The Fall 1974 That Wasn’t

When a court ruling delayed changes to the Prime Time Access Rule prior to the start of the 1974-1975 season, six sitcoms were cut from network schedules. All would eventually see the light of day in one way or the other.

The FCC Cuts Network Prime Time

The term “prime time” refers to the four-hour period running 7-11PM in the Eastern/Pacific time zones and 6-10PM in the Central/Mountain time zones. In 1946, when regular network broadcasts began on NBC and DuMont only a handful of network programs were offered each night if at all. By 1949, all four networks (ABC, CBS, DuMont and NBC) were offering four hours of programming almost every night. Sprinkled throughout the week, however, were a number of half-hour or hour time slots that each network returned to affiliates for local programming.

As the DuMont network fell apart in the early-to-mid-1950s, its weekly schedule grew weaker and weaker, with increasingly large portions returned to stations. Throughout the late 1950s, the 7-7:30PM and 10:30-11PM half-hours were the most common time slots in which the networks did not offer any programming. Stations would either air syndicated programs, off-network repeats or locally-produced shows. By the early 1960s, the networks were regularly programming 7:30-11PM Monday through Saturday and 7-11PM on Sundays, broadcasting 25 hours of programming each week.

Everything changed on May 7th, 1970 when the Federal Communications Commission, after years of consideration and deliberation, officially announced what would become known as the Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR). It restricted network affiliates in the top 50 markets from airing more than three hours of network programming during prime time after September 1st, 1971. Here’s how the commission explained the ruling:

Our objective is to provide opportunity–no lacking in television–for the competitive development of alternate sources of television programs so that television licensees can exercise something more than a nominal choice in selecting the programs which they present to the television audiences in their communities.

A principal purpose of our prime-time access rule is to make available an hour of top-rated evening time for competition among present and potential nonnetwork program sources seeking the custom and favor of broadcasters and advertisers so that they public interest in diverse broadcast service may be served. [1]

The rule did make an exception for live and breaking news reports and political programming but not documentaries or news, while also setting up a waiver system for occasional live sporting events [2]. According to The New York Times, the FCC felt the rule was “possibly the last chance to prevent the three commercial networks from gaining a stranglehold on the nation’s dominant entertainment medium” [3].

Although the rule would apply only to network affiliates in the 50 largest markets (with the further caveat that there had to be at least three commercial stations in operation), the networks had no plans to offer a separate schedule for the remaining markets. Additional restrictions were placed on what stations could air in the remaining hour of prime time not filled by network programming.

The FCC’s new rule came at a unfortunate time for the networks. The economy was in a downturn, cigarette advertising would be banned as of January 1st, 1971 and now the FCC was cutting back the number of hours they could program. Yet ABC was unconcerned. Said network president Leonard H. Goldensen, “We think that ABC as a company can not only adapt itself to the decision without adverse effects, but may attain beneficial results from the rule” [5].

CBS and NBC, however, were adamantly against the rule. An NBC spokesman suggested that the rule “would have the reverse effect of lowering quality on television” [6]. CBS released the following statement:

By proposing to curtail the amount of programing the networks may provide between 7 and 11 p.m. and by barring the networks from domestic syndication, the FCC rules, as a practical matter, (a) would limit the sources of programing to network affiliates, (b) would require the cancellation of more than 10 hours weekly of popular entertainment programs now enjoyed by the American public, (c) would bring about the substitution in their place of cheaper, lower-quality productions and (d) since the rule provides a limited exception for news and public affairs programing, would impede the ability of the networks to maintain and extend their service in that important area.

Far from improving the quality of television, we believe the rules will have the opposite effect. We will press for reconsideration. [7]

Despite fierce opposition, unless overturned by a court, there was little CBS and NBC could do but try to minimize the damage to their schedules while staying competitive with each other and ABC. The FCC left it up to each networks to decide which three hours during prime time they wanted to program.

