M*A*S*H- a season by season discussion!

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ohnothimagen, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Jayce

    Jayce Forum Resident

    Sorry, but "Bless You, Hawkeye," is one of the greats.
  2. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    I can't remember where I read that Morgan quote, but it stood out. I think he meant that it was becoming obvious that the show was becoming a bit stale by that point, not as many original story ideas, they were consciously starting to repeat themselves etc.
    Which is precisely why I like that episode so much. Like I've said, I like it when the nurses take Hawkeye down a peg or two.
    BJ's Wilson to Hawkeye's House, actually, but I know what you meant:D I have to wonder why Pierce and Hunnicut considered themselves such good friends myself- beyond being excellent surgeons they really had very little in common, opposites in a lot of ways. Their bond was likely due to the war- stuck in a civilian hospital I couldn't imagine the two of them giving one another the time of day.

    Mind ya, having said that, as I believe I've also mentioned before it's sorta like myself and my best friend, whom I've known for almost 33 years now. I'm like Hawkeye in a lot of ways, my friend is a lot like BJ. Yet we can finish one another sentences, etc- the differences in our personalities complement our friendship well. I tend to fly off the handle rather easily in certain situations whereas my buddy would just laugh it off, that kinda thing.
    Alda chose to emphasize Hawkeye's flaws. I have no qualms with that since precisely what I like about the character are his flaws.
    "Dear Mildred" (season 4) I think it was, wasn't it?

    Frank: "'The guys'? 'The guys'?! I am Major Burns, that is Captain Pierce, that is Captain Hunnicut! We are not 'guys'!"
    BJ: "I thought I was..."

    I am happy to say I have never worked along side anybody like Frank Burns. Probably a good thing:laugh:
    Not unlike with the final act of "Period Of Adjustment" with BJ's overemoting, I have the same issue with Alda in "Bless You Hawkeye"...and the infamous "It was a baby!" scene in "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", for that matter. IMO they overdo the dramatics in those scenes just a tad, it's cheesy as hell IMO. Never liked it...
  3. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    I dislike it because Hawkeye is acting more or less the same as he always has, yet the nurses are suddenly perceiving and reacting to him in a notably different way. And that different way involves them taking 70s-style umbrage at behavior that likely wouldn't have concerned early-50s women.

    It seems like it's more often BJ who is engaging in deliberate cruelty or deliberately f%%king with Hawkeye, so that's why I cast him as House. I don't think there's anything implausible about two very different people being friends, it's more the newfound angriness and meanness in their interactions that strains plausibility. In BJ's earlier seasons, they were connected by their common bond of being virulently anti-authority but conscientious doctors, and they seemed to enjoy each other's company much of the time, and actually have fun together. In the later years, the moments where they sincerely seem to enjoy spending time together, or in which they provide support to each other, seem fewer and further between. All told, there's just a lot more angriness in all the characters, but one really notices how it impacts the Hawkeye/BJ relationship.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  4. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    "Familiarity breeds contempt" meets "I am woman, hear me roar!"...a dangerous combination no matter how you look at it:laugh: 50's or 70's, I am surprised it took the nurses so long to finally get fed up with the way Hawkeye treated them. No way in hell would Hawkeye get away that kind of behaviour nowadays, they'd "me too" him to death, I'm sure...

    Yeah, you do have to sorta suspend yer disbelief a bit with "Taking The Fifth", I'll grant you, but I still think it's a funny scenario.
    The angriness impact on their relationship sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Yet that antagonism brings a bit of an edge to some of the plotlines, which is what I like about it. I don't think it's implausible so much as BJ's attitude towards Hawkeye changes almost overnight. Was BJ that pissed off that Hawkeye took out that Colonel's appendix? That seems to be the major turning point in their friendship, I think. And the writers who came on board in the later seasons seemed to milk it for all it was worth.
  5. The lack of a united front with BJ and Hawkeye allowed for Winchester's character to thrive far more than Frank's. Alone, neither was a match for Winchester.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  6. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    The thing is, Hunnicutt was a lot more like Alda was in real life than Trapper John was. And the differences were highlighted, whereas Trapper John's character was given less of a chance to distinguish himself.

