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From August 75.

Execs talked about NBC's successful expansion of DOOL and AW to 60 min.NBC said that the cost of producing these shows is more than double as all contracts had to be renegotiated.CBS said that they were examining expanding some shows but only if it strengthened the half hour the show would expand to. ABC said the week of AMC 1 hr shows was horrendous to tape,taking 8-9 days to complete.

10.00 NBC Celebrity Sweepstakes 5.3 28 (moved in Jan to improve ratings in that slot and succeeded,forcing CBS to cancel Jokers Wild)

CBS Spin Off 4.4 24 (cancelled due to be replaced by Give and Take in Sept)

10.30 NBC Wheel of Fortune 6.5 33

CBS Gambit 6.3 32 (To be replaced by TPIR)

11.00 NBC High Rollers 6.8 33

CBS Tattletales 6.2 30 (to be replaced by Gambit)

11.30 NBC Hollywood Squares 8.4 26

CBS Love of Life 7.0 28 (leading in W18-49 in that timeslot)

ABC Brady Bunch 7.2 30 (put on air over Summer when Blankety Blank tanked-large number of children under 11 in those numbers-to be replaced by Happy Days,as BB goes into syndication,ABC considered stripping Mary Tyler Moore but CBS weren't interested.

12.00 CBS Y&R 8.5 33

NBC Magnificent Marble Machine 7.7 30 (ist week on air,replacing Jackpot)

ABC Show Offs 6.4 25 ( 2nd week on air,replacing Password)

12.30 ABC AMC 10.3 38 (1st week in that timeslot)

CBS SFT 9.4 35

NBC Jackpot 6.7 25 (1st week in that timeslot 90 per cent clearance, replacing Blank Check)

1.00 ABC RH 25 share after 3 weeks.Some CBS stations show 4.00 gameshow Musical Chairs and more NBC stations play Somerset,which has only 90 per cent clearance at 4.00

1.30 CBS ATWT 10.6 37

NBC DOOL 8.2 31

ABC LMAD 7.9 28

2.00 NBC DOOL 8.2 31 (1 hr average,wins this half hour)

CBS GL 8.3 29

ABC $10.00- Pyramid 7.9 28

2.30 NBC DRS 8.7 32

CBS EON 7.4 27 (way down in demos)

ABC Rhyme or Reason 31 share after 3 weeks (replacing Big Showdown)

3.00 NBC AW 9.7 31

ABC GH 8.2 26

CBS TPIR 8.9 29 (moving to 10.30 to be replaced by Match Game)

3.30 CBS Match Game 11.3 35

NBC AW 9.7 31 (1 hr average)

ABC OLTL 7.1 22

4.00 NBC Somerset 6.2 19

CBS Musical Chairs ?

ABC The Money Maze?

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All the details on demos and the first or last airings is brilliant. I don't know how you find this stuff.

I'd never heard of Magnificent Marble Machine.

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Carl,I'm glad you are interested. Interesting to see from your article that ABC and particularly AMC went backwards from this only to rebound

.I photocopied and printed lots of stuff from Variety and other mags ,stuff I owned (and threw out!!!),from libraries and from the net years ago.

MMM was one of Lin Bolens big ideas to boost NBC.Apparently it was quite complicated with an expensive set and didn't set the ratings on fire.

A heavily hyped replacement for Blank Check, MMM premiered against a new Goodson-Todman entry, Showoffs, on ABC and The Young and The Restless on CBS. This was one of the biggest "larger than life" games developed by Heatter & Quigley, who were responsible for three games on the NBC lineup. Pinball was enjoying a renaissance in the mid-‘70s (video games, with the exception of Pong, hadn’t yet been developed), and the premiere was eagerly anticipated. Art James, fresh off Blank Check’s flop, was chosen as host.