Implementing The Prime Time Access Rule

Although the rule wouldn’t go into affect until the start of the 1971-1972 season, ABC decided not to wait to return much of the required time to its affiliates. The network announced in November 1970 that as part of its mid-season realignment it would return three hours of prime time to affiliates in early 1971 [8]. Later that month NBC caved in and withdrew its appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York [9]. The National Association of Broadcasters, however, went ahead with its appeal, noting that stations outside the top 50 markets “could not afford the additional financial burdens the rule would place on them” [10].

NBC received a waiver from the FCC in February 1971 allowing it to keep its Sunday 7:30-11PM line-up intact [11]. At the time, ABC was considering asking for a similar waver so it could retain its popular Tuesday line-up (it ultimately did). In return for the waivers allowing them to program more than three hours on one night, the networks would have to relinquish an extra half-hour on another night. NBC cut the 10:30-11PM half-hour on Fridays while ABC gave up the 8:30-9PM half-hour on Mondays.

By early March, when the networks told the FCC of their plans for the 1971-1972 season, they had generally settled on programming the 8-11PM block every night of the week except for Tuesdays and Sundays [12]. To better compete with ABC on Tuesdays both CBS and NBC decided to program from 7:30-10:30PM. On Sundays, CBS decided to program from 7:30-10:30PM, matching NBC’s first three hours; ABC would air programming from 8-11PM. All three networks would directly compete from 8-11PM only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

On May 10th, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Prime Time Access Rule [13]. There would be no turning back.

The 1974 Alteration To The Prime Time Access Rule

On January 25th, 1974 the FCC announced it was relaxing portions of the Prime Time Access Rule. Beginning with the start of the 1974-1975 television season in September 1974, the networks were only obligated to return the 7:30-8PM half-hour Monday through Saturday to affiliates. Furthermore, a network could chose to program one of those 7:30-8PM half-hours each week with public affairs or children’s programming.

According to the The Los Angeles Times, the initial Prime Time Access Rule was “designed to spur filling the restricted time with independent and local programming. But instead, stations relied mostly on relatively inexpensive game shows and foreign-produced dramas. The FCC said it still hopes restricting the last half of the hour will achieve the original goal” [14].

This time, it was independent production companies protesting the FCC’s move. On February 15th the National Association of Independent Television Producers and Distributors complained that for the past three years its members had complied with the original rule and “now that the producers have made substantial investments in [non-network] programs, the F.C.C. has suddenly altered the rule and diminished the market that had been assured them” [15].

The FCC promised to take the association’s complaints under consideration and make a decision by February 26th about potentially delaying implementation of the revised Prime Time Access Rule until September 1975 [16]. If there was no delay, the association was prepared to file another appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [17]. On February 27th, the FCC voted not to delay implementation and as promised the National Association of Independent Television Producers and Distributors announced it would be filing an appeal [18].

The networks, meanwhile, were hard at work putting together their 1974-1975 schedules with the additional hour of prime time available to them on Sundays. Both CBS and NBC also announced they would take advantage of the FCC’s option to program an extra 7:30-8PM half-hour and devoted the 7-8PM time slot on Saturdays to public affairs and/or children’s programming.

NBC announced its new schedules on April 19th [19]. The network cut 13 shows from its schedule, including Hec Ramsey, The Girl with Something Extra, Lotsa Luck, The Flip Wilson Show and Chase, and ordered 11 new ones. Eight were dramas: The Little House on the Prairie, Born Free, Lucas Tanner, In Tandem (which would become Movin’ On), The Rangers (which would become Sierra), The Rockford Files, Petrocelli and Police Woman. Two others were sitcoms: Chico and the Man and Second Start. The final new show was Sunshine, a half-hour comedy/drama.

CBS also announced its fall schedule on April 19th [20]. It cut just six shows from its schedule, including Here’s Lucy and The New Dick Van Dyke Show. The network ordered three new dramas: Senior Year (which would be retitled Sons and Daughters), Planet of the Apes and The Manhunter. It also ordered four new sitcoms: Rhoda, The Paul Sand Show (which would be retitled Paul Sand in Friends & Lovers), The Love Nest and We’ll Get By.

