Monday, December 5, 2022

My Journey Through 1970s TV: Monday and Tuesday Nights, 1971


I’m serving up a two-fer this time, since just about all of the shows on the Monday night prime time schedules were covered in a previous piece in this series. Let's move quickly past the familiar so we can get to the new stuff, like this show (anyone remember?)



Nanny and the Professor

Monday Night Football


The only thing interesting here is how ABC moved Nanny and the Professor out of its Friday night lineup from the previous year and scheduled it before their always highly rated weekly football match-up. But if the strategy was to boost the ratings enough for renewal, it didn’t work. 





Here’s Lucy

The Doris Day Show

My Three Sons



My Three Sons and Arnie were moved to Mondays from the Saturday night schedule in 1970. Overall a very pleasant evening of television.


Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In

The NBC Monday Night Movie


Both of these shows carry over from the previous year. So let’s move on to Tuesday.





The Mod Squad

Movie of the Week

Marcus Welby, M.D.


The numbers were apparently still strong for this Tuesday night line-up, as it’s the same one ABC offered in 1970. 




The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Hawaii Five-O



Glen Campbell survived the Tiffany Network’s “rural purge” last year, but would ride off into the sunset after this season. Hawaii Five-O moved to Tuesdays from its previous Thursday slot and dropped from #7 to #12 in the ratings, but would rebound back into the top ten in its next three seasons.


This was the debut season for Cannon, yet another Quinn Martin production, starring William Conrad as a private detective and gourmet cook who clearly enjoyed dining on his own entrees. The show would last five seasons and 122 episodes. Not a classic series, but a good one. 






The Funny Side


At last we get to the most interesting lineup we’ll look at in this piece, which is not to say it was the most successful. It’s also the only schedule that may present another roadblock in my quest to watch at least one episode of every prime time series from the 1970s.


Last year NBC offered up The Don Knotts Show and Julia. This year, they shift Ironside into Tuesday, where the series (about halfway through its eight-year run, continued to perform well. But that’s where the network’s good news ended, for next up was Sarge, a new series starring George Kennedy as Sam Cavanaugh, a San Diego cop who retires and becomes a priest after the murder of his wife. 



I would readily buy Kennedy as a cop, whether it’s in The Blue Knight or working alongside Frank Drebin at Police Squad. But as a priest? That was the most unlikely ecclesial casting until Robert Blake began handing out Hail Marys on Hell Town


One would think a vocation change that unique and profound would necessitate a new perspective on life, but Kennedy plays Cavanaugh as if he were still on the force – except now he says grace before eating. There’s one episode on YouTube if you’re curious.


Rounding out the night was The Funny Side, a comedy and music series with an impressive pedigree, a legendary host and a talented cast – none of which helped it avoid the axe after 13 weeks.


Created by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff (The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl) the show was hosted by Gene Kelly, and featured five couples that performed sketches and songs based on a different theme every week. If you’re a classic TV lover you’ll recognize almost all of them – Cindy Williams, Michael Lembeck, Burt Mustin, John Amos, Teresa Graves, Pat Finley (The Bob Newhart Show), and Warren Berlinger. Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, perhaps the least-familiar names to most, would achieve greater success writing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Carol Burnett Show. They also co-created The Facts of Life and Mama’s Family.


How could it miss? Well, see if you think this is funny:



From the footage I’ve seen, I’d say it did not succeed because it wasn’t as edgy and “out there” as Laugh-In, but it also didn’t have the warmth and affability of a more traditional variety series. But at least almost everyone involved had much better jobs in their future.


Shows Missed:

The Don Knotts Show (1970)

San Francisco International Airport (1970)

Nancy (1970)

The Headmaster (1970)


  1. This is great, thank you David. I loved the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, we never missed that. As for that clip of The Funny Side, that's got to be the squarest thing I've ever seen--and man, I love it! I can't believe I never even heard of it until now. Hosted by Gene Kelly no less. Thanks again. 🙂👍. PS. I'm making it my mission to find some old Cannon episodes!

    1. MeTV is showing Cannon now, I believe in between Mannix and Barnaby Jones. What a fun 70s-sleuths block.

    2. What--Mannix & Barnaby Jones?? I want to see all of those! Thanks David!

  2. I think NANNY & THE PROFESSOR failed in its pre-MNF (MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL) time slot because ABC scheduled it all alone at 8 PM ET, left 8:30 PM to its affiliates, then started MNF at 9 PM. Because the ABC affiliates had 8:30 PM open, most of them preempted NANNY and scheduled longer programs going up until 9 PM. I checked old tv listings for both areas where I grew up, and in both of them, the affiliates dumped the show on Sunday afternoon or early evening. Even the ABC O&Os on the West Coast (LA & SF) carried the show on other nights because MNF started at 6 PM locally, and MNF ran until at least 9 PM locally, which is likely way too late for many potential NANNY viewers to watch the show. NANNY was gone by the end of December, leaving ABC to reprogram all of Monday night in January.
    Speaking of programs on too late, CBS didn't get many people to watch MY THREE SONS at 10:00 PM or ARNIE at 10:30 PM ET, as there have been few sitcoms to succeed in the 10 PM hour. CBS rescheduled both programs to other nights by January, and they were both cancelled at the end of the season.
    ABC had to give back the 8:30-9 PM Monday night time slot to its affiliates because it carried over its successful 3 1/2 hour Tuesday night schedule from the previous year. This was the first year of the new FCC rule forcing the networks to give back a total of 3 1/2 hours back to their affiliates for the 1971-72 season & going forward. This was likely a large cause of the CBS "Rural Purge", which saw most of their programs that appealed to older & more rural viewers (such as MAYBERRY RFD & THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES cancelled. CBS & NBC programmed their Tuesday nights 7:30-10:30 PM ET to compete against ABC just for this season. This ended up hurting the prospect of "strip-syndication", where syndicators (separated from the networks that had been allowed to own them until now) were unable to schedule different programs on each weeknight, since the networks were still programming Tuesday nights at 7:30 PM ET. The network schedules all began at 8 PM ET weeknights from then on the next season (1972-73).

    1. Thank you for the additional information and context! The 'Nanny' move seemed odd to me as well - seems like that show could never catch a break.

  3. Isn't it strange that two of the rarest shows of the 70's are from two of the most popular stars of the 60's? I have seen just as much footage of "The Don Knotts Show" as I have of "Headmaster" since they originally aired which amounts to all of about 5 minutes. You would think that both of their estates would be eager to put these out on DVD.

  4. >I would readily buy Kennedy as a cop, whether it’s in The Blue Knight
    >or working alongside Frank Drebin at Police Squad. But as a priest?
    You're clearly forgetting George Kennedy's stellar acting as Father O'Malley in "The Delta Force". :)

  5. Mr. Hofstede, have you seen the 1980 TV movie "The Return of Frank Cannon"? It was supposed to be the pilot for a "Cannon" revival series, but it didn't sell. I have it on DVD.

  6. Queenie Smith is the one FUNNY SIDE cast member you didn't mention, paired on the show with Burt Mustin. She started her career as a singer/dancer, getting to Broadway in the 1920s. She had a long career in both movies & tv that lasted until her death in 1978.