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The following is a transcript of the Universal Chat with:

 Don Bellisario
5/27/97

Moderator says, "Greetings Universal Chatters and welcome to another live moderated chat! Tonight we're privileged to have Don Bellisario at the Backlot Café. Donald Paul Bellisario is the creator and executive producer of such highly successful series as Quantum Leap, Magnum P.I., and Airwolf to name a few. He is currently in production on Crowfoot, a two-hour pilot for CBS-TV. Don also served as supervising producer on Battlestar Galactica before becoming involved in development for the show. In 1978 he directed an episode of Battlestar Galactica called The Young Lords. After his stint on Battlestar Galactica, Don went on to create Magnum P.I. and Quantum. In 1991, Don was nominated in the Best Script for Episodic Drama category by the Writer's Guild of America for The Leap Home episode of Quantum Leap. Bellisario's television programs have been nominated for over 100 Emmys. Ladies and Gentlemen……it's chat time. Please welcome Don Bellisario."

Don_bellisario waves at everyone.

Moderator says, "First off, have you ever chatted live on the internet before?"

Don_bellisario says, "No, except for e-mail"

Moderator says, "So this is your first live chat?"

Don_bellisario says, "Yes"

Moderator says, "Alright...let's get started with the questions...."

Moderator presents the speakers with question #17 from Wildman: What gave you the idea for quantum leap? I think it's a great show I watch it all the time.

Don_bellisario says, "Hard to say where ideas come from I always had a love for time travel. I was reading a book called "coming Alive in the Milky Way, which talked about Einstein's theories about time and that prompted me to wake up at 4:00 in the morning with the idea for Quantum Leap"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #24 from Spicily: Who came up with the idea for Magnum P.I.? And was Tom Selleck your first choice?

Don_bellisario says, "Magnum PI was a different show that I was writing called HH Flynn about a private detective on Rodeo Drive who lived in a mansion/guest house in Bel Air Drive the owner's red Ferrari and after he was done on a case, he would jump into a jeep drive to San Pedro to a bar, run by his buddy Rick and his other Vietnam buddy T.C. who flew helicopters to the oil rigs off the California coast CBS wanted a show to replace Hawaii 5-O and had Tom Selleck under contract to do a P.I. show"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #28 from Fringer: Tom Selleck has shown interest in doing a MAGNUM P.I. movie for the big screen. Would you be a part of that, as MAGNUM's co-creator?

Don_bellisario says, "Love to. We're just talking about it now"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #38 from Al402: Will they make any more Quantum Leap episodes?

Don_bellisario says, "No, but I wish they would I think Quantum Leap was one of the best shows I've ever done I loved working on that show and had a very special relationship with Scott Bakula who is a terrific actor and a neat guy"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #41 from Xorcist: Mirror Image left the viewers with a lot of questions, will they ever be answered in a movie or in a new QL series ?

Don_bellisario says, "Not in a new series, but the question certainly might be answered in a film at some time in the future and before you ask, one, yes, I'd love to make it Two, it's not even in the talking stage yet"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #59 from Lwaxanna: Who was the barman in Mirror Image?

Don_bellisario says, "Do you mean the actor? The actor was Bruce McGill who looks exactly like my father did in 1953 when he owned that bar. That bar was a mirror image of the coal mining bar in Pennsylvania where I was raised I even put the actual photos from the bar on the walls of the set and since my father created me and I created Quantum Leap it was a story about a bartender who was gone God"

Moderator says, "Wow...that's pretty cool...I didn't know that (and I'm sure not many other people did as well). Thanks for the heads up on that one."

Don_bellisario says, "He was gone too. My dad died in '66"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #52 from Del_kaidin: With the new Battlestar Galactica, will we see some of the old cast i.e.: Dirk Benedict, Richard Hatch etc?

Don_bellisario says, "I don't even know that there is a new Battlestar Galactica"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #57 from Lwaxanna: Why do you always put the lead characters birthday on the same day as your own?

Don_bellisario says, "It's an ego trip"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #33 from Fringe: What have you got in the works currently, or is JAG a stopping point for the time being?

Don_bellisario says, "I want to make sure that JAG is established as a hit I've been working hard to keep it on the air since we had to change networks Now that it's picked up for a 3rd season, I'll also be working on a feature project and a new series"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #87 from Valium: Are you interested in Stephen Hawkins work?