    Yet I think the Hawkeye-Trapper relationship was better than the Hawkeye-BJ relationship. As I said before, Hawkeye's and BJ's temperaments were too similar. From what I know, Wayne Rogers and Alan Alda were very different in real life, yet they had a very good friendship. Did Alda and Farrell? Similar people don't always get along. I think Rogers brought better things out of Alda, submerged tendencies.
  7. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    Winchester's awesome, definitely one of my favourite characters on the show (as a matter of fact he could very well be my favourite). It occurs to me that in the later seasons Charles had some of the best lines...some of his insults toward Klinger are hilarious!:laugh:
    Indeed. When Hawkeye calls Trapper his best friend, you can tell he means it. BJ was like a substitute best friend, or something.
    prognastycator likes this.
  8. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    United States
    I really like 4 episodes from season 9:

    Death Takes a Holiday, War for All Seasons, Bless you Hawkeye, Blood Brothers

    I like a few more
  9. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    Was "A War For All Seasons" marketed as a "New Years" episode, to sit alongside the other Holiday themed episodes?
  10. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    As a bit of an aside I just bit the bullet you only hear sometimes and bought the M*A*S*H FAQ book from Amazon. If it's as good as the other "FAQ" series books I've read (Steely Dan and The Beatles) it should be a good 'un!
    smilin ed likes this.
  11. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    I think it's odd that there was a new episode aired between Christmas and New Year's at all! For the first eight years they never had an original episode between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Private Charles Lamb and Yessir, That's Our Baby aired on New Year's Eve itself. But nothing between. Then in Season 9 there was A War For All Seasons and Season 10 had 'Twas The Day After Christmas.

    Season 9 had both a Christmas Episode (Death Takes A Holiday) and A War For All Seasons. But there was two weeks between the two shows airing. On December 22nd, CBS opted for a re-run of Captains Outrageous from Season 8.

    There was an actors' strike that delayed Season 9. The strike was settled in late October. M*A*S*H made its Season 9 debut about 4 weeks later. This is the only season where new episodes extended into May. Still, because of the strike, it was only a 20 episode season on-air. 4 of the episodes in the production season were held over for Season 10.

    I will get into some of the scheduling peculiarities of M*A*S*H in some new posts soon.
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  12. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    Indeed- seasons 6 and 10 are the only ones with two hour long episodes. 4 -technically only three- season 9 eps were held over for season 10 while I believe half a dozen season 10 episodes were held over for season 11.
    Please do!:righton: I find this sort of stuff interesting. Dunno about anybody else, but at least I do...:laugh:
    Scooterpiety likes this.
  13. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    Alrighty then...

    M*A*S*H In Real Time - The Original Airings of M*A*S*H, 1972-83.

    Season 1.

    September 17, 1972. 7:30 Eastern Time. America sits down to watch the debut of a new sitcom based on a hit movie, featuring one of the actors in the movie, and produced by Gene Reynolds. That show was of course.... Anna and the King! (M*A*S*H debuted a half hour later!)

    Anna and the King was not exactly a sterling lead-in for M*A*S*H. Per its title, it was based more on the original book (even though the book's author wound up suing the show) and not the movie musical. The show was not a musical. It was a sitcom, complete with laugh track. It seems to have been more in the mold of the gentle late '60s sitcoms like Family Affair and The Courtship Of Eddie's Father. Yul Brynner did play the King, with Samantha Eggar as Anna. Rosalind Chao, later of AfterMASH, played a supporting role.

    When I think of Sunday Nights on CBS, I think of Sixty Minutes. If I'm going way, way, back, I think of Ed Sullivan. But Sixty Minutes wasn't airing on Sundays in 1972, and Ed Sullivan's show had been cancelled in 1971 due to declining ratings. (Sullivan is sometimes considered part of the "rural purge" CBS did, though I don't think too many trees showed up on his stage.)

