Falcon Crest was an American primetime television soap opera; it aired 227 episodes from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990.
The show was created by Earl Hamner, famous for his work on The Waltons. Hamner wanted to create a family drama involving the wine industry. CBS ordered him to make the show more sensational, along the lines of Dallas (The show was created so CBS could easily win Friday night in the Nielsen ratings. Falcon Crest was scheduled at 10PM, with top-rated Dallas scheduled immediately before it).
Hamner proceeded to deliberately script what he viewed as trashy, turgid melodrama. It starred Oscar winner Jane Wyman as Angela Channing, a despotic woman who ruled with an iron fist over her vineyards in the fictional Tuscany Valley region of California (modeled after the Napa Valley). Robert Foxworth also starred as Chase Gioberti, a man new to the area, having inherited a portion of the Falcon Crest vineyards and winery from his father, Angela’s brother Jason who died after a fall in the winery during the premiere episode. The rivalry between the established professional and the newcomer, who both happened to be tied together by blood relations, set the tone for much of the serial. The Dallas-Falcon Crest one-two punch proved lucrative for the show and Falcon Crest was a Top 20 show in the Nielsens for many years.
The show had a stirring, heraldic theme composed by Bill Conti, who had also composed the theme to Dynasty.
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