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HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE

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Does anyone out there know what became of Lin Bolen? She was the trailblazing NBC vice-president in charge of daytime during the early and mid 1970's who was heavily involved in the development of the much ballyhooed women's liberation soap HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE, which aired from 1974-75. For years I've wondered about her, but I have never been able to find too much info on her in spite of the fact that she was one of the first women to acieve such a powerful position in broadcast television.

In fact, it was always rumored in Hollywood that Diana Christensen, the role played by Faye Dunaway in the legendary fil satire NETWORK was in fact based on Miss Bolen. If you have never seen the film, in it Dunaway's power-hungry network exec steamrolls her way to the top of running a broadcast network like a savage monster...and in one hilarious scene, she announces that she's launching a groundbreaking new daytime soap on the network called THE DYKES! I always took that scene to be a satirical swipe at Bolen's obsession with HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE! :D

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Wasn't NEtwork quite a bit before Marriage? I know a LOT of people (especially famous critic Pauline Kael--hardly a typical feminist of the time) found NEtwork overated and extremely mysoynistic (I'm undecided myself--part of the movie is brilliant, part feels patronizing and obvious in its satire and the role of women I think is poorly handled).

As for Marriage--I'd LOVE to see an episode, but I don't think any exist. It just seems like NOBODY (Except maybe ROsemary Prinz who returned to soaps for it) liked the show even a bit. Every book, from the time to now, calls it a bold attept at a show that just seemed to be forcing these issues down people's throats with no sense of story or character to make them interesting.

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Eric,

Network came out in 1976. How To Survive A Marriage was on TV from 1974 to 1975.

I have heard mixed reviews from people who saw it. My Mom tuned in the early months just to see Rosemary Prinz. She was a big fan of hers as was my older brother. There wasn't enough to interest her and she went back to her old shows.

As to Lin Bolen. I do not know what happened to her. Her production company is still in business in Malibu - so maybe she just runs it. I used a business profile thing my old boss had and they are still in business and have estimated sales of $250,000 a year.

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HTSAM had quite a bit of a cult following. Originally, it aired at 3:30pm, sandwiched between 'Another World' and 'Somerset'. It was known to be slightly risque (for the time, at least) and attracted quite a sizable college-aged and teen aged following as a result. Hopes were so high for the series that it premiered with a special 90 minute episode which featured 2 couples in bed together after love making. Although not explicitly shown, it was implied that they were naked under the covers and that was a first for daytime. However, when AW expanded to an hour in January 1975, it knocked HTSAM out of the 3:30 time slot and the network moved the series to 1:30pm, meaning that it aired immediately before Days and was the lead-off soap in the afternoon block. Moving to so early in the afternoon, the series lost all the younger viewers it had (they were all still in class at 1:30) and the ratings (which were never especially strong to begin with) bottomed out. When Days expanded to an hour a few months later (moving its starting time up to 1:30, putting it in direct competition with ATWT), HTSAM was toast and was cancelled. HTSAM was one of a string of series NBC put after AW at 3:30 that never caught on and only lasted a couple of years. The first one was 'Bright Promise' which was cancelled in favor of 'Return to Peyton Place' which was cancelled in favor of HTSAM. That's 3 different soaps in the same time slot between 1969-1974. Not exactly a great track record, there. lol

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I think they were really wanting to cash in on the youth sex craze that Y&R had started in 1973. I can remember not long into 1974 all the soaps got into the shirtless male craze - something that had not been seen on soaps prior to that. Men all of a sudden were walking around in towels or shirtless because it had started on Y&R in 1973 when you constantly saw Bill Espy esp. shirtless or in a towel.

HTSAM was really the only soap that got as bold with the sex chatter as Y&R did though. The others talked about it more but still not as much as Y&R did.

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From the December 24, 1975 Evening Independent.

New Dimensions to Daytime Viewingby Perry Fulkerson

The headline in Variety reads: "Gaytime Soaps & Docu Weighed, NBC Tells Homosexual Group." In other words, NBC is considering introducing a homosexual story element in one of its daytime soap operas in addition to producing a documentary on homosexuals.

Representatives of the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) and network executives last week found NBC agreeing to follow the NTGF credo that no negative images of homosexuals will be shown until positive gay images have been established in programming.

Daytime series producers reportedly will be encouraged to develop gay themes and, according to daytime programming vice president Lin Bolen, a gay soap opera pilot is a strong possibility in the near future.

Public affairs vice president Russ Tornabene expressed interest in production of a documentary on homosexuality and said he would arrange a meeting between the NGTF and Al Perlmutter, the network's vice president in charge of documentaries.

I think this is a positive step forward that has been taken much too long, especially in light of the NGTF's charges that the nets have shown gays unfavorably more than once.

