CBS had good ratings for the previous year. The 1967-68 season would also be great for them as they had 7 shows in the top 10 for the season. The number one show of that season was The Andy Griffith Show, number two was The Lucy Show; number 3 was Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., all on CBS.
The links in the titles are to Wikipedia where you can find more information on each show.
These were the new shows that aired on CBS in fall 1967 (All times Eastern Time Zone):
- Gentle Ben; Sunday at 7:30. First it was a novel, then a movie and in fall 1967 a TV series about a boy with a pet bear. It starred Dennis Weaver and Clint Howard (Ron’s younger brother) as his son. Produced in Florida by Ian Tors, who had also produced Flipper. A moderate hit for this first season at number 19 for the season. The next year it dropped considerably and was cancelled after 58 episodes had been made. Ben was portrayed by several bears depending on what was needed in a scene. Watch the opening on YouTube.
- The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; Sunday at 9:00. Actually this had been a replacement series in February and it was returning for it’s first full season. The brothers got in trouble with the CBS censors over jokes about drugs, the President and the War in Vietnam. As their guest on Sept. 10th was Pete Seeger who had been banned on TV for 17 years because of being a socialist (and former communist). His performance of “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” was a protest to the War in Vietnam and it was edited out of the broadcast. Pete was later asked back on the show and performed the song (here on YouTube). Other musical groups popular at the time were guests on the show making it the best TV show for younger viewers to see groups performing live. Tom and Dick continued to get in trouble with the censors and even though it was renewed for the next season it was abruptly cancelled in April 1969 with one episode which was never shown.
- The Carol Burnett Show; Monday at 10:00. Carol had been on other TV shows for many years. The first shows being ones starring Gary Moore. This was a variety show that had musical guests but the prime part of the show was comedy sketches with Harvey Korman and frequent guest Tim Conway. Tim would become permanent part of the cast in the 5th season. A 17 year old Vicki Lawrence had written to Carol saying that she looked a lot like Carol. She was given an audition and was first in sketches portraying Carol’s younger sister. Later she would become “Mama” to Carol’s character Eunice. The show would last 11 seasons and by that time their were very few variety shows left on evening TV.
The shows have been repackaged as the half hour show Carol Burnett and Friends which is running on MeTV (Rochester channel 10-2) at 11 p.m.
- Good Morning, World; Tuesday at 9:30. A comedy about two DJs that do a morning show. This was a starring vehicle for Ronnie Schell who had been fairly popular as one of Gomer’s friends on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Lackluster and very forgettable show that did have Goldie Hawn in the minor role as a neighbor.
- He and She; Wednesday at 9:30. This situation comedy starred real married couple Paula Prentiss and Dick Benjamin. Dick was a cartoonist who had his character, Jetman, turned into a TV series. That show within the show starred Jack Cassidy as the egomaniac actor. It is said that his character served as the archetype for Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moors Show. All three actors were nominated for Emmy awards. The series would win an Emmy for writing. Despite the awards, it was cancelled after a just one season. Episode number one is below.
- Dundee and the Culhane; Wednesday at 10:00. A western about a lawyer and his apprentice. Starred the great actor John Mills. Ratings after a few episodes were dismal and it was soon canceled with just 13 episodes being made.
- Cimarron Strip; Thursday at 7:30. A 90 minute western starring Stuart Whitman as Marshal Jim Crown. This was from producers of Gunsmoke and it was in response tothe hit show The Virginia on NBC that was also 90 minutes. It only managed to air for just one season. Watch the opening on YouTube.
- Mannix; Saturday at 10:00. In this first season of Mannix, played by Mike Connors, he worked at a large agency with employees using computers to help solve crimes. Mannix was always working against the verdict of the computers. After the first season Mannix was working on his own with a faithful secretary. The series ended up running 8 seasons (194 episodes). Watch the opening & closing from the first season on YouTube.
Sources used in this series of articles:
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs; 1947-1979 (1979) by Vincent Terrace.
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time and Network and Cable TV Shows; 1946-Present (1995) by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh