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Old 05-20-2012, 08:30 PM   #18
Occasional Poster
Join Date: May 20, 2012
Location: Alabama
Posts: 20

I think what hurt CBS was the fact that so many of these shows were cancelled at once instead of phased out. "Hee Haw" and "Mayberry R.F.D." still had high ratings in fact. This most certainly wasn't unnoticed at the time; it was a public relations fiasco that still gets brought up to this very day. Count "Lassie" in that group of shows too. It survived another two years in syndication. "Hogan's Heroes," also gone in that wave.

I can understand their decision, as they had "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "All in the Family" at the time, and I certainly would've wanted to go in that direction too. They should have, in fact. But cancelling so much else at once got the network a lot of bad press.

I remember seeing an interview with Ken Berry, who had to move out of a house he'd just bought due to the cancellation of "Mayberry R.F.D." This despite the show being 15th in the ratings for that season.

CBS even appeared to be trying to make up for some of their late 1960s/early 1970s decisions in their live 75th anniversary special in 2002, giving the rural shows of the 1960s their own segment that apparently ate up the time supposed to be used by another segment devoted to reality programming. (They also allowed the Smothers Brothers to openly mock the network's decision to cancel them in 1969.)

"Green Acres" might have lasted another year, "Mayberry" another two years, "Hee Haw" forever. The beleaguered "Petticoat Junction" actually saw its ratings go up a bit during its final season. The quality of the sitcoms had for sure decreased but they still got the numbers. Note the shows that came along later because of these decisions ("The Jeffersons," "Alice," "One Day at a Time") seemed to go on forever, despite ratings losses.

I honestly think the network caught so much flack about their decision to "cancel everything with a tree in it" that part of the reason "The Waltons" got on the air was CBS needed a rural hit for damage control purposes.

For what it's worth, "Mayberry R.F.D." was replaced by "Arnie," a show about an intellectual that bombed after one season.
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