- Knots Landing
Knots Landing Logo (Seasons 9–10)
Format Soap opera Created by David Jacobs Starring Teri Austin
Joan Van Ark
Country of origin USA No. of seasons 14 (plus mini-series) No. of episodes 344 (List of episodes) Production Running time 44 Minutes Production company(s) Roundelay Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Broadcast Original channel CBS Original run December 27, 1979 – May 13, 1993 Chronology Followed by Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac Related shows Dallas
Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. Set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles in California, the show centered on the lives of four married couples living in a cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle. Initially intended to be a Scenes From a Marriage-type drama series, storylines also included rape, murder, kidnapping, assassinations, drug smuggling, corporate intrigue and criminal investigations. By the time of its conclusion, Knots Landing had become one of the longest-running primetime dramas on U.S. television after Gunsmoke and Law & Order, and tied for third place with Bonanza (although Bonanza had made far more episodes).
Knots Landing was created by David Jacobs (one-time writer of Family and later producer of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) in conjunction with producer Michael Filerman (who would also later co-produce Falcon Crest). The idea was initially rebuffed by CBS in 1977, as the network wanted something more "saga-like." Jacobs then created Dallas, which the networked accepted and premiered in 1978. After Dallas became a hit, Jacobs was then able to adapt Knots Landing as a spin-off series. The series was loosely inspired by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman movie Scenes from a Marriage, but with four marriages. Though initially not as popular as Dallas, Knots Landing eventually outlasted it and garnered much critical acclaim. The series peaked during the 1983–84 season with a 20.8 rating (finishing in 11th place) and a 20.0 rating for the 1984–85 season (when it finished 9th). This can be attributed, in part, to more dramatic storylines as the series became more soap-opera like, and the gradual inclusion of newer characters to interact with the original cast. By the 1988–89 season, Knots Landing was ahead of Dallas in the ratings, though audiences for both shows by this time were less than their earlier years.
In 1997, much of the cast reunited for a two-part mini-series entitled Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac. In 2005, they reunited again for the non-fiction special Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again in which the cast reminisced about their time on the show.
Season Premiere Finale Episodes Timeslot Rank Households
Season 1 December 27, 1979 March 27, 1980 13 Thursday 10:00 pm #32 15.2 Season 2 November 20, 1980 March 26, 1981 18 #28 15.1 Season 3 November 12, 1981 May 6, 1982 22 #43 13.5 Season 4 September 30, 1982 March 10, 1983 22 #20 15.4 Season 5 September 9, 1983 March 29, 1984 25 #11 17.4 Season 6 September 20, 1984 May 16, 1985 30 #9 16.9 Season 7 September 19, 1985 May 18, 1986 30 #17 16.7 Season 8 September 18, 1986 May 7, 1987 30 #26 14.6 Season 9 September 24, 1987 May 12, 1988 29 #31 13.9 Season 10 October 27, 1988 May 18, 1989 28 #27 14.5 Season 11 September 23, 1989 May 11, 1990 29 #33 14.3 Season 12 September 13, 1990 May 16, 1991 27 #30 13.74 Season 13 September 12, 1991 April 9, 1992 22 #41 12.32 Season 14 October 29, 1992 May 13, 1993 19 #39 11.68
Gary Ewing was the middle son and the black sheep of the Ewing family from Dallas. Gary was an alcoholic, whose father Jock and older brother J.R. had never treated as an equal. The insecure Gary met Valene when they were aged 17 and 15 years old respectively. They were married briefly, and Gary left Southfork Ranch and later divorced Valene. With Gary gone from Southfork Ranch, J.R. had Valene followed and 'run out of town' as he took her daughter and manipulated Gary away from her. Years later, Valene and her daughter Lucy reconnected, causing Valene and Gary to reunite. They remarried and Gary's mother, Miss Ellie, bought the couple a house in California.
Season One (1979–80)
13 Episodes (1–13)
Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein
Upon arriving in California, Gary and Val (Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark) met their neighbors: Sid and Karen Fairgate (played by Don Murray and Michele Lee), the self-described “neighborhood Brady Bunch.” Together, they had three teenaged children, Eric (Steve Shaw), Diana (Claudia Lonow) and Michael (Patrick Petersen). Sid's daughter from his first marriage, Annie Fairgate who goes and has sex in Karen's and Sid's bed (Karen Allen) would make her only appearance on the pilot episode of the show, and Sid's ex-wife and Annie's mother, Susan Philby (Claudette Nevins) would make her only appearance later in first season episode "Civil Wives"; neither showed for Sid's funeral early during the third season. Likewise, Gary and Val's daughter Lucy (Charlene Tilton) made her only appearance during the first season but then remained on Dallas, even though Gary and Val's original plan was to bring Lucy to California. Also living in the cul-de-sac were corporate lawyer Richard Avery and his wife Laura (John Pleshette and Constance McCashin), parents of a young son, Jason, and young newlyweds Kenny and Ginger Ward (James Houghton and Kim Lankford).
In the show's first episode, which aired on December 27, 1979 on CBS, a giddy Valene ran on the beach, proclaiming to Annie Fairgate that she’d never seen the ocean. She would return to the ocean many times over the years, especially after her babies were kidnapped and declared dead during the sixth season.
Gary took a job at Knots Landing Motors, a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury (hence, the show's early sponsors) car dealership owned by Sid. He did such a good job that by the end of the first season he was promoted. Gary got drunk at his promotion party, causing a binge in the two-part season finale, “Bottom of the Bottle.” Ginger caught her record producer husband, Kenny, cheating on her with a singer, Sylvie (Louise Vallance), and broke up with him. When Richard wanted to borrow money from Laura's father, Laura allowed him on the condition that Richard let her go to work. Richard was forced to relent, and Laura saw that she did not have to live by her husband's rules all the time.
Season Two (1980–81)
18 Episodes (14–31)
Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein
Knots Landing came back in season two with the introduction of Sid Fairgate’s sister Abby (Donna Mills). Abby was 14 years his junior, and he’d always been oblivious of her scheming ways, but Karen was suspicious of almost everything Abby did. When Abby took a job at Knots Landing Motors, she helped Gary out of a bind with mobsters by going to his brother J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman). Abby went out of her way to make sure Val found out Gary was cheating on her with Judy Trent (Jane Elliott), the attractive wife of a man he was sponsoring in Alcoholics Anonymous, Earl Trent. Even though Abby set her sights on Gary, she settled for Richard, taking no great effort to conceal the affair from Laura, who took on a career in real estate and began a flirtation with her boss, Scooter Warren (Allan Miller). Abby dumped Richard when her ex-husband Jeff Cunningham (Barry Jenner) threatened to take her children away. Viewers discovered exactly how manipulative Abby could be when the women of Knots Landing held a baby shower for Ginger and were interrupted by criminals who held them hostage; Abby seduced one of the thugs, helping to save them.
Sid and Abby's nephew Paul Fairgate (Kale Browne) made his only appearance on the show in the episode "Players"; he later married Karen Allen, whose Annie was his cousin, though the two never met on the series. Ginger began dating the father of one of her students while separated from Kenny, but took Kenny back upon discovering that she was pregnant. When Sid discovered the car parts Gary and Abby had been buying were actually stolen, his brakes were disconnected in order to keep him from testifying to this in court. Season Two ended with Sid’s car going off a cliff, with Sid and his FBI agent bodyguard Salmaggio inside.Sid goes over the cliff and ...
