20 Best TV Spin-Offs

From Mork to Maude, these were the shows that proved the second time's a charm

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2. 'Lou Grant'

He started out presiding over TV news anchors in Minneapolis; he ended up leading a crack team of journalists at a daily paper in L.A. But the biggest transition that Ed Asner's Lou Grant experienced wasn't geographical but tonal — moving from lovably grumpy boss on a sitcom (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) to dead-serious editor on an hour-long drama, tackling sex scandals, human-rights issues and other torn-from-today's-headlines hot topics. The change worked wonders for Asner, who got to show off his chops and become the only actor to win an Emmy in both the Comedy and Drama categories for playing the same character. Before Hill Street Blues came along, this series was considered the highmark of primetime prestige TV. When you wanted thoughtful, compelling storytelling about the what was going on outside your living room, you went to Lou. DF

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