Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

We wrap up our look at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule with Saturday nights.

Fall 1960 Primetime Television: Saturday
All Times Eastern

Net 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC The Roaring 20s Leave It To Beaver The Lawrence Welk Show The Fight of the Week Make That Spare (10:45)
CBS Perry Mason Checkmate Have Gun-Will Travel Gunsmoke LOCAL
NBC Bonanza The Tall Man The Deputy The Nation's Future LOCAL

ABC’s Saturday nights in 1960 started off with a new throwback drama series called The Roaring 20s, starring actress-singer Dorothy Provine. Although up against two Top 20 shows (Bonanza, Perry Mason), The Roaring 20s was renewed for a second season.

Season 4 of the classic family comedy Leave It To Beaver aired next, followed by the champagne bubble-infused Lawrence Welk Show. Welk aired on ABC from 1955 to 1971, then ran another 11 years in first-run syndication.

The 10-11PM hour on ABC was an hour of live sports programming. The first 45 minutes served up boxing (The Fight of the Week), while the last 15 minutes offered bowling. The new 15 minute series Make That Spare featured professional bowlers trying to pick up challenging splits and spares.

Saturday nights were owned by CBS in 1960. The night led off with Season 4 of courtroom drama Perry Mason, which was followed by a new detective series called Checkmate.

Checkmate starred Anthony George (Dark Shadows, One Life to Live), Sebastian Cabot (Family Affair) and Doug McClure (The Virginian). The show finished in the Top 25 in its first season, but that success would be short-lived. CBS moved the show to Wednesdays in 1961, ratings dropped and the show was cancelled after two seasons.

Westerns powered CBS on Saturdays, with two Top 5 shows wrangling up the competition. Season 4 of Richard Boone’s Have Gun-Will Travel (#3) aired at 9:30, followed by the half-hour edition of Gunsmoke (#1) at 10PM. The final half-hour of primetime was programmed locally.

NBC’s Saturday nights kicked off with a two-hour block of westerns, including Season 2 of Bonanza. A new western aired at 8:30 Eastern. The Tall Man featured Barry Sullivan (who previously starred in 1950s shows The Harbormaster and The Man Called X) as Sheriff Pat Garrett and Clu Callagher (The Virginian) as Billy the Kid.

The National Broadcasting Company’s western block wrapped up with the second and final season of The Deputy, starring film legend Henry Fonda. That was followed by The Nation’s Future, a new debate series tackling such issues as censorship and foreign policy. Like CBS, NBC turned over the 10:30PM half-hour to its affiliates.

CBS dominated Saturday nights in 1950, with all four of its shows in the Top 25 including two Top 5 series. This was the final season of the half-hour version of Gunsmoke, which was the number one show of 1960-61.

NBC’s Top 20 western Bonanza would move to Sundays in 1961. The move paid off, as Bonanza became a bonafide Top 10 hit for the next decade.

MeTV Coming To Delmarva

WMDT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Salisbury, MD is adding national classic TV diginet MeTV to its lineup.

Beginning Memorial Day, Monday May 26, MeTV will air on broadcast channel 47.3. It will also be carried on several area cable systems. WMDT’s coverage area includes portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

For more info on MeTV, please visit their website.

Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

We resume our look back at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule with Friday 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: Friday
All Times Eastern

Net 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Matty's Sunday Funnies Harrigan and Son The Flintstones 77 Sunset Strip The Detectives The Law and Mr. Jones
CBS Rawhide Route 66 Mr. Garlund The Twilight Zone Eyewitness to History
NBC Dan Raven The Westerner The Bell Telephone Hour/NBC News Specials Michael Shayne

ABC programmed 4 new series on Friday nights in 1960, one of which became a true classic.

Matty’s Sunday Funnies led off the night. As you might guess, this show featured cartoon shorts, including Casper the Friendly Ghost. ABC also aired the show on Sunday afternoons. Another new show followed Sunday Funnies: Harrigan and Son. Film actor Pat O’Brien (Angels with Dirty Faces, Some Like It Hot) starred in this sitcom from Desilu Productions. It was cancelled after a single season.

Up next was another new series called…The Flintstones. This animated sitcom was an instant Top 20 hit and would air for 6 seasons, spawning numerous cartoon sequels and live action movies in the decades to come.

At 9 o’clock Eastern ABC aired another Top 20 show, 77 Sunset Strip. It starred Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and ran for 6 seasons from 1958-64. A year later, Zimbalist would star in The F.B.I. That show was even more successful and aired for 9 seasons.

A pair of half-hour crime dramas rounded out the night: The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor and The Law and Mr. Jones. The Detectives aired on ABC for 2 seasons, then moved to NBC for its final season in 1961-62. The Law and Mr. Jones was a new show that starred James Whitmore. It was cancelled after the season, but brought back for another brief run in the spring of 1962.

CBS introduced 3 new series on Friday nights, including one certifiable hit.

