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Old 02-24-2011, 09:40 PM   #1
Rezny@gmail.com
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Movie If CBS'"Calucci's Dept" and NBC's "Fay"-

From the 1970's,both bombs ,both cancelled at midseason,and both somewhat promising.would have lasted longer than they did if,at the time,( 1973-1974 and 1975-1976)network executives at CBS and the "mad programmer"at NBC at the time,had moved them,,to new time slots? Who knows?Any comments?Feel free to post.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:17 AM   #2
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Default For those who don't remember these series...

..."CALUCCI'S DEPARTMENT", starring James Coco as a supervisor for a New York state unemployment office, was produced in New York by Ed Sullivan's {WHO???** production company. Unfortunately, CBS scheduled it opposite NBC's "SANFORD AND SON" on Friday nights in the fall of 1973, and was off the air after 11 episodes. I don't know if viewers expected to find many laughs concerning someone who worked in an unemployment office...and James Coco certainly didn't have "star appeal" to overcome the potentially depressing circumstances of the format. I seriously doubt the series being moved to another night would have kept it on the air...


...as for "FAY", that was Susan Harris' first series as a creator/producer [she went on to create "SOAP", "BENSON" and 'THE GOLDEN GIRLS"], featuring Lee Grant as a recent divorcee trying to create a new life for herself. Against the second half of "THE WALTONS" on CBS, it wasn't on for long....although Universal did make some extra money out of it by converting four of the videotaped episodes to "kinescope" film, re-editing them into an ersatz TV movie, "Man Trouble", which received limited theatrical release in Europe, and was included as part of a "package" of similar films sold to local stations in the '80s {WCBS-TV, New York, showed it on weekends for years on their "LATE SHOW"**. Virtually none of NBC's new series in the fall of 1975 lasted beyond that season, so the idea of "saving" it was a moot point.

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Old 02-26-2011, 03:49 PM   #3
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I never saw Calucci's Dept. when it originally aired as I was watching Sanford and Son like everybody else was. However, I picked up a copy of the pilot years ago and I liked it and thought it was a pretty funny show. It definitely had promise and could have done well in a better time slot.

Fay was supposed to be an adult comedy about a sexually active middle aged divorcee. However, NBC, in its infinite wisdom, moved the show into the family viewing hour, essentially eleminating all of the adult content and dooming the show to failure.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:36 AM   #4
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Default Oh yes, I forgot about that, 'ben'...

..."FAY" had been somewhat watered down before its premiere. That's one more reason why Lee Grant lashed out at NBC's Marvin Antonowsky on "THE TONIGHT SHOW" at the time the series was pulled from the network's schedule. It briefly reappeared in the summer of '76, burning off whatever episodes remained...

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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Many, many shows have been killed off by being buried in impossible time slots. Fay was one of them, an adult show which was killed by bad scheduling. Some others that come immediately to mind: My Friend Tony. NBC had a contract with Sheldon Leonard to put a one hour show of his on the air but they wanted him to do a 4th season of I Spy. He felt the show had run its course and didn't want to do it. So they took Tony, with its strong appeal to younger viewers, and put in Sunday nights at 10PM.
The Don Rickles Show - the sitcom, not the variety show. When Fred Silverman took over CBS, it wasn't his show and so he put it on at 10:30 on Friday nights, a horrid time for a sitcom.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:53 AM   #6
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Default The pilot of "MY FRIEND TONY"...

...was originally previewed on "THE DANNY THOMAS HOUR" (even though they were no longer production partners, Danny and Sheldon Leonard were still good friends, and Danny probably insisted the pilot appear on his short-lived NBC anthology series) as "My Pal Tony" on March 4, 1968. NBC bought the pilot for a weekly series, and no doubt would have scheduled it with "I SPY" for the fall, had Leonard not decided to end the latter. That's probably why the network delayed "MY FRIEND TONY" until January 1969, replacing "THE BEAUTIFUL PHYLLIS DILLER SHOW". Of course, CBS was scheduling "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE" on Sundays at 10pm(et), and it was #1 in its time period, so NBC screwed Leonard by virtually throwing "MY FRIEND TONY" opposite "MISSION"...and we know the result.

I remember "THE DON RICKLES {Variety** SHOW" in the fall of 1968, on ABC. In fact, I'm one of the few people who remember that it aired on Fridays at 9pm(et). Of course, "THE CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES' and NBC's "THE NAME OF THE GAME", guaranteed its demise by mid-season. The sitcom, I vaguely remember. Fred Silverman was already in charge of CBS' prime-time schedule in 1971-'72 [he was the one who shifted "ALL IN THE FAMILY" from William Paley's plan to schedule it on Mondays at 10:30pm(et) at the start of its second season, to Saturdays at 8pm, where it became #1 not only in its time period, but of all network TV shows], and he decided that Don Rickles as a sitcom star- at least, in that show- wasn't "viable" enough to succeed, and just threw him on after "THE NEW CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES" (which was a 90 minute showcase of original made-for-TV movies, moved up a half-hour to 9pm).

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Old 03-01-2011, 01:10 PM   #7
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I loved the Rickles variety show but I never saw the Rickles sitcom at the time. It came on during the second half of Love American Style, which I always watched. I finally got a chance to see it when I picked up a copy of the pilot and then subsequently saw a couple more at the Museum of Broadcasting. Its typical Rickles, which is to say hilarious, if you like his humor, which I do. But since it wasn't Silverman's show, he just let it die and fulfilled his obligation. When it comes to many of these execs, it doesn't really matter if something is good or not but whether or not it was theirs or the previous regimes.
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