    A fairly strong late '60s lineup of Sullivan, The Smothers Brothers, and Mission: Impossible had decayed, and CBS was finishing third place on the night. A movie of the week had anchored the schedule in 1971-72, but that didn't work. For 1972-73 CBS tried to create a comedy block much like they had on Saturday nights, which was anchored by All In The Family and Mary Tyler Moore.

    Here's the Fall 1972 CBS Sunday night line-up (times are Eastern:)

    7:30 Anna and the King
    8:00 M*A*S*H
    8:30 The Sandy Duncan Show
    9:00 The New Dick Van Dyke Show
    9:30 Mannix

    Notice there are only 3 hours of network programming on a Sunday night. Not the four that we have today. Apparently this was part of the move to give local affiliates more airtime, along with taking the 7:30 weekday slot away from the networks. CBS was airing nothing at 7:00, and also nothing at 10:30. ABC, on the other hand, didn't start their prime time until 8:00 but ran through 11:00. In 1975 the networks would again be allowed to air four hours of prime time on Sunday as they do today.

    CBS had some reason to hope for this line-up. Mannix had been a #7 show on Wednesdays the year before. The New Dick Van Dyke show was #18 on Saturdays. Sandy Duncan had a show, Funny Face, which made #8 on Saturday nights (albeit with a All In The Family lead-in.) She was back with a new show, though ostensibly playing the same character, Sandy Stockton.

    In practice, the line-up was a disaster. NBC dominated the evening with the one-two of The Wonderful World Of Disney and the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie (Columbo, McCloud, etc.) ABC was a solid second with The FBI and a Sunday night movie.

    The CBS line-up did nothing. Anna and the King, New Dick Van Dyke, and Sandy Duncan regularly were in the bottom 10 of the ratings for each week. Even Mannix did poorly. Though one thing you can say for M*A*S*H, it was doing the best of its lot. Looking at the ratings of December 6th, out of 58 shows, Dick Van Dyke was at 52, Sandy Duncan at 53, Anna and the King at 56, Mannix at 44. But M*A*S*H was at 36.

    A weak line-up like this was vulnerable to pre-emption. All of the sitcoms were pre-empted on October 29th for a new Peanuts special, "You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" (Technically true, though Linus was elected. Charlie Brown wasn't on the ballot!) and the Yellow Submarine movie. This happened again on December 3rd when all but Dick Van Dyke gave way to the Jason Robards TV Movie The House Without A Christmas Tree.

    The first M*A*S*H re-run ever, "Chief Surgeon Who?", aired on New Year's Eve, 1972. Anna and the King and Sandy Duncan aired new episodes that night in a swan song for both shows. Both were cancelled and Dick Van Dyke was moved to 7:30, along with Mannix to 8:30. CBS aired repeats of variety specials in the 9:30 slot for three weeks before debuting mid-season replacement Barnaby Jones. Barnaby proved to be CBS best offering on Saturdays, scoring a #25 rating in its first season.

    There would be one more pre-emption for the year. Three specials replaced the whole line-up on February 11, 1973. A Peanuts re-run (Play It Again, Charlie Brown - ya think?) and a Duke Ellington special started and ended the night, but the specific special to pre-empt M*A*S*H was, you guessed it, Flintstones On Ice. Seriously. Ranked #27 for the week. Probably better than M*A*S*H would have done that year.

    There was a Christmas episode in Season 1, "Dear Dad." That aired on December 17th. The December 24th episode was "Edwina." Not a fan favorite, but it didn't seem to be pulled out of order, just coincidence that it landed on a low viewer night.

    It took 28 weeks to air the 24 original episodes. None of the re-run season was pre-empted, so it would seem a simple matter to air the entire season over again once. Of course that didn't happen. The Pilot and Chief Surgeon Who? were shown twice. The episodes that weren't re-run were odd choices, Sometimes You Hear The Bullet and Showtime. Those shows were only shown once, with Chief Surgeon Who shown four times.

    CBS would revamp their Sunday Night line-up for Fall 1973. What would become of M*A*S*H? Stay tuned...
  14. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    M*A*S*H In Real Time - The Original Airings of M*A*S*H, 1972-83.

    Season 2.

    Before moving on to Season 2, let's review the 1972-73 season for CBS.

    Eight new shows had been introduced in the Fall 1972 CBS lineup. 6 sitcoms, a one-hour drama, and a one-hour variety show. Four of the shows made the top 30 in ratings, and four of the shows would be invited back for Fall 1973. Anna and the King and The Sandy Duncan Show were cancelled mid-season, but replaced by Barnaby Jones, which also made the top 30 and would be back.

    The Waltons was the drama. Who said CBS didn't like trees? The variety show was The New Bill Cosby Show (to distinguish from the sitcom where he was a gym teacher.) That got low ratings and was cancelled. Maude and The Bob Newhart Show were also hits and asked back.

    That leaves M*A*S*H. Yet... M*A*S*H was not a highly rated show. Yet it was asked back. There was a highly rated show that was not asked back. That show was Bridget Loves Bernie, produced by Douglas Cramer. The #5 show of the 1972-73 seasons. Apparently vociferous complaints from both Catholics and Jews about the "mixed marriage" drove it off the air. How times have changed. I think, looking back, that the particular complaint by those offended was not well thought out in terms of what would be on TV in the future. Those groups couldn't drive any show off the air today; how times have changed.

    So B loves B bit the dust. Veteran spy series Mission : Impossible and the format challenged Doris Day Show also were cancelled. With Bridget Loves Bernie and Cosby's show, that left a total of 3 prime time hours for CBS to program. CBS probably would have cancelled The New Dick Van Dyke Show as well, but they had signed Van Dyke to a three year contract, so they settled for a re-tooling.

    CBS was done with comedy on Sundays for the time being, though. Taking the spot of M*A*S*H and Van Dyke's show was a new drama, or rather an old one. The New Perry Mason (what was it with all of these "New" shows in the 1970s?) Starring Monte Markham. It was cancelled. The replacement was Apple's Way, which was literally transplanting The Waltons to the 1970s. By the same producer, Earl Hamner Jr. At least that lasted until the next year.

    Dick Van Dyke moved to Monday after Here's Lucy. M*A*S*H needed a home. Conveniently, plush accommodations were available in Bridget Loves Bernie's former spot. Saturday night, right between All In The Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. You could hardly lose in that spot, and M*A*S*H did not. #4 in the ratings. Actually outperformed MTM, although Bridget Loves Bernie had done that as well.

    Where would M*A*S*H have wound up not for Bridget Loves Bernie's demise? Probably Friday Night. The 8:00 to 9:00 slot, taken for part of the prior year by Mission : Impossible. CBS tried two new sitcoms in this slot. Calucci's Department, a New York ethnic ensemble comedy, starring James Coco. Produced by Ed Sullivan's company. Cancelled. The other was Roll Out! Mentioned here before, produced by our own Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart. Also cancelled. Calucci's Department was replaced by something called Dirty Sally, sort of a sitcom Gunsmoke spinoff about a geriatric junk-collecting woman. Trying to ride the Sanford and Son boom, I guess. It went up against Sanford and Son! It got cancelled. Roll Out! was replaced by Good Times. There's a keeper. I think M*A*S*H could have probably made it in Roll Out!'s spot. Which it might have had anyway had B loves B returned.

    The other new show for CBS this year was Kojak. That one made it.

    Anyway, here's the Saturday night line-up for 1973-74, Season 2:

    8:00 All In The Family
    8:30 M*A*S*H
    9:00 Mary Tyler Moore Show
    9:30 Bob Newhart Show
    10:00 Carol Burnett

    Doesn't get much simpler than that. All of the programs made the top 30. None of the NBC or ABC programs on Saturday did.

    There were no pre-emptions of this line-up. One in-season re-run was done, in the "dead week" between Christmas in New Years. Sometimes You Hear The Bullet was chosen. Maybe that's why they held that one back the prior year.

    24 new episodes in 25 weeks. Last one was March 2nd. That left 27 weeks of re-runs. 24 Season 2 episodes. They did manage to get all of the Season 2 episodes once and only once. Yay! That leaves three. No summer pre-emptions. Three from Season 1 were chosen. Showtime was one. Yay! The Army-Navy Game. Ok. And...

    Chief Surgeon Who? Of course.

    Would M*A*S*H stay in its cozy little Saturday night nook? Stay tuned...nope, not going there. They moved it. M*A*S*H went off to the weekdays.

    NOW more to come...
  15. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    Excellent writeups, @Jay_Z ...keep 'em coming!

    Looks like "Chief Surgeon Who?" was a fan favourite from day one...I wonder how much of that had to do with introducing Klinger. Even aside from that, it's probably the first "classic" episode of the series.
  16. Grand_Ennui

    Grand_Ennui Forum Resident

  17. wayne66

    wayne66 Forum Resident

    What a powerhouse lineup that was. On a Saturday night as well. One thing I found interesting is that Mash and All In The Family are on earlier than Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Usually the more adult or controversial shows would be on later. I think of All in the Family and Mash as being a little more grounded in controversial topics and ergo should have been on the later time slots. Good read.
  18. buzzzx

    buzzzx Forum Resident

    8:00 All In The Family
    8:30 M*A*S*H
    9:00 Mary Tyler Moore Show
    9:30 Bob Newhart Show
    10:00 Carol Burnett
    That is one hell of a lineup!
  19. torcan

    torcan Forum Resident

    That Saturday night lineup in '73-74 was great. I have vague memories of it as a kid. I doubt we'll ever see that strong of a lineup again - especially on a Saturday night!

    That sort of thing you don't see anymore. Back in those days, they didn't really cater to the May sweeps - it was mostly reruns during that month. I think the first network that really starting concentrating on the May sweeps was ABC in 1978. I remember reading TV Guide and noticing that new episodes of shows like Three's Company were airing after weeks of reruns and was surprised. In the next couple of years, all the networks started doing this and changing the face of the TV season. Now, it's quite common to have several weeks of reruns in between new episodes.
    Regarding the Christmas "dead week" - it wasn't until the early '70s that reruns during this week became common. During most of the '60s, new episodes of series would air right through the holidays.

    I don't get that either. In reading old TV Guides, I've noticed that other shows - like Lucy's shows, for example - CBS would sometimes air an episode in primetime five or six times - quite frequently during summer months with "best from previous seasons" presentations - while some other episodes were shown only once in primetime.

    This also happened with recent shows like Seinfeld - some episodes were never repeated on NBC after their original telecast. There were a few from the first two or three seasons that were never rerun.
  20. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    M*A*S*H In Real Time - The Original Airings of M*A*S*H, 1972-83.

    Season 3.

    I've already let the cat out of the bag that M*A*S*H would not be back in its cozy Saturday night slot. Let's find out why.

    Four hours of programming from 1973-74 would not be back for CBS in Fall 1974. Replacement sitcom Dirty Sally was gone. CBS also removed its 90 minute Tuesday night movie, which had morphed into one of those "wheel" shows where different shows ran in the same time slot. Like the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. CBS' version featured Hawkins, a Jimmy Stewart show; a TV version of Shaft with Richard Roundtree, and random movies of the week. I'm guessing the crossover audience between Jimmy Stewart and Richard Roundtree fans was minimal.

