In its ninth season, so-called ''boring storylines'' caused The Love Boat's ratings to decline

After several successful seasons, viewers got tired of being told to "come aboard."

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Being a part of a series with several successful seasons can be tricky. You don't know whether to switch things up so storylines can be new and fresh or keep everything the same since the original storylines worked for so long.

The Love Boat had this issue, resulting in a decline in their ratings during their ninth season. It was one of the most popular series to air between the late '70s to '80s. One of the reasons for its success was the show's writing format. There were three storylines per episode, each written by a different writer.

One would focus on a crew member, the second would focus on a crew member interacting with a guest and the third was centered around a single guest. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, each storyline had its own title, which is why there were three names for one episode.

It was a lot, but the writing usually flowed well together, catching viewers' attention through comedy, drama and romance. Yet, by the ninth season, the audience was tired of being told to "come aboard" even though the boat was "expecting" them.

According to a newspaper article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1986, the television writer, Art Chapman, said that ABC wasn't "oblivious to the shallow episodes or the constantly dwindling ratings, and is calling for stronger stories." The article also included a few quotes from The Love Boat's Bernie Kopell about the show's direction.

"We realize that we have been somewhat remiss in the writing area," Kopell, who played Doctor Adam Bricker, said. "And we realize that we need something innovative, something new, and we have provided that."

Kopell co-wrote a few of the series episodes and hoped that the network would give them a chance to switch things up since the show was picked up for "a piece of the tenth season."

He added, "We have added some really good young writers to the show, and [we hope] that people will give us a look and listen for the new things we've done and give us a chance.

The Love Boat ended after the tenth season, which only had four episodes.


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61 Comments

Kelley1 11 months ago
Wonderful memories of Saturday nights! Staying up late (10 is late when you're a kid) with the ladies in the family, snacking on the forbidden fruit of Chicken in a Biskit crackers, Ruffles, and sour cream and onion dip while reading the Sun and so on during the commercials. It was then that I tasted Gouda cheese. Sometimes I'd get that cheese snack that came in the tube where you cut it open where the cheese came out when you squeezed it. I'd eat that on whatever cracker was around. And they let you drink Cokes! Those were good times. But they lost me on the robot episode. The problem was, about that time they stopped the human-interest stories and went with the fantastic fantasy stuff. Wild, Wild Ocean, you see. Or SS Twilight Zone. It just didn't float with us, pun intended. I remember one of us joked that they must have steered it through the Bermuda Triangle.
JHP 12 months ago
for me - if I did watch it - I do have crackers and the show gives me enough cheese
BenSobeleone 12 months ago
My favorite episode was The Love Boat/Kolchak: The Night Stalker crossover episode where Eric Braeden (Hans Gudegast) played a werewolf aboard the ship. Only kidding!
jenannwoj 12 months ago
As a young teenage girl watching the Love Boat, it was like watching a fantasy vacation every week. My family did not have money for extravagant vacations so I loved watching the show and could not wait till I could go on a cruise ship. It was a great show, and cruising is my favorite way to relax and see different parts of the world. Made sure our kids went on many cruises as children so they could see foreign ports, and always made sure we did a bus tour into the true life of the country we were in. They needed to see that there is a lot of poverty behind the glittery ports and appreciate the USA we live in.
Big3Fan 12 months ago
They could have had the Specific Princess become stranded on an unchartered island. Captain Murray Slaughter his little buddy Gopher, a millionaire and his wife, a professor, a movie star, a knockout Iowa farmgirl and a few hundred other people try to coexist until they are ultimately rescued.
JHP Big3Fan 12 months ago
sounds like a great idea for a show - do you think Jack Jones would sing the theme? :)
Big3Fan JHP 12 months ago
I was thinking maybe Weird Al.
harlow1313 12 months ago
Get ready. Here comes extreme snobbery.

I have always considered "The Love Boat" beneath me.

Ahh, that was so satisfying to say.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 12 months ago
" Get ready. Here comes extreme snobbery."
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That's not snobbery / It's your opinion. / But if it satisfied you to say it, then it wasn't a total loss.
BenSobeleone harlow1313 12 months ago
out of sight!
JHP harlow1313 12 months ago
hahaha - We are in the same boat!
bradyguy JHP 28 days ago
But NOT the Pacific Princess, I take it.

