Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

Our look back at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule continues with Tuesday nights.

Although not included in our grids, CBS and NBC aired 15 minute national newscasts Monday-Friday from 715-730PM Eastern.

Fall 1960 Primetime Television: Tuesday
All Times Eastern

Net 7PM 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Expedition! The Bugs Bunny Show The Rifleman The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp Stagecoach West One Step Beyond LOCAL
CBS Father Knows Best The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis The Tom Ewell Show The Red Skelton Show The Garry Moore Show
NBC Laramie Alfred Hitchcock Presents Thriller Various Specials

It was quite interesting to look back at how Tuesday nights were programmed in 1960, as each network had a slight quirk in their lineup. ABC actually moved their programming up a half-hour to 7PM Eastern and ended a half-hour early at 10:30PM Eastern.

ABC led things off with a travel documentary series called Expedition! This was followed by the premiere of The Bugs Bunny Show, featuring Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. The memorable theme song “This Is It” debuted here. Bugs Bunny aired for two seasons in primetime before moving to its longtime home on Saturday mornings.

A two hour block of westerns followed Bugs Bunny: The Rifleman, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (final season) and Stagecoach West (only season). The latter starred Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H) and Robert Bray (Lassie 1964-70 era).

ABC wrapped up the night with the anthology series One Step Beyond, later revived in syndication as The Next Step Beyond (1978).

The Eye Network also had an unusual Tuesday night strategy in 1960. They allowed affiliates to program the 730-8PM Eastern half hour, followed by repeats of the classic sitcom Father Knows Best. FKB had ended its six season primetime run the previous spring but aired for another three seasons in reruns (2 on CBS, 1 on ABC). Season 2 of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis aired next, followed by the short-lived comedy The Tom Ewell Show.

The second half of CBS Tuesdays offered a 90-minute variety block featuring Red Skelton and Garry Moore. The half-hour Red Skelton Show’s head writer was Sherwood Schwartz, who would go on to create comedy classics The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island. The Garry Moore Show’s stellar ensemble cast included Alan King and Carol Burnett.

Tuesday nights on NBC started with the western series Laramie, which starred John Smith and Robert Fuller. Smith had previously starred in the 1958 western Cimarron City, while Fuller would land future roles in Wagon Train and Emergency!

Next on NBC was 90 minutes of anthology programming featuring Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Boris Karloff-hosted Thriller. In addition to it’s famous actor-host, Thriller’s first season served up an impressive list of guest stars. That star-studded list included Mary Astor, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore, Leslie Nielsen, William Shatner and Rip Torn.

NBC’s Tuesday lineup concluded with an hour of specials programmed in the 10-11PM Eastern time period.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014

One thought on “Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

Leave a Reply

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