Podcast 118: “Cagney & Lacey & Barney Rosenzweig, Part 2”

Wait! There were THREE Cagneys?

In Part 2 of our conversation with creator/executive producer Barney Rosenzweig, we follow along as the massive success of the Cagney & Lacey TV movie launches it directly into a weekly series for CBS and into a very tumultuous road from multiple cancellations to hit ratings and 14 Emmys. The rest, as they say, is 80’s TV herstory…
Read Transcript

The Conversation

  • GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS, PART 1: “We want ‘Cagney & Lacey’ as a mid-season pick-up!” BUT… “You’ve got to be on the air in 20 weeks. And -- you need a new Cagney”.
  • After Loretta Switt, but before Meg Foster… Susan Clark (Webster, Coogan's Bluff) was almost Cagney -- except for one small problem only Barney noticed. (“Lacey & Lacey” anyone?)
  • GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS, PART 2: Cagney & Lacey premieres to a 38 share!” BUT… “Then it plummets to a 22 share. You’re canceled.”
  • Time slot matters: Why would it be a bad idea to air Cagney & Lacey after massive-hit Magnum P.I.? After Cagney & Lacey is dropped, what 80s detective duo TV show was saved from the chopping block by taking the slot? Spoiler alert: Simon & Simon!
  • How did Barney snatch victory from the jaws of defeat - and wrangle a last-minute reprieve that results in a second-season order.
  • THE FINAL CAGNEY: How the second season renewal is dependent on replacing Cagney one more time. The end of House Calls gives us the third - and final - Cagney in the form of… drumroll… Sharon Gless!
  • GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS, PART 3: “Your ratings are great! You’re nominated for Emmys!” BUT… “The Thornbirds came on and destroyed your ratings. You’re canceled – AGAIN!”
  • The Barney & fan-driven letter-writing campaign to save the show from death -- AGAIN!
  • The Abortion Episode – and why Barney thinks it’s one of their weakest.
  • How Barney’s on-set affair led to the end of one marriage (to Barbara Corday, Cagney & Lacey writer/creator and then Columbia Television president) and the beginning of another (to series co-star Sharon Gless).
  • Looking Back: Barney reflects on the many ways his journey with “Cagney & Lacey” changed his career, his personal philosophy – and his life.
So join Susan & Sharon – and Barney – as they talk Moonlighting, Dead to Me – and why you should always call your mom…

Our Audio-ography

All 5 seasons of “Remington Steele” are now available on Amazon Prime and AppleTV!

Visit the Official Cagney & Lacey website.

Read Barney Rosenzweig’s Blog!

Get Barney’s book: “Cagney & Lacey… and me” 

From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies” by Molly Haskell

Weirding Way Media (Mike White & Chris Stachiw) 

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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 118 – “Cagney & Lacey & Barney Rosenzweig, Part 2”
Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem.
Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson.
Guests: Barney Rosenzweig.
Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey.
Producer: Melissa Roth.
Associate Producer: Sergio Perez.
Music by Amy Engelhardt.
Copyright 2023 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.