ABC revealed its schedule a few days later [21]. Gone were ten shows, including The Brady Bunch, The F.B.I. and Toma. The network picked up six new dramas: Kodiak, The New Land, Nakia, Get Christie Love, Harry O and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It also picked up five new sitcoms That’s My Mama, Paper Moon, The Texas Wheelers, Everything Money Can’t Buy and Fireman’s Ball. Rounding out the ABC schedule was The Sonny Comedy Hour.

Here’s the fall schedule as it appeared in April 1974 (new programs are in bold):

NET 7:00PM 7:30PM 8:00PM 8:30PM 9:00PM 9:30PM 10:00PM 10:30PM
ABC   The Rookies ABC Monday Night Football
CBS Gunsmoke Maude Rhoda Medical Center
NBC Born Free The NBC Monday Night Movie
ABC   Happy Days The Tuesday Movie of the Week Marcus Welby, M.D.
CBS Planet of the Apes Hawaii Five-O Barnaby Jones
NBC Adam 12 The NBC World Premiere Movie Police Story
ABC   That’s My Mama The Wednesday Movie of the Week Get Christie Love!
CBS Senior Year (Sons and Daughters) Cannon The Manhunter
NBC Little House on the Prairie Lucas Tanner In Tandem (Movin’ On)
ABC   Everything Money Can’t Buy Paper Moon The Streets of San Francisco Harry-O
CBS The Waltons The CBS Thursday Night Movie
NBC The Rangers (Sierra) Ironside Petrocelli
ABC   Kodiak The Six Million Dollar Man The Texas Wheelers Kolchak: The Night Stalker
CBS The Love Nest We’ll Get By The CBS Friday Night Movie
NBC Sanford and Son Chico and the Man Sunshine Second Chance Police Woman
ABC   The New Land Kung FU Nakia
CBS Public Affairs/Children’s Specials All in the Family Friends and Lovers The Mary Tyler Moore Show The Bob Newhart Show The Carol Burnett Show
NBC Public Affairs/Children’s Specials Emergency! The NBC Saturday Night Movie
ABC Where’s the Fire? The Odd Couple The Sonny Comedy Revue The ABC Sunday Night Movie
CBS Apple’s Way Good Times M*A*S*H Kojak Mannix
NBC Wonderful World of Disney NBC Sunday Mystery Movie Rockford Files

Everything seemed set for the 1974-1975 season.

The Courts Intervene

On June 18th, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a one-year stay on implantation of the revised Prime Time Access Rule, meaning it would go into effect in September 1975 rather than September 1974 [22]. Gone was the additional hour on Sundays all three networks had already filled as well as the extra half-hour on Saturdays that CBS and NBC planned to devote to public affairs and/or children’s programming.

According to The New York Times, the court had promised to rule by early April, which would have given the networks plenty of time to adjust their schedules. When that didn’t happen the networks were forced to work under the assumption that they would receive the extra time. That didn’t mean they weren’t preparing for the opposite. According to an CBS executive, “We did allow ourselves a fallback position, in case something like this were to happen, and that was to issue contracts for some shows with the provision that they might be delayed to a January start” [23].

It was relatively simple for CBS and NBC to adjust their Saturday schedules. The 7:30-8PM half-hour would stay with stations and the programming intended to air from 7-8PM would be scheduled elsewhere [24]. ABC, having never planned to program that time slot, had no Saturday adjustments to make. But Sunday was another matter. All three networks would need to give up an hour on Sundays and that meant making adjustments to a number of other nights as well.

TV Guide reported in its July 6th issue that six previously announced sitcoms, two from each network, had been cut: The Love Nest (CBS, Charles Lane and Florida Friebus), We’ll Get By (CBS, Paul Sorvino and Mitzi Hoag), Sunshine (NBC, Cliff De Young), Second Start (NBC, Bob Crane), Where’s the Fire? (previously Fireman’s Ball, ABC, Johnny Brown and David Ketchum) and Everything Money Can’t Buy (ABC, cast unannounced) [25].

Also gone were 46 half-hour specials (documentaries, cartoons, National Geographic programs) CBS had ordered, ten hour-long news specials and 17 episodes of an hour-long news magazine NBC had ordered, and six ABC children’s specials [26].

