Leonard Goldberg

Executive/ Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly six-hour Archive interview, Leonard Goldberg talks about breaking into the business in the research departments at ABC and NBC in the 1950s. He speaks of his return to ABC in the 1960s, where he worked in TV development and was later promoted to Vice President of Network Programming. He details his work at Screen Gems, where he developed the celebrated television movie Brian's Song - one the highlights of his career. Goldberg discusses the formation of Spelling-Goldberg Productions with his partner Aaron Spelling, and elaborates on the many projects that came from the company including Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, and T.J. Hooker. He talks of developing the television movies The Boy in the Plastic Bubble and Something About Amelia. He also outlines his accomplishments as President and COO of 20th Century Fox, where he facilitated The Simpsons and the feature films "Broadcast News" and "Working Girl." Finally, he discusses his current position as head of Mandy Films. Dan Pasternack conducted the two-part interview on October 21 and December 7, 2004 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"Television will always be here. It is the most powerful medium I've known of since the first time I saw it and why I switched from advertising to television. And when it's used for all of its good, it's fabulous."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Leonard Goldberg on the sudden stardom of Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels; on THE poster and her leaving the show
Leonard Goldberg on William Blinn adding narration to the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on Prince Charles meeting the leads of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the concept for Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on the people helped by the TV movie Something About Amelia (which dealt with incest)
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his own family experience that inspired the show Family
On his hobbies as a child - sports and reading; on attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania at 16 years old; on his early memories of radio and television
On his first job out of Wharton - at Bloomingdales
On his start in television in the ABC research department

Chapter 2

On working in the ABC research department with Fred Pierce; on moving to NBC and wanting to get into programming; on working for advertising agency BBD&O
On getting hired back at ABC and working with Douglas Cramer
On becoming Vice-President of Daytime Programming at ABC

Chapter 3

On his start in daytime programming (when ABC was supposedly getting out of the daytime business); on targeting children and youth-oriented programming
On working with Chuck Barris, head of daytime for the West Coast, and creating The Dating Game; on the creation of Supermarket Sweep; on the Beatles cartoon show; on ABC becoming the number one network Saturday mornings
On his daytime strategy, on the creation of The Newlywed Game and Dark Shadows
On the creation of Never Too Young and the clever way he shot the show; on getting promoted to ABC's head of programming

Chapter 4

On finding his footing as head of programming; on hiring Barry Diller and re-vamping the ABC Sunday Night Movie
On hiring Michael Eisner
On the creation on the made-for-TV movie (Movie of the Week); on ABC founder Leonard Goldenson and ABC President Elton Rule

Chapter 5

On leaving ABC in New York and moving to California to work for Columbia Pictures Television (Screen Gems); on the projects on which he worked, including The Partridge Family
On the creation of the TV movie Brian's Song
On forming a production partnership with Aaron Spelling; on their work on The Mod Squad

Chapter 6

On producing The Rookies, S.W.A.T., and Starsky and Hutch
On the creation of Family
On the creation of Charlie's Angels

Chapter 7

On producing and casting Charlie's Angels
On the sudden stardom of Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels; on Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson leaving the show; on why the show left the air

Chapter 8

PART II: On The Fugitive and producing the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta
On the supporting cast of Charlie's Angels; on the episode of Charlie's Angels where we finally see "Charlie"
On his and Aaron Spelling's involvement with production and with ABC; on the many cast changes on the show; on the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels

Chapter 9

On the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels, contd.
On executive producing Fantasy Island; on casting the show, guest stars, and production of the show
On the creation of Hart to Hart; on casting Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner and the chemistry between the leads; on why the show went off the air

Chapter 10

On ending his long-term business partnership with Aaron Spelling; on the final Spelling-Goldberg production, T.J. Hooker
On executive producing the TV movie Something About Amelia; on the social impact the movie had and how many people were helped by it
On executive producing Paper Dolls; on producing the movies "War Games"
On becoming head of television and film programming (President and COO) at 20th Century Fox and working with Barry Diller
On the development of The Tracey Ullman Show

Chapter 11

On the genesis of The Simpsons and the role James L. Brooks played in getting it made
On the development of In Living Color; on the films "Broadcast News",  "Big", and "Working Girl"
On leaving 20th Century Fox and becoming an independent producer; on the craft of being a producer
On then-current projects and ageism in the business; on the future of television

Chapter 12

On the future of the big three networks; on advice to aspiring producers and executives
On the highlight of his career; on his mentors and people he's mentored; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

