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Author Topic: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons  (Read 601 times)

roadman65

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TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« on: May 17, 2018, 12:44:08 PM »

I once liked The Law and Harry McGraw starring Jerry Orbach (ex Lennie Briscoe Law & Order) but after a few produced episodes CBS pulled the plug on it due to low ratings.   The show was a spin off of Murder She Wrote, as Orbach's character of Harry McGraw was a recurring character on Murder She Wrote and co starred Barbara Babcock where both Orbach and Babcock played a private eye and attorney duo with a love to hate relationship.  Babcock played McGuiness the widow of Harry McGraw's (Orbach's) best friend who was the attorney while Jerry played the PI, both solving the crime together arguing and bickering a long the way. 

Too bad CBS pulled it as I thought the show was good!

There was also Joe & Sons back in the early 70's featuring Richard Costellano and Jerry Stiller ( still active today and was George's dad on Seinfeld and the father in law in King of Queens).  Florence Stanley also co starred (who was on Barney Miller as Berniece Fish and the Judge on My Two Dads) and it was about a widowed man working and raising his two teenage sons.  I believe Stiller and Stanley both were his neighbors.  It lasted part of a season before CBS again pulled it.

Doc, featuring Bernard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1973 season on Saturday nights.

Any more you think the networks were anal about and should have kept the show, but did not?
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 01:43:23 PM »

Doc, featuring Bernard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)
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roadman65

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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 02:05:39 PM »

Doc, featuring Bernard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)
I cannot argue with wiki, but I do remember that All In The Family did air on Saturdays at 8 PM.  Doc I do remember was at 8:30 PM with Mary Tyler Moore at 9 PM.  Now The Jeffersons spun off midseason during the final season of when Mike and Gloria still lived with Archie.  As the remaining seasons of All In The Family had the kids renting from the Jeffersons after they moved out due to Don Nichol, Michael Ross, and Bernie West devoting their production activities to the Jeffersons which had new producers Milt Josefburg and Mort Lachman retool the show to make it different and then alternating story lines as each cast member would not appear in every episode.

Anyway, All In The Family did not move out of Saturday until the season that had its opener where Archie made the date with the waitress that was two seasons after the Jeffersons aired where AIF made it to Wednesdays.    Now Doc could have aired after that which would have made sense, as the 1970's was too far back to remember and to associate times of different events together could be difficult even as you remember all the events individually so clear.

Any which way, Doc I mentioned Saturdays to point out to those wondering what Doc and when it was aired on American TV.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 02:16:58 PM »

Doc, featuring Barnard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)

FTFY.

Reasons why shows are cancelled are complicated and not necessarily directly linked to Nielsen ratings.  Two that I really liked and was disappointed to see were cancelled were the American adaptation of Life On Mars and The Riches.  I also liked Vinyl, although Bobby Cannavale's character wasn't just an anti-hero, he was a monster, which can be a lot for many viewers to stomach.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 02:21:44 PM »

Doc, featuring Barnard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)

FTFY.

Reasons why shows are cancelled are complicated and not necessarily directly linked to Nielsen ratings.  Two that I really liked and was disappointed to see were cancelled were the American adaptation of Life On Mars and The Riches.  I also liked Vinyl, although Bobby Cannavale's character wasn't just an anti-hero, he was a monster, which can be a lot for many viewers to stomach.
You are right about that one, as The Brady Bunch scored poorly on the Nielsons, and in fact has gained more popularity in syndication than it did on ABC during its Friday night comedy line up. 

Even The Odd Couple (that aired the same night as The Brady Bunch in part of ABC's Friday Night Comedy Package) was also not that high in ratings, and probably became more popular in syndication as well.

Nonetheless, both shows over time are two of many most remembered sitcoms.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2018, 02:57:10 PM »

Doc, featuring Barnard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)

FTFY.

Reasons why shows are cancelled are complicated and not necessarily directly linked to Nielsen ratings.  Two that I really liked and was disappointed to see were cancelled were the American adaptation of Life On Mars and The Riches.  I also liked Vinyl, although Bobby Cannavale's character wasn't just an anti-hero, he was a monster, which can be a lot for many viewers to stomach.
You are right about that one, as The Brady Bunch scored poorly on the Nielsons, and in fact has gained more popularity in syndication than it did on ABC during its Friday night comedy line up. 

