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Moonlighting (TV Series 1985–1989) Poster

(1985–1989)

Trivia

Bruce Willis was the very last of about 3,000 actors to audition for the role of David Addison.
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Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis did not get along during the series. Their relationship was further strained due to Willis' success with Die Hard (1988). While Willis became a major film star, he bristled at being the second-billed actor on a TV series. He also resented Shepherd whom he felt caused many of the delays in shooting.
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Bruce Willis made the film Die Hard (1988) while starring in "Moonlighting." By the time the series ended, "Die Hard" was available on VHS. In one of the last "Moonlighting" episodes, Willis and a love interest are seen walking past a video rental store while an employee is tearing a "Die Hard" poster down from the window.
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Episodes of the show were delayed so many times, one promotional spot for the series featured an actor playing a network employee waiting for the next episode to be delivered.
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One of the hallmarks of this show was the irreverent (and frequent) way in which the so-called "fourth wall" was broken: at various times the actors would look directly into the camera and speak to the audience; dialogue referred to the "producers", "director" and especially the "writers" and/or "script"; and in the second-season finale episode "Camille", the characters actually left the set and went running around the film studio lot, then the episode ended abruptly around the actors when filming wrapped for the summer break (shown on-screen).
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Creator/writer Glenn Gordon Caron left the series after the third season due to the chaotic production and disagreements with Cybill Shepherd.
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Episodes took 12 to 14 days shoot, much longer than the usual 7 days for an hour-long series. Dialogue was often written only hours before shooting. Scenes were sometimes filmed only days before airing. Because of the delays, the series never reached the usual 26 episodes per season. Only 66 episodes were produced from 1985-89.
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At an average of $1.6 million an episode, this was the most expensive TV series at the time. The season 2 episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" cost $2 million to produce. ABC was willing spend the money because the network owned the show which resulted in a much higher profit than a series owned by a separate production company.
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Many episode contain a shot of Maddie's feet stepping off of the elevator and walking to her office. Glenn Gordon Caron admitted that these shots only existed to give him time to complete the script. Episodes would often begin shooting without a completed script and were constantly being rewritten. Caron would continue writing while the shots of Maddie's feet were being set up and filmed.
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Glenn Gordon Caron was hired away from the series Remington Steele (1982), another series about a pair of bickering detectives, to create and produce this show.
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Because of the trademark conversations/arguments on this show (mostly, but not always, between David and Maddie), in which two or more characters are talking at length simultaneously, the scripts for this show were typically two to three times the length of a script for a similar hour-long drama.
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David mentions a McGillicuddy in the second episode of the series. The recurring character McGillicuddy first appeared in the third season.
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Diffusion disks were used to shoot Cybill Shepherd so that she would appear as leading ladies often in films of the 1940s.
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The third season became notorious for repeated delays of new episodes, as well as an excessive number of "filler" episodes (e.g. a Christmas story, a retrospective show, a Shakespeare spoof, and an episode focused on Miss DiPesto) that ignored the primary story arc. Much of this was due to scheduling because Bruce Willis had broken his shoulder skiing, and Cybill Shepherd was pregnant with twins. One episode opener during this period mentions these problems in a mock newsreel style.
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ABC and Cybill Shepherd originally wanted Harley Venton for the role of David Addison Jr., but show creator and writer, Glenn Gordon Caron, rejected him for the then-unknown Bruce Willis (both screen test were filmed - two scenes each with actress Mary-Margaret Humes playing Maddie Hayes - on 7 September 1984.) Venton's screen test, along with Willis's, appears at the end of the pilot episode DVD release.
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The role of Maddie was written specifically for Cybill Shepherd. Shepherd suggested that the cast and producers watch His Girl Friday (1940) and Bringing Up Baby (1938) to prepare for the pilot.
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Voice actor and stand-up comedian Maurice LaMarche auditioned for the role of David Addison. and came close to getting the part. He got three callbacks, but was eliminated before the screen-test phase.
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Robert Blake was considered for the role of David Addison, Jr.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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