Nielsen Ratings: number 42 (of 106) on the TV series hit list.
After LORIMAR had merged with TELEPICTURES CORPORATION in 1986 to form LORIMAR-TELEPICTURES and the president and one of the founding partners, LEE RICH, left the company, there was a process of reorganizing the whole company. Many established shows, including "Falcon Crest", were suddenly forced to meet new budget criteria because the new company regime demanded production costs be cut drastically.
Location filming in the Wine Country was done for # 156 through 167.
As usual, Spring Mountain Vineyards and Stags' Leap Winery are the major filming sites.
Season 7 started shooting earlier — right after the season 6 cliffhanger without the traditional hiatus because LORIMAR wanted to get the first twelve episodes in the can right away as it was feared that a screenwriters' strike could come up in July 1987. Also check # 156 for the production process.
Due to this unusual shooting schedule, there are a little less Wine Country location shots than usual at the beginning of this season. # 156, 158 and 164 feature a few interior scenes of the Gioberti Winery; these episodes as well as # 159 and 160 feature a couple of exteriors of the Gioberti Estate (all filmed at Stags' Leap). Richard's house will be used only in # 156, 157, 159 through 162, 166 and 167. But far less filming will take place at Spring Mountain than in the previous years.
The outline for the first twelve episodes was done quite hastily and — for the first eleven episodes — mostly without the input of supervising producer HOWARD LAKIN, who was suffering from a back injury, as he explained in an exclusive 2007 DFCF interview. Due to these circumstances, the early episodes of the season (some of which written by non-staff writers) are much more inconsistent and less specific as usual. There are a number of contradictions in the shorter storylines in particular, e.g. the vague hints about what Chase put up as collateral for Nicole Sauguet's loan (check # 157 for details) and — even more obvious — the Carlton Travis storyline, which lacks a reasonable explanation why Carlton blames Richard for his own pathologic guilt complex caused by his brother's death although Carlton apparently is not insane at all. After the filming hiatus (between # 167 and 168), which enabled the writing staff to finish the bible for the rest of the season, the plot will become much more complex and less inconsistent.
Another problem apparently coming along with the early start of filming for this season is that the time frame is completely inconsistent. The writers obviously lost focus on the dates of previous recurring events, such as Joseph's birthday (see # 160) and Angela's birthday (see # 175) and did not realize how much time went by between certain episodes or even within one episode (check out # 165, 170, 178 and 179 in particular).
Despite many continuing threads, many storylines will be tied up more quickly this season. Although "Falcon Crest" keeps up its serialized mode of storytelling, it will develop a slight tendency towards episodic television this year by creating episodes with a beginning, middle and end to move even more rapidly than in the previous season. The producers hope to make it easier for new viewers to pick up the story.
Guests on "Crest": A new special guest star policy will contribute to that aim as well. The producers decided to have at least one new celeb guest per month this season. Therefore, season 7 is the year with the largest number of rotating guests in the Tuscany Valley.
Due to budget constraints, a few members of the main cast (BRETT CULLEN, MARGARET LADD, JOHN CALLAHAN, DANA SPARKS and CHAO-LI CHI) will not appear in some episodes. Compare # 161 in particular.
Special guest stars the producers intended to hire for this season:
Princess MARIE-CHRISTINE: casting plans for the stepsister of the late Belgian King BAUDOUIN were dropped.
ANGIE DICKINSON: Her name was mentioned several times, also with regard to the storyline about Angela's first child. Before the final decision was made that this plotline would work much better with Richard, the producers thought about bringing Angela's scheming oldest daughter into the picture in season 7.
RAQUEL WELCH: Negotiations failed before details were planned; the actress, however, arranged for her daughter, TAHNEE WELCH, to be cast in the rôle of Shannon Taylor, a character specifically written for her.
TOM CRUISE: Although never confirmed, the National Enquirer claims that negotiations were also made with this actor in the early days of his career.
The animation of the flying falcon for this season's main title took six weeks to be produced — it was an early stage of computer generated animation.
Main title screen captures are available here.
Original storyline plans:
Chase, presumed drowned, will show up at Falcon Crest in disguise to start a romance with the show's newest scheming, ruthless female, Nicole Sauguet.
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