Here’s the final 1974-1975 schedule (new shows in bold):

NET 7:00PM 7:30PM 8:00PM 8:30PM 9:00PM 9:30PM 10:00PM 10:30PM
ABC   The Rookies ABC Monday Night Football
CBS Gunsmoke Maude Rhoda Medical Center
NBC Born Free The NBC Monday Night Movie
ABC   Happy Days The Tuesday Movie of the Week Marcus Welby, M.D.
CBS Good Times M*A*S*H Hawaii Five-O Barnaby Jones
NBC Adam 12 The NBC World Premiere Movie Police Story
ABC   That’s My Mama The Wednesday Movie of the Week Get Christie Love!
CBS Sons and Daughters Cannon The Manhunter
NBC Little House on the Prairie Lucas Tanner Petrocelli
ABC   The Odd Couple Paper Moon The Streets of San Francisco Harry-O
CBS The Waltons The CBS Thursday Night Movie
NBC Sierra Ironside Movin’ On
ABC   Kodiak The Six Million Dollar Man The Texas Wheelers Kolchak: The Night Stalker
CBS Planet of the Apes The CBS Friday Night Movie
NBC Sanford and Son Chico and the Man The Rockford Files Police Woman
ABC   The New Land Kung Fu Nakia
CBS All in the Family Paul Sand in Friends & Lovers The Mary Tyler Moore Show The Bob Newhart Show The Carol Burnett Show
NBC Emergency! The NBC Saturday Night Movie
ABC   The Sonny Comedy Revue The ABC Sunday Night Movie
CBS   Apple’s Way Kojak Mannix  
NBC Wonderful World of Disney NBC Sunday Mystery Movie: Columbo/McCloud/McMillan and

In addition to dropping the aforementioned sitcoms, exach of the networks did some shuffling. ABC moved The Odd Couple from Sundays to Thursdays. CBS moved Good Times and M*A*S*H from Sunday to Tuesday and Planet of the Apes from Tuesday to Friday. And NBC moved Rockford Files from Sundays to Fridays.


What happened to all those hours of special programming ordered by the networks that had to be dropped from the 1974-1975 schedule? Presumably most of it was scheduled wherever and whenever it could be used. As for the six sitcoms the networks had to cut from their schedules, three would eventually premiere as mid-season replacements in March 1975. A fourth was retooled and wouldn’t debut until 1976. The remaining two never made it past the pilot stage, victims of the Prime Time Access Rule.

NBC’s Second Start was renamed The Bob Crane Show and premiered Thursday, March 6th, 1975 alongside Sunshine. Both ran for thirteen episodes. We’ll Get By, created by Alan Alda, premiered on Friday, March 14th, 1975 as part of an hour-block running on CBS from 8-9PM. The first half-hour would be filled with comedy pilots, the very first of which was the pilot to Love Nest. ABC would air the pilot to Where’s the Fire? on May 17th, 1975. As for ABC’s Everything Money Can’t Buy, it was extensively retooled and became Good Heavens, produced and starring Carl Reiner. It premiered in February 1976 and ran for thirteen weeks.

The Prime Time Access Rule was soon amended to allow the networks to program public affairs or children’s programming in the 7-8PM time slot on Sundays. To this day, the networks still air four hours of prime time on Sundays and three hours Monday through Saturday.

