How to Survive a Marriage
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
|How to Survive a Marriage|
|Created by||Anne Howard Bailey|
|Developed by||Lin Bolen|
|Starring||Rosemary Prinz, et al.|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||335|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||January 7, 1974 – April 17, 1975|
How to Survive a Marriage is an American soap opera which aired on the NBC television network from January 7, 1974 to April 17, 1975. The serial was created by Anne Howard Bailey, with much input from then-NBC Vice President Lin Bolen. The show's working title was From This Moment and was an in-house NBC production.
Attempting to tell life from the point of view of women in a changing world, the show stirred controversy when the 90-minute opener had the first "nude" scene on American network television (the nudity was only implied, as both of the bodies were under bedsheets) between Larry Kirby and his mistress, Sandra. Larry and his wife Christine (nicknamed "Chris," played by Jennifer Harmon) soon divorced and while battling for custody of their daughter Lori, Chris entered the workforce. On Valentine's Day 1975, Chris and Larry remarried, and she then battled alcoholism.
Initially, the show featured veteran soap actress Rosemary Prinz in the role of Dr. Julie Franklin, a staunch feminist who counseled her friends on the joys of being an independent woman, only to decide that her life was truly complete by marrying a man. Prinz only agreed to stay on the show for a short time (as she had with All My Children several years earlier), and earned top billing, a three-day work week, and supposedly $1,000 a week, which was a big salary for a soap actress to earn in the 1970s. After six months Julie left town to marry Dr. Tony DeAngelo.
Another major story centered around Fran Bachman (Fran Brill) coping with sudden widowhood. Brill received over a thousand letters of condolence from viewers.
The show did not profit from the large lead-in that the high-rated Another World provided, mostly due to its many attempts to be socially relevant, which usually took the place of traditional storytelling to which American soap viewers at the time were acclimated. How to Survive a Marriage ran a distant third in the 3:30 PM timeslot, behind Match Game on CBS (daytime TV's highest-rated program) and One Life to Live on ABC; a move to 1:30 PM on January 6, 1975 (to enable AW to expand to an hour) only brought worse ratings. Despite its high hopes, NBC pulled the plug on the show after only sixteen months. The Monday after Survive ended, Days of our Lives expanded to an hour and assumed the vacant half-hour left in NBC's daytime schedule. The program thus holds a rather dubious distinction as the victim of not only the first expansion of a soap opera to a full hour, but the first two (CBS did not expand any of its shows until December, and ABC did not until 1977).
Famous alumni, besides Fran Brill, who was (and still is) best known as a muppeteer on Sesame Street; included Dallas star Ken Kercheval (Larry Kirby #2), Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham (Joshua Browne), film actor Armand Assante (Johnny McGhee), and the late film actor Brad Davis (Alexander Kronos).
Awards and nominations
The serial won Best Sequence at the third annual Afternoon TV Writers & Editors Awards, for "The Death of David Bachman." Fran Brill also won an award from the Afternoon TV Writers & Editors for her portrayal of Fran Bachman during the same award-winning sequence.