Monday, October 03, 2005

Three and Free

Last Monday I listed TV series that were Two and Through. Today? Three and Free.

On a typical Sunday evening--exactly 53 years ago from last night--something unexpected happened. A series premiered during the Fall TV season, and NBC yanked that skein from the airwaves after only 3 eps. ''Doc Corkle'' premiered on 10/5/1952 and quickly became the first Fall TV Shorty.

It's not easy finding these shows though. Many times networks show a series of three specials, such as ''The Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee'' (Fox, 2004). They're specials, not series, and aren't included.

Sometimes a network announces that it will air a series only three times, such as ''The Colin Quinn Show'' (NBC, 2002) and ''The $25 Million Hoax'' (NBC, 2004). This is not a recent practice either. NBC aired all three eps of ''The Law'' (NBC, 1975) and ''McNaughton's Daughter'' (NBC, 1976)--both series were based on TV movies and these limited series filled small holes in NBC's Spring schedules. I don't include these series since they completed their full network runs.

Miniseries, like ''Awakening Land'' (NBC 1978) and ''Chiefs'' (CBS, 1983), were shown in three parts. These miniseries are excluded as well since they also finished their network runs.

Without further adieu, here is the list of TV series that networks aired only three times even though they planned a longer run when the first ep aired:
  • ''Angel Street'' (CBS, 1992)
  • ''As If'' (UPN, 2002)
  • ''Beyond Westworld'' (CBS, 1980)
  • ''Brats of the Lost Nebula'' (WB, 1998)
  • ''Built to Last'' (NBC, 1997)
  • ''The Chamber'' (Fox, 2002)
  • ''The Court'' (ABC, 2002)
  • ''Daddy's Girl'' (CBS, 1994)
  • ''Doc Corkle'' (NBC, 1952)
  • ''E.A.R.T.H. Force'' (CBS, 1990)
  • ''E.S.P.'' (ABC, 1958)
  • ''First Years'' (NBC, 2001)
  • ''Fish Police'' (CBS, 1992)
  • ''Flatbush'' (CBS, 1979)
  • ''Forbidden Secrets'' (Pax, 2001)
  • ''Harsh Realm'' (Fox, 1999)
  • ''Hold It Please'' (CBS, 1949)
  • ''Jokebook'' (NBC, 1982)
  • ''The Legend of Calamity Jane'' (WB, 1997)
  • ''Let's Make a Deal'' (NBC, 2003)
  • ''Life...and Stuff'' (CBS, 1997)
  • ''The Martin Short Show'' (NBC, 1994)
  • ''Meet the Marks'' (Fox, 2002)
  • ''My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star'' (WB, 2002)
  • ''NBC Sports Spot'' (NBC, 1958)
  • ''On the Air'' (ABC, 1992)
  • ''Once a Hero'' (ABC, 1987)
  • ''100 Grand'' (ABC, 1963)
  • ''Over the Top'' (ABC, 1997)
  • ''Palace Guard'' (CBS, 1991)
  • ''Playing It Straight'' (Fox, 2004)
  • ''Power Play'' (UPN, 1999)
  • ''Profiles from the Front Line'' (ABC, 2003)
  • ''Push'' (ABC, 1998)
  • ''Queens Supreme'' (CBS, 2003)
  • ''Rendezvous'' (ABC, 1952)
  • ''The Roller Girls'' (NBC, 1978)
  • ''Say What?'' (CBS, 1992)
  • ''Scorch'' (CBS, 1992)
  • ''She Spies'' (NBC, 2002)
  • ''Significant Others'' (Fox, 1998)
  • ''The Stones'' (CBS, 2004)
  • ''Strange World'' (ABC, 1999)
  • ''Stressed Eric'' (NBC, 1998)
  • ''Struck by Lightning'' (CBS, 1979)
  • ''Studio 5-B'' (ABC, 1989)
  • ''Sunday Best'' (NBC, 1991)
  • ''Talk to Me'' (ABC, 2000)
  • ''Tall Hopes'' (CBS, 1993)
  • ''Trial and Error'' (CBS, 1988)
  • ''The Trouble with Larry'' (CBS, 1993)
  • ''Wasteland'' (ABC, 1999)
  • ''What Happened'' (NBC, 1952)
  • ''Your Big Moment'' (Dumont, 1953)

    Some notes about a few of these series:
  • ''Brats of the Lost Nebula'' is the only Saturday morning series of which I'm aware that couldn't make it off The TV Shorty List.
  • ''Power Play'' and ''Stressed Eric'' originally aired in Canada and the UK, respectively. Both series later aired on US primetime TV, and US networks banished them after only three eps.
  • ''She Spies'' was destined for Syndication from the beginning, but NBC tried something unique. NBC wanted to air four eps of ''She Spies'' during primetime so that more viewers would sample the show. The idea was a ratings failure, and NBC stopped the four-episode trial after only three eps.
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