    Also gone was Sonny & Cher, due to the couple's divorce. The fourth missing hour came on Monday night, and was responsible for several show shifts. Lucille Ball left the air after many, many, years on Monday night on CBS. All of her shows were Monday night shows. In fact, CBS Monday nights had been Gunsmoke followed by The Lucy Show or Here's Lucy since 1967. Lucy was still drawing top 30 ratings, but she'd decided to pack it in. Dick Van Dyke also opted not to continue his show, Lucy's follow-up.

    I'm guessing the decision of what would replace Lucy was considered quite heavily. M*A*S*H at 9:00 Monday nights? It COULD work... Ultimately CBS picked one of their top 10 shows for the replacement, the top 10... Maude. I guess those women comedies are all the same! Following up Maude was MTM spinoff Rhoda. Both shows made the top 10 on Monday night. Hard to argue with success.

    Maude was moved from Tuesdays. That left a two hour line-up hole on Tuesdays. And that's where M*A*S*H went.

    This was not quite the Frankenstein's monster Sunday night of Season 1. Hawaii 5-0 would return. Barnaby Jones, from Sundays, would follow it. M*A*S*H had the lead-in of Good Times. This was a night that CBS had been winning. That trend would continue. M*A*S*H made the top ten (#5), and Good Times made (#7.) Good Times killed its competition, the second season of Happy Days, and the soon to be cancelled Adam-12. That trend would not continue.

    What of the rest of the line-up? What took its place on Saturday Night. It was the immortal... Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers! Produced by James L Brooks, and featuring Penny Marshall and Steve Landesberg. Paul Sand was famous for about 5 seconds for a guest starring role on Mary Tyler Moore a few years before this. In fairness, he did win a Tony Award once, but still... His show did a #25 rating, but lost a third of the audience from All In The Family. It was cancelled. The Jeffersons replaced it. Oh that Norman Lear. Jeffersons made the top 10.

    Other than Rhoda, none of CBS other four new fall shows made it. Paul Sand was one. In the hourlong block where Good Times had been, CBS tried a series version of Planet Of The Apes. I guess those movie to TV conversions only worked with M*A*S*H. Seems more like an ABC kind of show anyway. It was cancelled. Replacing it was the improbably titled Khan! No, it's not an Star Trek 2 prequel. Khigh Dheigh (Wo Fat on Hawaii 5-0) played a San Francisco detective. Dheigh (born Kenneth Dickerson in Spring Lake, New Jersey) refused to be credited for his leading role. That show lasted four weeks. After that CBS tried the Friday Comedy Special (failed pilots, gee thanks) and We'll Get By, created by our own Alan Alda! Paul Sorvino played the father of a middle-class New Jersey family. It lasted 12 episodes.

    CBS lost two hours on Wednesday, Sonny and Cher, and Kojak, which moved to Sundays to replace Baranby Jones. Both of those shows flopped. Sons and Daughters was an ensemble drama, seems it was kind of like Family with Sada Thompson and James Broderick. Maybe a year or two ahead of its time. Lasted 9 episodes. The other was The Manhunter. This show did not feature Hannibal Lecter. Ken Howard (future White Shadow) played a 1930s private eye in Idaho. A Quinn Martin production. Made it through the spring but no further.

    Enough of my yappin' and back to M*A*S*H. Tuesday night did not provide the security from pre-emption that Saturday had. Everything on every network was off for mid-term elections November 5th.

    Original episodes took two weeks off for the first time in December. M*A*S*H was pre-empted by a lineup featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas re-run and a Perry Como Christmas special. December 24 got a re-run of Season 3 opener The General Flipped At Dawn. However, New Year's Eve did get a new M*A*S*H, the non-holiday related Private Charles Lamb.

    Everything but Hawaii 5-0 was bumped on January 28th for Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (them again) and a mini-series, The Lives Of Benjamin Franklin. The latter was a four-part miniseries aired over three months on different nights. Many actors played Benjy, including Willie Aames and Eddie Albert. This was the last episode for that mini-series.