Season Three (1981–82)
22 Episodes (32–53)
Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein
After Sid's vehicle went off the cliff, he was extricated from his vehicle after it was spotted by a group of teens who witnessed the accident. Salmaggio was pronounced dead at the scene. Sid told paramedics he could not move, and they suspected he had a broken neck. Sid was then taken to Beachview Hospital's intensive care unit. Though initially feared to be paralyzed, Sid showed movement in his limbs, albeit somewhat weak. However, a blood clot rendered him paralyzed from the neck down later in the day. Sid asked Karen to sign papers allowing him to undergo life-risking surgery in order to re-gain the use of his legs. After some argument, Karen very reluctantly agreed to sign. Sid died in the early stages of the operation, leaving Karen a widow with three children. Karen's unwillingness to discuss her husband's death distanced her from her children, especially from her elder son Eric (Steve Shaw), who was angry after she decided to sell Sid's classic hot rod shortly after his death.
She took over Knots Landing Motors, firing Abby, but not Gary. Karen would be forced to hire Abby back because Abby’s style of bookkeeping could not be easily deciphered.
Ginger became annoyed as Kenny refused to take interest in her aspirations as a singer. However, both become closer as their first child, Erin Molly, is born, and Karen's dry-eyed composure surrounding Sid's death finally crumbles when Kenny and Ginger put the baby into her arms and ask her to be their new daughter's godmother.
Valene attempted to forge a bond with her mother Lilimae (Julie Harris), who moved in with her and Gary. Lilimae had all but abandoned her as a child in her hopes to be a country music singer. Karen's brother, Joe Cooper (Stephen Macht) took on a job as a bookkeeper at USC and briefly stayed with the Fairgate family. Laura began an affair with her boss Scooter after years of being unhappily married to Richard. She planned to leave Richard, but then discovered she was pregnant. She planned on aborting the pregnancy, but decided not to after Richard got violent. Richard was becoming the company pimp after being asked to supply entertainment by his boss for some clients at his law firm, a pattern that kept repeating itself. This was eventually revealed on the news, and Richard's employer denied any cooperation with him. After losing his job, Richard became depressed and had a nervous breakdown. An incident erupted and Richard was sent to a mental institution.
After Karen passed up the opportunity to fund a methanol-powered vehicle project, Gary and Abby devoted hours to making it work without her help. Abby made repeated passes at Gary, and finally they slept together. Valene discovered this in the season finale, leaving the cul-de-sac in tears.
Season Four (1982–83)
22 Episodes (54–75)
Produced by: Peter Dunne
With the charges dropped against Sid Fairgate’s killers, an angry Karen marched into the office of federal prosecutor M. Patrick “Mack” McKenzie (played by Kojak alumnus Kevin Dobson). Mack was as upset as Karen, and they brought the men to justice. They fell in love, and married half-way through the season. Valene returned to Knots Landing and later became a best-selling author (writing "Capricorn Crude" and "Nashville Junction"), though it was bittersweet without Gary, who had vacated the cul-de-sac along with his new girlfriend, Abby. Gary had inherited millions after his father, Jock Ewing, died, and decided to go into the record business. He teamed up with Kenny, producing the record of the beautiful Ciji Dunne (Lisa Hartman).
Upon finding a suicide note at the house, a guilty Laura decided to reconcile with Richard. Richard then proceeded to open a restaurant, Daniel (named after their newborn son). Abby financed the restaurant, and in a cross-promotion, proceeded to demand that Ciji sing there every night. Ginger resented Ciji, as Kenny spent a lot of time worrying about Ciji’s career and almost no time at all on Ginger’s. Laura and Ciji became best friends, which prompted the insecure Richard to fear the women were having a lesbian relationship.
Valene’s publicist Chip Roberts (Michael Sabatino) convinced Lilimae to let him live with them. Chip dated Karen’s daughter Diana and Ciji at the same time, and panicked when he impregnated Ciji. He was upset with Ciji after she discovered his true identity, Tony Fenice. In season four, Knots Landing, which had been a top 30 show during its first two seasons and a top 45 after Sid's death, became a huge ratings success. The climax came when Ciji’s dead body washed up on the beach. Gary's life collapsed as he once again turned to the bottle to escape his problems. He woke up on the beach on which Ciji's body had been discovered, and his drinking caused him not to remember anything of the night before. He was arrested for her murder. Val tried to clear his name by confessing to the crime, but Gary remained the prime suspect and prepared to go to trial as the season wrapped up.
After Ciji’s death, Laura refused to forgive Richard for being mean to her best friend while she was alive. Believing Laura no longer loved him, Richard left Knots Landing. Laura thought Richard left town in this manner because he killed Ciji, but later came to know otherwise. He would return only for her funeral four years later. Kenny and Ginger also left Knots Landing, with Kenny being offered a job in Nashville. (Ginger returned for the reunion movie after a 14-year absence.) In the season finale, the characters prepared for Gary’s trial, while Lilimae discovered Chip’s real identity. Diana and Chip had skipped town, leaving Karen shocked and in tears.
Season Five (1983–84)
25 Episodes (76–100)
Produced by: Peter Dunne
In the season premiere, Gary was acquitted of Ciji’s murder due to a lack of evidence. Chip (now revealed to be murder suspect Tony Finece) and Diana fled town as Chip became the primary suspect. Meanwhile, Valene began dating reporter Ben Gibson (Douglas Sheehan). Diana married Chip while on the run with him. Even though Chip confessed to Diana that he’d killed Ciji, the state had no case without her testimony. When it looked as though Chip would get away with the murder, Lilimae took matters into her own hands by running him down with her car. However, Chip was merely bruised by the impact.
Meanwhile, Abby and Sid's uncle died, leaving Abby and Karen land inheritance at Lotus Point, California. Abby then formed Apolune Corp., a subsidiary of Gary’s company, forcing Karen to look the other way as she broke the rules. Abby convinced Gary to marry her in order to get half of his inheritance. Before marrying Abby, Gary slept with Valene. By the time Valene discovered she was pregnant, she was in love with Ben, but he could not take the fact that she was pregnant with another man’s babies and they broke up.
Abby hired a Ciji look-alike, Cathy Geary, to keep Gary distracted so he would not learn about her crooked business practices. Gary hired Cathy to work at his ranch, but when Chip (who had been hiding out at the ranch with Diana) saw Cathy, he fell backward onto a pitchfork and killed himself. The ordeal with Diana caused Karen to become more depressed, and she was addicted to prescription pain killers. State Senator Greg Sumner (William Devane), who was running for US Senator, received the endorsements of Mack and Karen, as well as Abby, who wanted to buy herself a senator. Greg hired Mack to lead his Senate Crime Commission investigating the crooked Wolfbridge Group, and when Abby convinced Greg to get her an illegal land variance to build on Lotus Point, Greg pinned it on Mack, ending the friendship with Mack.
After Karen's recovery from drug addiction, she and Diana reconciled but Diana moved to New York to live near her uncle Joe Cooper and pursue a career. Wolfbridge forced Abby to let them become her partners in the development of Lotus Point. When Mack discovered that Apolune owned all the land in Lotus Point, except Karen and Abby’s inheritances, he thought Apolune was a division of Wolfbridge. Laura confessed that Apolune was Abby’s company and Gary decided to divorce Abby. When Mack faked Gary’s death to get Wolfbridge, Karen left him, believing his obsession with Wolfbridge had cost her everything. In the season finale, Mack tried to trick Mark St. Claire (Joseph Chapman), the head of the Wolfbridge Group, into shooting Gary, but St. Claire’s assassin hit Karen. Abby was kidnapped by the Wolfbridge Group when they realized they had failed.