Works Cited:
1 “Network rule comes out of the egg.” Broadcasting. 11 May 1970: 22-23.
2 “Network rule comes out of the egg.” 23.
3 Lydon, Christopher. “F.C.C. Puts Limit On Networks’ TV.” New York Times. 8 May 1970: 1.
4 “FCC Limits Network Program Ownership.” The Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 7 May 1970: G32.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 “Two Networks Hit FCC Ruling Over Prime Time.” Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 9 May 1970: B3.
8 “ABC Plans to Return Prime Time to Stations Ahead of Schedule.” Wall Street Journal. 16 Nov. 1970: 11.
9 “NBC Shelving Appeal on Prime Time Ruling.” Los Angeles Times. 24 Nov. 1970: E15.
10 “Access Rule Brings Suit.” Los Angeles Times. 27 Nov. 1970: H30.
11 “N.B.C. Gets Waiver To Offer Programs 3 1/2 Hours Sundays.” New York Times. 20 Feb. 1971: 53.
12 According to the March 15th, 1971 issue of Broadcasting, the networks “informed FCC Chairman Dean Burch of their scheduling plans on Friday (March 12) in response to letter he handed their representatives Thursday.” He had suggested a uniform 8-11PM schedule (“Official word: 8-11PM,” Page 10).
13 “Appeals Court Backs FCC Prime Time Ruling.” Los Angeles Times. 10 May 1971: E18.
14 “Prime Time Rule to Be Relaxed in September.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Jan. 1974: A2.
15 Brown, Les. “F.C.C. Urged to Deny Networks More Prime Time.” New York Times. 16 Feb. 1974: 63.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.
18 “F.C.C. Bars Delay In New Access Rule On Prime-Time TV.” New York Times. 28 Feb. 1974: 74.
19 Smith, Cecil. “NBC and CBS to Drop 14 TV Series.” Los Angeles Times. 20 Apr. 1974: B1.
20 Ibid.
21 Brown, Les. “A.B.C. Cuts 10 Night Shows and Favors Fare for Families.” New York Times. 25 Apr. 1974: 78.
22 Brown, Les. “Court Stay of Prime-Time Rule To Force Shift in TV Schedules.” New York Times. 19 Jun. 1974: 90.
23 Brown, Les. “Networks Appeal Court’s Rule on Prime-Time Delay.” New York Times. 20 Jun. 1974: 79.
24 “Networks reshuffle after court’s prime-time ruling.” Broadcasting. 1 July 1974: 33.
25 Doan, Richard K. “Networks Curtail Comedies After Court Decision.” TV Guide. 6 Jul. 1974: A-1.

Originally Published June 25th, 2009
Last Updated May 6th, 2018

17 Replies to “The Fall 1974 That Wasn’t”

  1. …A couple of corrections:

    1) The Paul Sand Show was actually called Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, or just Friends and Lover. Touted as a “high brow humor” show for the Mary Tyler Moore types, the show pretty much was dead last in the ratings for its whole run.

    2) Flip Wilson wasn’t cancelled by NBC; Flip had decided to go into semi-retirement in order to have a more active role in raising his kids. IIRC, Billy Ingram over at TV Party had an article on what happened to Flip, but I can’t find the damn link over there now. You might want to drop him a line and check on it.

  2. The articles announcing the CBS schedule all referred to Paul Sand in Friends in Lovers as The Paul Sand Show. It was probably an early title or even a working title. You can watch the fall preview for the show here. It actually did well in the Nielsen ratings but only because it was in a “hammock” time slot between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

    As for The Flip Wilson Show, I found an article in The Los Angeles Times stating that Wilson didn’t want to return for a fourth season but eventually agreed to do just 16 new episodes (the Internet Movie Database shows 18 episodes for the 1973-1974 season). So it was ended and was not truly cancelled.

  3. Jose Ferrer was supposed to have been cast as “Mr. Angel” in the original version of Bernard Slade’s “EVERYTHING MONEY CAN’T BUY”. When Columbia Pictures Television revived the concept for ABC’s 1975-’76 schedule, Carl Reiner not only took the role, he was also executive producer of what became “GOOD HEAVENS”. However, ABC’s new programming chief Fred Silverman had an aversion to “fantasy shows” (and sitcoms he didn’t personally have a hand in developing), and deliberately withheld the series until mid-season, then dumping it when the ratings fell, as he knew they would.

    “SENIOR YEAR”, which was the title of the pilot movie that sold the series to CBS, went on the air as “SONS AND DAUGHTERS”. But Fred Silverman, the network’s chief programmer in the 1974-’75 season, scuttled that in December in favor of the return of the summer variety series “TONY ORLANDO & DAWN” that December. He knew viewers wanted to see it again, and that it was a better alternative to “LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE” and “THAT’S MY MAMA” than “SONS AND DAUGHTERS”…and he was right.

