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Old 02-06-2006, 04:55 PM   #5
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I believe it was indeed about the ratings during that final season.

Basically, Warren Littlefield took over as President of NBC that year (before him was the late Brandon Tartikoff, who died a few years later). Anyway, when Brandon Tartikoff was in charge, he believed in the show and kept it on the schedule. In fact, there's an interview with Don Bellisario somewhere where he talks about when he first pitched the idea for Quantum Leap to Mr. Tartikoff. And Tartikoff basically told him something to the effect of, "You know, if this idea had come from anyone else, I would have dismissed the idea and sent you on your way; but because it's coming from you, I'm gonna give the show a shot." Sure enough, it found its audience, and although it kept getting moved around, the fans wrote letters for NBC to keep the show going. So, it eventually moved back to Wednesday nights at 10PM EST, which is where the show got the most ratings (that time slot now is taken up by the original Law & Order).

Then, after the 1991/92 season ended, Brandon Tartikoff left and Warren Littlefield took over. That's basically when everything started going downhill. He began putting pressure on the producers to start doing more "ambitious" stories in order to get higher ratings. (It also didn't help that NBC decided to move Quantum Leap to Tuesday nights at 8PM EST that year.) I think that's why the series began drifting away from the God, Time, Fate aspect of the show and delved into more science fiction elements. The "Evil Leaper" saga was conceived by Robin Jill Bernheim, who was hired on as an executive producer that year. To my recollection, Don himself was not too crazy about the idea of giving Sam a nemesis, but it was basically an edict handed down from Littlefield. That's also why Sam began leaping into historical figures and celebrities that season (something that Bellisario was strongly against).

Incidentally, Littlefield has since gone on record saying that he holds himself personally responsible for Quantum Leap's demise. Just figured I'd give a little "history lesson" on all of that. I, personally, think the "Evil Leaper" saga was a great idea, and I would have loved to see where it was headed after the "Return/Revenge" 2-hour movie. Oh well... that's what the Virtual Seasons are for...

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