Michelle Lee divorced her real life husband James Farantino during the shows early days. In the scene whereby her character Karen Fairgate took off her wedding ring at her husband Sid's grave, she was actually taking off her real wedding ring from her marriage to Farentino for the last time in order to make the scene appear more real.
In 1985, Gary got a phone call telling him his brother Bobby (of Dallas) was dead. However, when the producers of Dallas decided to retcon Bobby's death the following year by making it all a dream that Pam Ewing had had, the producers of Knots Landing chose not to go along with its parent series in order to not confuse viewers. Bobby Ewing's "resurrection" therefore was never mentioned on Knots Landing and the series never associated itself with Dallas again.
During the first few seasons, there was a certain amount of interplay between this show and Dallas (1978), from which it was a spin off. Gary and Val also both appeared in the final episode of "Dallas" in 1991 when an angel showed J.R. how different their lives would have been had J.R. never been born.
Almost a year after the series ended, stars Kevin Dobson and Nicollette Sheridan attended the funeral of Telly Savalas, who died in January 1994 of prostate cancer. Long before Dobson's role on Knots Landing, he had a co-starring role with Savalas in the 1970s cop series Kojak (1973). Sheridan is Savalas's real-life stepdaughter.
The Season Nine episodes (Noises Everywhere, Part one and two) were the shows 200th and 201st episodes respectively. Dealing with the death of Laura and her funeral, the episodes were conceived by the cast members who spent a weekend at producer David Jacobs ranch and improvised their scenes before filming them.
Actor John Pleshette (who played Richard Avery) wrote and directed several episodes of the show, including its rival soap Dynasty (1981), for which he wrote in 1985. He left the show at almost the end of the fourth season to merely direct episodes of Knots Landing, when David Jacobs and Michael Filerman wouldn't allow him to, until later.
Two cast members remained with the series from the first episode in 1979 until the final episode in 1993: Michele Lee and Ted Shackelford. Lee is the only actor to have appeared in all 344 episodes, which was a record for an actress on a prime-time drama at that time (though this has since been surpassed by S. Epatha Merkerson who appeared on Law & Order (1990) for 19 seasons and (at least) 391 episodes). Joan Van Ark appeared in every season of Knots Landing, but only in the final episode of the show's last season.
David Jacobs came up with and tried to sell the concept of this show (5 families living in a cul-de-sac) before he created Dallas (1978), but the networks wanted something with more glitz and glamor. When Dallas became a success, the network asked for a spin-off. Jacobs dusted off his idea for Knots Landing by making Gary and Val Ewing one of the families.
Michelle Phillips first joined the series as scheming Anne Matheson in 1987 for a fixed number of episodes, but she was asked to reprise her role in 1989 after the departure of Donna Mills, the show's main villainess. When audiences felt that the character had become too sympathetic, the writers created Claudia Whitaker (played by Kathleen Noone) who was seen as a more devious Abby-like character, with whom Anne often battled.
Both Lisa Hartman-Black and Stacy Galina played characters that were killed off, only to re-appear in later episodes as a new character. The physical resemblances between their respective characters was part of the story.
Though it had outlasted all of its contemporaries (even Dallas (1978)) and was still in the top 40 ratings, the network and the producers mutually agreed that that the show's 14th season (1992-93) was to be its last as further budget cuts would have to be made should it have stayed on air for a 15th season. The producers and the network decided that less episodes would be produced (19) for the final season and all actors were required to be absent from at least some of the episodes to save money. However, Michele Lee offered to forgo her usual salary and film some episodes for actors union "scale pay". She therefore she became the only character to appear in all 344 episodes.
Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford were cast as a couple as a result of appearing together in an episode of Wonder Woman (1975) (though their characters were adversaries on that show, they had chemistry).
David Jacobs explains how he came up with the title: "I couldn't think of anything to name it and in my head it was based on 'Palos Verdes' which is a little peninsula south of Los Angeles which had cul-de-sacs. But it looked like it could have been called Landing; there are a lot of places in America which are called 'landing' which are on bodies of ocean, and then 'Knots' was a little joke, married people."
In February 1992, when Larry Riley had been on the show for five years, audiences were shocked by his haggard appearance after the show took a five-month hiatus. Larry explained had he'd lost 80 pounds (from 220) due to kidney trouble, which he attributed to high blood pressure, and would be on dialysis for the rest of his life. After his death four months later, his widow Nina disclosed that Larry's renal failure was actually due to AIDS.
The series' signature cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle, was actually Crystalaire Place in Granada Hills, a suburban street in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley about 20 miles north of the Pacific Ocean. The opening credits during the first two seasons were edited in such a way to make it appear that the cul-de-sac was closer to the ocean. The owners of the homes allowed filming to take place on the exteriors of the houses, but all interior shots were filmed on a studio soundstage.
After Lisa Hartman's character, Ciji Dunne, was killed off at the end of the '82-'83 season, the show was flooded with letters from viewers who wanted Lisa Hartman brought back to the show. They brought her back the following season as a Ciji lookalike named Cathy Geary.
William Devane (Greg Sumner) was widely praised for his portrayal of President John F. Kennedy in the 1974 TV movie The Missiles of October, which dramatized the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, who used a rifle. The character of Pierce Lawton, played by Bruce Greenwood, tries to assassinate Greg Sumner with a rifle in season 12. Greenwood himself later starred as President John F. Kennedy in the 2000 film Thirteen Days, which also dramatized the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Madison Mason, who plays John Coblenz in Knots Landing, also appears in Thirteen Days, as Admiral George Anderson.
At the beginning of the fifth all the way through the thirteenth season, Gary Ewing's character (played by Ted Shackelford) owned a ranch called, Westfork. In real-life, the ranch where Shackelford's character lived is called: Sandstone Horse Sales, a place for horse racing and breeding located in Thousand Oaks, California.
After Don Murray's departure from the show, the producers of the show wanted Michele Lee's character to remain single for a year, which she did, then, the producers hired Kevin Dobson to play her second husband on the show, and stayed on 'Knots Landing,' until cancelation.
Donna Mills left the show at nearly the end of the series' tenth year, to focus on other projects. She technically joined the cast in 1980 and stayed on until 1989. She returned for the series' finale with Joan Van Ark.