"Last year (the 1983-84 TV season), almost nothing worked," Brandon Tartikoff told 'The Washington Post' ("Democracy Dies in Darkness"). "Now (in October 1984), almost everything works." Almost - except 'Paper Dolls' which finished the 1984-85 TV season attracting 11.7% household ratings of the nation's 84.9 million TV homes at the time. 

"The form may have seen its day," Jeff Benson of Lorimar told 'The New York Times'. From the outset, Brandon Tartikoff acknowledged, "I'm a little bit nervous about ABC's 'Paper Dolls'. It's like the killer in 'Halloween'. You keep stabbing it in the head, and it keeps rising up above the couch. We (NBC) and CBS are doing our best to make sure the thing doesn't become another 'Dynasty'. We've been doing our job, but I'm afraid the body's not cold yet." 

'Dynasty' finished the 1984-85 TV season ranked the highest-rated program, attracting 25.0% household ratings. Harvey Shephard of CBS maintained, "The serials that do work all have a strong family unit at the center. In 'Paper Dolls' and 'Berrenger's' there was more emphasis on business than on family." In one scene on 'Paper Dolls':

Grant Harper: Why confine yourself to just one area? Can't you design a menswear line at the same time (as the women's sport line)? You can't go on ignoring 50% of the human race you know?

David Fenton: The menswear line is a great idea. I can even get a male model to represent it. But I do not have time to design and develop an entirely new line before the December (1984) show.

Grant: Why can't you? 

David: Because I am a designer and not a machine. I can't just call downstairs to the creative department and order up a menswear line on a moment notice. It isn't done like that. I've got to have a concept, theme, idea. 

Aaron Spelling argued, "Just because two shows failed (in the 1984-85 TV season) does not mean the serial is bad. They keep working in daytime. I don't feel the market is saturated. Maybe serials will have to take a new form, and that's why we've given 'Dark Mansions' a supernatural angle." Then 20-year-old Terry Farrell played 18-year-old cover girl, Laurie Caswell, who earned $2,500 a day modeling.  Terry told 'People' magazine, "The show rings true. It is a Hollywood version. All of the dramas are just condensed. What do they call that? Heightened reality?" 'Paper Dolls' was rerecorded at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

David: Grant I don't want a handout, not even a loan. I'd like to make you a proposition.

Grant: Go ahead.

David: I need enough to pay off my debt ($275,000) and have some working capital. $500,000 and I will give you 50% of Tempus (Sportswear) for collateral. 10% over 3 years.

Grant: I have a better proposition. I want to buy Tempus, make it a part of Harper World Wide (HWW).

David: I can't sell my company. I started it.

Grant: You won't be letting it go. You will be going with it. And I'm willing to pay $3 million for the privilege.

David: Tempus stays mine.

Grant: $1 million for 51% of Tempus.

David: 50% and I retain complete creative control.

Grant: Look like Harper World Wide has just acquired a new division.  

At a staff meeting, Grant announced, "In additon to the purchase price, I am allocating an initial budget of $5 million to cover startup cost and that's just initially. Young fashion seems to be a growth industry. Harper should be in on it." Leonard Goldberg remarked, "A serial must have constant exposure, otherwise people can't remember the characters.

"'Paper Dolls' was pre-empted 3 times in the 8 eight weeks, and that's fatal. (As well) we had far too many characters. We had about 18 or 19 running characters, and we should have eliminated at least a third of those. Also, we needed stronger positive characters. The evil characters are, of course, a lot of fun on a serial, but they must have formidable opposition, and we didn't have that.'' One critic added, "You didn't care about anybody on the show."

Speaking to 'TV Guide', Leonard Goldberg continued, "It was a serial that needed time to build. ABC scheduled it in a time slot that was constantly being pre-empted. It was doomed from the beginning. At a screening of the pilot, a roomful of ABC executives cheered which colored their decisions. In the end I was the only one telling them we did not have a chance."

Excluding the pilot, the fashions for the 12 episodes of 'Paper Dolls' were provided by Valentino, Carole Little for Saint-Tropez West, Mary McFadden, Bill Tice for Swirl, Meshekow Brothers Furriers, Marc Bouwer, Ltd., Clifford Olson and Henry Grethel. Jewelry provided by Fred Joaillier and leather by M. Julian. The accommodations and filming facilities were provided by the St. Regis Sheraton Hotel.

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