Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What Might've Been: Channing (1963)

Up until 1963, most TV shows set on school campuses usually were in regard to high school (i.e. Our Miss Brooks, Dobie Gillis, Mr. Novak, Mr. Peepers).

Revue Studis/Universal rolled the dice with Channing, an ABC freshman drama set on the campus of the titular college. The series was already saddled with the task of replacing Naked City at the bottom of ABC's Wednesday lineup. Viewers were likely conditioned to think Channing was actually a member of the school faculty, not the school itself, given the above examples.

Character actor Henry Jones was given top billing as the dean, with Jason Evers as a professor who was the actual main protagonist. The ensemble in this anthology series also included Leslie Nielsen and Yvonne Craig, neither of whom we will see in the sample episode below.

Associate producer Bob Rafelson rebounded nicely, thank you, working on The Monkees and "Five Easy Pieces" post-Channing.

So what went wrong? Channing aired opposite Danny Kaye's variety hour on CBS, and viewers gravitated there, costing Channing the audience of its lead-in, Ben Casey.

Following is the episode, "The Trouble With Girls", with guest stars Keir Dullea, Frances Reid (pre-Days of Our Lives), Joey Heatherton, and Mark Goddard.

No rating.


Mike Doran said...

My recollection of Channing is that Jason Evers and Henry Jones alternated getting top billing from one week to the next (in the business, this is known as "favored nations").

hobbyfan said...

This is the only full episode available on YouTube presently, so I'll take your word for it. I was but an infant when this came out.