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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bridget Loves Bernie

As I’ve mentioned, the networks have all but abandoned Saturday night. Last week, I was talking to one of my colleagues at work about a TV show called "Bridget Loves Bernie". It started Meredith Baxter, later of Family Ties, and David Birney. (Birney played Bernie – how CUTE.) I recalled that it was a show on that powerhouse Saturday night CBS lineup for the 1972-1973 season.
At 8 was All in the Family, the number 1 show the previous season, that season and the next three.
At 8:30 B Loves B, the number 5 show for the season
At 9, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, in at #7.
At 9:30, it was The Bob Newhart Show, at #16.
Bridget Loves Bernie was the highest rated show ever to get cancelled, and after one season. According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows" by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh:
"One contributing factor may have been the furor created by the unhappiness of religious groups, primarily Jewish, over the show’s condoning and publicizing mixed marriage." Birney and Baxter, not so incidentally, were married from 1974 to 1989.

I bring this up now because I read in Evanier’s column from Saturday that Harold Stone, who played the Jewish father on the show, died at the age of 92. Since I don't often go around talking about "Bridget Loves Bernie", a show I seem to remember liking (but it WAS 30+ years ago and I haven't seen it since), I found that coincidence mildly unsettling.
(When ABC canceled a show called "Welcome to the Neighborhood" that offended blacks, Latinos, gays, and most importantly, the government, earlier this year it wasn’t unprecedented. What WAS unusual about that show it that the show NEVER AIRED.)

Not so incidentally, the CBS Saturday lineup for the following season (1973-1974) was considered the best ever with:
8 AiTF (#1)
8:30 M*A*S*H (#4)
9 MTM (#9)
9:30 Bob Newhart (#11)
10 Carol Burnett (#27), replacing the canceled Mission:Impossible

The only good thing about nothing on TV on Saturday night is that I get a chance to watch the prerecorded stuff, DVDs, or go out.

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