The Eye network’s schedule kicked off with the Clint Eastwood western Rawhide, a Top 10 show. It was followed by a new series from Naked City creator Stirling Silliphant. Route 66 starred Martin Milner (later of Adam-12) and George Maharis. It became a Top 30 hit and ran for 4 seasons.

The 9:30PM Eastern hammock position featured a new drama called Mr. Garlund. It was quickly cancelled after only 6 episodes.

Season 2 of the classic sci-fi anthology series The Twilight Zone aired at 10PM Fridays. The show had new opening theme music and quite an impressive list of guest stars for its sophomore season. That list included Art Carney, John Carradine, Russell Johnson, William Shatner and Inger Stevens.

CBS wrapped up Friday nights with a new public affairs series called Eyewitness to History. It would go on to run for 3 years. The host of the first season was Charles Kuralt, later known for his On The Road segments and CBS News Sunday Morning hosting duties.

NBC struggled on most nights in 1960 and Friday was no exception. The National Broadcast Company programmed 3 new shows on Fridays and all 3 flopped.

The night started out with the crime drama Dan Raven. Although it only aired for 13 episodes, it did feature some memorable guest stars like Paul Anka, Buddy Hackett and Gavin MacLeod.

A new western, appropriately called The Westerner, aired at 8:30PM Eastern. The show starred Brian Keith (later in Family Affair) and veteran character actor John Dehner. It was created by Sam Peckinpah, who would go on to produce such classic films as 1969’s The Wild Bunch. The pilot for The Westerner originally aired as an episode of the CBS western anthology series Zane Grey Theater. Unfortunately, The Westerner was sent out to pasture after just 13 episodes.

NBC’s Friday 9-10PM slot offered The Bell Telephone Hour, alternating with specials from NBC News. The Bell Telephone Hour aired for nearly 2 decades on radio before moving to TV. It was a concert series featuring classical and Broadway music. The Bell Telephone Hour was also one of the few shows that aired exclusively in color.

Fridays on NBC concluded with another new entry, Michael Shayne. This series was based on the classic detective character that previously appeared in movies and on radio. Richard Denning of Mr. and Mrs. North fame starred in title role and would later appear as the governor on Hawaii Five-0. Michael Shayne lasted a single season.

Friday nights in 1960 belonged to ABC and CBS, each scoring a pair of Top 30 shows on the night.

Of the 10 new shows airing on Fridays, 2 became certified hits: The Flintstones (ABC) and Route 66 (CBS). All 3 of NBC’s new Friday nights shows were failures, two of them only lasting 13 episodes (Dan Raven, The Westerner).

Obit: Nancy Malone

Actress-turned-executive Nancy Malone has died.

Malone guested on such classic shows as Bonanza, Hawaii Five-0, Ironside and The Twilight Zone. She is perhaps best known for her role as Libby Kingston, girlfriend of Detective Adam Flint on the 1960s crime drama Naked City.

Malone went on to direct episodes of shows like Diagnosis Murder, Dynasty and Melrose Place. She was also an executive at 20th Century Fox back in the 1970s.

Nancy Malone passed away last Thursday in California. She was 79 years old.

MeTV Unveils Summer of Me Schedule

National classic TV diginet MeTV has released their Summer 2014 programming schedule, which includes the addition of such shows as Bosom Buddies, Happy Days and Mod Squad.

Here’s a look at what’s changing on the MeTV schedule (all times Eastern, may vary by market):

  • M-F 5:30-6AM Make Room for Daddy (replaces My Three Sons)
  • M-F 10-11AM The Love Boat (replaces Perry Mason)
  • M-F 11A-12N The Mod Squad (replaces Ironside)
  • M-F 12N-1PM The Rockford Files (replaces Hawaii Five-0)
  • M-F 4-4:30PM Adam-12 (replaces Dragnet)
  • M-F 8-8:30PM Gilligan’s Island (was M-Th, replaces Friday Movie)
  • M-F 8:30-9PM Happy Days (replaces Gilligan’s Island/Movie)
  • M-F 9-9:30PM Hogan’s Heroes (was M-Th, replaces Friday Movie)
  • M-F 9:30-10PM Welcome Back Kotter (was M-Th, replaces Friday Movie)
  • Mon 10-11PM Get Smart (replaces The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
  • Tue 10-11PM The Honeymooners (replaces Taxi)
  • Wed 10-11PM F Troop (replaces The Bob Newhart Show)
  • Thu 10-11PM Bosom Buddies (replaces Rhoda)
  • M-F 12:30-1AM Dragnet (replaces The Untouchables)
  • M-F 1-1:30AM Adam-12 (replaces The Untouchables)
  • Sun 5-5:30AM He-Man & The Masters of the Universe (replaces The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis)
  • Sun 6-6:30AM Family Affair (replaces Make Room for Daddy)
  • Sun 6:30-7AM Family Affair (replaces Make Room for Daddy)
  • Sun 7-7:30AM Leave It To Beaver (replaces Family Affair)
  • Sun 7:30-8AM Leave It To Beaver (replaces Family Affair)

In summary:

  • Joining the schedule: Bosom Buddies, F Troop, Happy Days, He-Man & The Masters of the Universe, The Mod Squad
  • Leaving the schedule: The Bob Newhart Show, Hawaii Five-0, Ironside, Made-for-TV Movie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, My Three Sons, Rhoda, Taxi and The Untouchables
  • Airing MORE often: Adam-12, Get Smart, Gilligan’s Island, Hogan’s Heroes, The Honeymooners, Leave It To Beaver, The Love Boat, Make Room for Daddy, The Rockford Files, Welcome Back Kotter
  • Airing LESS often: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Perry Mason

The new lineup launches on Memorial Day, Monday May 26.

