Thursday, March 10, 2016

What Might've Been: Kingston: Confidential (1977)

One of the common problems network programmers have had over the years is when a veteran, beloved star returns in a new series, a knee-jerk reaction is to put the new show on the same night where the star's previous series had aired. It's either that, or if you're reviving an iconic series, the idea is to put the revival on the same night as the original.

Kingston: Confidential falls into the former category. A spring replacement series for NBC in 1977, Kingston marked the return of Raymond Burr, nearly 2 years after Ironside had ended its run. What does NBC's programming department do? They schedule Kingston on Thursday nights, where Ironside had aired for most, if not all, of its run, as memory serves.

Burr created a new production company, R. B. Productions, to co-produce the show, with David Victor (ex-Marcus Welby, M. D.) as executive producer. As R. B. Kingston, modeled after newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Burr didn't really stray too far from the usual millieu of mysteries. It was, at the end of the day, still about catching the bad guys. Pamela Hensley, later of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Art Hindle co-starred.

The Rap Sheet offers the intro. Theme music by the inestimable Henry Mancini.

The following fall, Lou Grant, the last spin-off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, bowed on CBS, with Grant (Ed Asner) now a newspaper editor instead of a television producer. Were there mysteries? Sure, and Grant enjoyed a healthy run with a built-in audience that followed Asner to a new night, as Grant aired on Mondays, as opposed to Moore being a Saturday fixture. The moral of the story? NBC should've found a different night for Kingston than Thursday. Then again.......!

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