I spent the past week revising two articles that took a lot more time than I anticipated. The first, Programs Cancelled Before They Premiered, 1963-1988, involved an extensive amount of new research into one of the four shows discussed in the article, NBC’s The Robert Taylor Show from 1963. I found articles that brought to light some new details about the series (but not, unfortunately, the truth behind its sudden cancellation). For starters, there were apparently five episodes completed before NBC pulled the plug, not four. Robert Loggia was signed to co-star but left the project before any episodes were filmed.
Perhaps most interestingly, the series was actually the second attempt to create a drama centered on the activities of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). The first attempt was a 1962 pilot starring David McLean titled “330 Independence SW” that aired as an episode of The Dick Powell Show. That pilot didn’t sell but someone at Four Star Television liked the idea and decided to try again. As far as I can tell, NBC never gave an official reason for cancelling The Robert Taylor Show in July 1963, only months before it was set to premiere. Articles in Broadcasting and newspapers like The New York Times referred to “reports” that the network was unhappy that the series was not officially sanctioned by the actual HEW, which had offered only to review scripts and episodes. That makes sense but it seems hard to believe something like that could slip past the network.
The section of the article focusing on The Robert Taylor Show is now 14 paragraphs long rather than four and runs more than 1,200 words rather than 270. The sections on Snip, Mister Dugan and The Dictator were already fairly comprehensive and thus didn’t require much additional work. I did remove the section on programs that were cancelled before they premiere after 1988 because it was both incomplete and out of date. Plus, after much consideration, I decided it was outside the scope of the article. For those interested, there’s a Wikipedia entry about TV shows cancelled before airing an episode, although it is somewhat inaccurate.
The second article I revised was The Fall 1974 That Wasn’t, with an emphasis on expanding and clarifying the section on the introduction of the Prime Time Access Rule in 1970 and its initial implementation in 1971. I also fixed a few minor errors in the section discussion the aftermath of the 1974 revision to the rule.