Season Six (1984–85)
30 episodes (101–130)
Produced by: Peter Dunne (ep. 101-119)/Lawrence Kasha (ep. 120-130)
Greg Sumner killed Mark St. Claire, who was holding Abby hostage on a boat. After being shot, Karen declined to be operated upon, and was given six months to live. Lilimae's sister June died (offscreen). Meanwhile Lilimae's son Joshua (Alec Baldwin), whom she'd abandoned as a baby, came to live with her and Valene. He began dating Cathy, who'd moved in with Laura.
When Gary purchased Ben’s television station, Abby began running it. She was shocked to learn that Gary was the father of Valene’s babies. Abby told Scott Easton (Jack Bannon), a man working for Lotus Point, about her issue, and he had Valene’s babies kidnapped after their birth. Donna Mills did not like that Abby had anything to do with the twins kidnapping. She felt that Abby was truly evil at times but would never steal another woman's children, especially since Brian and Olivia were kidnapped by their natural father during season 2. Abby is responsible for Valene's reunion with the twins. Valene was told that the babies were stillborn, and when she insisted that she’d heard them crying, nobody believed her. Valene, heartbroken over the loss, left Knots Landing for Tennessee, where she developed psychosomatic amnesia, calling herself Verna Ellers (a character from one of her novels) and becoming a waitress. Meanwhile, Gary and Abby reconciled and the couple, along with Karen, agreed to become partners in Lotus Point.
Karen took Mack back on Gary’s insistence after she confided to him that she was dying. Mack convinced Karen to have the surgery correcting her back problem. Paul Galveston befriended Gary, and offered him a chance to develop Empire Valley, a large piece of real estate. Gary began construction. Galveston died, leaving his company to Greg Sumner, Galveston’s son. Assuming he would inherit Empire Valley, Greg resigned from the Senate, but Galveston left it to Gary. Greg’s mother Ruth Galveston paid him an extended visit. She took a liking to Abby and paid Abby to pretend to have slept with Greg in order to break Greg and Laura up.
Cathy and Joshua married, though on their wedding day she had second thoughts, because fame on Abby’s television network had warped the initially innocent Joshua. Valene (still believing herself to be “Verna”) became engaged in Tennessee, but Gary finally found her and brought her back to Knots Landing where she re-united with Ben but still refused to believe that her babies were dead. Karen and Ben discovered that Valene’s doctor had paid off a nurse to collude with the deceit. Abby tracked down Valene’s babies. In the season finale, Abby and Val, Mack and Ben, and Gary and Karen arrived at the Fisher house, where Sheila Fisher opened the door holding one of Valene's twins in her arms. As Valene got out of Abby's car and approached the house, Harry Fisher passed in front of the house in his car with Valene's other twin baby. His wife shouted to him and warned him, "They want to take the babies..." Harry drove off with one of Valene's babies before anyone could stop him.
This season finale, entitled "The Long and Winding Road" (after a Beatles song), ranked as the #1 program for the week in the Nielsen Ratings. It is the only episode to rank #1 for the week during the series' 14 seasons.
Season Seven (1985–86)
30 episodes (131–160)
Supervising Producer: David Paulsen
Produced by: Lawrence Kasha
In the season premiere, Valene waited outside the house of the couple who had her babies. The babies were returned to her in episode 2. Valene and Ben agreed to raise the babies together, and they married. Also married this year were Laura and Greg, whose estrangement ended when he convinced her that his mother was out of their lives for good. Abby received a phone call about Bobby's death, and Gary headed back to Dallas for the funeral. Empire Valley went awry when Gary discovered that Galveston Industries and its partners were secretly building an underground espionage operation there. Gary blew up Empire Valley to stop this. Gary blamed Abby, who had helped Greg and gone behind his back. Gary informed Abby at the end of the season that he would divorce her. (In the 1986 Season Nine premiere of Dallas, Bobby Ewing's death was revealed to be part of a dream. However, this is never acknowledged on Knots Landing, and in the chronology of this series he remained dead.)
Gary bequeathed part of Empire Valley to Val's kids Bobby and Betsy, who were being raised as Ben's children. Peter Hollister (Hunt Block) became Greg’s new secretary, and Jill Bennett (Teri Austin) became Mack’s new colleague. These two characters had nothing to do with one another but they were siblings of a family that had been swindled by Paul Galveston and wanted revenge. Jill abandoned her side of the plan when she fell in love with the now-single Gary, while Peter, in going through Greg’s files, discovered a woman named Sylvia Lean (Ruth Roman) who’d been receiving monthly payments from Galveston Industries for over 20 years. She had given birth to Galveston’s now-deceased son, whom Peter pretended to be, demanding compensation from Greg. Abby discovered the truth and demanded 51% of Peter’s compensation in return for keeping it secret, but when Peter discovered that Abby had known that Valene’s babies had been kidnapped from the start, he used this against her.
Joshua became abusive toward Cathy, who left him. Not wanting to lose her, he decided that they should die together. He tried to throw Cathy off of a tall building, but Lilimae arrived in time to stop him. She disowned Joshua. He fell from the roof and a sad Lilimae spent the rest of the season mourning him, while Cathy moved on to Ben, whose marriage to Valene was failing due to the continued threat of Gary, who by then knew that he was the father of her twins. Ben cheated with Cathy and in the season finale, prepared to leave Valene and go on a singing tour with her as her manager. Abby's daughter, Olivia (Tonya Crowe) had a drug problem. A girl, Paige Matheson, (Nicollette Sheridan) arrived at Mack’s door claiming to be his daughter. His wife, Karen, disappeared.
Season Eight (1986–87)
30 episodes (161–190)
Produced by: Lawrence Kasha
Karen's kidnapper was Phil Harbert (Louis Giambalvo), an old friend of Greg's and Mack's who was bitter toward Mack, whom he blamed for having caused the death of his wife. Mack suspected Greg for the kidnapping, but believed that Greg had nothing to do with it. Ben returned to Valene and promised to make their marriage work, however this promise was compromised when he was contacted by Jean Hackney (Wendy Fulton), who had tricked Ben into doing a mission for an underground organization to kill Greg Sumner, and when Ben and Valene’s children were threatened, he finally agreed to do this. Luckily, he did not succeed, although Jean Hackney’s insistence on following him meant that he had to flee the country and leave Valene at the end of the season. Laura refused to forgive Valene for Ben's plan to kill Greg and ended their friendship. Finally, Peter is Jill's sister and Greg's brother.
Laura announced to Greg that she was pregnant. Mack had a difficult time handling Paige, who moved in with the Mackenzies and seduced Karen’s son Michael. When Karen discovered Paige Matheson was dead, Paige told the Mackenzies she’d faked her own death in order to escape her grandparents. Paige’s mother (and Mack’s first love) Anne (Michelle Phillips) arrived in Knots Landing to be with her daughter, whom she’d believed dead. Anne moved in to Laura’s house on the cul-de-sac. Anne attempted to seduce Mack, but failed. She left Knots Landing.
Abby’s daughter Olivia turned to drugs. When her drug dealer beat up her younger brother Brian, she gave all her drugs to Abby, who encouraged her daughter’s friendship with Peter Hollister. Olivia’s friendship turned to crush. Peter was only interested in Paige. At the end of the season, Abby found Olivia standing over Peter’s body. They both assumed the other had killed him. She hid Peter’s corpse under the soil where cement was to be poured the next day. In the final scene of the season, Karen informed Abby that there was a crack in the cement, and it would have to be re-poured.
