Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Might've Been: The Debbie Reynolds Show (1969)

NBC took a chance in 1969, thinking that actress-singer Debbie Reynolds could carry a sitcom, especially one that borrowed so heavily from one of the most iconic series of the 50's.

The Debbie Reynolds Show, however, lasted just 1 season, in large part because the star objected to the show being sponsored in part by a tobacco company. R. J. Reynolds, at the time, also was the corporate parent behind the Mott's line of applesauce products. Signed to a 2-year deal and given partial ownership of her show, Reynolds opted to walk away rather than continue the series. Detractors dismissed her show as being derivative of I Love Lucy, due largely to series creator Jess Oppenheimer, who had co-created Lucy, and brought in writers Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Davis, who came over from The Mothers-in-Law.

Director Ezra Stone and musical director Jack Marshall were better known for working at Universal, primarily on The Munsters.

No episodes are available online at present. However, we do have a trailer that comes from NBC's 1969-70 fall preview special, which was previously reviewed. Said trailer is narrated by Hugh Downs.



Filmways had previously collaborated with game show mogul Bob Stewart on Eye Guess for NBC, but this might've been the end of their primetime output for NBC, aside from the fact that Filmways at the time also owned Heatter-Quigley, whose Hollywood Squares had a primetime berth as well as a daytime one.

The above trailer is in memory of Reynolds, who passed away earlier today at 84 from a stroke, likely caused by stress over the death yesterday of daughter Carrie Fisher ("Star Wars", "The Blues Brothers") at 60.

No rating.

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