From the Archives: ‘Animal House’ co-producer Ivan Reitman visits the set of TV spinoff ‘Delta House’

Jan. 23, 1979: Ivan Reitman, co-producer of "Animal House," poses before the fraternity house edifice constructed at Universal Studios for the spinoff television show "Delta House."
Jan. 23, 1979: Ivan Reitman, co-producer of “Animal House,” poses before the fraternity house edifice constructed at Universal Studios for the spinoff television show “Delta House.”
(George Rose / Los Angeles Times)

Following the success of the 1978 movie “Animal House,” spinoffs and similar frat house productions quickly appeared.

Lee Grant in the Feb. 15, 1979, edition of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

“National Lampoon’s Animal House” has earned more than $52 million in domestic film rental since its release seven months ago — and that ain’t no college joke.


The film’s sophomoric humor apparently has struck a chord on the nation’s university campuses where “Animal House”-inspired toga parties and food fights have proliferated.

The three major television networks have joined the bandwagon with “Animal House”-type programming — “Delta House” (ABC), “Co-ed Fever” (CBS) and “Brothers and Sisters” (NBC).

Universal Pictures, which spent multimillions on such financially turgid productions as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “The Wiz,” is genuinely surprised at the impressive monetary returns it has garnered so far from the modestly budgeted “Animal House” (which cost slightly more than $3 million to make). …

Ivan Reitman, 31, the film’s co-producer, smiled knowingly at the figures laid before him. “I have at least 12 witnesses ,” he said, “that heard me say two years ago that ‘Animal House’ would outgross ‘American Graffiti’ (the 1973 Universal movie that earned $55.8 million in domestic film rentals).” …

Reitman was being chauffeured now to the Universal back lot where a replica of the film’s fraternity house was constructed for the “Delta House” TV show. Reitman is serving as the program’s executive producer. …

Perched in front of the rickety fraternity house edifice, Reitman gingerly stepped around the mess that seemed to have been transplanted here from the film’s location at the University of Oregon. There was even a rusted, overturned abandoned auto. …

The Delta House used in “Animal House” was the former Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity near the University of Orgeon in Eugene. The house was torn down in 1986.

“Delta House” was canceled by ABC after one season. NBC’s “Brothers and Sisters” also lasted one season. CBS’s “Co-Ed Fever” lasted one broadcasted episode — the other five episodes never aired.

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