Season Nine (1987–88)
29 episodes (191–219)
Produced by: Lawrence Kasha/Mary-Catherine Harold
A melancholy Laura extended the olive branch to Valene at Karen's insistence. Paige had accidentally caused Peter's death. No charges were brought against her, but Abby swore that she would make Paige pay for framing Olivia for the crime. Laura told Greg that she was dying of cancer. Greg refused to accept it, and Laura left him to go to a clinic, where she died. Laura’s funeral brought the return of Richard, who moved his and Laura’s sons back to the east coast with him and his new wife. Greg was left to raise Meg, his daughter with Laura. Feeling unable to raise the child by himself, Greg offered to allow Karen and Mack to adopt her. Meanwhile, Abby rekindled an old romance with wealthy business executive Charles Scott (Michael York) and the two married briefly. But Abby ended the relationship after discovering his ulterior motives about plans for the Lotus Point Marina.
After Laura’s death, Frank and Pat Williams (Larry Riley and Lynne Moody) and their daughter Julie (Kent Masters-King) moved onto the cul-de-sac. Mack and Karen were suspicious of them at first, but became their friends upon discovering they were in the Witness Protection Program. Business at Lotus Point began to slow down, and Karen, Gary, and Abby agreed to expand the marina to accommodate the business of Manny Vasquez (John Aprea). Meanwhile, Paige, Michael, and Paige’s boyfriend Johnny Rourke (Peter Reckell) went on an archaeological dig in Mexico. When it became apparent that Manny Vasquez (John Aprea) was selling drugs through Lotus Point, its owners tried to stop him. He told them that Paige and Michael would not re-enter the United States until he was allowed to conduct business at Lotus Point.
Paige began to work for Greg, and found herself attracted to him. Lilimae left Knots Landing with a new man in her life. Gary took an increased interest in Valene's twins, initially at Valene’s resistance. His attention to Val and the children was an annoyance to Jill, who was now living with Gary and became jealous. Jill made an elaborate plan where she edited audio recordings of Ben’s voice to make Valene think Ben was trying to contact her, and forged letters from him. Jill then stole the tapes of Ben’s messages and the letters, leaving Valene with no proof when she tried telling people. In the season finale, Jill broke into Valene's house at night and forced Valene at gunpoint to take a whole bottle of sleeping pills in order to make it look like Valene had killed herself. The following morning, Valene was seen laying motionless on the floor.
Season Ten (1988–89)
28 episodes (220–247)
Co-Executive Producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick
Frank found Valene unconscious and phoned for an ambulance. Valene survived and said that Jill had tried to kill her, but Jill had provided herself with an alibi; she slipped drugs into a man’s drink and brought him to her hotel room in San Francisco. He passed out, but as she was there when he awoke in the morning, he assumed she'd been there all night. When the man got an STD and Jill and Gary’s tests turned up negative, Gary investigated and found that the man remembered nothing of the night he had supposedly slept with Jill. With doubt on her innocence, Jill was left friendless and she tied herself up and put herself in Gary’s trunk so he’d be framed for trying to kill her. However, Jill actually died and Gary was suspected of killing her. Mack was able to get the charges dropped (as he had done with Paige a season earlier) when a hidden fingerprint proved Jill closed the trunk of Gary's car herself and the whole thing was exposed as a plot by Jill to frame Gary.Valene's Aunt Virginia "Ginny" Bullock (Lilimae's sister) came to Visit Knots Landing and ended up moving in with Valene on Sea-view Circle.
A con artist tried to extort money from Frank and Pat by threatening to reveal their location to the men who had threatened Pat's life when she testified against them. Mack halted the con artist, and used dental records from a deceased family to make the men believe that the Sollars family (the original identity of the Williamses) were dead. The young crowd was able to get out of Mexico, and Manny Vasquez’s nephew Harold Dyer (Paul Carafotes) (who was also dating Abby’s daughter Olivia) killed his uncle when Manny tried to kill Mack. Paige seduced Greg and the two began dating. Unfortunately, Greg wanted to become mayor of Los Angeles and he realized the much-younger Paige would not make a good political wife. He asked Abby to marry him instead, and Abby got her revenge against the broken-hearted Paige, who still kept her job at Greg’s company nonetheless.
Mack had another mid-life crisis and quit his job, opening a private practice. Following a health and safety report, the Lotus Point resort has to be sold. However, Abby had discovered that there was oil underneath Lotus Point, and created a company to conceal who was buying the resort from her partners. Paige discovered that the whole thing was a scam initiated by Abby and her cohort Ted Melcher which infuriated Karen who was now intent on sending Abby to jail for fraud. Abby narrowly avoided the fraud charges and agreed to donate Lotus Point a public park. She then left Greg (and Knots Landing) for a Trade Envoy job in Japan (a job Greg himself had planned to get after his failed attempt to become mayor of Los Angeles).
Season Eleven (1989–90)
29 episodes (248–276)
Co-Executive Producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick
Valene and Gary became separately involved with another divorced couple, Danny and Amanda Waleska. Danny (Sam Behrens) had beaten and raped Amanda (Penny Peyser). Valene proclaimed that she loved Danny more than she’d ever loved Gary or Ben. As Danny became more and more abusive and distant, Valene realized the truth, and kicked him out of her house. Paige fell in love with Tom Ryan (Joseph Gian), a dirty cop. The two planned on getting married, but on the day of their wedding, Tom ran away after Greg blackmailed him. Gary proposed to Valene, who accepted. Karen started a talk show, but was stalked by one of her producers, who had been put up to it by another producer Dianne Kirkwood (Robin Strasser) who could not stand Karen.
Olivia married Harold, but they had monetary woes due to Abby's decision to cut Olivia off financially. They left the show mid-season, before Olivia had a chance to scheme for money as her mother had. Karen’s son Eric left his wife Linda at the Mackenzie household. Linda had an affair with Eric’s brother Michael, then divorced Eric. Paige’s mother Anne returned to Knots Landing penniless, and took up with Greg. Greg’s daughter Mary Frances (Stacy Galina) visited him after a 6-year estrangement and was later shot dead in Greg's office tower.
Season Twelve (1990–91)
27 episodes (277–303)
Co-Executive Producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick
Frank had Pat’s life support disconnected. New to Knots Landing were Greg’s sister Claudia (Kathleen Noone) and his niece Kate, who shared an uncanny resemblance to dead Mary Frances (Kate was also played by Stacy Galina). Kate met Steve Brewer (Lance Guest), a man claiming to be her brother, at school. Steve, who had been put up for adoption by Claudia, was the product of a tryst between Claudia and Paul Galveston. Claudia planted a gun on former felon Steve and he fled from the police. Mack took a liking to a high schooler named Jason Lochner (Thomas Wilson Brown), who was being beaten by his father. Mack, in yet another mid-life crisis, regained the memories of his own physical abuse at the hands of his now late father, and took Jason into the Mackenzie household.Valene's Aunt Ginny Bullock (Betsy Palmer) left Knots Landing for Europe.
Valene and Gary got together and after Danny’s murder (by Julie, as revenge for her mother’s death), but a fall off a horse led to a lighthearted and humorous storyline where Valene went insane. After a season of irrational behavior, Valene was cured, and she married Gary. Anne met Italian Nick Schillace (Lorenzo Caccialanza), with whom she both fell in love and spent the season scheming. Their plans all backfired, and in the season finale, Anne was left homeless. Paige and Linda competed at the Sumner Group (the re-named Galveston Industries).
Season Thirteen (1991–92)
22 episodes (304–325)
Co-Executive Producer: John Romano (ep. 304–318)
Supervising Producer: Joseph Hardy
Senior Producer: Ann Marcus (ep. 319–325)
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold
Staff Writers ("story editors"): novelist Rachel Cline ("What to Keep," "My Liar"), novelist James Magnuson ("The Money Tree"),playwright and television producer Donald Marcus, and television writer Lisa Seidman.
