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 eighty pounds (from two hundred twenty) 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.
Michele Lee divorced her real-life husband James Farentino during the show's early days. In the scene where 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 Ewing (Ted Shackelford) got a phone call telling him his brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) 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, 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.
Almost a year after the series ended, Kevin Dobson (M. "Mack" Patrick Mackenzie) and Nicollette Sheridan (Paige Matheson) attended the funeral of Telly Savalas, who died in January 1994 of prostate cancer. Long before Dobson's role on this show, he had a co-starring role with Savalas on Kojak (1973). Sheridan is Savalas' real-life stepdaughter.
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 (Ted Shackelford) and Val (Joan Van Ark) also both appeared in the final episode of Dallas in 1991, when an angel showed J.R. (Larry Hagman) how different their lives would have been, had J.R. never been born.
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 actress to have appeared in all three hundred forty-four 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 seventeen seasons, and (at least) three hundred ninety-one episodes]. Joan Van Ark appeared in every season of Knots Landing, but only in the final episode of the show's last season.
Lisa Hartman-Black and Stacy Galina both played characters that were killed off. They re-appeared in later episodes as new characters. The physical resemblances between their respective characters were part of their stories.
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 twenty miles from 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 houses allowed filming to take place on the exteriors of the houses, but all interior shots were filmed on a studio soundstage.
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 (Abby Ewing), the show's main villainess. When audiences felt that the character had become too sympathetic, the writers created Claudia Whitaker (Kathleen Noone), who was seen as a more devious Abby-like character, with whom Anne often battled.
Although it had outlasted all of its contemporaries (even Dallas (1978)) and was still in the top forty ratings, the network and the producers mutually agreed that that the show's fourteenth season (1992-93) was to be its last, as further budget cuts would have to be made, should it have stayed on the air for a fifteenth season. The producers and the network decided that less episodes would be produced (nineteen) for the final season, and all actors and actresses 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 union scale pay. She therefore became the only actress to appear in all three hundred forty-four 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."
After Lisa Hartman-Black'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 look-a-like named Cathy Geary.
David Jacobs came up with, and tried to sell the concept of this show (five 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 this show by making Gary and Val Ewing one of the families.
From the fifth through the thirteenth season, Gary Ewing (Ted Shackelford) owned a ranch called Westfork. In real-life, the ranch is called Sandstone Horse Sales. It is 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. The producers then hired Kevin Dobson to play her eventual second husband on the show. He remained until the series was cancelled.
Donna Mills left the show near the end of the series' tenth year, to focus on other projects. She officially joined the cast in 1980 and stayed on until 1989. She returned for the series' finale with Joan Van Ark.
The series was the longest running live-action spin-off series in American prime time television history until Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) surpassed it with the commencement of its fifteenth season in September 2013.
Michele Lee (Karen Fairgate MacKenzie), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing) and Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing) are the only actors to appear in all fourteen seasons. In second place is Pat Petersen (Michael Fairgate), who appeared in all but the last two seasons.