The new TV season begins this week, and the networks will roll out a few dozen new shows. A lot of them will be cancelled, but it still won’t be a programming bloodbath like NBC’s fall 1983 slate of new comedies and dramas.
The Yellow Rose. CBS’s Dallas, a soap about a family of Texas oil barons was the #1 show on TV at the time. The Yellow Rose was NBC’s take. It was a soap opera about…a family of Texas oil barons.
Mr. Smith. The titular character is a put-upon political advisor…as well as a chimpanzee made super-smart with an experimental chemical. It starred the orangutan from the popular movie Every Which Way But Loose.
Jennifer Slept Here. A typical American family moves into a new home in Los Angeles…that’s still inhabited by the ghost of the Old Hollywood movie star who once lived there.
Bay City Blues. Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law) created this show about the bittersweet lives of a constantly touring minor league baseball team.
We Got it Made. Much to the chagrin of their girlfriends, two New York roommates hire a sexy live-in maid.
Boone. A 1950s-set drama about a teenager named Boone Sawyer who wants to be a part of that newfangled “rock and roll music,” much to the chagrin of his conservative father.
The Rousters. The adventures of two modern-day bounty hunters who are descended from Western lawman Wyatt Earp.
For Love and Honor. A romantic drama set on a military base, clearly inspired by An Officer and a Gentleman.
Manimal. A handsome playboy helps police solve crimes…with his unique ability to transform into any animal he wishes. (Man + animal = “manimal.”)
What do these shows all have in common? Every single one of them was cancelled by the end of their first season. Never before, and never since, has one of the TV networks had a zero-hit rate of new fall shows.