    28 weeks for 24 episodes this time. That left 24 weeks for re-runs. Make that 22 weeks. Re-runs were pre-empted twice, once for a TV movie, The Runaways, about a boy and his leopard; and The IQ Myth, a CBS News Special report hosted by Dan Rather on IQ tests. O.R. was also re-run twice. Two episodes missed the re-run cut. One was Love And Marriage. That one features favorite guest star Soon-Tek Oh, and my favorite scene of Wayne Rogers in the series. But it's the lowest rated episode on IMDB for Season 3. So I guess that makes sense. The other epsiode not re-run was Abyssinia Henry. There you go.

    Would M*A*S*H enjoy another year in its Tuesday time slot? No and yes. More schedule churn to come!
  21. torcan

    torcan Forum Resident

    The fall of 1974 is one where the FCC was originally going to give back a few hours of the Prime Time Access rule to the networks. There were several series that were supposed to debut in Sept 1974 (some in the 7:30 slot), but were either cancelled outright, or saved until mid-season. Among them, The Bob Crane Show (originally titled Second Start), Sunshine, Everything Money Can't Buy and Were's the Fire. A completely different schedule was drawn up by all three networks that had to be re-worked when the giveback of time was suspended. That schedule originally had M*A*S*H back on Sunday nights at 8:30, following Good Times ( reference here: The Fall 1974 That Wasn't - Television Obscurities )

    It was interesting that CBS originally had the show back on Sunday nights, where it didn't do that well in its first season. You wonder if ratings would have dropped back down had that schedule moved forward.
  22. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    A sitcom called Love Nest was on the CBS schedule. This would've starred Charles Lane and Florida Friebus as two widowed people who moved in together to share expenses. Sounds better than some of the other ones they tried. Would have been nice to see Charles Lane in a starring role for once. The pilot was aired in April 1975.


    M*A*S*H In Real Time - The Original Airings of M*A*S*H, 1972-83.

    Season 4.

    Alright. Would M*A*S*H again move to a new night for Season 4. Of course it would. Would it succeed on its new night. No, the move was a disaster. Let's find out what happened.

    CBS had 7 hours of prime-time programming to fill for its Fall 1975 season. One, in the long run, proved remarkably easy. The FCC had given the 4th hour on Sundays back to the networks, the 7 PM - 8 PM Eastern slot.

    The show CBS came up to compete with Walt Disney and The Swiss Family Robinson was Three For The Road, the first drama produced by MTM. A widower (Alex Rocco) travels the country with his two sons. One of the sons was played by Leif Garrett, and this show apparently launched his career as a teen heartthrob and recording artist. Three For The Road was nonetheless cancelled, and replaced by a show that had been bopping around CBS for quite some time. Sixty Minutes. So much for that timeslot.

    Long running dramas Gunsmoke and Mannix did not return. Neither did The Manhunter. None of those affected M*A*S*H. What did affect M*A*S*H was Friday night. The 8PM-9PM hour had been a disaster and needed to be replaced. CBS opted to cancel its Friday night movie as well. Their solution to Friday night was to move all of the Tuesday night lineup, save Good Times, to Friday night. Since Good Times started on Friday night and done well, kind of seems like a natural that it would go back, but this was not a well thought out decision.

    So the planned Friday night lineup for 1975-76 was:
    8:00 Big Eddie
    8:30 M*A*S*H
    9:00 Hawaii 5-0
    10:00 Barnaby Jones

    Big Eddie starred Sheldon Leonard as a gangster, but focused on his family life. Leonard had started out as a character actor, then because a big TV producer with The Danny Thomas Show, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke Show, and others in the 1960s. All of his hit shows were off the air by this time. Persky and Danoff, Dick Van Dyke writers, created this show. They'd go on to Kate And Allie. Big Eddie was given the coveted spot on 8:30 on Saturday nights after All In The Family to run its first three episodes in the late summer. I guess it was hoped that an audience would follow to Friday night. It did not.

