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Old 04-30-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
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TV Today in TV History: The Jeffersons Spin Off "Checking In" Canceled After 4 Episodes

Checking In premiered on CBS on April 9, 1981. It lasted for only four episodes [Thursdays, 8-8:30pm(et)]. Faced with low ratings, the series was swiftly cancelled, ending the show on April 30, 1981. Gibbs returned to The Jeffersons as the character of Florence. It was explained that the St. Frederick Hotel had burned down, so Florence decided to return to her former job with the Jeffersons.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:38 AM   #2
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Thumbs up 'Checking In' was actually a time-period hit

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Originally Posted by Brian Damage
Checking In premiered on CBS on April 9, 1981. It lasted for only four episodes [Thursdays, 8-8:30pm(et)]. Faced with low ratings, the series was swiftly cancelled, ending the show on April 30, 1981. Gibbs returned to The Jeffersons as the character of Florence. It was explained that the St. Frederick Hotel had burned down, so Florence decided to return to her former job with the Jeffersons.
'Checking In' was not swiftly cancelled due to poor ratings. It was only a four-episode "third season" spring try-out on Thursdays at 8 pm, where it led into 'Park Place', another third-season four-episode try-out at 8:30 pm. The two series were spring tryouts to replace 'The Waltons', which went off the air for a month before returning with five series-finale episodes in the May Sweep.

'Checking In' actually won its time period averaging a 17.6HH for its four episodes and beating out 'Mork & Mindy' on ABC with 17.1HH and 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' on NBC which averaged 14.9HH. "Checking In' ranked 41st out of 97 series that aired during the 1980-81 regular season, and was the highest rated cancellation that season behind CBS's 'The Waltons' with 18.4HH (30th) and NBC's 'Lobo' with 18.3HH (37th). It also beat out its sitcom partner 'Park Place' at 8:30 pm, which averaged 16.6HH for its four episodes.

So why did 'Checking In' get cancelled? First, although it won its time-slot, it didn't surpass the time-slot incumbent 'The Waltons', so CBS opted to move the highly-rated 'Magnum, P.I.' forward an hour into the Thursdays at 8-9 pm timeslot. That meant 'Checking In' had to beat out one of the other three highly touted new sitcoms to fit into CBS's ten sitcom slots that fall. 'Private Benjamin' and 'The Two of Us' both had highly successful spring tryouts (averaging 23.9HH and 21.6HH respectively), so they were given the Monday 8-9 pm timeslot. The only other timeslot open for a sitcom was Wednesdays between 8-9 pm as a partner for 'WKRP in Cincinatti', and in the end, CBS thought that 'Mr. Merlin' was more compatable (and I think the Eye really wanted to see Mr. Barnard Hughes in a hit sitcom...remember how long they propped up the struggling 'Doc' on Saturday nights). In hindsight, CBS might have been wiser to move 'One Day at a Time' (which was on its last legs) off Sunday nights to Wednesdays, and giving 'Checking In' the 8:30 pm timeslot out of 'Archie Bunker's Place'. It might have had a nice run had that happened, as it was funny...I really enjoyed Mr. Larry Linville in it as the perfect foil to Miss Marla Gibbs, even though Lyle's nastiness led the writers to take some of the sarcastic edge off Florence's character.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:28 PM   #3
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i never saw checking in but i cant believe the they opted to cancel it and put a show like mr merlin on instead im a big barnard hughes fan but imho mr merlin was a piece of trash
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:27 PM   #4
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What was funny was that CBS didn't give it a timeslot, say, uh, following The Jeffersons for a trial run.....it gave Flo a cushy slot and ABC gave The Ropers the post Three's Company slot for a tryout.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:30 PM   #5
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It wasn't worth all the trouble of getting Florence off and then back on the Jeffersons. CBS should have given it a chance at least.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:32 PM   #6
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And if we EVER get to see the rest of The Jeffersons on DVD, the four episodes should be put on them as extras.
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:56 AM   #7
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Default You have to remember...

