What America Didn’t Watch – Friday, November 22nd, 1963

What We Didn’t Watch is a four-part special feature focusing on network prime-time programming pre-empted in November 1963 by coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination, its aftermath and his funeral. The networks aired news coverage and a few specials but no regular programming and no commercials. Most of the scheduled programs were aired at a later date. All times are Eastern.

Part One: Friday, November 22nd, 1963

When Walter Cronkite broke into As the World Turns on CBS at 1:40PM EST with an audio-only bulletin, neither ABC or NBC were offering network service. Affiliates were airing syndicated or local programs. By 2PM, all three networks were on the air with live coverage. Scheduled network programming for the remainder of the afternoon was tossed out.

For ABC, that meant shows like Day in Court at 2:30PM, Queen for a Day at 3PM and Who Do You Trust? at 3:30PM.

CBS afternoon programming not seen that day included Password at 2PM, to Tell the Truth at 3PM and The Secret Storm at 4PM.

And NBC pre-empted The Doctors at 2:30PM, You Don’t Say at 3:30PM and Match Game at 4PM.

The regularly scheduled evening news were of course unnecessary, as news coverage was all that was on the networks.

Here’s a rundown of the prime time schedules for each network, with rescheduled airdates for:

ABC

7:30-8:30PM
77 Sunset Strip – “Lover’s Lane”
Postponed until January 3rd, 1964

8:30-9:30PM
Burke’s Law – “Who Killed Jason Shaw?”
Postponed until January 3rd, 1964

9:30-10PM
Farmer’s Daughter – “The Simple Wife”
Postponed until December 18th, 1963

10-11PM
Boxing, Johnny Persol vs. Allen Thomas
Postponed until November 29th, 1963

CBS

7:30-8:30PM
The Great Adventure – “Wild Bill Hickock”
Postponed until January 3rd, 1964

8:30-9:30PM
Route 66 – “Kiss the Monster – Make Him Sleep”
Postponed until January 24th, 1964

9:30-10PM
The Twilight Zone – “Night Call”
Postponed until February 7th, 1964

10-11PM
The Alfred Hitchcok Hour – “Body in the Barn”
Postponed until November 29th, 1963

[June 1st, 2016 Update: I originally said that “Body and the Barn” was postponed until July 3rd, 1964. However, Steve Z. pointed out in the comments that Stephen Bowie of The Classic TV History Blog has proven that the episode actually aired on November 29th, 1963.]

NBC

7:30-8:30PM
International Showtime – “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen Circus”
Postponed until November 29th, 1963

8:30-9:30PM
Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre – “It’s Mental Work”
With Lee J. Cobb, Harry Guardino, Gene Rowlands
Postponed until December 20th, 1963

9:30-10PM
Harry’s Girls – “Bet It All”
Postponed until January 3rd, 1964

10-11PM
The Jack Paar Program
With Liberace, Milt Kamen, Mary McCarthy and Cassius Clay
Postponed until November 29th, 1963

The interrupted episode of As the World Turns does exist in full, even if viewers on Friday, November 22nd, 1963 never got to see how it ended. The Paley Center for Media has a copy.


6 Comments

  • Mike Smith says:

    Wikipedia said the Route 66 episode “A Cage in Search of a Bird” was the episode that was bumped by JFK. Wondering if they’re right.

  • Robert says:

    @TVGuideArchives has posted a scan of two pages from TV Guide for the evening of Friday, November 22nd, 1963 to Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/TVGuideArchives/status/404067152056971264/photo/1

    It has “Kiss the Monster–Make Him Sleep” airing that night.

  • Steve Z. says:

    Stephen Bowie’s website says that the Body in the Barn episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour actually aired on November 29th 1963. The July 3rd 1964 airing was a rerun of the episode.

  • Mike Johnson says:

    CBS broke into “As The World Turns” at 1:40 pm, NBC broke in with Don Pardo at 1:45 and ABC broke in around 1:46 pm, interviewing eyewitness accounts of the murder of President Kennedy that awful day. Some have said that Pardo broke in before Cronkite, but check out the three videos on You Tube; Cronkite was first on the air. Go back an hour for all times Central.

    • Joseph says:

      Reportedly, Don Pardo first did a bulletin on WNBC-TV Ne York around 1:41 or 1:42, a minute or two after CBS, but local only and three or four minutes before NBC’s first network bulletin.

      Since ABC and NBC weren’t feeding network programs, that fact may have led to the bulletins being a minute or two later than they might have been had they been feeding network programming.

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