Rueben's Ramblings

TV Shows That Switched Networks (Part 1 of 2)

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Admit it, there has been at least one TV show that you have loved that has been cancelled; and in that same breath it has either been that one show or another beloved series that you had hoped would be rescued from cancellation by another network.

While it isn’t the norm in the world of television programming for a show to switch networks during its time on the air, it isn’t a complete rarity.

Both dramas and comedies have changed networks as far back as the 1950’s, bouncing between major and cable networks as well as into syndication.

Let’s take a look at the dramas that fall into this category starting with several dramas from the earlier days of television that changed networks, including the following:

The crime drama The Detectives aired from 1959 to 1961 on ABC then moved to NBC for its final season in 1961-1962; and,

The perennial cop drama Columbo ran from 1971 to 1978 on NBC. It was then revived on ABC, running from 1989 through 2003 [which included a few made-for-TV movies].

Then there are two fan favorite female-led series on ABC The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman – which both debuted in 1975. The Lindsay Wagner sci-fi actioner ran for two seasons on ABC before airing its third and final season on NBC. Whereas, Wonder Woman ran for one season on ABC [where it was set during World War II] before moving over to CBS for its last two seasons, which were set in the 1970’s.

The 1980’s actually saw more than a handful of dramas switch networks, including:

T.J. Hooker, which ran from 1982 through 1985 on ABC and then switched over to CBS for one final season in 1985-1986;
Airwolf, which ran on CBS for three season from 1984 to 1987 then moved to the USA Network [with a completely different cast] for its final season in 1987;
Matlock aired on NBC from 1986 through 1992 before switching over to ABC from 1992 through 1995;
• The comedy-drama The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd ran for one season on NBC from 1987 to 1988 before moving over to Lifetime from 1988 to 1991;
In the Heat of the Night ran on NBC from 1998 through 1992 before switching over to CBS from 1992 to 1995; and,
Father Dowling Mysteries, which aired for one season in 1988-1989 on NBC before moving to ABC for two more seasons from 1989 to 1991.

Please join me next week for the second part of this piece that will focus on the shows from the 1990’s to the present that have switched networks.

What are your thoughts about TV shows switching networks? Please share your comments below.

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Arrow, Grimm, The Blacklist, Teen Wolf, Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Switched at Birth, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and The Fosters (among others). She is looking forward to the limited-run returns of Prison Break and 24: Legacy as well as the debuts of Emerald City and Midnight, Texas. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at rueben@nicegirlstv.com.

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