LORIMAR PRODUCTIONS (nowadays a subsidiary of WARNER BROS. TELEVISION), which, with the inception of "Dallas" in 1978, created a new series genre, the prime time soap opera format, and wrote television history, developed the "Falcon Crest" series based on a script by EARL HAMNER, a distinguished novelist and award-winning screenplay and teleplay writer, most remembered for his popular television series "The Waltons".
Originally intended to be a one-hour TV movie, LORIMAR produced "The Vintage Years", the predecessor of the "Falcon Crest" show, in the spring of 1981.
After that made-for-TV movie was totally revamped, recast and recreated, the program "Falcon Crest" made its début on the CBS television network on December 4, 1981. From 1981 through 1990, 227 episodes brought along stories about money and power, happiness and suffering, love and hate, fate and death.
Beside other soap operas, such as "Dallas", "Knots Landing" and "Dynasty", the series was consistently among the top-rated American prime time TV dramas — it was among the top 10 in the Nielsen Ratings for three consecutive seasons and among the top 25 for four more years.
The huge success of "Falcon Crest" was not only caused by its elaborate cast and crew, but also by the extensive use of real filming locations rather than shooting entirely on sound stages at the movie studios as most other TV series do. It was filmed in California's heralded wine country, the Napa & Sonoma Valleys, as well as on location around Los Angeles, at WARNER BROS. STUDIOS in Burbank, CA and CBS STUDIO CENTER in Studio City, CA.
"Falcon Crest" has been syndicated in over 100 countries up to now. As one of the most popular shows in television history, the series is still very successful, particularly in many European countries, including Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland and most recently even in some of the former communist countries in Eastern Europe.
Most countries aired "Falcon Crest" under its original title. Some foreign networks, however, translated or changed the title. Here is a list of international syndication titles of the show (not completed):
- Canada (Québec only): "Sous le signe du faucon"
- Croatia: "Sokolov Greben"
- Finland: "Viinitila Falcon Crest"
- Norway: "Maktkamp på Falcon Crest"
- Turkey: "Şahin Tepesi"