A Wobbly Kind of Machine: What Heatter and Quigley didn’t realize, one suspects, is pinball is fun to play, but not nearly as interesting to watch. The opening game was boring, had zero to do with pinball, and took up way too much time. The machine itself was criticized in some areas as lame-looking and sounding as well (it wasn’t, really – but it wasn’t as interesting as a genuine arcade pinball machine), and watching middle-aged celebrities such as Roddy McDowall and Joan Rivers grapple with the machine looked, well, faintly ridiculous. Virtually every NBC game show host appeared on the show at one point or another (all except Geoff Edwards and Dick Enberg, as far as I can tell), as well as a bunch of other celebrities, but the ratings remained low. MMM was switched to 12:30 p.m. to allow for Wheel of Fortune’s expansion, then actually went off the air in early 1976 to make room for Kelly Lange’s brief daytime gabfest Take My Advice. It returned two weeks later, however, reappearing in the noon slot after Wheel shrank back to a half-hour.

To save their floundering brainchild, Heatter-Quigley made the decision to go with all celebrities, who played for members of the studio audience. Adding extra celebrities has never helped a show (R.I.P. Password All-Stars, Celebrity Whew!, Celebrity Bullseye, and Celebrity Hot Potato), and it didn’t here either. The ratings stayed low (even though ABC was now running the fast-fading Let’s Make a Deal in the 12 noon slot), and NBC finally pulled the plug in April 1976 in favor of Bobby Van’s game-variety hybrid The Fun Factory. Due to a technicians’ strike, however, the network reran 13 weeks worth of Magnificent Marble Machines until The Fun Factory could start taping. June 11,1976 marked the final airing of this curious failure, save for a clip shown in the 1979 film The China Syndrome.

Edited by Paul Raven
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Thanks for finding all of that. Fascinating. I think I've read a little about it but not in such detail.

This is the top ten for the two weeks that ended March 19, 1972.

11.9 ATWT 41%

10.0 DAYS 34%

9.9 Edge of Night 34%

9.8 GH 32%

9.5 GL 33%

9.2 AW 31%

9.2 Doctors 32%

8.7 SFT 32%

8.3 Love Is Many S.T. 29%

7.8 Secret Storm 27%

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One wonders why CBS didn't move EON back to 4:00 p.m. after it dropped so sharply. The irony is that because EON was "expendable" to CBS when it expanded ATWT and because ABC's ratings were not great at that time, it did get nine more years. It's just a shame that what was the #2 soap for several years was bumped like that. I have always been curious how AW just completely dove in such a short period - I know ABC's strength didn't help (CBS held up well), but the NBC line-up really dove.

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I think Lemay/Rauch had made a soap that was easy to admire but perhaps also easy to not have an emotional connection to. That meant the show became a mile wide and an inch deep.

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Another World's collapse in the ratings happened in March 1979 when it expanded to 90 minutes. The show moved from its 3:00 PM start time to 2:30 PM. Was this the first time that P&G violated its "non-competition" rule by having AW (NBC) and GL (CBS) airing at the same time? They killed off long running character John Randolph (Michael Ryan) at the start of the 90 minute episodes. During this time Harding Lemay left as headwriter, leaving Tom King to pen the Rachel/Mac/Janice/Mitch story that was very popular. However, this was the only storyline that garnered viewer interest at that time. Beverlee McKinsey was on an extended medical leave, and they temporarily recast Iris with Carole Shelley. When McKinsey returned, the decision was made to spinoff Texas. AW then had an influx of characters that would "move" with Iris to Houston. In August 1980, Iris and the new characters left AW for Texas. Thus, AW was without one of its most popular characters and main villainess. Also, in hindsight, AW should have been trimmed back from 90 minutes to take over the 3:00 PM timeslot to compete with GL and GH. NBC should have sandwiched TEXAS between DAYS and AW at 2:00 PM. AW was the known entity and could have competed better with GL and GH. Instead, NBC changed AW's time slot for the second time in 18 months putting it on at 2:00 PM, and placed TEXAS on at 3:00 PM against GL and GH. They would again repeat this same mistake in 1984 with SANTA BARBARA. Also, for the first few months, Paul Rauch served as executive producer of both AW and TEXAS. He neglected the mother show while trying to make something out of TEXAS. Beverlee McKinsey left TEXAS at the end of 1981. At the time, P&G should have moved heaven and earth to get her to return to AW which never regained its footing in the ratings. Also, I never understood why P&G would allow her to go to GL without first trying to get her to return to AW.