Don_bellisario says, "I have read very little of his work, but find him a fascinating human being"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #79 from Cugal: Why was Quantum leap such a liberal/leftist show?

Don_bellisario says, "I didn't realize it was My personal politics tend to be liberal socially and conservative fiscally and especially conservative when it comes to the military"

Don_bellisario says, "And I always thought that Quantum was a blend of those ideals"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #90 from Quantumfan1: What was your favorite show you've made/worked on?

Don_bellisario says, "My favorite show as an episode was probably Magnum home form the sea But I certainly liked a number of Quantum's and even Jag"

Don_bellisario says, "It's like asking a father what your favorite child is they're each unique"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #16 from Supa: Have your success changed you, or are you the same guy as in the start of your career?

Don_bellisario says, "and since I have as many children as I've created series or maybe more, I think I can say that I certainly have more material wealth or I should say, a lot of lawyers in divorce court have but when it comes to core values, I'm still the same guy I was from that coal mining town in Pennsylvania"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #36 from Fringer: Has there been any interest in releasing AIRWOLF episodes onto video here in the States?

Don_bellisario says, "I have no idea if Universal has decided to release any Airwolf episodes, but it's a welcome idea to me"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #62 from Kryton: There were many scenes in Battlestar Galactica that were obviously re-used. Was this done as tongue-in-cheek humor or due to budget cutbacks?

Don_bellisario says, "It was done strictly due to budgets At the time of Battlestar we didn't have the CGI effects so easily created at a low cost today So they were reused out of necessity"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #19 from Supa: Have you thought about making a new motion picture or do you like the television medium more?

Don_bellisario says, "I love the television medium I have written and directed one feature Last Rites with Tom Berenger and Daphne Zuniga and certainly intend to make more features in the near future"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #61 from Jinxed1: What Show ideas have you had that didn't make it to the screen?

Don_bellisario throws his head back, cackling with glee

Don_bellisario says, "I don't think that there is any idea that I seriously pursued that didn't end up as a TV series"

Don_bellisario says, "They were 3 shows that I made One called 3 on a match which only went to pilot One which ran a year, that's tales of the Gold Monkey Gold Monkey was a show I really enjoyed making and wish it had run long and the 3rd show was Tequila and Venettie which I believe ran only 11 episodes"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #86 from Wildebeest: What prompted your decision to go into the business and what route did you take which led you to creating such successful series???

Don_bellisario says, "I took a very circuitous route I was working in advertising as a creative director making mostly commercials for working in Hollywood and NY and decided that I wanted to move into a longer form that 30 seconds. I came to California without any prospects wrote a couple of spec scripts was "discovered" and shortly thereafter created Magnum but the basis of everything I do is writing I am a writer/director and executive producer only to control the creative output"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #119 from Captalvarez: What radio/TV shows inspired you as a child?

Don_bellisario says, "Good question. I've been around so long that I go back to the radio shows such as Captain Midnight, Johnny Dollar, Let's Pretend Grand Central Station and Dimension X which is a show very much like today's X Files More than the radio and TV shows, though, the books that I read inspired me to be a writer, starting with Ernest Hemingway and a book by an adventurer called Richard Halibert who was an explorer who visited all points of the earth and quite a romantic which brings to mind one show I forgot on the last questions I did come up with a show called The Ultimate Adventure which we were getting ready to film in Peru when the plug got pulled for fiscal reasons I wish I'd have been able to do that show as a series"

Moderator says, "That would have been cool"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #124 from Quantumfan1: What do you like on TV now?

Don_bellisario says, "Oh, boy Very difficult to say. When you're making TV you have very little time to watch it I really don't watch any of the sitcoms I think X Files is excellent. Big surprise"

Don_bellisario says, "And I love Law and Order when I get a chance to watch it. Dick Wolf and I are friends and I thinking he created a brilliant show"

Don_bellisario says, "And I love all the little spin-offs of quantum leap"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #132 from Cov: Wasn't there supposed to be a Q.L. episode where Sam leaps into Magnum?

Don_bellisario says, "Yes, there was And I really wanted to make it But was unable to obtain the necessary clearances form everyone involved"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #134 from Wildebeest: It seems that you have a certain feeling or affinity about places...like Hawaii and the rural countryside in Airwolf. Is that by specific design, or just part of the image of the characters you wanted to develop???

