In the 60's, Rod Serling made two attempts to venture away from the sci-fi/horror/fantasy milieu that he had mined with The Twilight Zone. The first, The Loner, failed to survive the Christmas holidays in 1965, but introduced viewers to producer William Dozier, and we've documented his series history.
Four years later, Serling, fresh off adapting Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes into a feature film, returned to television, and to a network other than CBS for the first time. Serling developed The New People for producers Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas, whose Mod Squad was entering its 2nd season, and ABC, which rolled the dice with the idea that a 45 minute program such as New People and Music Scene, its lead-in, would ensure that viewers wouldn't flip the dial to NBC's popular Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. It didn't achieve its desired effect. Instead, New People was cancelled after 17 episodes.
In a way, you can't fault ABC's thinking. Network television had evolved from 15 minute programs to 30 to hour-long dramas, such as Mod Squad, and variety shows, like Laugh-In. They felt they'd skipped a step in the tele-evolutionary process, moving to a 45 minute format. It turned out the step wasn't skipped. No, it wasn't needed at all.
Following is a short promo, narrated by Ernie Anderson.
35 years later, ABC went to the well again with Lost, which actually managed a healthy run. NBC & Discovery Kids (now Discovery Family) countered with a Saturday morning show, Flight 29 Down, which didn't go very far, the next year.
One benefit to New People was the theme song being performed by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and we all know that Rogers, after the demise of the First Edition, embarked on a lengthy, successful solo career.