    1975 was also the start of the Family Hour as dictated by the FCC. From 8:00 to 9:00. M*A*S*H was not a Family Hour show, it was adult for its time. Programming it at 8:30 in 1975 was a mistake.

    This Friday night lineup bombed big time. Big Eddie would be cancelled in November. According to an LA Times article, M*A*S*H was rated at #40 on Fridays. A disaster from what Season 3 had been. NBC carried M*A*S*H's hour with Sanford And Son and Chico And The Man.

    CBS decided not to wait until the traditional mid-season point to take action. November 7th was the last episode of Big Eddie. On November 14th, CBS preempted Big Eddie and M*A*S*H on Friday with a re-run of a special, Magnificent Monsters Of The Deep. For that week only (temporarily), a new episode of M*A*S*H (Dear Peggy) aired Tuesdays at 8:30, replacing the failing Joe And Sons (Robert Castellano, a supporting player in The Godfather, plays another middle class widower.) Then for the next two weeks, M*A*S*H was back on Fridays, with lead-ins of Dr. Seuss On The Loose and Country Music Hit Parade on the two weeks.

    At this point CBS gave up completely on its Friday night experiment, and went back to all movies. Hawaii 5-0 and Barnaby Jones were moved to Thursday, replacing the movie on that night. M*A*S*H skulked back to Tuesdays, in a different timeslot.

    In its way, the new Tuesday lineup was just as big a disaster as Fridays had been for CBS. Good Times remained in the top 25, but was losing to a revived Happy Days. Joe And Sons was failing. Eddie Albert-Robert Wagner caper show Switch would survive but was not highly rated. The worst was Beacon Hill, an American version of Upstairs Downstairs. Hey, it worked for All In The Family! Not here. It was cancelled.

    M*A*S*H was moved back to Tuesdays in the 9:00 slot. Switch moved to 10:00 to replace Beacon Hill. Joe And Sons was replaced in January by Popi, based on the 1969 movie, with Hector Elizando. Another widower show, Puerto Rican this time. In the spring Popi was cancelled and Good Times was moved back a half hour. The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Show got the 8:00 slot. Yowza.

    That left open the 9:30 slot behind M*A*S*H. For two weeks, All In The Family re-runs filled in. The permanent replacement came from whom else, Norman Lear. Another mid-season replacement, another hit. One Day At A Time.

    M*A*S*H had a #14 rating for the year. Probably all of the credit for that is from the Tuesday timeslot. One Day At A Time was #16.

    No weekly preemptions. Welcome To Korea is considered two episodes, but 25 episodes were produced for the season. It Happened One Night aired in the dead week. So everything was wrapped up by the end of February. The 1976 season would start 2 weeks later than 1975, so that was an extra two weeks for reruns. However, it evened out as two weeks were lost in July and August to the political conventions. It Happened One Night, The Kids, Soldier Of The Month, Quo Vadis Captain Chandler?, and Mail Call Again were re-run twice. The Novocaine Mutiny was not re-run at all.
    prognastycator likes this.
  23. Rob P S

    Rob P S Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    A major new series - One Day at a Time - premiering a week before Christmas - it was a different era. And it would be tethered to M*A*S*H for three years, first on Tuesday then on Monday.

    Elsewhere, All in the Family moved from Saturday at 8 to Monday at 9 - out of Family Viewing Hour - and the Saturday night shows took a ratings hit. MTM's Doc with Barnard Hughes never caught on and was mismatched with The Jeffersons. Three for the Road was pre-empted by a number of affiliates who replaced it with syndicated programming.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  24. Edgard Varese

    Edgard Varese Royale with Cheese

    Te Wai Pounamu
    Back then I was a little kid and on Saturday nights my parents would go out (usually around 9 or so). We had a babysitter named Carol, who used to watch MTM, Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett. Sometimes she would let me watch too. :)
  25. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly... Thread Starter

    I can't speak for my parents -who actually experienced that TV lineup first hand- but M*A*S*H is the only one of those shows I like...

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