Don_bellisario says, "In the case of Hawaii, CBS wanted a show set in Hawaii. In fact, when I wrote the pilot, I had never been there and since I didn't have time for a scouting trip I wrote the pilot from a tour book and when I got there, everyone was amazed at all the wonderful locations. They knew exactly where they were In the case of Airwolf, I had filmed a number of times in Monument Valley during my commercial days It's a very mystical place and always impressed me in fact, the opening of Quantum originally began in Monument Valley with Sam totally naked, not knowing if he was in some prehistoric age or the present when he woke up with a total loss of memory He was picked up by a sheriff who recognized him, sat him in the car drove him into town and charged him with the murder of the body in the back of the sheriff's pick-up Oh, yes when he first walked around the pick-up, he saw the plate which said 1954 and thought it was just a man who nev3er changed his plates That's what got me started. It's a shame I never made that episode Instead, I started another rewrite and came up with the pilot episode of Quantum Leap"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #78 from Kryton: Who is the one director you would most like to work with?

Don_bellisario says, "Oh, wow, tough, tough question I assume you speak of feature directors And I'd certainly love to work with Barry Levinson or Steven Spielberg" Um, those would top my list"

Don_bellisario says, "Let me add something and if he were alive, Frank Capra"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #88 from Kryton: Does the speed at which technology progresses frighten you in anyway?

Don_bellisario says, "It scares the hell out of me I've got so much information coming into my brain now I don't know how I'll handle another byte"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #104 from Seania: What's Crowfoot about? And when will it air?

Don_bellisario says, "Crowfoot aired. Sorry you missed it. It was about an Indian who lived in Hawaii and had mystical powers which he himself denied And his co-star was a ghost a very beautiful ghost that he was madly in love with and they could never consummate their relationship as long as he was a love. How's that for unrequited love?"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #142 from Pisser15: I am only 15 so half of the stuff that you are talking about has no interest to me.....I wish to chat as a normal person....what is your favorite type of music???

Don_bellisario laughs hysterically.

Don_bellisario says, "I like everything except rap I hate rap"

Don_bellisario says, "I love classical music, I like rhythm and blues I like torch singers"

Don_bellisario says, "I guess I'm a romanticist at heart"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #143 from Quantumfan1: Settle this question.... Does Sam's body leap, or his mind/soul leap?

Don_bellisario throws his head back, cackling with glee.

Don_bellisario laughs hysterically.

Don_bellisario says, "Oh, God! I don't know Let me be honest We debated that often I think probably it was his spirit that leaped Uh, but then again, maybe it was his body No, it definitely was his body You'll have to excuse me. It's been awhile since Quantum and I have to rethink all this The reason I know it was his body is that if Sam leaped into a man with a broken leg Sam did not have a broken leg But if Sam broke his leg and then leaped into someone else's his leg would be broken at the end of that leap Took me awhile to remember that guys and gals"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #112 from Xorcist: Do you think time travel will ever be possible ?

Don_bellisario says, "I hope so and I'm in good company on that Charles Lindberg spent the latter part of his life dedicated to the idea of travelling through space with the mind He said that the physical limitation were so overwhelming that man would never be able to leap from one end of the universe to the other except through his mind and I agree"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #144 from Chrispappas: Was the Galactica episode "Experiment in Terra" and kind of inspiration for Quantum Leap?

Don_bellisario says, "Uh, it was not an inspiration for Quantum because I don't even remember the episode Galactica was 20 years ago That's a lifetime"

Moderator presents the speakers with question #125 from Wildebeest: How would you imagine a new BG with the advances in computer effects over the last 20 years?

Don_bellisario says, "I think it would look very much like Star Trek It certainly would be more interesting visually and the effects would be marvelous as they are in all of the Star Trek series and Battlestar has it's own unique place in the history of TV and for it's time, was cutting edge"

Moderator says, "Here's the final question of the evening...."

Moderator presents the speakers with question #135 from Del_kaidin: If you had one piece of advice to give an aspiring writer what would it be?

Don_bellisario says, "Write, period Thank you all so much I appreciate your participation in this chat room I've enjoyed it and I hope you have too Let's do it again"

Moderator says, "Thanks a lot Don...this has been great! Good luck in the future!"