ABC Sunday Movie, The

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Leonard Goldberg on hiring Barry Diller and re-vamping the ABC Sunday Night Movie

Boy in the Plastic Bubble, The

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Leonard Goldberg on producing the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta

Brian's Song

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on how much he enjoyed working on Brian's Song

Charlie's Angels

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Charlie's Angels, originally titled "The Alley Cats"
Leonard Goldberg on casting Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on starting production and promotions on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the critics' reception of Charlie's Angels and "jiggle television"
Leonard Goldberg on Prince Charles meeting the leads of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on issues with Standards & Practices and complaints from the lead actresses on Charlie's Angels; on the wardrobe for the show
Leonard Goldberg on the sudden stardom of Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels; on THE poster and her leaving the show
Leonard Goldberg on replacing Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels and re-casting the show
Leonard Goldberg on why Charlie's Angels went off the air
Leonard Goldberg on the supporting cast of Charlie's Angels: David Doyle (Bosley)
Leonard Goldberg on Charlie's Angels and casting John Forsythe as "Charlie"
Leonard Goldberg on the production of Charlie's Angels with Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg on his and Aaron Spelling's relationship with ABC during the production of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on censorship issues on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on how the many cast changes on Charlie's Angels weakened the show
Leonard Goldberg on the movie version of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels, contd.

Dark Shadows

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Dark Shadows

Dating Game, The

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Leonard Goldberg on working with Chuck Barris, head of daytime for the West Coast, and creating The Dating Game

Family

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Leonard Goldberg on his own family experience that inspired the show Family
Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Family

Fantasy Island

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Leonard Goldberg on the concept for Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on casting Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on the success of Fantasy Island on Saturday night
Leonard Goldberg on guest stars, favorite episodes, and production of Fantasy Island

Fugitive, The

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Leonard Goldberg on the importance of The Fugitive to television and fighting for a big series finale

Hart to Hart

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation and casting of Hart to Hart
Leonard Goldberg on the success of Hart to Hart and why it went off the air

In Living Color

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Leonard Goldberg on the development of In Living Color

Milton Berle Show, The (1966-67)

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Leonard Goldberg on The Milton Berle Show lasting only 13 weeks at ABC

Mod Squad, The

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Leonard Goldberg on his working relationship with Aaron Spelling on The Mod Squad

Never Too Young

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Never Too Young and the clever way he shot the show

Newlywed Game, The

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of The Newlywed Game

O. K. Crackerby!

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Leonard Goldberg on working on O. K. Crackerby! with Abe Burrows and learning a valuable lesson

Paper Dolls

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Leonard Goldberg on executive producing Paper Dolls (which introduced Nicollette Sheridan)

Partridge Family, The

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Leonard Goldberg on getting The Partridge Family made

Rookies, The

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Leonard Goldberg on producing his first series, The Rookies

S.W.A.T.

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Leonard Goldberg on producing a spin-off of The Rookies - S.W.A.T

Simpsons, The

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Leonard Goldberg on the genesis of The Simpsons and the role James L. Brooks played in getting it made

Sing Along with Mitch

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Leonard Goldberg on speaking up to Bob Sarnoff and pitching Sing Along with Mitch

Something About Amelia

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Leonard Goldberg on executive producing the TV movie Something About Amelia

Starsky and Hutch

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Leonard Goldberg on producing Starsky and Hutch
Leonard Goldberg on casting Starsky and Hutch
Leonard Goldberg on stylistic elements and side stories on Starsky and Hutch
Leonard Goldberg on an episode of Starsky & Hutch which used the Mona Lisa in the shot

Supermarket Sweep

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Supermarket Sweep

T.J. Hooker

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Leonard Goldberg on the final Spelling-Goldberg production, T.J. Hooker
Leonard Goldberg on casting T.J. Hooker
Leonard Goldberg on production on T.J. Hooker

Tracey Ullman Show, The

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Leonard Goldberg on the development of The Tracey Ullman Show
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Leonard Goldberg on working for advertising agency BBD&O
Leonard Goldberg on the deal with Ford on Starsky and Hutch

Advice

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Leonard Goldberg on advice to aspiring producers and executives

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Leonard Goldberg on issues with Standards & Practices and complaints from the lead actresses on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on censorship issues on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on fighting Standards & Practices on the incest in the TV movie Something About Amelia

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Leonard Goldberg on his mentors and people he mentored
Leonard Goldberg on his mentors and people he mentored

Historic Events and Social Change

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Leonard Goldberg on the people helped by the TV movie Something About Amelia (which dealt with incest)

