consolidates TV Production : Hollywood: Leslie Moonves, who had been president of Lorimar, will head the studio's new division". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  5. Associated Press. "Movie Deal." Merced Sun-Star (January 17, 1987)
  6. Stevenson, Richard W. (1988-02-07). "TROUBLED ENTREPRENEUR: Stuart Karl; From Fonda and Hart To Flops and Hot Water". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  7. Howe, Tom. "Stuart Karl - Who's Who in RCA VideoDisc". www.cedmagic.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  8. http://www.discogs.com/label/50703-Lorimar-Records
  9. "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.
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