In 1983, NBC commissioned 13 episodes of the TV series 'The Rousters' to be shown on Saturday nights sandwiched between the sitcom 'Silver Spoons' and the drama 'The Yellow Rose'. Set in Los Angeles, 'The Rousters' took viewers on a journey inside Sladetown Carnival. Chad Everett made his episodic TV comeback 7 years after 'Medical Center' went off the air. 'The Rousters' was up against the 7th season of 'The Love Boat'. Chad reasoned, "There's just so much tennis and running that I can take. Then I get bored." 

Of 'Medical Center', Chad told Dan Lewis, "We were always perfect, never lost a patient. I pleaded with them to face reality, and let me lose a patient once in a while. The only thing that kept it ('Medical Center') going was the quality of the guest stars, not the stories. In those days (1969-1976), medical series were all the same. James Brolin (in 'Marcus Welby, M.D.') started to complain that he could play his role in his sleep – and may have." 

After reading over 250 scripts presented to him, Chad decided to pick 'The Rousters', "I turned down Jim Brolin's role (on 'Arthur Hailey's Hotel') because I did not want to do a 'Love Boat' on the ground. I thought Wyatt's reluctant, heroic attitude was better suited for me; there was more action." On 'The Rousters', Chad played "the keeper of the peace" in a traveling carnival. His character, Wyatt Earp III was the grandson of the legendary peace keeper, Wyatt Earp, who fought at O.K. Corral. Wyatt Earp was also a bounty hunter. Of 'The Rousters', Chad made the observation, "This is one of (Stephen J.) Cannell's more bizarre ideas. It has a variety of opportunities. It has action and comedy-action." 

On reflection, Stephen J. Cannell remarked, "We dreamed up 3 shows (in 1983) that sold ('The A-Team', 'Hardcastle and McCormick' and 'The Rousters')." Of 'The A-Team', "The whole show's a gamble. We broke almost every rule that the networks generally make you follow. Our heroes are bizarre. Who would ever thought of having a black guy who was angry all the time? The network response to that kind of character normally would be, 'He'll intimidate the white audience. They'll be afraid of him.' There's no character like B.A. (played by Mr. T) on television." 

Stephen Cannell also made known, "I learned when I was doing 'The Rockford Files' (1974-1980), that if I can write more pages in a day than they can photograph, I can stay ahead and that's the way it works – I can write between 15 and 18 pages a day, and they shoot 12." As reported, Stephen J. Cannell had never created a pilot that failed to become a series.

He revealed, "There is no formula in my mind for what makes a good show, and I try not to let there be any. I stick with my own perceptions of what I think is entertainment. I think every show I've made has had a completely different flavor and style. The characters have been different and some of them have been pretty good-sized hits. Some of them have been pretty good-sized failures, too, but they all have what I think is the key element in my work, which is human.

"In 15 years (1970-1984) of television, I've never had graphic violence … I do action-adventure types of programs. There is no way to do private eye or police action shows without having the action elements in them. We're assaulted by different studies (on violence) that prove different things. The Coalition (for Better Television) is the leading press-getter of the violence count but when they come on against Disney, at some point you've got to say, 'Hey, wait a minute'. I think they lost a pile of credibility when they did that. (At one time, the Coalition for Better Television did not have the support of the Moral Majority). If you ask them to give you the standards by which they judge shows, they won't do it. It's very hard for me to deal with an outfit that won't show me their scorecard or explain how they play the game." 

The first 4 episodes of 'The Rousters' originally went on air in October 1983. Stephen Cannell recounted in July 1984, "The premiere was really a tragedy because we were put on against 'The Love Boat Goes to China' and everybody wanted to see that. When people don't see the pilot you're in big trouble. Fortunately, on 'Hardcastle and McCormick' last year (in 1983), we had a 40 share on our pilot so even when they moved it from Sunday to Friday, people followed it. When 'The Rousters' pilot did a 17 share, we knew we were in trouble. I do what I can, I complain. I say, 'Come on guys – please!' But it doesn’t work. They basically put you where they want. It's their network and I think most of the suppliers are in that bind – even the most powerful ones." 

