In the 1993 pilot movie, 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman played Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III, a disinherited playboy with a passion for money and the high life. Set in Palm Beach, Florida, "I thought Dallas was rich, but Palm Beach is something else. There are $10 million houses with $10 million yachts out back - hundreds of properties like that. I asked about one of these 35-year-old billionaires who wasn't home. 'Well, he comes down about one week a year,' I was told." 

The 'Chicago Tribune' understood the boat was the key to Larry Hagman's character, "I've got the greatest bloody boat for this show. We fought and we fought over the boat we'd use. They kept coming up with these $10 million all-white all-plastic look-alikes. I wanted something like Franklin D. Roosevelt's yacht. The insurance company kept saying, 'What if it catches fire?' I said, 'What is this 'if' (bleep)? You're iffing us out of the business. 

"I'm gonna start my own political party - WGAS. Who Gives a (bleep). Besides WGAS, I'm promoting a group called PMS. The Protect the Mosquito Society. Mosquitoes are God's creatures just as much as whales or spotted owls. It'll cost you $10,000 to join the PMS, but the money will go to research to mate the large slow Alaska mosquito with the small fast Panama one. So I'm waiting for your check." 

As Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III, Larry Hagman noted, "All my life I've written checks for a living. Now the money has run out. I need to find a way to support myself, my yacht, my manservant and my cat. I have this teensy tax problem. I say: 'Tax problem? I haven't paid taxes in years.' So the gummint says they'll whittle down my problem if I work for them. I'm not too smart, but working for the gummint you don't have to be too smart." 

In the movie, a Justice Department agent (played by Gregg Henry) presented the government's (or gummint) offer to subsidize Alexander Turnbull Hollingsworth III's continual lifestyle, if in exchange he served as an informant on crimes within the upper class. In explaining the relevance of the movie 'Staying Afloat' had to modern times, Larry Hagman told the 'Tribune Media Services', "He is having to do something for the first time in his life, and a lot of people in our society now (in 1993) are having to start over again.

"They have to retrain and find something else to do, and the work force is getting younger and younger. Older people are going to have to find some way of functioning, maybe through service to the community. We can all use some new input into what life is all about, but I don’t want to get too serious (with the show). I just want to keep it light and amusing."

As the star and executive producer of 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman told the 'Chicago Tribune', "Sometimes they (NBC and TriStar Television) forget I'm a producer too. They say, 'It's our policy not to discuss actors' performances when there's an actor present.' I said, 'Well, don't forget I'm a producer. If one other producer is there, I have to be there.' I love working on location in Florida (Fort Lauderdale) where we're out from under the thumbs of the 7-year-olds running the network. Some of them said to me, 'Hey you're a pretty funny guy - you should do a comedy.' Yeah, like they never saw 'I Dream of Jeannie' (1965-1970)."

Claire Yarlett of 'The Colbys' played Lauren. However Larry Hagman insisted the characters should not be romantically involved in order to keep fans tuned in, "When Jeannie and the master got married, everybody lost interest. So it was kind of non-consummated after all, they lived in the same house, in the same rooms for 4 years, and the 5th year they got married. So, I think the non-consummation is much more fun, as long as you have that sexual energy going."

The 'Sun Sentinel' understood, "NBC is spending more than $3 million on this two-hour movie, the pilot for a planned series beginning this winter (January 1994)." Although Larry Hagman preferred to do 6 two-hour movies of 'Staying Afloat' a year. In making 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman recounted, "(It's a balance between) trying to get what I want and what they (Tri-Star Television) think we should have. I would like a certain amount of class to this. There's always compromise, but they (producers Albert S. Ruddy and Gray Frederickson) have backed me, and they're quite supportive in the taste that we're all trying to get on the show."

As producer, Larry Hagman remarked, "Producers seem to work all the time. As an actor, you just come on and do your job and you’re off. You go home and have dinner, but producers are always on the phone; some catastrophe is always happening. (On 'Staying Afloat') we lost two of the houses we were going to shoot in, just two days before we (found another one). It was barren, so they had to decorate it within 24 hours. (Resolving such dilemmas) kind of makes it fun for me, but it's awfully hard on the people I work with."

