Hit shows/movies that disappeared

I was thinking about the “Andy Griffith Show” when I remembered its spinoff, “Mayberry RFD”. It was basically the same show without Andy Griffith, and in its first two years it was a top five show. Yet while “Andy Griffith” is still rerun constantly, I’ve never seen “Mayberry RFD” in any sort of reruns and it has no DVD releases. It’s like the show never existed. What other hit TV shows or movies have totally disappeared from the public eye?

Home Improvement.

This was one of the biggest shows of the 90s and it’s more or less no where. Yes, there are DVD sets and yes, it’s still on TV. But it’s shown on TV Land at 2 AM, not exactly the dignified rerun factory that Seinfeld or The Simpsons can claim.

The Drew Carey Show. It lasted as long as Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond, yet there are no reruns to be found any longer.

Shows just reach their saturation point. Sometimes this happens before the end of the network run, more often for the more popular sitcoms, this happens after syndication. Mary Tyler Moore, Happy Days, Night Court, Barney Miller, and WKRP In Cinncinnati were all extremely popular sitcoms that were also successful in syndication. Eventually, every episode had been seen at 4:30 in the afternoon so often that no one needed to ever see it again. At one time, in just about any major metropolitan viewer catchment, MAS*H could be viewed on one channel or another any time of the day or night.

Not to be ornery, but it sounds like what we need is a listing of older shows (five years or more) that aren’t being shown at one time or another on those networks like TV Land and Nick at Nite. I haven’t watched a show on those networks in years, if at all, so any shows I might list have a good chance of being available there or on Netflix.

But now that you mention it, and with the proviso just alluded to, shows I would watch if they came up, but which were off the air as first run items long ago:

Peter Gunn
Mr. Lucky
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Secret Agent ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Man )

literally dozens of Westerns like Cheyenne

A bunch from the early 70s: Bridget Loves Bernie, Arnie, Paul Sands: Friends and Lovers and Story Theater. These were all very popular in their first season and kind of limped along or disappeared afterwards. Paul Sands was under the MTM umbrella of shows; Sands and Story Theater kind of spun out of Second City/Compass improv and onto TV. Many of these shows were kind of experimental and couldn’t sustain momentum into a second season.

Maude, Rhoda and Phyllis. Kojak. The Bionic Woman.

You know what, if you go back far enough, you have tons of shows that were once quite popular but no longer get aired. Just about all of them, in fact. Maybe all television programming has a limited lifespan that is only occasionally overcome by quality or popularity.

You’re right about TVLand though. They are apparently airing tons of shows that I thought were gone forever (and bunches that really, really should be).

TVLand Shows
3rd Rock From the Sun
The A-Team
AFI Life Achievement Award
All in the Family
The Andy Griffith Show
Best Night In
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bob Newhart Show
Boston Legal
The Brady Bunch
The Carol Burnett Show
Charlie’s Angels
The Cosby Show
The Cougar
Everybody Loves Raymond
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Fantasy Island
First Love Second Chance
Gilligan’s Island
Good Times
Green Acres
Happily Divorced
Harry Loves Lisa
High School Reunion
Hogan’s Heroes
Home Improvement
Hot in Cleveland
How’d You Get So Rich?
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
The Jeffersons
Just Shoot Me
Leave it to Beaver
Little House on the Prairie
The Nanny - Starring Fran Drescher
Sanford and Son
She’s Got The Look
Star Trek
Three’s Company

That’s the one I came in here to mention. People forget just how big this show was for a few years in the late '90s. They were one of the few sitcoms from that era to make effective use of the gimmick episode and garnered a lot of positive reviews. But they just sort of petered out without much fanfare after nine seasons. I remember hearing an interview with Drew Carey in 2003 and being surprised that the show was even still on (it ended the following year).

Wings had a credible eight season run, ending in 1997, and once upon a time it felt like the syndicated episodes were the only show USA was able to air. I don’t think I’ve seen it in years and years though. It’s not even on the TVLand list charmstr posted.