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.