  4. Does anyone remember in 1974 a late night suspense or supernatural series that focused on a rock band? I think it was on Thursdays and perhaps it was ABC.

  5. In his memoir, former NBC News president Reuven Frank wrote that had the Prime-Time Access Rule been amended in 1974, the offbeat newsmagazine series “Weekend” would have been broadcast every Saturday from 7 to 8 P.M. Eastern/Pacific.

    But when the courts blocked this plan, NBC decided to cut “Weekend” back to a once-monthly 90-minute show broadcast at 11:30 P.M. Eastern/Pacific on either Saturday or Sunday night (it was fed at that time on both nights; it was the affiliate’s choice as to when to pick it up), pre-empting a rerun of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” that usually filled the slot.

    In the Fall of 1975, the three weeks of Carson reruns each month were replaced by a new live show that if affiliates wanted to carry it, they would have to do so from 11:30 P.M. to 1 A.M. Eastern/Pacific on Saturday nights: “Saturday Night Live”. “Weekend” continue to replace “SNL” once a month until 1978, when it was (unsuccessfully) moved to prime-time as a weekly hour.

    1. If not for the irregular once-a-month scheduling of ‘Weekend’ in the initial seasons, we might never have had “Weekend Update”, which initially served as a gentle mockery of the program that ‘SNL’ shared a timeslot with.

  6. Ratings for Victims of the Prime Time Access Rule
    My records indicate that ‘The Bob Crane Show’ and ‘Sunshine’ premiered in the spring of 1975 (not 1976). Here are the regular season averages or one-time airing Nielsens for the six series:

    ‘The Bob Crane Show’ NBC (pilot: “Second Start”) 1974-75 regular season average 14.9HH
    ‘Sunshine’ NBC (piloted on CBS Nov.9/1973, 24.7HH/41%) 1974-75 regular season average 15.0HH
    ‘We’ll Get By’ CBS 1974-75 regular season average 16.1HH
    ‘Love Nest’ CBS (pilot aired as ‘CBS Friday Comedy Special’, Friday, March 14th, 1975) 11.6HH/19%
    ‘Where’s the Fire?’ ABC (pilot aired as special on May 17th, 1975) 7.1HH/16%
    ‘Good Heavens’ ABC (‘Everything Money Can’t Buy’ remained unaired) 1975-76 regular season average 22.4HH

    ‘Good Heavens’ is an interesting story. It premiered as a special preview after ABC’s premiere of THE SOUND OF MUSIC on February 29th, 1976 with a 22.0/40% debut rating and then ran for a handful of episodes on Monday night at 8:30 pm, out of ‘On the Rocks’ and leading into the RICH MAN, POOR MAN miniseries, ‘The ABC Monday Night Movie’ and ‘John Denver’/’Academy Awards’ at 9 pm. In the Monday at 8:30 pm timeslot, ‘Good Heavens’ did well, outpointing its ‘On the Rocks’ lead-in and kept pace with ‘The ABC Monday Night Movie’s 23.5HH average. Notwithstanding, Mr. Fred Silverman pulled the series in early April to allow ‘The ABC Monday Night Movie’ an earlier 8:30 pm start out of ‘On The Rocks’.

    When upfronts came around, ABC had an embarassment of riches of series for renewal as Mr. Silverman weighed the prospects of ‘Good Heavens’ going forward, and in the end placed his chips on pick-ups of ‘Cos’, ‘The Captain & Tennille’, ‘The Tony Randall Show’, ‘The Nancy Walker Show’, ‘Holmes & Yoyo’ and ‘Mr. T. & Tina’, and he took a pass on ‘Good Heaven’s 22.4HH average. I don’t recall any other network attempting to pick up this Columbia-produced series after cancellation papers were issued.

    As Barry I. Grauman has pointed out above, Mr. Fred Silverman just didn’t seem to have an affection for this series. After making his cancellation decision, Mr. Silverman skedded the remaining episodes for Saturdays at 8 pm and resumed broadcasting the series in late May of 1976. In it’s summer 1976 burn-off, ‘Good Heavens’ averaged a poor 10.1HH/25%, perhaps giving weight to Mr. Silverman’s doubts about the series. Not a single episode of the series was ever encored.

