New Spotlight: The Karen Valentine Show (Unsold Pilot)

41 years ago today on Monday, May 21st, 1973, ABC aired a two-hour block of unsold pilots. Included were “The Barbara Eden Show,” with Barbara Eden and Joe Flynn; “Catch 22” with Richard Dreyfuss; and “The Karen Valentine Show” with Karen Valentine. All three were half-hour sitcom pilots so either there were a lot of extra commercials during the two-hour block or additional content (perhaps host segments?) were included.

My latest spotlight focuses on “The Karen Valentine Show,” which was the first of three attempts by ABC and 20th Century-Fox to get a show starring Valentine on the air. It was one of ABC’s contenders for the 1973-1974 season.

In the pilot, Valentine played a young woman named Karen Scott who worked as an assistant to wacky Buddy Lundon (played by Charles Nelson Reilly), the owner of a public relations firm. Buddy took on clients nobody else would — like an inventor whose anti-war gun fired rubber doves — and it was Karen’s job to help make them all look good.

Had “The Karen Valentine Show” been picked up, Valentine would not have been available for the fifth and final season of Room 222. Instead, she remained with the series for its final season, which ran from September 1973 to January 1974.

ABC and 20th Century-Fox tried again after Room 222 was cancelled, producing and considering another pilot starring Valentine for the 1974-1975 season. This one, called “The Karen Valentine Program,” was also not picked up but was never aired by ABC. I wrote about that plot back in August 2009. Finally, in January 1975, a sitcom called Karen premiered as a mid-season replacement on ABC. It ran for 13 episodes before it was cancelled. I wrote about that series in July 2009. I hope to revise both of those spotlights in the near future.

Read the full spotlight here.


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