Memorable Moments on Television

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Leonard Goldberg on William Blinn adding narration to the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on the episode of Charlie's Angels where we finally see "Charlie"
Leonard Goldberg on the people helped by the TV movie Something About Amelia (which dealt with incest)

Pivotal Career Moments

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Leonard Goldberg on his mentors and people he mentored

Television Industry

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Leonard Goldberg on working for advertising agency BBD&O
Leonard Goldberg on the deal with Ford on Starsky and Hutch
Leonard Goldberg on issues with Standards & Practices and complaints from the lead actresses on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on censorship issues on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on fighting Standards & Practices on the incest in the TV movie Something About Amelia
Leonard Goldberg on the future of television
Leonard Goldberg on the future of the big three networks
Leonard Goldberg on advice to aspiring producers and executives

We Cried

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Leonard Goldberg on William Blinn adding narration to the TV movie Brian's Song
Professions

Executives

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Leonard Goldberg on taking charge of daytime programming at ABC and targeting children's programming
Leonard Goldberg on getting promoted to ABC's head of programming
Leonard Goldberg on becoming head of television and film programming (President and COO) at 20th Century Fox and working with Barry Diller

Producers

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Leonard Goldberg on the craft of being a producer and how he selects projects
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Leonard Goldberg on casting and producing Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the supporting cast, production, and the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the creation, casting and series run of Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on the creation and casting of Hart to Hart

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Leonard Goldberg on producing Starsky and Hutch
Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Charlie's Angels, originally titled "The Alley Cats" 
Leonard Goldberg on the final Spelling-Goldberg production, T.J. Hooker

Drama Series

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Family

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Leonard Goldberg on hiring Barry Diller and re-vamping the ABC Sunday Night Movie
Leonard Goldberg on the creation on the made-for-TV movie
Leonard Goldberg on the creation of the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on producing the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta
Leonard Goldberg on executive producing the TV movie Something About Amelia
People

Jay Presson Allen

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Family

Chuck Barris

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Leonard Goldberg on working with Chuck Barris, head of daytime for the West Coast, and creating The Dating Game

Drew Barrymore

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Leonard Goldberg on Drew Barrymore wanting to be in and produce the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on casting the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels

Meredith Baxter-Birney

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Meredith Baxter on Family

Milton Berle

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Leonard Goldberg on The Milton Berle Show lasting only 13 weeks at ABC

William Blinn

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Leonard Goldberg on hiring William Blinn to write the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on William Blinn adding narration to the TV movie Brian's Song
Leonard Goldberg on producing Starsky and Hutch

Matthew Broderick

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Leonard Goldberg on producing the movies "War Games" starring Matthew Broderick

James L. Brooks

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Leonard Goldberg on the development of The Tracey Ullman Show
Leonard Goldberg on the genesis of The Simpsons and the role James L. Brooks played in getting it made
Leonard Goldberg on the film "Broadcast News"
Leonard Goldberg on the film "Big"

Abe Burrows

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Leonard Goldberg on working on O.K. Crackerby with Abe Burrows and learning a valuable lesson

James Caan

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Leonard Goldberg on casting James Caan in the TV movie Brian's Song

Douglas S. Cramer

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Leonard Goldberg on meeting and working with Douglas Cramer at ABC

Dan Curtis

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Dark Shadows

Michael Dann

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Leonard Goldberg on Mike Dann wanting to hire him at CBS

Ted Danson

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Leonard Goldberg on casting the TV movie Something About Amelia

Barry Diller

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Leonard Goldberg on hiring Barry Diller and re-vamping the ABC Sunday Night Movie
Leonard Goldberg on Barry Diller's eulogy at Lew Wasserman's memorial
Leonard Goldberg on the creation on the made-for-TV movie
Leonard Goldberg on Barry Diller not wanting Family on ABC, but doing it when Mike Nichols was attached
Leonard Goldberg on becoming head of television and film programming (President and COO) at 20th Century Fox and working with Barry Diller
Leonard Goldberg on leaving 20th Century Fox

David Doyle

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Leonard Goldberg on the supporting cast of Charlie's Angels: David Doyle ("Bosley")

Michael Eisner

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Leonard Goldberg on hiring Michael Eisner at ABC
Leonard Goldberg on Michael Eisner's responsibilities at ABC

Farrah Fawcett

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on Farrah Fawcett becoming the breakout star of Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on the sudden stardom of Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels; on her leaving the show
Leonard Goldberg on the Farrah Fawcett poster being featured in the film "Saturday Night Fever" (after she left Charlie's Angels)