Kate blamed Claudia for Steve's death and cut her mother out of her life, but they reconciled after Claudia took an overdose of pills. After Nick left her, Anne was left homeless and bankrupt. She started an advice show on night-time radio which became a smash hit. Linda was murdered by the crazy Brian Johnston, who held the Mackenzies hostage for an entire episode. Jason left the Mackenzie household for Sweden while Julie left Knots Landing. Frank dated Debbie Porter (played by the then-unknown Halle Berry).
Gary invested in a project that turned energy from the ocean's tides into usable electric energy. The man behind it, Joseph Barringer (Mark Soper), became Kate’s boyfriend. Paige joined Gary, along with her new boyfriend Pierce (played by the then-unknown Bruce Greenwood). A former flame of Pierce's, Victoria Broyelard (played by the then-unknown Marcia Cross), revealed that Pierce had killed his previous girlfriend. Paige did not believe it. Paige was shot by Pierce (aiming for Greg, whom he hated) and temporarily paralyzed, giving a delusional Pierce (who thought she was the previous, pregnant girlfriend he’d already killed) a chance to kidnap her. Mack and Greg rescued Paige and Pierce was arrested. Alex Barth (Boyd Kestner), the nephew of the Galvestons' housekeeper, blackmailed Claudia for refusing to help her ailing mother with her medication and thus allowed her to die. Claudia said that she wanted to end their mother's pain. Claudia disliked Joseph and asked Greg to get him a job away from Kate. Gary, who had tied up all his money in Tidal Energy, was left bankrupt. Valene attempted to console him, and the two of them spent the rest of the season enjoying a happy marriage. Valene was to write a biography on Greg Sumner. Mary Robeson (Maree Cheatham) told Valene that she was Meg’s grandmother, as she was Laura’s biological mother. Valene refused to believe it, and when she investigated Mary Robeson further, she was kidnapped in Florida.
Season Fourteen (1992–93)
19 episodes (326–344)
Co-Executive Producer: Barbara Corday
Supervising Producer: Ann Marcus
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold
Gary believed Valene dead when he saw a car with her in it blow up. Greg attempted to retire from the Sumner Group, leaving one-third to Claudia, one-third to Paige, and one-third to Mack and Karen (in a trust for Meg). Anne’s pregnancy prompted him to return to Knots Landing to marry her. Anne discovered she had suffered from hysterical pregnancy. Anne longed for Nick, who had returned to Knots Landing. When Mack sought $1,000,000 to bribe Mary Robeson to stop seeking custody of Meg, Claudia gave him $500,000 and gave the rest to Nick to start a restaurant. Paige demanded an audit, and Claudia had to ask Nick for the $500,000 back. Nick had already spent it and got the money elsewhere. It turned out a man named Nigel Treadwell (Daniel Gerroll) and his mysterious partner had been trying to take over the Sumner Group with this $500,000. Karen did not believe Mack would do something like that and left him, staying with Diana in New York City.
In the two-hour series finale on May 13, 1993, Karen returned to Mack, and Nick’s accomplice Vanessa Hunt (Felicity Waterman) killed Treadwell, paving the way for Valene to return to Gary. Treadwell’s partner was revealed to be Abby, who, returning for the first time in four years, told Greg that she would be taking over the Sumner Group. However Greg thwarted her scheme by threatening to reveal her dirty dealings in Japan with some well documented evidence that he had just acquired. Anne offered Greg a divorce and he was free to get back together with Paige. Claudia decided to move to Monaco, and on the way to the airplane met up with Anne and Nick. Back at Seaview Circle, Gary, Val, Mack and Karen were preparing to have a barbecue as a new couple were moving into Frank’s old house on the cul-de-sac. At that moment, another car pulled up and Abby emerged. She informed everyone that she had heard Claudia’s house was for sale (the house which had originally been hers when she lived on the cul-de-sac). Valene smiled and welcomed Abby back to the cul-de-sac before rushing Gary away. Abby is left with Karen, to whom she proclaimed "Just like old times, isn’t it?" Abby enters the house, apparently its new owner.
- Michele Lee (Original cast) as Karen Cooper Fairgate MacKenzie
- The principal character of Knots Landing who was first married to Sid Fairgate, and later to Mack McKenzie. The mother of Diana, Eric and Michael Fairgate. She and Mack later adopted "Meg", (Laura's daughter with Greg Sumner). A strong believer and folksy-friendly neighbor, Karen worked as a community activist and eventually at Knots Landing Motors and Lotus Point. (Michele Lee would also become the only cast member to appear in all 344 episodes which was a record for most appearances of a female character on American primetime television. The record was recently[when?] surpassed by S. Epatha Merkerson's character on NBC's Law & Order.)
- Ted Shackelford (Original cast) as Garrison Arthur "Gary" Ewing.
- The son of Jock and Ellie Ewing, first introduced in the TV series Dallas. Gary, the middle Ewing son between J.R. and Bobby, was the family blacksheep and a recovering alcoholic. The true love of Valene's life and father of their daughter Lucy (from Dallas) and twins Bobby & Betsy Ewing. After his arrival to California, he began working for Sid Fairgate, owner of Knots Landing Motors, where he was eventually promoted from partner to vice president, before he got fired after, the year after Sid's death, from selling stolen auto parts. After his second marriage to Valene failed, he married Abby, though later remarried Val.
- Joan Van Ark (Original cast) as Valene "Val" Clements Ewing Ewing Gibson Waleska Ewing (1979–1992, 1993).
- The true love of Gary's life, she is the mother of his three children, including Dallas' Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) and twins Bobby & Betsy Ewing. Valene originally came from Tennessee, and married Gary while they were still in their teens, but she was outcast from the Ewing family by J.R.. After she and Gary remarried, they moved to Knots Landing where she became Karen's neighbor and best friend. After Sid's death, she later turned to Mack for advice about her husband's or prehaps Karen's behavior, esp. her addiction to painkillers. She later married journalist Ben Gibson, and then psychotic Danny Waleska, before finally marrying Gary for the third time. (Joan Van Ark appears in almost all the episodes of the series for her 13 seasons, with the exception of 6)
- Don Murray (Original cast) as William Sidney Fairgate (1979–1981).
- Karen's first husband, and the owner of Knots Landing Motors. Hard working, fair and at times stubborn, Sid was the emotional rock of the show during the first two seasons. Sid was killed when his car was sabotaged.
- Patrick Petersen (Original cast) as Michael Fairgate (1979–1991).
- Sid and Karen's younger son who would later have an affair with his brother Eric's wife, Linda.
- Kevin Dobson as Marion Patrick "Mack" MacKenzie (1982–1993).
- Karen's second husband; an attorney who worked for the Governor's office before opening his own private practice. He talks tough with a heavy East Coast accent, but has a heart of gold. He first met Karen when he worked as the Federal Prosecutor, helping to catch the men responsible for Sid's death. After getting married, Mack was as determined as he would be to get to believe Karen in almost everything she knew he did, whether if was being honest or not. He later worked for his old classmate, Greg Sumner, at his crime commission. Despite his former best friend not letting him do his work, he quit, because he could not tolerate Sumner schemes. (Despite not being an original cast member, Kevin Dobson appears in all the episodes of the series with the exception of two, during the last season, that very moment he joined the cast in 1982).
- William Devane as Greg Sumner (1983–1993).