Even The Odd Couple (that aired the same night as The Brady Bunch in part of ABC's Friday Night Comedy Package) was also not that high in ratings, and probably became more popular in syndication as well.

Nonetheless, both shows over time are two of many most remembered sitcoms.

And more recently, Mad Men (a) never did well in the Nielsens and (b) was expensive as hell to make, but stayed on the air for 7 seasons.  I think it did because advertisers were willing to pay high prices to run commercials during airings.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 03:34:09 PM »

Curiously, the highest rated Star Trek (TOS) episode rated lower than the lowest rated Lost in Space episode.


Also, I really liked the 5 Mrs. Buchanan's, apparently no one else did.

I liked Space Rangers too and they didn't even air all the episodes that were produced . . . 
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2018, 03:58:30 PM »

Doc, featuring Barnard Hughes, did well for one season until CBS told the producers to nix the supporting characters and hire new actors to support a new main character image.  Nonetheless, it bombed after the know it alls at CBS made it unappealing to watch.  This show appeared after All In The Family during its 1975 season on Saturday nights.
FTFY.  It aired in-between The Jeffersons and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  One episode I saw back when it was on the air made reference to the movie Jaws in its dialogue.

Wiki Account of the Doc series (1975 version)

FTFY.

Reasons why shows are cancelled are complicated and not necessarily directly linked to Nielsen ratings.  Two that I really liked and was disappointed to see were cancelled were the American adaptation of Life On Mars and The Riches.  I also liked Vinyl, although Bobby Cannavale's character wasn't just an anti-hero, he was a monster, which can be a lot for many viewers to stomach.
You are right about that one, as The Brady Bunch scored poorly on the Nielsons, and in fact has gained more popularity in syndication than it did on ABC during its Friday night comedy line up. 

Even The Odd Couple (that aired the same night as The Brady Bunch in part of ABC's Friday Night Comedy Package) was also not that high in ratings, and probably became more popular in syndication as well.

Nonetheless, both shows over time are two of many most remembered sitcoms.
M*A*S*H was almost cancelled after its first half-season (it was a mid-season replacement) due to poor ratings.

h/t to PHLBOS for the clarification.  Guess my best friend growing up - who was a huge M*A*S*H fan - got his information wrong about the show being a mid-season replacement.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 11:10:32 AM by roadman »
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2018, 05:42:49 PM »

Police Squad only lasted 6 episodes.  Was too far ahead for its time.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2018, 06:31:15 PM »

Curiously, the highest rated Star Trek (TOS) episode rated lower than the lowest rated Lost in Space episode.


Also, I really liked the 5 Mrs. Buchanan's, apparently no one else did.

I liked Space Rangers too and they didn't even air all the episodes that were produced . . . 

LIS  "jumped the shark" when Dr Smith started chewing all the scenery
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2018, 07:13:41 PM »

Police Squad only lasted 6 episodes.  Was too far ahead for its time.

Agreed.

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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2018, 08:02:36 PM »

Police Squad only lasted 6 episodes.  Was too far ahead for its time.

I don’t think it was “ahead of its time” so much as it was “not the right medium”. It premiered two years after Airplane!, which was a major hit (and conceived by the same team), and it was followed six years later by The Naked Gun (“...from the files of Police Squad”), also a major hit (and again, from the same team). I think that in at least some cases, there’s a difference between the entertainment people want to see occasionally in the form of a motion picture and what they want to tune into every week as a series. For an example of the reverse—an hit TV comedy that didn’t work as a theatrical movie—you can look at Get Smart and The Nude Bomb. (Although there were many other problems with that stinker of a movie.)
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2018, 10:10:01 PM »

Oh, it was definitely ahead of its time.  "Who are you?  And how did you get in here?"  "I'm a locksmith...and I'm a locksmith."
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 10:11:19 PM »

There were at least three Get Smart movies that bombed.  The Nude Bomb, the other one that came out in the late 80s or early 90s (the one with the Hall of Hush replacing the Cone of Silence), and the less said about the Steve Carell/Anne Hathaway revival, the better.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2018, 01:39:47 AM »

Star Trek had bad nielsens ratings but its now a classic.