Had 'Staying Afloat' became the one-hour midseason weekly series, Larry Hagman was considering directing, "Directors get terrific residuals. You get $20,000 for rebroadcast on top of the $30,000 you get for doing it, and all you are is a traffic cop. I'm going to tell Carroll O'Connor (in 2 episodes of 'In the Heat of the Night') how to act? You know those dreams you have that are so vivid, you can almost direct them? That's when I do my creative stuff."

Up against the comedy series, 'Step By Step' starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers and the  Barbara Walters show '20/20', 'Staying Afloat' attracted 13.7 million viewers (9.5% households ratings and 17% audience share). Larry Hagman lamented, "When I came into the business, if the heads of the network liked an idea for a show, they'd say, 'Do 26 of them.' Those days are gone. These young bucks coming up with no experience, they're not committed to anything and nothing gets done."

Speaking to reporter Janis Froelich about the idea for the project 'Staying Afloat', Larry Hagman mentioned, "'Dallas' came on at a time (in 1979) when there was a very substantial recession, and people seemed to go for the money and the cars, and all the wonderful things that money can buy. And here we are, 15 years later (in 1993), back in the same situation. And I think people are ready for that. (However) I will not be wearing cowboy boots under my sailing togs. J.R is really the kind of guy who could run the oil business from the ground up, and he knew it backwards and forwards. And the character I'm playing now has no business and has never worked a day in his life."

On reflection, Larry Hagman told the 'Chicago Tribune', "I'm 62 now (in November 1993). I'm old enough to remember when 62 was old. I work now because it's fun. 'Staying Afloat' doesn't pay like 'Dallas' did. The character I play is the most important to me, followed by the location, and the money comes last. What do I need with more money, for God's sake?

"I have an apartment in New York, a ranch in Santa Fe (New Mexico), a castle in Ojai outside of L.A., a beach house in Malibu and thinking of buying a place in Santa Monica. I've been everywhere. I already do hunting and fishing. I fly. I ride my Harley. I like to dabble." In his 20th-floor apartment looking over Central Park and the Upper East Side, Larry Hagman told 'New York Newsday', "I could afford the best hotels in the world for the rest of my life for what this thing costs. The taxes are like $40,000 a year. But Mrs. Hagman wanted a pied a terre in New York."

Born in a $6,000 one bathroom house on an unpaved street in Dallas in 1923, Aaron Spelling had risen to become TV's most prolific producer in the Guinness Book of World Records. The youngest of 5 children of Pearl and David Spelling, Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, Aaron Spelling had been responsible for 3,000 episodes or 4,220 hours of television over 5 decades which required 6 months to see back to back.

In reruns, it equated to 8,000 hours of domestic syndication and 18,000 hours internationally ('Beverly Hills, 90210' was shown in 90 countries; 'Melrose Place' in 80 countries). "We'd been thinking about doing a continuous drama set in high school for some time," Jamie Kellner of Fox recalled. "And we had this young writer, Darren Star, but our fear was that it would skew too young, so we brought in Aaron."

"Aaron really believes he's performing a service with his shows," one former colleague told the press, "that he is giving people an escape from the misery of their lives." As Aaron Spelling reminded, "We never know what entertainment does, how it affects people, but I bet if you went down the street and asked people - not in Beverly Hills - but ethnic groups, who can't afford to go to the theater, can't even afford HBO, 'What does television mean in your life?' you'd be shocked at the answer."

His wealth was estimated at $310 million in 1994. Sumner Redstone of Viacom declared, "To the rest of the world, he was the most prolific creator on TV for our times, and maybe for all times." Lee Gabler argued Aaron Spelling's shows "are more than entertainment. They have become part of the fabric of popular culture." The 'Los Angeles Times' noted, "He recognizes what the networks and studios have long known - that TV is software, able to generate streams of revenue far beyond a single night's airing."