  7. For the 1971-72 season, ABC still ran 7:30–11PM ET on Tuesday, so as not to break up its first all ratings monster evening of MOD SQUAD/MOVIE OF THE WEEK/MARCUS WELBY, M.D.–in return they gave up Monday 8:30-9, leaving a local space between NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR and MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.

  8. In 1974 Rowan and Martin hosted a TV special sponsored by RCA. It was called “Rowan and Martin’s Opening Night” and had a large cast of famous performers, including Ruby Keeler and Dolly Parton. Am trying to find a DVD or VHS of that show. Anyone remember it?

  9. Prior to 1978 NBC was still in the practice of wiping- (erasing prerecorded material on video tapes for reuse of future shows) -a majority of its videotaped presentations, with the exception of recorded sitcoms (Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, etc) and a mere handful of game shows that survived. I don’t think too many videotaped NBC specials survived as a result, since networks believed that there was no value in ever rerunning such media. Ironically, seasons 3-5 of Laugh In have never been aired in syndication and not on DVD either. Are they presumed lost? Destroyed?

  10. Was The FBI the last ever sponsored scripted show to go off the air? By 1974-75, it was the first ever full participating-sponsored season.

  11. Two interesting facet of the Prime Time Access rule were news and sports.

    Under PTAR, network affiliated COULD run network news at 7 P.M. eastern on Monday through Friday nights IF it followed an hour-long local 6 P.M. (Eastern time) newscast. Many major ABC, CBS, and NBC stations on the East Coast were already running hour-long 6 P.M. local weeknight newscasts, so they were able to keep their hour-long local newscasts.

    Additionally, special news events and breaking news coverage were exempt. Thus during the 1972 Presidential campaign, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the conventions could begin whenever evening sessions began and not “joined in progress” at 8 P.M. Eastern time; on the night of the 1972 Presidential elections, ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t have to wait until 8 P.M. Eastern to begin coverage (I think CBS and NBC started wall-to-wall election-night at 7 P.M. EST; ABC at 7:30 EST).

    In 1972, ABC wanted nightly prime-time coverage of the Summer Olympics from Munch to run there-and-a-half hours (7:30-11 P.M. Eastern time), but was told the prime-time show each night could only be three hours.

    Although PTAR was still in place in 1976, by that time, the FCC had changed the classification of the Olympics to a “special news event”, allowing that network to run a three-and-a-half hours (7:30-11 P.M. Eastern) of prime-time Olympic coverage each night of the Summer Games.

    (Had the U.S. participated at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, this re-classification of the Olympics as a news event would have allowed NBC to air five hours of prime-time coverage each night from 7 P.M. to 12 Midnight Eastern time, a scheduling tactic ABC would use for prime-time coverage of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles).

    I think eventually, PTAR waivers were given to coverage of New Year’s Day college football bowl games (so NBC could run the Rose Bowl at 4:30 P.M. EST an the Orange Bowl at 7:45 P.M. EST), and “NFL Monday Night Football” (in the central and western states).

  12. The 1974-75 TV season will be remembered by those of us who study TV as a season of high hopes and disappointments, with a few successes in between.

  13. Sanford and Son hit its ratings peak during the 1974-75 season. In fact, its strong lead-in helped NBC’s entire Friday night lineup rank in the Nielsen Top 15 that season.
    * 8:00 pm – Sanford and Son – #2, 29.6 rating
    * 8:30 pm – Chico and the Man – #3, 28.5 rating
    * 9:00 pm – The Rockford Files – #12, 23.7 rating
    * 10:00 pm – Police Woman – #15, 22.8 rating

  14. So had that PTAR revision started in 1974 instead of fall 1975, most of the shows would have been tanked. So if you’re reading that on the November 4, 1974 issue of Broadcasting, as Gunsmoke was on the casualties list of being scrubbed mid-season, had Gunsmoke been cancelled early midway through the 20th season, then Cher would have been the replacement and would have been more compatible with the Maude/Rhoda duo, given the youth demographics, whereas Gunsmoke had reached the wrong/old demographics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.