Tuesday, February 23, 2021

What Might've Been: Howie (1962)

 Howie started as a Broadway play created by Phoebe Ephron, which later became a feature film. CBS commissioned a pilot for a potential series from Peter Lawford's production company and Ziv-United Artists.

But what you might not know is that this would've been green-lit at the expense of The Dick Van Dyke Show if network executive James Aubrey had his way. Seems he had friends at UA, but Van Dyke executive producer Sheldon Leonard met with his sponsor, Procter & Gamble, and, after securing alternate sponsorship for his show, Howie ended up getting torpedoed.

Ten years later, William Asher and star Paul Lynde would revisit the concept in Lynde's self-titled ABC sitcom, which we've previously discussed. At least it lasted a season. Missing from the equation in 1972 was producer Sidney Sheldon, who made up for Howie's failure by developing The Patty Duke Show the next year for UA & ABC, then went to Screen Gems with a little gem of a fantasy-com, I Dream of Jeannie for NBC two years after that. Since then, he became better known as a best selling author more than as a producer.

Lynde is joined here by Will Hutchins (ex-Sugarfoot) as Howie. Sherry Alberoni (ex-The Mickey Mouse Club) co-stars.

Hutchins landed two more sitcom gigs, but neither got past one season, Garry Marshall's Hey, Landlord! in 1966, and an adaptation of Blondie, which brought Hutchins back to CBS in 1968.

No rating. Just a public service.

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