Promotional Spot for Premiere of Chiefs

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Chiefs, a three-part, six-hour CBS miniseries based on a novel by Stuart Woods, premiered on Sunday, November 13th, 1983, continued on Tuesday, November 15th and finished on Wednesday, November 16th. The first installment ran from 8-10PM; the other two from 9-11PM. The miniseries spanned four decades, from the 1920s through the 1960s, as a small Southern town in Georgia grappled with the social change, political machinations and murder. Charlton Heston starred as the town’s patriarch, while Wayne Rogers, Brad Davis and Billy Dee Williams played the town’s successive police chiefs, after which the novel and miniseries were named. Chiefs also starred Stephen Collins, Paul Sorvino, Victoria Tennant, Lane Smith, Keith Carradine and many others. It was directed by Jerry London, who had previously directed NBC’s phenomenally successful “Shogun” miniseries in 1980.

Chiefs was nominated for three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Keith Carradine for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special but didn’t win any. Stuart Woods wrote a series of novels based on the character of Will Lee (played by Wayne Rogers in the miniseries). The fourth, Grass Roots, was also turned into a miniseries, airing over the course of two nights in February of 1992, this time on NBC. An edited version of Chiefs was released on VHS in 1994. It has also been released on DVD, in Region 2, but I don’t know if that version is edited as well.

This is a short promotional spot for the premiere of Chiefs, from late October 1983.

4 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    The announcer is Brad Crandall, who handled most of CBS’ movie and mini-series promos in the ’70s and ’80s.

  • DuMont says:

    How I miss the miniseries, especially the successive night skedding pioneered by Mr. Fred Silverman, which could be counted upon to deliver the Nielsens in a Sweep unlike any other programming. Goodness gracious, CHIEFS even out-rated an ABC premiere of a James Bond theatrical, although in fairness, several of the Bond titles starring Sir Roger Moore suffered tepid Nielsens for their premieres.

    I never got around to seeing CHIEFS, but CBS ran the miniseries twice, both times during Sweep periods (November and July), and both times garnering competitive numbers of households watching.

    CHIEFS Miniseries Original Airing on CBS:
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    Sun.Nov.13/1983, 8-10pm: CHIEFS PART 1 25.1HH/36% -> 1st in timeslot, beating ‘Hardcastle & McCormick’ / ‘The ABC Sunday Night Movie: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY’ (first hour) on ABC and ‘Knight Rider’ / ‘NBC Sunday Night at the Movies: AIRPLANE’ (first hour) on NBC.

    Tue.Nov.15/1983, 9-11pm: CHIEFS PART 2 23.0HH/36% -> 1st in timeslot, beating ‘The ABC Movie Special: SMOKEY & THE BANDIT 2′ (second hour) / ‘Hart to Hart’ on ABC and ‘Remington Steele’ / ‘Bay City Blues’ on NBC.

    Wed.Nov.16/1983, 9-11pm: CHIEFS PART 3 23.7HH/36% -> 1st in timeslot, beating ‘Dynasty’ / ‘Hotel’ on ABC and ‘The Facts of Life’ / ‘Family Ties’ / ‘St. Elsewhere’ on NBC.

    CHIEFS miniseries average: 23.9HH/36%

    CHIEFS Miniseries Encore Airing on CBS:
    ===========================
    Fri.Jul.26/1985, 9-11pm: CHIEFS PART 1 13.1HH (tied for first with ‘The ABC Friday Summer Movie: CALIFORNIA SUITE’)
    Sat.Jul.27/1985, 9-11pm: CHIEFS PART 2 11.4HH (2nd in timeslot to 2-hour ‘Love Boat’ encore on ABC)
    Sun.Jul.28/1985, 9-11pm: CHIEFS PART 3 15.9HH (2nd in timeslot to 2-hour ‘Miami Vice’ on NBC.

    CHIEFS miniseries encore average: 13.5HH

  • pinkpagoda says:

    I saw this miniseries, and again when it was re-run (re-ran?) lol – anyway, it was a GREAT miniseries, had a dastardly plot, was well acted, and left you wanting more and more.

    I miss the miniseries as well, but thanks to HBO, I still get my fix from time to time.

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