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Why the Biggest Star in TV History Left the Business

Can you name the biggest star in TV history? It’s not Jerry Seinfeld or Bill Cosby or even Lucille Ball. Here’s a hint: this star was on a long-running primetime show from 1977 until 1986, and unlike most slim Hollywood actresses who carefully watch their weight, this one weighed more than 20,000 tons!
That’s because the biggest TV star in history isn’t a person, it’s the Pacific Princess from the hit romantic sitcom The Love Boat.
Back in 1977, when the The Love Boat first hit the airwaves, Princess Cruises agreed to have their cruise ships featured on the show. The ship that starred in almost every episode was the Pacific Princess (sometimes it was replaced with sister ship Island Princess, but that was only when the Pacific Princess was in the shop, or as we probably should call it, “Celebrity Boat Rehab”).
By 1981, The Love Boat was a massive TV sensation, reaching #5 in the ratings. To capitalize on the attention, Princess Cruises dubbed the Pacific Princess “The Love Boat” and began featuring the ship in the company’s advertising. This worked big time. In the United States, the popularity of cruise travel soared to its highest levels in years.
The Love Boat left the airwaves in 1986 and so did the Pacific Princess. In 1998, a new version of the show, Love Boat: The Next Wave, ran for two seasons, but it featured the Sun Princess, another Princess ship. That’s life in the cruise ship acting business—here today, out to sea the next. Luckily, the Pacific Princess kept its day job, sailing until 2002.
Today, the ship is sitting idly in a port in Italy where it’s up for sale, so if you’ve got 2.5 million euros lying around and want to own a piece of TV history, go for it!
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