It had been said that discovery awaited us at every turn, that even the worn paths of our daily lives would be filled with revelation. In discovering 'Charlie's Angels', it was revealed the TV series was regarded one of the most trendsetting programs of the 1970s. Associated Press recognized, "In its prime, 'Charlie's Angels' had an enormous impact not only on television but on other media (particularly print/magazines) as well."
Between 1976 and 1979, 'Charlie's Angels' was "the top show in the country". "Let's face it, after a hard day's work, you can't watch '60 Minutes' 7 days a week. 'Charlie's Angels' is a mixture of fantasy and action. It works on the same principle as a Clint Eastwood movie, the show is not forcing the audience to face an issue. It is pure entertainment," the location manager James McCabe told Virgin Islands Daily News (Gunnett Newspaper). Aaron Spelling maintained, "We think in a strange way the show made a great contribution in that it was the first show that starred women in a dramatic way. The old adage was you couldn't sell a show with women unless it was a half-hour comedy. And we did."
Lee Siegel told United Press International, "Marketing research shows without doubt sponsors are trying to reach women in the 18 to 49 years old bracket. Women in this age group are attuned to astrology, the occult and the mysterious. Men are less ready to accept fantasy of this nature but women are prepared for having answers. They are ready to accept the unexplainable. Perhaps it is connected with the mysteries and miracle of birth." James McCabe argued, "The show ('Charlie's Angels') is definitely not sexist. The leads are bright, young, independent and beautiful women making their own way in the world. They're not tied to the kitchen, they're the best at what they do. They solve the crimes. They don't just wear bathing suits."
The budget for each one-hour episode of 'Charlie's Angels' was said to be around $600,000. Aaron Spelling "spares no expense." Seymour Amlen of ABC Entertainment told the Associated Press in 1981, "Our initial reaction wasn't as enthusiastic as the audience's was. As professionals, we saw a lot of potholes. The storylines were weak and the acting was shallow." Brandon Tartikoff added, "When we saw the first 5 episodes, we said: 'This is terrible! The acting is pitiful'. We decided to shelve those episodes and commissioned new ones. In November (1976) we took the old shows down from the shelf. They became the top-rated 'Charlie's Angels' of all time."
Robert Wagner made the comment in 1979, "Every episodic show seems to run into trouble getting good material. But so what? It's part of the business. And what's the sense of complaining? It certainly can't serve as an apology. You can't put a disclaimer on the air saying : 'Sorry, this isn't our best because we had production difficulties'. The public doesn't – and shouldn't – care about such things. All they care about is being entertained."
In 1980, Lindsay Wagner starred in the 6-hour "sanitized" version of the TV mini-series, 'Scruples', based on Judith Krantz's 1978 best-selling novel. Before filming began, Lindsay recounted, "I didn’t want to read the book before I read the screenplay (by James Lee). We did, after all, shoot the script, not the novel. We're literally taken out all of the sex and focused on the main character and on the development of her personal life. I took out all references and inferences to my character’s sexual adventures, about her having affairs with other men because her own husband is confined to a wheelchair.
"My feeling is that as emancipated (free from social restriction) as everyone is these days (back in 1980), there's still a strong Puritanical moral structure in American society. Viewers wouldn't be sympathetic to an unfaithful wife of an invalid. There's nothing romantic about a cheating wife in those circumstances. (D. H. Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' was first published in 1928).
"I suppose those situations are okay for a husband and wife to read separately in a book and to fantasize about in their own heads. But I don't think they would sit together in the living room and watch and enjoy such a story. I don't see anything attractive in promiscuous women. I think a majority of viewers would agree. Sex sold the book but the picture is based on the evolution of a woman, not her sexual gallivantings. So I made some objective decisions I thought would make the script most effective and to make my character a believable, sympathetic and frustrated wife. The result is an old-fashioned, heart-tugging, tear-jerker movie. But it also has substance and entertainment value.
"We don't get involved too much with the fashion industry either. (At the time) I still haven’t read the book. I wanted to read the book. I wanted to read the script for its own impact and how it would affect me as an actress. And actually, it was an offer I couldn't refuse. I didn't choose it – they came to me and offered a great deal of money ($600,000). Of course, I was concerned about it when I started reading the script, but Ron Samuels (supervising producer of Lou-Step Production in association with Warner Bros. Television) felt strongly about it and said that 'Scruples' was going to get lots of attention . . . With 'Scruples', part one needed the most work, since we needed to show the transition of Billy (Ikehorn) from an ugly duckling into a beautiful person. We had to make that part work. Of course, I didn’t always agree with what had to be pulled from the book."
Judith Krantz was 48 when she wrote 'Scruples'. 'Scruples' was published not long after her 50th birthday. Lindsay impressed critics with her ability to "expand her range as an actor far beyond 'The Bionic Woman.'" Of the TV sets switched on when 'Scruples' went on air, 40% were watching 'Scruples'. Before 'Scruples' officially became the No. 1 best-seller, Judith dropped by Van Cleef & Arpels to treat herself to a pair of large diamond earrings. "In the beginning the boys (sons Nicholas and Tony) were shocked that I was famous," Judith recalled. "I can't comprehend it. I don't think women are accustomed to making such huge amounts of money."
"Did you know," Judith shared, "that in the (United) States 75% of paperbacks are bought by women and 50% are sold in supermarkets, 25% in airports and drugstores and the other 25% in all other retail outlet, including bookshops? An enormous number of people are intimidated about going into bookshops. They don't realize they can go in and browse and look at 25 books and walk out without buying anything. It's a shocking fact but only 2% of Americans buy hard cover books."