Come aboard, they’re expecting you! More than three decades after the Love Boat first set sail on ABC — and more than two decades after it made its final voyage — cast members Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Fred Grandy, Lauren Tewes, and Jill Whelan reunited for a very special episode of The Talk.
Greeted by hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood, and Aisha Tyler — who dressed in costume as characters from the classic TV series — the former costars reminisced about their time together in the 1970s and ’80s. (The Aaron Spelling-produced show aired for 10 seasons between 1977 and 1986 and spawned four additional specials.)
“I didn’t think we’d even get through the pilot,” Grandy, who played Burl “Gopher” Smith, confessed of the Love Boat‘s humble beginnings. “The first pilot that we did, we did over Christmas. So there was this tremendous feeling of, ‘Oh, the business is rewarding us with a Christmas cruise.’ But nobody thought it would go beyond that. I mean, as Gavin pointed out, the critics hated it. They said it would sink like the Titanic.”
“They put us on at 10 o’clock on Saturday night, which is normally a graveyard shift,” he continued. “And then we started beating shows like Kojak and Carol Burnett, and then we said, ‘You know, something might be going on here.'”
Something was indeed going on. The Love Boat eventually became one of the most famous shows in television history. It even spawned a 1990s spinoff, The Love Boat: The Next Wave, that aired on UPN from 1998 to 1999.
“All of a sudden, this thing caught on,” Grandy recalled on The Talk. “And we started getting these wonderful ratings. Gavin, of course, always believed, from the very first day, [that we would be a hit].”
That may have had something to do with his costars. “It was a gift to work with them,” MacLeod (a.k.a. Captain Merrill Stubing) said of his cast mates. “They all had a specific talent.”
The Talk‘s Love Boat reunion also featured a surprise appearance by a special guest: Charo! The Spanish-American actress appeared eight times on The Love Boat in the 1970s — and she could not have been happier to see her former costars.
Watch the reunion above!