Get Cozi This Summer

Classic TV diginet Cozi TV has announced their Spring/Summer 2014 programming plans. Here’s what’s new (all times Eastern):

  • May 5: McCloud (Mondays 8PM-12M)
  • May 26: Starsky & Hutch/Knight Rider Marathon (Regular time slot Tuesdays 10PM)
  • June 2: The Dick Van Dyke Show (Weekdays 5-6PM, moves over from MeTV)
  • July 4: Hopalong Cassidy Marathon (Regular time slot TBA)
  • July 6: Hart To Hart (Regular time slot Mondays 8-11PM)
  • August: Here’s Lucy (Time slot TBA)

Flashback: Fall 1960 Primetime

Our look back at the Fall 1960 primetime TV schedule rolls on to Thursday 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: Thursday
All Times Eastern

Net 7:30PM 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC Guestward Ho! The Donna Reed Show The Real McCoys My Three Sons The Untouchables Take A Good Look
CBS The Witness Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater Angel The Ann Sothern Show Person to Person The DuPont Show with June Allyson
NBC Outlaws Bat Masterson Bachelor Father The Ford Show Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford The Groucho Show LOCAL

All 3 networks led off their Thursday night schedules in 1960 with brand new series. Two of those series were cancelled after a single season.

ABC’s new entry was Guestward, Ho!, part of a 2-hour comedy block. It was from Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions and the pilot starred former I Love Lucy cast member Vivian Vance. She was replaced in the series by actress Joanne Dru, sister of future Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall. Ironically, William Frawley (the actor who played Vance’s husband on I Love Lucy) would have great success on another new ABC Thursday night sitcom.

The comedy block continued with The Donna Reed Show, followed by the top 10 sitcom The Real McCoys starring Walter Brennan and Richard Crenna. At 9 o’clock Eastern, ABC premiered what would become a long-running classic: My Three Sons.

My Three Sons would air from 1960-65 on ABC with William Frawley as Bub. All the ABC episodes were in black and white. When My Three Sons moved to CBS in 1965, all episodes were produced in color. William Demarest joined the cast as Uncle Charley midway through the 1965-66 season and stayed with the show until it was cancelled in 1972.

ABC followed the comedies with the 2nd season of Robert Stack in The Untouchables, another top 10 series. That was followed by Take A Good Look, a game show parody starring comedy legend Ernie Kovacs.

Thursday nights on The Eye Network kicked off with The Witness, a legal show based on actual court cases. Telly Savalas played mobster Lucky Luciano in the series opener. Despite the star power, The Witness was recalled after just one season. The 8:30 Eastern time slot offered the 5th and final season of the western anthology series Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater.

Thursdays at 9 were a head-to-head sitcom battle among all 3 networks, with ABC’s My Three Sons winning the war. CBS served up Angel, created by former I Love Lucy head writer Jess Oppenheimer. It was paired with the 3rd and final season of The Ann Sothern Show. Both comedies were dropped after the 1960-61 season.

At 10PM Eastern, CBS programmed the final season of the long-running celebrity interview series Person to Person (CBS revived the series briefly in 2012). The night ended with the anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. It, too, was cancelled at the end of the season.

The Peacock Network had the only new show at 7:30 Eastern that survived more than a single season. The Western series Outlaws starred Barton MacLane, best known for his later role as General Peterson on I Dream of Jeannie. Outlaws lasted two seasons before it was locked up for good.

Outlaws was paired up with Bat Masterson to form a 90-minute western block. Gene Barry had the title role as Bat Masterson, which concluded its 3-year run the following June.

NBC’s 9PM sitcom entry was Bachelor Father starring John Forsythe. The show aired for a total of 5 seasons, first on CBS then NBC. It would move on to ABC for its final season (1961-62).

The Ford Show Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford aired next. This was the last season of the show, which was written by future All in the Family creator Norman Lear. NBC Thursdays concluded with the final season of another long-running series, Groucho. It was previously known as You Bet Your Life from 1950-60. NBC affiliates aired local programming from 10:30-11PM Eastern.

In summary, CBS’s entire Thursday lineup would be cancelled after the season. Most of NBC’s shows were gone too, only Outlaws survived with Bachelor Father moving to ABC. ABC was clearly the winner on Thursday nights, with 3 of network TV’s top 15 shows airing Thursday nights on the Alphabet Network.