Lorne Greene was not embarrassed by ''flop'' crime-drama series following Bonanza's success
"Everyone has got to fail from time to time," Greene said.
Have you ever wondered what life after Bonanza was like for its stars? Finding work was easy for Lorne Greene, but it was a struggle for the actor to recreate the type of success Bonanza saw with another production.
Greene would guest star on series here and there after Bonanza ended, but he was the main character on a '70s crime-drama called Griff. Many would say the show was supposed to be his major "follow-up" performance to his successful run on the classic Western; however, it didn't even make it past one season.
Griff was a flop but a notable one. Yet, Greene didn't blame anyone else for its lack of success. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee in 1974, the actor talked about what he felt went wrong.
"It's my fault. I'm not going to cop out and blame anyone else. I simply should have refused to do the first six shows," he said. "What went wrong? It was as simple as ABC. No, really, I have no hard feelings against anyone."
What was the issue? According to Greene, there were slight differences between what he and the producers wanted Griff to be.
"It was just a matter of different philosophies. I wanted a series that was strong on characterization. The network wanted to do a 'puzzle' show. It took me six segments and a lot of quiet screaming to get my way."
Greene's outlook helped turn the show around.
"We got off, you might say, on the wrong foot — on two left feet! My character was as hollow as an empty barrel. And until I got things turned around — which was akin to trying to turn around the Queen Mary — Griff was about as bad as a show can be."
With the actor's help, the right audience found its way to the production, and it even saw a slight increase in viewership, but it was too late.
"The last six segments we filmed were [fine] drama, and it was encouraging to see that the ratings were beginning to rise. But the turnaround came too late to save the show," Greene said.
Was he embarrassed? Far from it. Failure is a part of life; you can't succeed without it. In Greene's words, "Everyone has got to fail from time to time."
Watch Bonanza on MeTV!
Monday - Saturday at 2 PM*available in most MeTV markets
Maybe MeTV could show this and other short-run shows in a dedicated time slot. Perhaps...Flotsam and Jetsam. Familiar faces and old-time behaviors are always entertaining.