Mister Dugan had the potential to be a hit show. It was a topical series about a recently elected idealistic black congressman who has to contend with his less than helpful staff. Norman Lear was producing, Cleavon Little was the star. However, just days before it was to air on CBS in 1979 Lear himself pulled the show from the schedule. What went wrong? We take a look at the troubled production that started when Lear’s hit series Maude ended.
Correction: Maude took place in Tuckahoe, NY, and not in Connecticut as stated in thisepisode.
Books by Richard Irvin including Forgotten Laughs can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Irvin/e/B001KD7NAQ
Black Caucus Strangles Mr. Dugan – Jet Magazine March 29th, 1979:
The Recall of TV’s Mister Dugan – Washington Post, April 1st, 1979:
The fall season for NBC in the 1978-79 season was a disaster. It was such a wreck that virtually of their fall debuts were gone by the time January rolled around. However, hope was on the horizon. For the last place network, they had an ace up their sleeve that they could not wait to play. That was called Supertrain, a super expensive, super marketed, super show that couldn’t miss. Until it did. The failure of Supertrain is of legendary proportions. A failure that all other giant television failures would become measured against. Was it really that expensive? Was it really that bad? And did it really almost bankrupt NBC? We talk to Supertrain Superfan Tony Cook to sort out the truth.
Visit Tony’s Supertrain website here.
The Rural Purge is legend of television history. A landmark time and a watershed moment when TV decided to leave behind the down home fun and wholesomeness of Mayberry RFD, Green Aces, and The Beverly Hillbillies for urban skewing shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But what was it that prompted mass cancellations and a television revolution? In this episode we explore the history of The Rural Purge with author Telly Davidson.
Telly Davidson’s latest book is available here.