The Dick Van Dyke Show was cancelled after one season, but was saved by the sponsor

In 1962, CBS axed what they thought was a ratings dud

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The Dick Van Dyke Show is arguably one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. It is the grandfather of the modern television comedy, establishing a lot of what viewers identify as a sitcom to this day. The show won 15 Emmy Awards, and is frequently included in lists of the greatest shows of all time. But all those awards, all those accolades almost never happened, because in 1962, CBS cancelled The Dick Van Dyke Show

It's hard to imagine a television landscape that doesn't share The Dick Van Dyke Show as an ancestor. Every show about show business owes a debt of gratitude to the misadventures of Rob Petrie, family man and comedy writer. 30 Rock, The Larry Sanders Show, even Curb Your Enthusiasm all grow from the seed planted by The Dick Van Dyke Show. But it seems viewers may not have been ready for the ahead-of-its-time peek behind the show biz curtain. Audiences weren't able to appreciate it for the "literate comedy" it was, as described by the Valley News' Ernie Kreiling in 1966.

The Dick Van Dyke Show was a ratings dud for CBS, which canceled the show in the spring of '62. Luckily for fans and TV scholars alike, an objection was raised in the form of corporate sponsor Procter & Gamble. Specifically, producer Sheldon Leonard persuaded the consumer goods behemoth to back the show for just one more season. So moved were the folks at P&G, in fact, that they threatened to pull all advertising sponsorship from CBS' Saturday afternoon lineup unless The Dick Van Dyke Show was reinstated. 

The show was renewed for not just one, but four additional seasons before wrapping production in 1966. The immediate chemistry of the show's leads, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, paired with the show's incredible writing team, propelled The Dick Van Dyke Show into the annals of TV history. Just remember to thank your soap.

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JeffPaul76 11 months ago
It was created and produced by Carl Reiner, who also appeared from time to time as "Alan Brady", the star of the fictional "Alan Brady Show" but why didn't he make himself Executive Producer?
Runeshaper 11 months ago
Great story, and great triumph for the show and the fans! Thanks for sharing, MeTV 🙂
Bapa1 11 months ago
Interesting story. Didn't Cheers and Seinfeld also do bad their first seasons?
JHP 11 months ago
ahhhhh yes Big Max Calvada - love the DVD show - every one of them

Andybandit 11 months ago
I am glad TDVDS was saved after being cancelled from CBS.
MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I love that show. I wish it aired at 7 or even 8 pm Monday to Friday.
cperrynaples MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
Classy Comedy runs it at 10 PM weeknights!
cperrynaples 11 months ago
It should be noted that CBS' 4 most popular soaps in 1962 were sponsored by P&G [As The World Turns, The Edge Of Night, Search For Tomorrow, & The Guiding LIght] ! Had they lost those, It would have been a disaster!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 11 months ago
PS Clearly these were the shows that P&G were using as leverage! CBS had no Saturday afternoon shows so once again the posters mispoke! This become clear with the concluding line "remember to thank your soap"! BTW, none of these shows are on the air now! ATWT was the last survivor ending in 2010!
justjeff 11 months ago
This might very well get deleted but...

What's the difference between a TV executive and a box of manure????

The box!
JHP justjeff 11 months ago
a very good morning chuckle:):):) - on behalf of the manure I protest tho:)
Bapa1 justjeff 11 months ago
As someone who comes from a long line of manure, I find your comment insulting.
justjeff Bapa1 11 months ago
justjeff JHP 11 months ago
LoveMETV22 justjeff 11 months ago
This might very well get deleted but...
Wouldn't worry there. Seen a few comments (not yours), that are questionable, or push the boundaries ( putting it lightly).
LoveMETV22 justjeff 11 months ago
PS Clarify: When I said "seen", I didn't mean specifically this room, more collectively in various stories or quizzes.
Coldnorth justjeff 11 months ago
If someone is giving their honest opinion about how they feel about a story or article I don’t normally get upset, but when someone comments for shock value, I am less tolerant.
McGillahooala 11 months ago
You can’t keep a bad thing down.
LoveMETV22 11 months ago
Well many thanks to Sheldon Leonard and the folks at P&G for their faith in the program, as it is a true gem.💎💎
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