The Love Boat

The Love Boat
The Love Boat.jpg
Title card
Based onLove Boats
by Jeraldine Saunders
Developed byW. L. Baumes
Opening theme"The Love Boat" sung by Jack Jones, seasons 1–8; by Dionne Warwick season 9
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons9 + 5 specials
No. of episodes249 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time45–52 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWorldvision Enterprises
CBS Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Audio formatMonorural
Original releaseMay 5, 1977 (1977-05-05) – May 24, 1986 (1986-05-24)
Followed byThe Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage (1990)
Related showsLove Boat: The Next Wave

The Love Boat is an American comedy/drama television series set on luxury passenger cruise ship S.S. Pacific Princess, which aired on the ABC television network from May 5, 1977 until May 24, 1986; plus, four three-hour long specials aired in 1986, 1987, and 1990.[1] The series revolves around the ship's captain Merrill Stubing (played by Gavin MacLeod) and a handful of its crew, with several passengers—played by various guest star actors for each episode—having romantic and humorous adventures. It was part of ABC's popular Saturday-night lineup of the time, which also included Fantasy Island until that series ended two years earlier in 1984.

The original 1976 made-for-TV movie on which the show was based (also titled The Love Boat) was itself based on the nonfiction book Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director on a passenger cruise ship line.[2][3] It was followed by two more TV-made-for movies (titled The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat), all before the series began its first season in September 1977.[4]

The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling, who produced several TV series for Four Star Television, and American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from the 1960s into the 1980s.

In 1997, the episode with segment titles "Hidden Treasure", "Picture from the Past", and "Ace's Salary" (season 9, episode 3) was ranked No. 82 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time from TV Guide magazine.[5] The Love Boat ran for nine seasons plus four specials. Another made-for-TV movie, titled The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage, starring four of the original cast members, aired finally on February 12, 1990.[6]


The cast members in costume, 2015; l–r: Kopell, Grandy, Lange, MacLeod, Tewes & Whelan
  • Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing
  • Bernie Kopell as Dr. Adam "Doc" Bricker, ship's physician
  • Fred Grandy as Burl "Gopher" Smith, yeoman purser (seasons 1–9)
  • Ted Lange as Isaac Washington, bartender (seasons 1–9), yeoman purser (made-for-TV movie)
  • Lauren Tewes as Julie McCoy, cruise director (seasons 1–7, four specials, plus a guest star appearance in Season 9 episode 9)
  • Jill Whelan as Vicki Stubing, the captain's daughter (seasons 3–9, four specials, made-for-TV movie, plus a guest star appearance in Season 2 episode 8)[7]
  • Ted McGinley as Ashley "Ace" Covington Evans, ship's photographer (seasons 7–9), yeoman purser (four specials)
  • Pat Klous as Judy McCoy, Julie's sister and successor as cruise director (seasons 8–9)

MacLeod, Kopell and Lange are the only cast members to appear in every episode of the TV series as well as the last three made-for-TV movies. Grandy was in every episode throughout the run of the series, but was not in the last of the TV movies due to his 1986 campaign for (and election to) the United States House of Representatives. MacLeod was not the captain of the Pacific Princess in the first two TV movies and did not appear in them, although when his character was introduced there was a mention of his being "the new captain".

Among the series' attractions was the casting of well-known actors in guest-starring roles, with many famous film stars of yesteryear making rare television appearances. The Love Boat was not the first comedy series to use the guest-star cast anthology format—Love, American Style had used the formula seven years earlier—but it had such success with the formula that future series in similar style (such as Supertrain and Masquerade) always drew comparisons to The Love Boat. The series was followed on Saturday nights on ABC by Fantasy Island, which was likewise produced by Aaron Spelling, and had a similar format.

Other Languages
العربية: قارب الحب
Deutsch: Love Boat
español: The Love Boat
euskara: The Love Boat
Bahasa Indonesia: The Love Boat
italiano: Love Boat
Nederlands: The Love Boat
português: The Love Boat
русский: Лодка любви
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Love Boat
中文: 愛之船