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Lou Grant: The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama

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Lou Grant: The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama

Current Status:
In Season
Douglass K. Daniel
Television, Nonfiction

We gave it a B

Newspapers and TV shows — even in syndication — share a certain evanescence. So maybe it’s fitting that journalism professor Douglass K. Daniel exerts himself so strenuously in memorializing Lou Grant, a successful television drama about the newspaper business, in Lou Grant: The Making of TV’s Top Newspaper Drama. To the author, the show was also a singular emblem of the heady post-Watergate era, when reporters got the rare chance to be seen as noble, esteemed creatures rather than despised muckrakers. Thus, the cancellation of the program — caused in part by controversy over Asner’s real-life stances against American policy in El Salvador — is diligently but rather grandiosely represented as one of American journalism’s darkest days. The book’s scrupulous documentation (there are 127 endnotes to the first chapter alone) suggests reverence for the series that is perhaps a little out of proportion. After all, Asner wasn’t actually a groundbreaking journalist — he just played one on TV. B