- Mack's ex-best friend and classmate who attended law school with him and even offered him a job working for the crime commission. Initially a politician, Greg became a businessman after inheriting father's corporation. He often plotted with Abby, whom he later married.
- Tonya Crowe as Olivia Cunningham Dyer (1980–1990).
- Abby's rebellious daughter who became addicted to cocaine.
- Donna Mills as Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner (1980–1989, 1993).
- Sid's sister, and the neighborhood troublemaker, who in turn, worked as a bookkeeper at Knots Landing Motors with her brother, before she got fired, after Sid's death, and was later rehired. She even destroyed Gary and Val's marriage, and later married (and divorced) Gary herself. Abby also worked with her sister-in-law, Karen, at Lotus Point. She later married Greg Sumner (for political reasons) but the marriage lasted only a few months before Abby moved to Japan. Although Abby adored her brother Sid, Abby and Karen rarely got along. For one thing, the only redeeming quality she had was for her to be the mother of Brian and Olivia Cunningham. (Donna Mills appeared in almost all the episodes of the series for her 9 seasons, with the exception of 1, during the 1988–89 season, and despite not being an original cast member, she became the core of the series, that very moment she joined the cast in 1980).
- Constance McCashin (Original cast) as Laura Avery Sumner (1979–1987).
- The wife of Richard Avery, and later, Greg Sumner. Initially a housewife, she later became a successful real estate agent. Laura died in 1987 of a brain tumor.
- Steve Shaw (Original cast) as Eric Fairgate (1979–1990)
- Sid and Karen's eldest son. His wife Linda would go onto have an affair with his brother, Michael.
- Nicollette Sheridan as Paige Matheson. (1986–1993).
- Mack's daughter with Anne Matheson. She became involved with greg Sumner (whom she also worked for), police detective Tom Ryan, and also Pierce Lawton who tried to kill her.
- Julie Harris as Lilimae Clements (1980, 1981–1987).
- Valene's mother. Though they'd been estranged for many years, after Lilimae, in her obsession to become a country singer, all but abandoned Valene as a young teenager, Lilimae reappeared in Valene's life during Season 2, in an effort to reestablish a relationship with her daughter; she would ultimately move in with Valene, remaining in Knots Landing for through Season 7.
- Claudia Lonow (Original cast) as Diana Fairgate (1979–1984, 1993).
- Karen's daughter who fell in love with the evil Chip Roberts (Michael Sabatino). She eventually left Knots Landing to study in New York City.
- Larry Riley as Frank Williams (1988–1992)
- Frank moved to Knots Landing with his wife Pat and daughter Julie as part of the witness protection program. He eventually took a job in Mack's law firm.
- Lisa Hartman as Ciji Dunne (1982–1983)/Cathy Geary Rush (1983–1986).
- Ciji and Cathy were both singers. Ciji was murdered, leaving almost everyone in Knots Landing as a suspect. Some months later, Ciji's doppelgänger Cathy Geary showed up after being released from prison.
- Douglas Sheehan as Ben Gibson (1983–1987).
- Valene's second husband. He was a journalist, who later worked at Abby's television station but disappeared in South America.
- John Pleshette (Original cast) as Richard Avery (1979–1983, 1987).
- A lawyer, and later a restaurant owner. Unhappily married to Laura, he struggled to assert himself after she launched a successful career in real-estate. In 1982, he suffered a nervous breakdown (where he held Laura hostage at gunpoint) and left town in 1983 without his family, as he and Laura divorced. This was the result of Laura suspecting Richard of murdering her friend Ciji, since he had a hostility toward their friendship, including him grabbing Ciji by the hair and throwing her out of the house in one episode.
- Kim Lankford (Original cast) as Ginger Ward (1979–1983).
- A kindergarten teacher who wanted to be a singer, she was jealous of her husband's involvement in Ciji Dunne's career.
- James Houghton (Original cast) as Kenny Ward (1979–1983).
- A record producer who at first cheated on his wife Ginger, but reformed upon the birth of their daughter Erin Molly.
- Teri Austin as Jill Bennett (1985–1989).
- An ex-colleague of Mack's and later Gary's mistress who later tried to murder Valene. She accidentally killed herself after locking herself in the trunk of Gary's car so it would seem like he'd kidnapped her.
- Michelle Phillips as Anne Winston Matheson Sumner (1987, 1989, 1990–1993).
- Paige's mother and Mack's first love. She initially tried to split up Mack and Karen, but after failing she turned her attentions to Greg and also attempted to cheat Paige out of her inheritance from her grandfather.
- Kathleen Noone as Claudia Sumner Whittaker (1990–1993)
- Greg Sumner's sister, who moved to town under the guise of accompanying her daughter for college; in reality, she wanted to meddle in Greg's affairs.
- Stacy Galina as Kate Whittaker (1990–1993)
- Claudia's daughter who resembled Greg's late daughter Mary Frances. She was a semi-professional tennis player, but broke her arm which ended her budding career. She later became romantically involved with Gary Ewing.
- Alec Baldwin as Joshua Rush (1984–1985).
- Lilimae's son who was abandoned by her as a baby. He came to Knots Landing as a rather innocent young preacher. He later became a televangelist and married Cathy Geary, but later became mentally ill and extremely violent. After he tried to kill Cathy, he accidentally fell off a roof and died.
Other recurring characters
- Bobby Jacoby as Brian Cunningham #1 (1980–1985)
- Stephen Macht as Joe Cooper (Karen's brother) (1981–1982)
- Michael Sabatino as Chip Roberts (aka Tony Fenice) (1982–1983)
- Joanna Pettet as Detective Janet Baines (1983)
- Danielle Brisebois as Mary-Frances Sumner #1 (1983–1984)
- Laurence Haddon as Dr. Mitch Ackerman (1984–1985)
- Hunt Block as (Senator) as Peter Hollister (1985–1987)
- Brian Austin Green as Brian Cunningham #2 (1986–1989)
- Wendy Fulton as Jean Hackney (1986–1987)
- Joshua Devane as Young Greg Sumner (1986–1987; 1990)
- Lar Park Lincoln as Linda Fairgate (1987, 1989–1991)
- Peter Reckell as Johnny Rourke (1988–1989)
- Lynne Moody as Pat Williams (1988–1990)
- Kent Masters-King as Julie Williams (1988–1991)
- Paul Carafotes as Harold Dyer (1988–1990)
- Melinda Culea as Paula Vertosick (1988–1990)
- Robert Desiderio as Ted Melcher (1988–1989)
- Sam Behrens as Danny Waleska (1989–1990)
- Betsy Palmer as Aunt Virginia "Ginny" Bullock (1989–1990)
- Joseph Gian as Det. Tom Ryan (1989–1991, 1993)
- Lorenzo Caccialanza as Nick Schillace/Dimitri Pappas (1990–1991, 1992–1993)
- Bruce Greenwood as Pierce Lawton (1991–1992)
See also: List of Knots Landing cast members
- Charlene Tilton (1979) (as Lucy Ewing)
- Patrick Duffy (1979–81) (as Bobby Ewing)
- Larry Hagman (1979–81) (as J.R. Ewing)
- Karen Allen (1979) (as Annie Fairgate)
- Helen Hunt (1980) (as Betsy)
- Gary Sinise (1980) (as Lee Maddox)
- Mary Crosby (1980) (as Kristin Shepard)
- Ava Gardner (1985) (as Ruth Galveston)
- Dick Sargent (1985) (as Himself)
- Ruth Roman (1986) (as Sylvia Lean)
- Doug Savant (1986–87) (as Young Mack MacKenzie)
- Michael York (1987–88) (as Charles Scott)
- Red Buttons (1987) (as Al Baker)
- Stuart Whitman (1990) (as Willis #2)
- Halle Berry (1991) (as Debbie Porter)
- Marcia Cross (1991–92) (as Victoria Broyard)
- Mary Lou Retton (1992) (as Herself)
- Billy Bob Thornton (1992) (as a Logger)
- David James Elliott (1991–92) (as Bill Nolan)
- Howard Duff (1984–85, 1990) (as Paul Galveston)
- Lance Guest (1991) (as Steve Brewer)
- Darby Hinton (1991) (as police officer)
- Ren Hanami (1990) (as Receptionist)
Behind the scenes
The actors had more input than actors on other 1980s primetime soaps. In 1987, the writers wanted Mack (Kevin Dobson) to have an extramarital affair with Anne (Michelle Phillips). Michele Lee, who played Mack's wife Karen, protested this to David Jacobs, saying, "There has to be one stable couple on the show."  The extramarital affair storyline was nixed, and Michelle Phillips, who had been signed to a contract, was written out for a few seasons before returning in 1990. When she did return, Anne did not pursue Mack. William Devane, who played Greg Sumner, re-wrote most of his character's dialogue, to the point where, in co-star Michele Lee's words, "most people (on set) were (probably) frightened of him."  The Gary/Val/Abby triangle that provided story throughout the mid-1980s was suggested by Ted Shackelford and Joan van Ark in 1980, and the producers hesitated for a year and a half before going through with it in 1982.  The famous 1984 storyline where Valene's babies got kidnapped was originally envisioned as one of scheming Abby's plots. Donna Mills, who played Abby, acknowledged that her character was evil but did not think she was that evil. Fearing the audience would never forgive her character for kidnapping another woman's babies, she asked the writers to make the kidnappings a result of Abby's actions, but only by accident, and the writers complied.