...that CBS was starting to have trouble generating successful situation comedies on their schedule (and continued to be plagued by this problem throughout the '80s). They decided to use the time-honored "stretching the soup" approach- that is, taking the most popular character from one of their popular sitcoms and giving them their own series. But this approach had already failed that season in "ALICE"'s spin-off, "FLO" (starring Polly Holliday), as she moved from waitressing at "Mel's Diner" in Phoenix to owning "Flo's Yellow Rose" in Cowtown, Texas. Even though that generated favorable ratings in the spring of 1980 to be renewed that fall, the series faltered on Mondays, due to the competition of NBC's "LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE" and ABC's "THAT'S INCREDIBLE!" {ugh**, and was quickly moved to Tuesdays, then Saturdays at 8 [the "death slot" for virtually all of the network's shows scheduled in that time period during the decade] before the network pulled it off altogether.

Now, if CBS managed to turn an "asset" like "FLO" into a "liability" because the ratings turned sour, imagine how they treated Marla Gibbs when they literally "threw" "CHECKING IN" on Thursday nights in April 1981. Perhaps if more than four episodes had been produced, the series COULD have succeeded. It certainly needed time to find its "bearing", because Larry Linville [virtually reprising his "Frank Burns" character from "M*A*S*H", with the addition of a few "tough noogies", here and there] and the rest of the supporting cast, to me, could have been better utilized. But CBS was in a panic because so few of its new series that season succeeded [partially due to an actors' strike in the summer and fall of 1980, delaying the start of the new season on all three networks]. When "CHECKING IN" was examined more closely, they decided it wasn't worth the trouble to order more episodes, taking "PARK PLACE" with it.

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Old 05-01-2010, 07:40 AM   #8
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Small correction: Flo was moved from Monday at 8PM to Saturday at 9PM in early February '81 where it sank like a rock against Love Boat. After a few weeks they moved it up a half hour to 8:30, replacing Tim Conway and following WKRP In Cincinnati. The ratings at 8:30 were not much better so it was yanked prior to sweeps. Flo ended its run as filler of the remaining half-hour after Walter Cronkite's Universe, a summer series which aired on Tuesday nights.

OT Challenge: without consulting references can you name the series which were burned off following Universe in 1980 and 1982?
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:05 AM   #9
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There were more than 4 eps produced of Checking In just was not shown on CBS until the summer of 1981 which made the show the highest rated of the summer.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilaEaglesHater
There were more than 4 eps produced of Checking In just was not shown on CBS until the summer of 1981 which made the show the highest rated of the summer.

Hey Sol, where the heck have you been?
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Hey Sol, where the heck have you been?

I check the boards everyday but they don't be active-lol


Even the sports boards was dead during the draft
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilaEaglesHater
There were more than 4 eps produced of Checking In just was not shown on CBS until the summer of 1981 which made the show the highest rated of the summer.
Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy appeared as special guests in summer eps.
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDRyan
Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy appeared as special guests in summer eps.

Actually it was Mr. Bentley in July of 81
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:51 PM   #14
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Arrow 'Checking In' Did Get a Summer Run in 1981

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Originally Posted by PhilaEaglesHater
There were more than 4 eps produced of Checking In just was not shown on CBS until the summer of 1981 which made the show the highest rated of the summer.
You are correct that CBS did air 'Checking In' during the summer of 1981, but it wasn't the highest rated series that summer by a longshot. The summer airings of 'Checking In' averaged 14.7HH, but it was bested by the summer averages of other CBS spring season tryouts that got summer encores:

'Private Benjamin' (CBS) 20.2
'The Two of Us' (CBS) 16.3
'Nurse' (CBS) 16.2

And to my knowledge, only four episodes of 'Checking In' were produced, although CBS might have included the two-parter spinoff episodes from 'The Jeffersons' as part of the summer encore run.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Du Mont
You are correct that CBS did air 'Checking In' during the summer of 1981, but it wasn't the highest rated series that summer by a longshot. The summer airings of 'Checking In' averaged 14.7HH, but it was bested by the summer averages of other CBS spring season tryouts that got summer encores:

'Private Benjamin' (CBS) 20.2
'The Two of Us' (CBS) 16.3
'Nurse' (CBS) 16.2

And to my knowledge, only four episodes of 'Checking In' were produced, although CBS might have included the two-parter spinoff episodes from 'The Jeffersons' as part of the summer encore run.

I need to go to the archives to confirm this. I swear I remember reading 8 eps were produced but only 4 were aired during April of 81
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