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AW's ratings woes began before the 90 min expansion.The move to 90 min was a misguided ploy to boost sagging ratings.Against a resurgent GH under Monty/Marland and the expanded GL,AW began to drop in 78.

The P&G clash of shows began when EON moved to ABC and was up against Somerset.

Bev was asked to return to AW in 84 but decided against it for several reasons,one being the daily trip to Brooklyn was too draining for her.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ratings for the two weeks ended June 25, 1972.

11.8 ATWT 35%

10.4 DAYS 34%

9.9 GH 33%

9.5 Doctors 33%

9.1 AW 31%

8.7 Search 32%

8.5 GL 29%

8.2 LIAMST 28%

8.0 EON 28%

7.9 OLTL 27%

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Ratings for the two weeks ended Nov. 25, 1973.

10.1 AW - 33%

9.8 AMC - 34%

9.7 ATWT - 33%

9.1 GL - 29%

8.8 Doctors - 29%

8.7 Edge of Night 29%

8.2 GH 28%

7.7 Search 28%

7.1 RTPP 24%

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Ratings for the two weeks ended Nov. 25, 1973.

10.1 AW - 33%

9.8 AMC - 34%

9.7 ATWT - 33%

9.1 GL - 29%

8.8 Doctors - 29%

8.7 Edge of Night 29%

8.2 GH 28%

7.7 Search 28%

7.1 RTPP 24%

I find this so bizarre that the ratings back at this time can plummet so dramatically so suddenly. DAYS in every single one of these is either #1 or #2 in the early-to-mid 70s, and yet this most recent posting, even RTPP is beating them. It's postively jarring, especially on a week where AW is #1.

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AW's ratings woes began before the 90 min expansion.The move to 90 min was a misguided ploy to boost sagging ratings.Against a resurgent GH under Monty/Marland and the expanded GL,AW began to drop in 78.

I am not trying to be argumentative, but I disagree about the depth of problems associated with AW's ninety minute format. Examine the yearly ratings. Yes, AW did drop 1.1 points, but that was minor compared to the loss of two full rating points in 1980-81. Obiviously viewers preferred 90 minutes of Harding Lemay and Tom King over 60 minutes of L. Virginia Browne and Corinne Jacker. And, AW's ratings from 1980 onward never managed to achieve the lowest ratings posted under Lemay. I believe the quality of writing (or lack thereof) was more decisive than the format.

1977-78 AW 8.6 (last year at 60 mins)

1978-79 AW 7.5 (first year at 90 mins)

1979-80 AW 7.1 (last year at 90 mins)

1980-81 AW 5.1 (back at 60 mins)

1981-82 AW 4.7

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I find this so bizarre that the ratings back at this time can plummet so dramatically so suddenly. DAYS in every single one of these is either #1 or #2 in the early-to-mid 70s, and yet this most recent posting, even RTPP is beating them. It's postively jarring, especially on a week where AW is #1.

This is an example of why the networks panicked so quickly during the 70s and tended to kill off major characters or make other shocking changes, which damaged a series in the long run. Also keep in mind that these are only the soap rankings. Game shows were extremely popular in this era, with many of them out-rating soaps. Match Game often had higher ratings than the top-rated soap As the World Turns. A soap like RTPP, ranked as 9th here, may have been as low as 15 or 16 when the other game shows were factored.

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That drop by AW from 8.6 in 77/78 to 7.5 in 78/79 saw the show drop from equal 1st to 8th place which is pretty drastic. Meanwhile GH went from a 7.0 to an 8.7 and from 8th to 2nd.

That first drop was merely a taste of things to come.I think it was the 90 min format,which posters in the AW thread are all agreeing was a lot of filler,the cast changes,Lemay's departure and the resurgence of GH all combining to damage AW.

Edited by Paul Raven
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I guess Beverlee's departure in 1980 probably made things even worse.

The 1980 episodes I have seen aren't bad, but they're very lackluster and mostly center on stuff that's just kind of stupid and dated (like Kit the runaway heiress, and the endless hand-wringing over Jordan Scott). The only story which has momentum is Cecile's schemes. I also like Blaine and Jerry, two very attractive and interesting people, but knowing that ends so badly you can't really get invested.

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