The writing team of Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Marie Latham (the Head Writers from 1986 to 1991) was controversial among both fans and actors. Their humor-imbued style of writing made them the favorites of Michele Lee, while John Pleshette felt they were "awful people." Pleshette, however, was not a cast member during their tenure and harbored resentment because the writing team, who had been represented by his wife, moved to a different agency.  Joan van Ark, whose character was struck by a brain illness in season 12 and proceeded to thereafter go crazy, felt that Latham and Lechowick had turned her character into the "village idiot." Joan van Ark and Donna Mills' favorite Knots Landing writer was Peter Dunne,  who was responsible for making Knots Landing a top ten show in 1984.
In 1987, CBS demanded that production costs be cut. This meant the firing of two regulars, Constance McCashin and Julie Harris. Season 13 saw a large ratings drop for the show after writer/producers Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Marie Latham left to create Homefront and creator David Jacobs had a health crisis and pulled back his involvement in production. Jacobs has publicly stated that the way he knew the show was in trouble was when waitresses at his favorite diner, whom he had heard gossiping about Knots Landing every Friday during past seasons, suddenly stopped discussing the show in late 1991. He attempted to save face by shutting down production on November 20, 1991 , firing head writer John Romano, and replacing him with Ann Marcus. Cost cutting again plagued the series in its final season, when only 19 episodes were produced, and regular characters did not appear in each episode. In one episode in the final season ("My Kingdom for a Horse"), only three of the fourteen regulars cast for season 8 appeared (Devane, Phillips, and Lee.) Not wanting to compromise what he felt had been a good run, series creator David Jacobs described its end as a "mutual decision" between Knots Landing's producers and the CBS Network, saying, "We don't know if they would have picked us up anyway...but even if they had, we would have had to pare away more to survive."
Knots Landing's background music was always a very important part of the show. The theme song, which lasted all 14 seasons (being updated each season to stay with the times), was composed by Jerrold Immel. Immel, along with Craig Huxley composed the background music for the pilot. The original background music cues by Immel and Huxley were never fully abandoned by the show, and were heard as late as the final season. The early Knots Landing background music cues heavily emphasized the brass section, and were often played with a very sparse bass line accompaniment. It was, in fact, the only aspect of the series ever to win an Emmy award, for the music orchestration during its 1979–80 season.
By season 4 of Knots Landing, the lushness of the 1980s was in full swing and Knots Landing's background cues reflected that style. The new dramatic cues emphasized full orchestral arrangements as formerly middle class Knots Landing became upwardly mobile. The background music of seasons 4–7 was frequently composed by either Lance Rubin or Ron Grant.
Season 8 introduced a completely new score for Knots Landing. By 1986 New Wave artists and bands had taken America by storm and the new style of music cues made good use of the synthesizer instead of a full orchestra. Bruce Miller was one of the main composers during this era. Updated orchestrations of the by-then-familiar Lance Rubin cues were also re-arranged to be played by the synthesizer, and the Immel/Huxley cues were similarly utilized, albeit less commonly.
In the early 1990s, soft contemporary acoustic music became popular and Knots Landing began incorporating this into its background music during season 12. Lance Rubin's music cues were completely phased out at this point. Patrick Gleeson and Kennard Ramsey composed during this period.
Knots Landing had five completely different styles of opening credits over its 14 years, in contrast to Dallas, which changed only to a variation on its original style for its final two seasons.
(December 27, 1979 – March 26, 1981) The original opening of Knots Landing designed by Wayne Fitzgerald features a spinning overhead shot of a California beach which dissolves to a spinning skyview of roads and houses, gradually zooming in to a freeze-frame of the Seaview Circle cul-de-sac. The camera then zooms in to the top of each house in turn, showing a brief shot of the couples who reside in each house. Photo credits for each of the main actors then appear in a shape superimposed over the cul-de-sac. This title sequence was used only during seasons 1 and 2.
(November 12, 1981 – May 14, 1987) Knots Landing unveiled a new opening at the start of season 3. In what is probably the best-remembered introduction, the sequence designed by Gene Kraft features the title scrolling from right to left followed by a parade of clips of the show playing in boxes. Each cast member is credited below a big box showcasing a close-up of their character, accompanied by three or four smaller boxes showing that character in a scene with other characters.
(September 24, 1987 – May 18, 1989) At the beginning of the ninth season, Knots Landing's producers decided to break tradition with the opening. The intro designed by Sandy Dvore now features a slow panning over a painting similar to the splattered style of Jackson Pollock. As the zig-zag panning continues, the cast montage appears, featuring black and white shots of the actors inside of small ovular cameos. The posed cameos were dropped in the 1988–89 season in favor of color close-ups taken from the show.
(September 28, 1989 – May 16, 1990) The eleventh season of Knots Landing saw the show unveil its fourth title sequence. The new opening designed by Castle/Bryant/Johnsen now showcases sandcastle structures of the cul-de-sac houses as well as some skyscrapers representing Los Angeles on a beautiful beach. It is the only version of the opening without pictures of the cast. The camera twists through this sandcastle community with only the actors' names appearing. Another and never-seen particularity appears right from the second episode of this season: the opening splits in two. The cutting takes place during the staff credits. The main theme is adapted as well. Between the two parts of the opening is presented a summary of what happened in the past episodes.
(September 13, 1990 – May 13, 1993) To redefine the show for the 1990s, Knots Landing made one final change to the opening credits by returning to its famous across-the-screen style of scrolling clips. This version was designed by Castle/Bryant/Johnsen to be "safe" for the 1990s. Eventually it would bring Knots Landing through its final three seasons on the air.