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Lin Bolen is sort of a despised figure in the classic game show community. When she came to NBC in the early 70s, she wanted desperately to youth-up the game show lineup and as such, made her hosts ditch formal wear for more casual clothes, have long, wild hair (even Bill Cullen had the long hair), and replaced some older shows with newer material.

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Yes,Lin Bolen made a lot of changes to the gameshow schedule and format after she arrived in 73.

From the net:

When Lin Bolen took over as NBC’s head of daytime programming in 1973, she wanted to change the look of the network’s games, most of which had an elderly feel. After dropping the long-running Concentration and The Who, What or Where Game, Bolen’s biggest shocker was moving Jeopardy! from 12 noon (where it had been for over eight years) to 10:30 a.m. to make room for Jackpot! Her explanation was that its ratings were slipping (slightly), while producer Rudin claimed she needed the slot for her own project and that Jeopardy! challenged its viewers too much to air at that early hour. That aside, it did manage to compete with CBS’s The $10,000 Pyramid and Now You See It, until Bolen moved it again – to 1:30 p.m., against As The World Turns and Let’s Make a Deal, both very highly rated. That did it – Jeopardy’s ratings slid into the basement. The show, which had a year to go on its contract, was canceled by NBC in a deal with Merv Griffin, with Griffin placing a new game on NBC’s daytime schedule in its place. (That game, of course, was Wheel of Fortune, so Merv made out pretty good on the deal.) The last NBC episode of Jeopardy! aired January 3, 1975, with an emotional farewell from Fleming and tons of clips.

In giving Jackpot! the noon slot, Jeopardy! was shoved to 10:30 a.m. in the process. Jackpot! has been reviled for this reason, but the decision was Lin Bolen’s, head of NBC daytime, who considered 12 noon a primo spot. (History has determined otherwise: affiliates generally bump a network program at 12 noon in favor of local news.) Up against CBS’s The Young and The Restless and ABC’s Password, Jackpot! actually held its own – it didn’t dominate the time period like Jeopardy! had, but it at least was competitive with Y&R, and usually beat Password.

As for HTSAM,I think the problems began with that clunky title.I guess they were going with a 70's self help vibe but the working title From This Moment sounded better to me.(I have also seen it as From This Day Forth)I think the show was already dead and buried when it was moved to 1.30 as NBC announced the plan to expand had DOOL in Feb 75.They had already aired a 60 min DOOL in Nov 74.Was it tied into a special event? eg a wedding?

I have also read that The Doctors and Marriage aired 1 hr eps as trials.Does anyone know if this is true and when they aired?

After cancellation Armand Assante(Johnny)and Lauren White(Martha) went to The Doctors,Cathy Greene(Lori)went to AW,Elissa Leeds went AMC and Veleka Gray to Somerset.

NBC aired a primetime show called WEB,losely based on Network with Pamela Bellwood(Claudia, Dynasty) as a female network chief.It was one of the first shows cancelled in the 78 TV season and was produced by ...Lin Bolen!

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My mother & I used to watch this show. I liked some things about it but I couldn't stand Jennifer Harmon's character, I found her completely unappealing. My favorites were Armand Assante, and the actors who played the Bachman couple. My mother and I cried like babies when Dave Bachman died, lol!

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Until I read this I thought the widowhood story started when the show did. How long was it before he died? I wish I could see that story, as Schemering talked about how good it was.

I think that some works suffered with how to write a feminist heroine, in how to not make them seem too hard or unsympathetic. Is that what happened with Harmon?

I had no idea that Lynn Lowry was in so many horror movies or in Score, which was written up as being an intellectual type of pseudo-porn, bisexual film. Do you remember her character on this show?

I hope this brought back some memories for you. I haven't seen a lot of the show in magazines so this one I was interested in.

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Yes, you've brought back some memories. I hadn't thought of this show in a long time. I think I watched all the soaps to some extent during this time period. I wish I had paid more attention to some of them!

I'm not sure how much time had gone by when Dave died but enough for me and my mother to get attached to him! Plus, he died suddenly of a heart attack, with no warning (and no spoilers back then!). His wife was very likable too. I'm not sure what it was exactly about Jennifer Harmon that put me off. She seemed kind of prissy to be a feminist for one thing, lol! Was Lynn Lowery the actress who played Larry's mistress? I remember thinking she was funny (not intentionally). Even the way she said Larry's name sounded funny to me. I enjoyed her though.

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Yeah I think Lowry was the mistress.

You probably already know this, but the woman who played the Bachman wife has been a puppeteer on Sesame Street for many many years.

I'm going to scan some of the other bits from the magazine soon, for the other soaps, so I hope it brings back memories for you. If it does then we'll enjoy reading them.

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