John Forsythe

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Leonard Goldberg on Charlie's Angels and casting John Forsythe as "Charlie"

Paul Michael Glaser

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Starsky and Hutch

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Leonard Goldberg on Leonard Goldenson being pleased with the daytime successes at ABC
Leonard Goldberg on working with ABC founder/chariman Leonard Goldenson

Shelley Hack

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Leonard Goldberg on Kate Jackson leaving Charlie's Angels and casting Shelley Hack

Christopher Hewett

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Fantasy Island - Christopher Hewett

Diana Hyland

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Leonard Goldberg on John Travolta meeting Diana Hyland during the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Kate Jackson

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Charlie's Angels
Leonard Goldberg on Kate Jackson leaving Charlie's Angels and casting Shelley Hack

Robert E. Kintner

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Leonard Goldberg on getting on Robert Kintner's bad side

Buzz Kulik

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Leonard Goldberg on director Buzz Kulik disapproving of notes, but winning the DGA Award for Brian's Song

Cheryl Ladd

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Leonard Goldberg on replacing Farrah Fawcett with Cheryl Ladd on Charlie's Angels

Michel Legrand

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Leonard Goldberg on wanting Michel Legrand do the music for Brian's Song

Heather Locklear

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Heather Locklear on T.J. Hooker

Tom Mankiewicz

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Hart to Hart and buying the rights to the basic story from Sidney Sheldon

Kristy McNichol

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Kristy McNichol on Family

John Mitchell

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Leonard Goldberg on his mentors

Ricardo Montalban

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Fantasy Island - Ricardo Montalban

Mike Nichols

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Leonard Goldberg on Barry Diller not wanting Family on ABC, but doing it when Mike Nichols was attached
Leonard Goldberg on the film "Working Girl"

Agnes Nixon

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Leonard Goldberg on buying Agnes Nixon's company

Frederick S. Pierce

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Leonard Goldberg on meeting Fred Pierce in the research department of ABC
Leonard Goldberg on working in the ABC research department with Fred Pierce

Stefanie Powers

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner on Hart to Hart and the chemistry between the leads

Burt Reynolds

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Leonard Goldberg on Burt Reynolds wanting to play the lead in the TV movie Brian's Song

Elton H. Rule

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Leonard Goldberg on working with ABC President Elton Rule

Edgar J. Scherick

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Leonard Goldberg on turning down a job at ABC offered to him by Edgar Scherick, but eventually getting the job
Leonard Goldberg on becoming Vice-President of Daytime Programming at ABC
Leonard Goldberg on his mentors

Abe Schneider

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Leonard Goldberg on meeting with the Chairman of Columbia Pictures, Abe Schneider

William Shatner

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Leonard Goldberg on casting William Shatner on T.J. Hooker

Sidney Sheldon

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Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Hart to Hart and buying the rights to the basic story from Sidney Sheldon

Fred Silverman

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Leonard Goldberg on his and Aaron Spelling's relationship with ABC during the production of Charlie's Angels

Jaclyn Smith

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Leonard Goldberg on the third "angel" on Charlie's Angels

David Soul

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Starsky and Hutch

Aaron Spelling

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Leonard Goldberg on how he met Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg on his working relationship with Aaron Spelling on The Mod Squad
Leonard Goldberg on forming his production partnership with Aaron Spelling and how their skill sets complemented each other
Leonard Goldberg on the creation of Family
Leonard Goldberg on the production of Charlie's Angels with Aaron Spelling
Leonard Goldberg on the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels, contd.
Leonard Goldberg on ending his long-term business partnership with Aaron Spelling

Lionel Stander

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Lionel Stander as "Max" on Hart to Hart

Brandon Stoddard

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Leonard Goldberg on fighting Standards & Practices on the incest in the TV movie Something About Amelia

Tony Thomas

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Leonard Goldberg on Tony Thomas to associate produce the TV movie Brian's Song

John Travolta

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Leonard Goldberg on producing the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, starring John Travolta

Herve Villechaize

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Fantasy Island - Herve Villechaize

Robert Wagner

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Leonard Goldberg on casting Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers on Hart to Hart and the chemistry between the leads

Prince of Wales, Charles

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Leonard Goldberg on Prince Charles meeting the leads of Charlie's Angels

Lew Wasserman

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Leonard Goldberg on Barry Diller's eulogy at Lew Wasserman's memorial

Billy Dee Williams

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Leonard Goldberg on how Billy Dee Williams was cast in the TV movie Brian's Song

Natalie Wood

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Leonard Goldberg on not casting Natalie Wood on Hart to Hart

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