Aaron Spelling was said had put more out-of-work people on a payroll than Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the 9 years between 1977 and 1986, 'The Love Boat' had been the most watched Saturday programming on television. A.C. Nielsen ratings revealed at least 41 million viewers were staying at home to watch TV on Saturday night. Viewers ranging from teenagers to adults over 50, even women between the ages of 18-49. Gavin MacLeod acknowledged, "I'm grateful to the show. Nine years of steady work, seeing the world. It's awesome when you see the unemployment among actors...We are being seen in 94 countries around the world."
John Davidson disclosed, "Any time you do a 'Love Boat' it's like a paid vacation. I took the Scandinavian cruise and I never had so much fun in my life. You work a few days and spend a lot of time relaxing and seeing foreign countries." 'The Love Boat' had changed the face of the cruise business. Gavin added, "Even though it's called mindless television, I think a lot of people would like to have been associated with mindless television and make that kind of money." Alexis Smith admitted, "'The Love Boat' is a wonderful show. It's given so much employment and exposure to performers right across the board, and they really treat you like Royalty."
Douglas Cramer believed, "A lot of people at home are unmarried. We also have an enormous teenage audience. Our appeal is pure escapism. Our trips are romantic, glamorous and adventurous. They're everybody's dreams. These fantasies are about people who find happiness in glamorous surroundings. Viewers fantasize that that's them. It's a way of not being depressed. We have 3 stories, and if you don’t like one, hold on. There are 2 more."
It was understood 3 pilots were produced for the network before 'The Love Boat' became a favorite Saturday night TV series. Doug elaborated, "I think I developed about 5 versions of the show for all 3 networks...We use poignancy from time to time, but generally the shows leave you feeling happy. Essentially, they leave you up. Even at the saddest moment, there is always hope. We try to have a simple moral in there also. We're not trying to beat people over the head or do something the show was not created to do, but such devices add a nice touch.
"My approach is always to use different writers for each story. That way you get a variety of people, attitudes and approaches. But ABC insisted on just one writer for the first pilot. And he turned out to be a tough, satirical comedy writer. What we got might have been called 'The Ship of Fools' because they were the most sex-starved, unattractive, nasty, mean people you ever saw in a show. We threw the script out and started over again with a writer on each story, as I had wanted in the beginning."
Lauren Tewes (pronounced “Tweeze”) played the cruise director. Her story: "I was in the 3rd and final pilot. I was cast the day before we went into production. They had tested a number of actresses (some 150) and were getting right down to the wire. I'd just done a 'Starsky & Hutch' for Aaron Spelling and was on the lot at the time they were looking. When they called me in for an audition at ABC I didn't even know what I was auditioning for…I was working at the restaurant (in the San Fernando Valley) at 6.30a.m. when I got a call from the producers. I wasn't supposed to report for several days, but it had rained and I was in the cover scene. I laughed and said, 'That's funny, but I'll see you on Thursday'. I was not smart. I didn't realize that if I didn't show up right then I'd lose the part. My agent called and said, 'Are you crazy? They're recasting right now.' I said, 'Are they crazy? That's my part.'"
Joan Collins as Alexis on 'Dynasty' guest starred in 1983. Of Alexis, Joan made known, "People don't say so to my face, but they talk and write about me being as big a bitch as Alexis. John (Forsythe) and Linda (Evans) have called some of the scandal sheets defending me. Actually, I think Linda is closer in character to Krystle. But then most performers play people close to what they truly are, especially in situation comedy. I find it easy to play myself as a means of being as natural as possible on camera, but that doesn't mean Alexis and I are the same person.
"In a way I'm flattered people think I'm like Alexis. We do have some traits in common…I'm not very introspective, so in a real sense I know Alexis better than I do myself. I always know how Alexis will react to a given situation. She loves conflict, rows and confrontations. I hate them and will do anything I can to avoid personal confrontation and unpleasantness. Alexis is consumed by a vendetta against Blake Carrington. I can forgive and forget, but not Alexis...Originally, she was added to the cast for only 8 or 9 episodes. I was given the part only after Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch turned it down. So I'm grateful to both of them…I couldn't take all her malice.. I try to give Alexis vulnerability. Villains have to have some charm to be effective."
Between May and June 1982, 'The Love Boat' took a 6-week cruise to film in the Mediterranean. Bernie Kopell recalled, "The Turks gave us the warmest reception by far because we happen to be the No. 1 show there. Fred Grandy and I decided that we didn't want to be detained by the crazed mobs in Istanbul, so we put on elaborate disguises before we went ashore. No sooner had we gotten off the gang-plank did we hear people scream, ‘Hi, Doc! Hi, Gopher!’ It was a little wild to see the crowds elbow people like Linda Evans and Mike Connors out of the way to get autographs from 'The Love Boat' crew. Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that their shows don't air in Turkey."