Merrill Lynch media analyst, Jessica Reif observed, "Spelling is a cash cow." One former partner made the point, "Aaron loves to take credit for all his shows, but look at the credits. Not one of them says 'Created by Aaron Spelling.' But we aren't supposed to complain, because this is the man who made us all fabulously wealthy." After spending 18 years putting the network ABC on the map, Aaron Spelling turned his attention to Fox and WB in the 1990s.

Of those shows, TV analyst Betsy Frank of Zenith Media pointed out, "Spelling still has no real network penetration. He remains most successful developing programming for young, youth-oriented networks like Fox and the WB." Don Ohlmeyer of NBC expressed, "Drama is what Aaron does best, but dramas are tricky for networks today (in the 1990s) because they take time to find their audience. Fox has the luxury of being able to live with a 10 share, something that a major network can't."

In 1986, Aaron Spelling took Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. public. By 1996, "The truth is, the company has grown and grown. I have this stupid worry that shareholders bought stock because of me, people who pay my salary. But the stock price? That bothers the hell out of me." At the time, Aaron Spelling successfully renewed a 2-year contract with the new season's program orders totalling 400 hours, "That is more hours than in any year of our history."

Douglas Cramer acknowledged, "Aaron has a legendary instinct for what the public wants to see." Jamie Kellner of the WB Television Network added, "It's more than storytelling; there's a look that Aaron gets with his shows. It's the glamor, the fashion, the detail that audiences, especially women, love. What Aaron does really well is that whole wealthy-family thing."

As a holding company, 'The Los Angeles Times' reported Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. also had programming from Worldvision - the company's in-house distributorship once owned by ABC - as well as Republic Pictures, a vast library of pre-1974 NBC series as well as such films as 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Basic Instinct'.

Ten years after 'Paper Dolls' went off the air in 1984, Aaron Spelling launched 'Models Inc.' in 1994. Up against 'Roseanne' and 'Dateline NBC', 'Models Inc.' attracted between 9 million and 11 million viewers each Wednesday night. Although such numbers were considered poor ratings in the US, 'Models Inc.' continued to sell in France as the series teetered on the brink of cancellation. John Ryan of Worldvision believed, "With Spelling, broadcasters know they are buying a brand name."

Linda Gray played Hillary Michaels, CEO/owner of the Los Angeles modeling agency, Models Inc. In casting Linda Gray, Aaron Spelling offered, "Every show must have a quarterback - like John Forsythe was on 'Dynasty' - and Linda is an immediate quarterback." It was understood Linda Gray brought "marquee value to the series and its network".

"I had no idea what to expect when fame came (in 1978 on 'Dallas')," Linda Gray confessed. "There wasn't a class you could take. And we were working so hard, being a celebrity didn't really take over. Nobody knows these kids (her co-stars) . . . yet. But they know me. I'm the one up for criticism. When I went to read for 'Models' . . . people who don't really know me that well were saying things like 'A new series - what are you doing? You know how much work that will be?' But I knew it must be my time to be out there again."

In playing Hillary, Linda suggested, "I'll say something about my character with just a look. When the kids on the set come up to me and ask 'What happens?' (if the show is a hit), I tell them, 'It's your own journey.'" E. Duke Vincent maintained, "Any television show starts with a concept, and if you don't have a story you don't have anything, but probably the most important thing in television is casting, and that's where he's king. Aaron has been the king of casting for the 28 years I have been working with him, and for the 15 years before he even knew me."

Michael Idato reported in 2005, "In more spritely days, Aaron Spelling was famous for wandering down the driveway of his 123-room estate on Mapleton Drive in the exclusive Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air to wave at the busloads of tourists who came to see what the media called 'the house that Dynasty built'." Aaron Spelling stated in 1994, "They're the fans, and they're the people that built that house. I know that sounds very corny, and I'm sorry, but I mean it." Producer Jonathan Levin concluded, "Those are the people he makes shows for and that lies at the heart of why he has well-constructed shows. He has asked himself what ordinary hard-working people want out of television. And he has come up with a formula that has worked for many, many decades."

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