Reruns of this show have aired in syndication in an on-again, off-again manner, since 1984, most notably from 2000-2006 on SOAPnet
The first season of Knots Landing was released on DVD on March 28, 2006 in Region 1. Fans of the series lobbied Warner Home Video via an online petition at www.knotslanding.net for further releases, and Warner Home Video released Season Two on April 14, 2009. There are currently no plans for any further seasons being released due to unsatisfactory sales of the first two seasons.
DVD Season Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Comments Season 1 13 March 28, 2006 February 19, 2007 The first-season DVD box set has five single-sided discs. The Region 1 and 2 releases include commentaries by actors Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark. The set also includes a featurette/clip from the 2005 Together Again non-fiction reunion show in which stars Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark reminisce about the series. Season 2 18 April 14, 2009 October 16, 2009 (Germany) The second-season DVD box set has four single-sided discs. The season introduces Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham, and Larry Hagman returns to guest star as J.R. Ewing during this season. There is no bonus material.
Who lived where
The series' signature cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle, was actually Crystalaire Place in Granada Hills, California, a suburban street in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley about 20 miles north of the Pacific Ocean. The opening credits during the first two seasons were edited in such a way to make it appear that the cul-de-sac was closer to the beach.
16961 Seaview Circle
- Kenny Ward (Seasons 1–4)
- Ginger Ward (Seasons 1–4)
- Erin Molly Ward (Seasons 3–4)
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- Abby Cunningham (Seasons 2–4, 14–reunion)
- Brian Cunningham (Seasons 2–4)
- Olivia Cunningham (Seasons 2–4)
- Gary Ewing (Season 4)
- Claudia Whittaker (Seasons 12–14)
- Kate Whittaker (Season 12)
- Alex Barth (Season 13)
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- Richard Avery (Seasons 1–4)
- Laura Avery (Seasons 1–8)
- Jason Avery (Seasons 1–8)
- Daniel Avery (Seasons 4–8)
- Cathy Geary (Seasons 6, 7)
- Anne Matheson (Season 8)
- Patricia Williams (Seasons 9–11)
- Frank Williams (Seasons 9–13)
- Julie Williams (Seasons 9–13)
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- Karen Cooper Fairgate Mackenzie (Seasons 1–14, reunion)
- Sid Fairgate (Seasons 1–3)
- Diana Fairgate (Seasons 1–4)
- Eric Fairgate (Seasons 1–9)
- Michael Fairgate (Seasons 1–12)
- Joe Cooper (Seasons 3-4)
- Mack Mackenzie (Seasons 4–14, reunion)
- Mary Frances Sumner (Season 5)
- Paige Matheson (Seasons 8–10, 13)
- Linda Fairgate (Season 11)
- Meg Mackenzie (Seasons 9–14, reunion)
- Jason Lochner (Seasons 12–13)
- Abby Cunningham (reunion)
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- Gary Ewing (Seasons 1–3, 13–14, reunion)
- Valene Ewing (Seasons 1–13, 14–reunion)
- Lilimae Clements (Seasons 3–9)
- Chip Roberts (Season 4)
- Joshua Rush (Seasons 6–7)
- Cathy Geary (Seasons 6–7)
- Bobby Ewing (Seasons 7–14, reunion)
- Betsy Ewing (Seasons 7–14, reunion)
- Ben Gibson (Seasons 7–8)
- Aunt Ginny (Seasons 10–12)
- Danny Waleska (Seasons 11–12)
- List of Knots Landing episodes
- The game World of Warcraft, which features a coastal resort town called "Schnottz's Landing" which spoofs the series. 1
- ^ Both Bonanza and Knots Landing were eclipsed in 2004 by Law & Order.
Roush, Matt. "Series to End After 14 Years". USA Today. January 11, 1993.
- Nielsen Rating Information from the following source:
Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present: Eighth Edition. 2003. Random House. New York.
- Exclusive web Interviews ©KnotsLanding.net 2006
- Some actors quotations from the following website:
http://www.knotslandingonline.com/. Interviews ©Arthur Swift.
- In the United Kingdom, the series premiered on BBC1 on 26 April 1980, in a primetime Saturday night slot. Season 2 began a year later on 8 May 1981, now in a Friday night slot. Season 3 was not shown until late 1983, and then only half of it was shown, at which point the BBC pulled the series from its Friday night slot with no immediate plans of showing any more episodes. The BBC then brought the series back in late 1986, picking up from the middle of season 3 where they last left off, but now it was screened in the afternoon as part of their new daytime line-up. They continued to screen the series until the end, though UK audiences tended to be some 3 – 4 years behind the US. The series concluded in 1996.
- In France, the show was known as "Côte Ouest" (translated as "West Coast") and was firstly shown on TF1 in 1988 with a new lyrical theme song (in French - two different male singers - several versions). From 2000, the show was rerun from beginning to end on FoxLife, a now defunct satellite channel broadcasting on CanalSat provider.
- In Germany, the show was known as "Unter der Sonne Kaliforniens" (translated as "Under The Californian Sun"). The premium digital channel Passion currently airs reruns of all episodes.
- In the Philippines, the show was formerly aired on GMA 7.
- In Sweden, the show was called "JRs bror – Gary Ewing" (JR's brother – Gary Ewing). The series premiered in 1988 on TV3.
- In Ireland, the show was not broadcast on terrestrial TV until 1989 (although viewers with access to BBC were able to watch earlier transmissions). RTE first broadcast the series daily in late 1989 as part of its early afternoon schedule. It proved to be popular and was eventually given an early evening timeslot in February 1991 when RTE moved the show (after showing the first nine seasons) from a daily afternoon timeslot, to a weekly primetime Thursday night slot on its sister channel Network Two (now RTÉ Two). All remaining episodes were shown without a break (the end of each season was followed by the first episode of the next season the following week) until Christmas 1993 when the final episode was broadcast followed by the retrospective Knots Landing Block Party.
- In Israel, The show aired on The Family Channel (later on renamed as Channel 3) on Cable TV on Fridays evenings at 19:00 from 1990 for the entire first four seasons. Later on, it aired on Sundays at 21:45 for the season & a half that followed, from February 1992. In November 1992, the show was rerun from the beginning, every weekday evening at 20:45. All 14 seasons had aired by April 1994. From late 1995, the show was rerun in its entirety again in the afternoons (15:50) and the last five seasons at night (01:30). Back To The Cul-De-Sac aired as a holiday special in Autumn 1997.
- In Italy the first series were named "Da Dallas a Knots Landing" (litterally "From Dallas to Knots Landing" and eventually were re-broadcasted with the definitive name of "California". Anyway only 9 series were aired. The latest 5 series were never aired.
- Knots Landing at the Internet Movie Database
- Knots Landing at TV.com
- KnotsLanding.Net Official Guide to the Series
- SOAPnet KL Page
- 2005 cast reunion photo
Dallas Main characters Supporting characters
- Willard Barnes
- James Richard Beaumont
- Afton Cooper
- Gary Ewing
- Valene Ewing
- John Ross Ewing III
- Kristin Shepard
- Michelle Stevens
- Knots Landing (1979–1993)
- Dallas Quest (1984)
- Dallas: The Early Years (1986)
- Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996)
- Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998)
- Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (2004)
- Dallas (2012)
- David Jacobs
- Leonard Katzman
- Camille Marchetta
- David Paulsen
- Southfork Ranch
- Ewing Oil
- Who shot J.R.?
- "Who Done It"
- 1979 television series debuts
- 1970s American television series
- 1980s American television series
- 1990s American television series
- 1993 American television series endings
- CBS network shows
- American television soap operas
- Television spin-offs
- Television series by Warner Bros. Television
- Television shows set in Los Angeles, California
- Dallas (TV series)
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