Between May and July 1983, Douglas S. Cramer Productions in association with Aaron Spelling Productions assembled some 120 people comprised of cast and crew aboard the Pearl of Scandinavia to sail to the Orient. The 3 Oriental cruises took 'The Love Boat' to Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China and Japan to film three 2-hour specials. It was understood 'The Love Boat' became the first U.S. TV series to film in the People's Republic of China. "I'm exhilarated by this whole experience," John Forsythe enthused. In the People’s Republic of China, John Forsythe and Ursula Andress performed "the kiss heard around the world." 

At the time, one Chinese extra in the 2-hour special expressed, "Oh, these Americans are so daring – they have no shame." John recounted, "Ursula Andress and I played a love scene. The Chinese are very moralistic and puritan. They never show public affection. In the scene I try to tell her about my past. She stops me and kisses me. We didn't know the fuss it was going to provoke in the newspapers and on television." 

The 2-hour special in the People's Republic of China was understood to be the most expensive 'Love Boat' episode ever filmed. The production companies reportedly paid "a considerable sum" for rights to film in the People's Republic of China for 7 days. Public relations agent Don De Mesquita pointed out, "'The Love Boat' does not come under the cultural exchange restrictions imposed by the People's Republic of China. It's really a business deal rather than a cultural exchange. The Chinese are honorable people and they keep their commitments." 

Producer Ben Joelman told the press the Chinese government had approved of the script before filming began in Shanghai, Tianjin, Peking's Tienanmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and on the Great Wall of China. Ted Lange as Isaac made the comment, "Wow, look at that (the Great Wall of China). I just wish my English teacher could see me. She never thought I'd amount to anything in life and here I am in China." Susan Anton walking braless down the Great Wall of China reportedly attracted the attention of the People's Liberation Army soldiers. 

In Peking, the cast and crew stayed at the Jianguo hotel. John made the observation, "We were on the mainland for a week so it's difficult to judge from that vantage point. But China looks like a country leaping from the 19th to 21st century. Peking looks like Detroit, except for the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City. Still, it was an exotic experience on every level." The first screen kiss on the Great Wall of China was filmed in the Middle Kingdom. 2016 marked the year 4713 in the Chinese lunar calendar.

In July 1982,  then 19-year-old Chinese tennis player Hu Na made the headlines when she defected to the United States during the 32-nation Federation Cup tournament held in Santa Clara, California. In April 1983, after some 8½ months, the Justice Department in Washington announced the United States had granted Hu Na's request for political asylum. Hu Na said she was defecting because she refused to join the Chinese Communist Party.

Deng Xiaoping demanded Hu Na be returned to the People's Republic of China. Hu Na played her first American tennis tournament in June 1983 since her defection. She chose the tournament in Erie, north-western Pennsylvania on Lake Erie because of the media coverage at Wimbledon. 'Associated Press' reported, "The People's Republic of China called the April decision by the American government to grant Hu Na asylum 'a grave situation' and canceled all U.S. sports and cultural exchange programs for the rest of 1983."

It was understood the Chinese Communist Party was unhappy at the time over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, quotas on Chinese textile imports and restrictions on the sale of American technology to the People's Republic of China. In a statement made through her attorney, Edward C.Y. Lau, Hu Na stated, "If my family in China can hear my words, I hope they know that I still love them and miss them dearly. I hurt for my parents, brother, sister and grandfather, who have written to me.

"No one in China knew that I would take the action I felt I had to take last July (in 1982), and I hope they can understand my personal agony in making such a choice to leave my homeland. That decision not to return to China is related to special facts concerning me personally, and I truly believe that it is in the best interests of both China and the United States for the relations between the two countries to improve and grow."

'The Rousters' was pre-empted until mid-December 1983 after the first 4 episodes went on air. The network pre-empted 'Remington Steele' in December for 2 episodes to show 'The Rousters' after 'The A-Team'. The last 7 episodes of 'The Rousters' were shown between June and July 1984. Chad Everett lamented, "It costs about $1 million to shoot each episode. That's the mistake we made; we shot too high. Stephen Cannell took a canvas and painted on it, but after a while, the canvas simply got too big. We didn't use a backlot set, had at least 100 extras per episode and we ran out of money. No one would give us anymore, even though we were just beginning to find our niche with the audience. The experience has taken the wind out of my sails."

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