NBC had 10 new shows on their fall 1966 schedule. Most of them would only last one season. Still. NBC ended up the the number one TV show of the year with Bonanza. This was the third year in a row that Bonanza was the top rated TV show. (Linked show titles go to a Wikipedia page for the show.)
- Hey Landlord!; Sunday at 8:30. This half hour comedy starred Will Hutchins as a landlord of an apartments building with many crazy tenants. One of the tenants was an aspiring comedian played by Sandy Baron. This was the first TV series produced by Garry Marshall and his then partner Jerry Belson. A good cast didn’t help the series. It only lasted 31 episodes. The opening credits are on YouTube.
- The Monkees; Monday at 7:30. The series about a fictional rock group that was partial based on the early movies of The Beatles. Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork all had some show business experience before the series. Micky Dolenz had starred in the TV series Circus Boy for two seasons starting in 1956. In that series he used the stage name of Mickey Braddock. Davy Jones had some success on the stage and even appeared with the cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show the night of The Beatles’ live American debut. Mike Nesmith had a solo record released in 1965 but it did not make the record charts. Peter Tork had played at Greenwich Village folk clubs before he moved to Los Angeles. The boys thought that they would be playing on the records of the group. When they got to the recording studio they found that the music had already been recorded and they were just needed to supply the lead vocals. This lead to people believing that they couldn’t play their instruments. Eventually they would travel as a group and prove that they could play.
The series ran two seasons with the first season winning two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. After its original run, it ran on Saturday mornings and then went into syndication. There was a resurgence of the series in 1986 (20th anniversary) and the group toured, but without Nesmith. When they appeared at FL-PAC (now CMAC) in Canandaigua it was the largest attendance of any concert there to that date. Davy Jones died in 2012 but Micky and Peter have been on a tour that ends in December.
The Monkees can currently be seen on Antenna TV (Rochester channel 31.2) or just view The Monkees Theme on YouTube.
- The Roger Miller Show; Monday at 8:30. Popular country music artist Roger Miller was given a half hour variety show with musical guests. He may have been “King of the Road” but the show ended in December with only 16 episodes being made.
- The Road West; Monday at 9:00. The story of a widower with children that marries a much younger woman. Then after the Civil War the family moved to Kansas which was just starting to be settled. Barry Sullivan starred as the patriarch. This series only last one year (29 episodes).
- The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.; Tuesday at 7:30. A spin-off of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. This starred Stephanie Powers, 13 years before Hart to Hart, and Noel Harrison. Leo G. Carroll was also featured as Alexander Waverly, the chief of U.N.C.L.E. The series only lasted one season with 29 episodes being produced. Watch the theme on YouTube.
- Occasional Wife; Tuesday at 8:30. A half hour comedy about a bachelor that is told by his boss that he can only get ahead if he is married. So he has a hat-check girl pretend to be his wife; occasionally. Another series that only lasted one year (30 episodes). Watch the opening credits on YouTube.
- Star Trek; Thursday at 8:30. The series premiered on Sept. 8, 1966. The ratings for the first year were slightly above average and it had fair ratings for the second year. It was going to be cancelled but a letter writing campaign got the series a third season. It was when the series went to syndication that it took off. Since the original there has been a cartoon series, 4 other series and 13 movies. Plus there is another series, Star Trek: Discovery, that will start in Jan. 2017. The original series was enhanced with new graphics about 10 years ago to make it look a little better. It currently is on MeTV (Rochester channel 10.2) on Saturday nights.
- The Hero; Thursday at 9:30. A half hour comedy about the star of a fictional TV western series and how his home life was complicated by being on TV. Richard Mulligan starred. It only lasted until January.
- Tarzan; Friday at 7:30. Ron Ely starred in this new version about the jungle hero. There wasn’t any Jane in the series but there was a Cheetah. Tarzan battles to protect the jungle that he loves. The series lasted two season with 57 episodes being made. Watch the open theme on YouTube.
- T.H.E. Cat; Friday at 9;30. Robert Loggia starred as the title character, Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat, who had been both a circus aerialist and a cat burglar. Now he acts as sophisticated guard for people marked for death. Lots of long shots of stunt people in death defying locations. Mangaed to last a whole year. You can see the opening credits on YouTube.
Below is the half hour NBC fall TV preview hosted by Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber:
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