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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2018, 09:36:20 AM »

The just-concluded Superior Donuts comes to mind. I enjoyed it, not just because it was set in my hometown, but I enjoyed the diversity of the characters on the show.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2018, 09:48:49 AM »

There were at least three Get Smart movies that bombed.  The Nude Bomb, the other one that came out in the late 80s or early 90s (the one with the Hall of Hush replacing the Cone of Silence), and the less said about the Steve Carell/Anne Hathaway revival, the better.
There was also a TV movie remake of Get Smart before any of the theatrical re-makes.  Largely forgettable, except (IMO) for the scene when Max is driving his office desk through downtown Washington DC.  "A motorized desk that runs on ink.  That's fantastic Chief.  Think what this will mean for the energy crisis."  "Well Max, it's a special kind of ink.  It only comes from Saudi Arabia."
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2018, 10:03:56 AM »

M*A*S*H was almost cancelled after its first half-season (it was a mid-season replacement) due to poor ratings.
The show first aired on Sept. 17, 1972 and ran for a full season (24 episodes).  However, you are correct that it was on the verge of being cancelled after its first season (it was 46th in the Nielsen ratings) but there were enough individuals in key positions that prevented such from happening.  CBS moving the show to Saturday nights (in between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) for the following season (as paraphrased from Larry Linville (Frank Burns) in a 1991 interview) "handed to us over 30 million viewers on a silver platter and the rest was history.") cemented the show's then-future.

Police Squad only lasted 6 episodes.  Was too far ahead for its time.
I don'’t think it was “ahead of its time” so much as it was “not the right medium”. It premiered two years after Airplane!, which was a major hit (and conceived by the same team), and it was followed six years later by The Naked Gun (“...from the files of Police Squad”), also a major hit (and again, from the same team). I think that in at least some cases, there'’s a difference between the entertainment people want to see occasionally in the form of a motion picture and what they want to tune into every week as a series.
My mother loved that show when it was out, mainly because the majority of the various scenes/skits & jokes on the show were parodies of items seen in many movies of the 1940s & 1950s (her childhood genre).  Unless one either saw the latter (be it in movie screens back in a day or on TV later on); the parodies/jokes would've likely (in my mother's opinion) went over many viewers' heads... at least those unfamiliar with the older movies.  In her view the show was cancelled due to its recurring humor was too cerebral for the masses.

Star Trek had bad nielsens ratings but its now a classic.
One can thank syndication (i.e. reruns (initially on UHF channels)) for that.

There was also a TV movie remake of Get Smart before any of the theatrical re-makes.  Largely forgettable, except (IMO) for the scene when Max is driving his office desk through downtown Washington DC.  "A motorized desk that runs on ink.  That's fantastic Chief.  Think what this will mean for the energy crisis."  "Well Max, it's a special kind of ink.  It only comes from Saudi Arabia."
IIRC, that driving desk scene & related-lines were actually from the 1980 movie The Nude Bomb, which literally bombed at the box office.

One example of the opposite (cancelled despite the higher Nielsen ratings) was the 70s sitcom Carter Country; it was ninth in the Nielsen ratings when it was cancelled after completing its second season.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 10:09:01 AM by PHLBOS »
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2018, 10:36:22 AM »

OK...not to turn derail this thread into a sidebar about Get Smart, but I wanted to straighten out a few things.

There were at least three Get Smart movies that bombed.

Released in 1980, The Nude Bomb was indeed a bomb in all regards—critically, financially, and among Get Smart fans. According to what I’ve read, Universal execs decided they might make a few more bucks by turning it into a slightly racy picture (and a shameless advertisement for the Universal Studios tour). So the suits fired everyone who wanted to make the movie faithful to the series and brought in people who had no business being there—hence the disaster the followed.

The 1989 film was Get Smart, Again!, and it was made for TV as an ABC Sunday Night Movie. In an interview, writer/producer Leonard Stern (one of the faithful who was kicked out of The Nude Bomb) said that he wanted to make a reunion movie as a means of making amends and apologizing to Get Smart fans for having allowed the previous film adaptation to be made. To that end, I think Stern succeeded. I don’t know what ratings the ABC airing pulled in, but many fans of the series were happy with it, and it generated some positive reviews (such as this one in the Washington Post).

For what it’s worth, I’ve heard that decent ratings for Get Smart, Again! influenced the Fox network to greenlight the short-lived 1995 Get Smart series with Andy Dick playing Max’s son. (Now the less said about that, the better.)

Somewhat coincidentally, I happened to see the 2008 Steve Carell film. I don’t recall much about it ten years later, but I remember being somewhat pleasantly surprised. As a fan of the original series, I worried it might end up being a mean-spirited parody of the series (as the recent CHiPs movie apparently was). But I felt that the movie pulled off a difficult balancing act of being respectful of the original series without merely trying to mimic it—while at the same time serving as a star vehicle for Steve Carell, who I liked at the time from his work on The Daily Show. If anything, a certain chase scene—where Max makes a getaway in a stolen Sunbeam Tiger until it sputters out of gas, continues his chase by stealing a blue Karmann Ghia, then runs into an Opel GT driven by Bernie Kopell—was worth the price of admission.

There was also a TV movie remake of Get Smart before any of the theatrical re-makes.  Largely forgettable, except (IMO) for the scene when Max is driving his office desk through downtown Washington DC.  "A motorized desk that runs on ink.  That's fantastic Chief.  Think what this will mean for the energy crisis."  "Well Max, it's a special kind of ink.  It only comes from Saudi Arabia."
IIRC, that driving desk scene & related-lines were actually from the 1980 movie The Nude Bomb, which literally bombed at the box office.

Yes, that scene was in The Nude Bomb—hence the joke about Saudi Arabian ink being quite topical when gas prices peaked in 1980.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 10:48:19 AM by briantroutman »
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2018, 10:45:08 AM »

I remember watching Get Smart Again! when it aired.  My mother was a Get Smart fan and wantes to watch it.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2018, 11:12:55 AM »

M*A*S*H was almost cancelled after its first half-season (it was a mid-season replacement) due to poor ratings.
The show first aired on Sept. 17, 1972 and ran for a full season (24 episodes).  However, you are correct that it was on the verge of being cancelled after its first season (it was 46th in the Nielsen ratings) but there were enough individuals in key positions that prevented such from happening.  CBS moving the show to Saturday nights (in between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) for the following season (as paraphrased from Larry Linville (Frank Burns) in a 1991 interview) "handed to us over 30 million viewers on a silver platter and the rest was history.") cemented the show's then-future.

Thanks for the clarification - I've revised my original post.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2018, 12:14:15 PM »

Joey
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2018, 01:04:14 PM »

Harry’s Law.  This one might not count since it actually did pretty well in the ratings.  But more advanced data-collection techniques indicate not just the number of viewers, but the demographics as well, and the viewers of this show were older on average.  The advertisers apparently prefer younger viewership since they're (supposedly) more likely to buy stuff.  There might have been a studio ownership issue as well.  Either way, the much-liked show was cancelled pretty hastily.

A similar situation was with Gilligan's Island.  Although it won its time slots, the show was cancelled after the 3rd season to make room for a revival of Gunsmoke.  (Not sure if "make room for" meant on the schedule, or on the backlot, as that lagoon took up a lot of space.)  Since this was the days before long-term residuals were a given, and the actors were heavily typecast by the show, the 7 castaways were more-or-less quite "stranded" after that.  Of course, GI became a classic through reruns because (a) the syndication fees were low (see above about not setting the actors up with residuals on rebroadcast), and (b) one of the few live-action shows that are both well-received and can be safely rerun while children are likely to be watching.
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2018, 01:38:29 PM »


A similar situation was with Gilligan's Island.  Although it won its time slots, the show was cancelled after the 3rd season to make room for a revival of Gunsmoke.  (Not sure if "make room for" meant on the schedule, or on the backlot, as that lagoon took up a lot of space.)
It was for its time slot.  A blog on how it happened: http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-gunsmoke-gunned-down-gilligans.html
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Re: TV Shows that were good but failed the Nielsons
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2018, 04:46:35 PM »

Star Trek had bad nielsens ratings but its now a classic.

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I've been reading some behind the scenes (all the behind the workings) of the Star Trek series, and they had the Nielson ratings for the majority of the episodes, and they actually were not that bad.  Rarely during the first two seasons was the show other than first or second in its time period, and may nights it was NBC's top rated show for that night.  NBC just hated Star Trek's creator since he did so many run arounds to the network brass.
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