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Old September 23rd 13, 03:09   #3
Republibot 3.0
Psi Cop
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,540
Re: The Original Battlestar Galactica

Originally Posted by JonFrain View Post
Originally Posted by Republibot 3.0 View Post
Anyone interested in the actual reasons the original Battlestar Galactica (1978/79) got cancelled?
Besides the massive costs and drop in ratings?
Yup. That's the justification, not the cause.

Short form:

ABC wanted to cash in on the Star Wars craze, which they assumed would be short-lived. They decided to do a big-budget glitzy SF show, and use that as a loss leader. People would come for the shooty-shooty bang zwoosh, and they'd stay for "Angie" and "Up All Night" and the new sitcoms. They didn't care too much about the price of the show becuase they figured it'd fail. Since 1968 no SF show had lasted more than 13 episodes, so they figured by the time it crapped out, people would be hooked on the new shows.

IOW, Galactica was born to die.

Thing is: It didn't die. It had pretty huge ratings. And it cost (In modern cash) about $3.7 million/episode) which they couldn't afford to keep on the air. ABC had made it to # on the strength of cheap sitcoms like Happy Days, etc. Added to which, all the new sitcoms were dogs. Only one of 'em made it to the 2nd season. So their only hit was a show they intended to die, couldn't afford to keep on the air, and they freaked.

They started jumping it all over the schedule to drive ratings down. They'd run repeates 3 weeks, then a new ep with no real promotion, then two more weeks of repeats, then jump it to a new slot. It still holds the #2 or #3 spot for the most-moved show in TV history (WKRP in Cincinatti is #1) This worked, but not nearly so well as you'd assume. They only managed to drive it down to like #26 or so. It was still in the top 3rd, which would be good enoguh for it to come back for another season, but they claimed it was cancelled due to low ratings, after half a year of trying to drive the ratings down.

Interestingly, once they'd cancelled the show, they stopped moving it around, and left it in the same slot all summer long. Its ratings steadily increased, now that people knew where to find it. It was around #26 when they killed it. It was in the top 10 by the end of summer.

They took amazingly bad press over this, particularly after that one kid killed himself. They got hate mail for like a whole year. Finally, they created Galactica 1980 SPECIFICALLY to devaluate the brand. "Let's make a deliberately shitty show, have it bomb in the ratings, and then say 'look, we tried to give you people what you wanted...'" This worked perfectly, and BSG went from a show that nearly everyone kinda' liked in 1979 to a show that everyone kinda' laughed at in 1982.

And there you have it. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the gist. All information comes from an extensive expose "Fantastic Films and Science Fiction" did in 1982, IIRC.

"But ABC had angered the television gods, and must pay," the article said. As a result of this debacle, they went from the #1 network to the #3.

Kevin Long
(The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0, And The World's Greatest Living Thurl Ravenscroft Impersonator)
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