''The Yeagers'': Andy Griffith's two-episode TV flop
Andy Griffith played a stern patriarch of a mountain family, but audiences were lost in the woods.
After the end of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy seemed to have a hard time getting a new series off the ground. After all, TAGS was a juggernaut on the TV. He was a household name all over America. Audiences had a hard time seeing him as anything other than their beloved sheriff.
He did a few appearances on the TAGS spin-off continuation, Mayberry R.F.D. Then came Headmaster, a comedy-drama that lasted one season. Following that was The New Andy Griffith Show — also one season.
Then came guest roles, TV movies, and miniseries. In 1979, Griffith took another swing at a regular series with Salvage 1, a science fiction series about a scrap man leading a ragtag crew recovering scrap from, among other places, the moon. That lasted two seasons, with the final four episodes being unaired at the time.
Well, if space didn't work, maybe the mountains would. In 1980, Griffith filmed The Yeagers. The Yeagers was about "a fiercely independent lumber and mining family in the Northwest, who are headed by a proud patriarch." Griffith was that patriarch.
The Spokane Chronicle explained "the first few episodes of the modern-day Bonanza family are not funny, however, and deal with an airplane crash... and being lost in the mountains of Northern Idaho, where the show takes place."
Griffith's character was a father, just like Andy Taylor, but he was a more stern man. "He is a good father," Griffith said, "not perfect; he has a temper, he's, ah, he runs the place with an iron hand."
Unfortunately, The Yeagers got lost in the woods. ABC only aired two episodes; two more produced went unaired.
A Washington Star column discussed the show after its dismissal, mentioning the troubles that besieged the Yeagers onscreen and off. "Check the disastrous Nielsen ratings for Griffith's version and you would have thought it was a documentary."
Don't feel too bad for ol' Andy, though. He kept busy after that, mostly in TV movies, and his next foray into a regular TV show was a little thing called Matlock.