50th Anniversary of The New People

The New People debuted 50 years ago tonight on ABC in 1969. The 45-minute drama premiered at 8:15PM ET on Monday, September 22nd, 1969 after the series premiere of The Music Scene, another 45-minute show. The two shows, along with Harold Robbins’ The Survivors and Love, American Style, were part of ABC’s revamped Monday-night lineup. Produced by Aaron Spelling, The New People followed a group of college students trying to build their own society after crash-landing on a deserted island.

Rod Serling wrote the first episode but, after ABC chopped his script for a 60-minute drama to fit a 45-minute time slot, he declined to have his name attached to it. Look for a post examining Serling’s original pilot script later today. Facing stiff competition from CBS (plus Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In on NBC), ABC’s new Monday lineup was a flop. The Music Scene, The New People, and The Survivors were quickly cancelled.

Longtime readers will recall that The New People is my favorite obscure television show of all time, even though I wasn’t alive when it originally aired and despite the fact I’ve only managed to see a single episode.

I’ve written about The New People many times over the past 15 years. Check out my in-depth article about the show, , an exhibit on the two Dell tie-in comics here, and an Adventures in TV Audio post highlighting audio tapes used in the production of the show. Also, I’ve reviewed the Tempo Books tie-in novel and the first Dell tie-in comic. Next month, I’ll review the second and final issue.

Did you watch The New People on ABC during the 1969-1970 season? Hit the comments with your memories.

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