Y'all can just go over to the Sun Princess, then...
JHP harlow1313 26 days ago
If I looked into the frig and found no cheese to snack on ...I turn on the Love Boat
harlow1313 JHP 26 days ago
Well, Old Sport, 'frig' and 'fridge' have quite different meanings. In can be great fun to interchange them. I too, have done that.
JHP harlow1313 26 days ago
EEK!!! You're right - well it's too late to have an omelet but I got egg on my face :)
Rob 12 months ago
I’ve always thought that the Love Boat had one of the best tv show theme songs ever.
Pacificsun Rob 12 months ago
That's absolutely true.


Dance version!
BenSobeleone Pacificsun 12 months ago
I've always thought that it was Bert Convy who sang The Love Boat theme song. Nope, it was Jack Jones.
BrittReid 12 months ago
The storylines were boring from season one. Never watched the show.
SkippyDevereaux BrittReid 12 months ago
Not to be a wise guy, but if you never watched the show, then how do you know the storylines were boring. Just by the titles of the episodes? Again, not trying to start a fight, just curious.
Pacificsun SkippyDevereaux 12 months ago
Sounds like reiterating the story's theme. Then mentioned, just not having watched it. No worries 😉
BrittReid SkippyDevereaux 12 months ago
I have a subtle hint about the plot of the show and it's not my cup of tea. They lasted nine years so they had ratings from somewhere for a long run. I could not name one episode. I hope this sheds some light on your question?
Grammygram 12 months ago
I liked it because it had good guest stars. Also why I liked Fantasy Island and Murder She Wrote.
cperrynaples Grammygram 12 months ago
Well really don't you hate FI 3.0? No real celebrities or out-there fantasy! At least 2.0 had Malcolm McDowell!
Pacificsun 12 months ago
Well, ...all the storylines were boring, hate to say. But the fun was in how the Crew handled everything, and the interaction among themselves! As mentioned before, they truly seemed to be friends! And watching the actors as different characters than we were used to.
Runeshaper 12 months ago
I can understand that. It’s tough to change a routine, but at least they tried 🙂
Bapa1 12 months ago
The boring storylines were there from the start.
cperrynaples 12 months ago
Well, they did have the Love Boat mermaids! And to the MeTV writers: Love Boat DIDN'T have a 10th season, they had movie specials like The Waltons did!
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Pacificsun justjeff 12 months ago
LOL! Every once in awhile you go to that dark and lonely place ... of useless television land. 😉
justjeff Pacificsun 12 months ago
Yep... test patterns and screen static...
LoveMETV22 justjeff 12 months ago
It's fun to pretend.
Well at least Mr Rogers thought so.
LoveMETV22 justjeff 12 months ago
Well, test patterns or screen static are useful in some situations. At least in Poltergeist it was. LOL
Mblack 12 months ago
Didn't Lauren Tewes jump ship before this?
cperrynaples Mblack 12 months ago
Yep, and Gopher went to Washington...LOL!
Bapa1 Mblack 12 months ago
More like told to walk the plank.
bradyguy Mblack 28 days ago
But at least it wasn't the shark?

Although when Mariette Hartley donned Geisha makeup and Gavin Macleod dressed as a Samurai??? The shark started circling...
AgingDisgracefully 12 months ago
This suggests Season 1-8 were not boring.
Despite the screen credits earned by the past sell-by.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
The show had its successful run. Viewers tired of the series. They probably could have brought the best writers in the industry aboard ( no pun intended), however that probably wouldn't have changed anything. It had its time and the network moved on.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 months ago
I think they ran out of locales too. I mean, (technically) how many times could they make the run from L.A. to the coast of Mexico! Besides the full blown destination cruises!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
I think they ran out of locales too.
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Yes I hear you there. Maybe if they had used different points of origin beside L.A., they could have tweaked a little more out of it. LOL. However there may have been cost issues involved if they had gone that route.
daDoctah 12 months ago
They should have had Charo jump over a shark....
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LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
A reputation for being a Series-Ender anyway.
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Add: Visualize - Various networks calling him:
ABC/CBS/ NBC: Hello sir, we have a series we want to end. Would you mind making a guest appearance?
Ted McGinley: I'm a bit busy doing that @ the moment. Could you get back to me?
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 months ago
😉
They should've built a Series around that fictional character!!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 12 months ago
😉
They should've built a Series around that fictional character!!
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I'm sure there are some good spoofs somewhere, whether there clips, memes or gif's.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 12 months ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB48vRVi9L4&ab_channel=DaveSundstrom

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