Re: Was the lead character from Make me a Perfect murder based on Lynn Loring?
Fascinating that you mentioned the Lin Bolen inspiration for Faye Dunaway's Diane Christensen in "Network". I saw "Network" for the first time just a few months ago and was blown away at not only how good it was, but also how prescient. Additionally, I began to think of the Kay Freestone character while I watched it.
Columbo was known for working current or new things into the shows: answering machines ("Exercise in Fatality"), pagers ("Columbo Cries Wolf"), bite mark forensics ("Agenda for Murder"), so it wouldn't be surprising for them to include this story only about a year and a half ("Make Me a Perfect Murder" was aired Feb. 1978) after "Network" (released Nov. 1976).
I'd also never heard of the "Lovely But Lethal" connection - good stuff!