This is the time of year when most television series wrap up their seasons. Summer is on the horizon, and the cast and crew are on break until the entire cycle starts again.
Of course, not every TV show follows this fall-to-spring schedule. There are those that are mid-season replacements.
The mid-season replacement dates back to 1955, when The Bob Cummings Show, an early sitcom by Beverly Hillbillies creator Paul Henning starring Ann B. Davis of The Brady Bunch, made its debut on NBC. From that point onward, whenever a new fall premiere would struggle, the network was already ready to pull the plug and slot in a replacement.
Typically, these mid-season replacements were not expected to live a long life. That’s why the networks dumped them into the fray in months like January and March.
Yet, despite the odds, some of these series went on to become classics, influential series that shaped the future of television.
Replaced: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
Ozzie and Harriet was certainly no failure. The pioneering family comedy had already logged more than 400 episodes at the start of 1966, when the sitcom finally ended after 14 years. Swooping in to replace the fading classic was our very own Caped Crusader. Batman entered the lineup with a KA-POW! and by summer there was already a feature film.
2. HAPPY DAYS
Replaced: Temperatures Rising
The hospital comedy Temperatures Rising had a solid cast, including Cleavon Little and Paul Lynde, who replaced original star James Whitmore in the second season. Still, the retooling could not keep this sitcome from flatlining. Fortunately, the Fonz was waiting in the wing, ready to cruise in with the Cunninghams in January 1974.