Mobil Showcase Network

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Mobil Showcase Network
Type Occasional network
Country USA
Availability top 50 markets
Owner Mobil
SFM Media Service
Key people
Herb Schmertz
Established 1976
Dissolved 1984

The Mobil Showcase Network, also known as Mobil Showcase or Mobil Showcase Theatre, was an occasional or ad hoc television network from 1976 to 1984 with an ad hoc group of stations.


A Mobil Oil media expert, Herb Schmertz, wrote canned paid "editorials" placed into newspapers like the New York Times opinion-editorial page. Schmertz also had Mobil underwriting Masterpiece Theatre to improve Mobil's image. He also considered having the company buy a newspaper, the Long Island Press. He instead settled on a "sort of TV network" as Mobil and Schmertz were frustrated with the network-developed anti-oil-company news and documentaries.[1]


Schmertz worked with SFM Media Service Corporation lining up 43 stations, primarily in the top 50 markets; half of these were network affiliates. Mobil paid $3.2 million to the stations for the 8 PM ET/PT Thursday time slot for 10 weeks. In the winter of 1976-1977, Mobil launched its first show, Ten Who Dared, under the "Great Explorer" series. The show beat the networks in the ratings defeating NBC's The Fantastic Journey, and even CBS's The Waltons. Based on the ratings, Mobil arranged for two more "'non-network' series."[1]

In 1979, the Showcase featured Edward & Mrs. Simpson. For summer 1980, Mobil Showcase assembled a group of shows dubbed Summershow.[2]


  • Great Explorer
    • Ten Who Dared, a BBC/Time-Life/West German TV series with Anthony Quinn hosting for the Mobil Showcase broadcast[1]
  • When Disaster Struck (1978)
  • Between the Wars (1978)[3]
  • Edward and Mrs. Simpson (1979)
  • Summershow (Summer 1980)
    • A Party with Comden and Green
    • New York, New York
    • Bells are Ringing
    • The Party's Over
    • The America Game[2]
  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby[4]
  • The Children's Story (1982 TV short), by James Clavell[5]
  • King Lear (1984)
  • 2 X Forsyth (1984)
    • A Careful Man
    • Privilege
  • Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy (scheduled for 1986)[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nadel, Gerry (1977-05-30). "Who Owns Prime Time? The Threat of the 'Occasional' Networks". New York Magazine (New York): 33–36. Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  2. ^ a b Boyer, Peter J. (July 11, 1980). "Mobil Showcase: In defense of big oil". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Buck, Jerry (May 20, 1978). "John Jakes' 'The Bastard' is latest effort from Operation Prime Time". Eugene Register-Guard. AP. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ Jory, Tom (March 21, 1983). "Stan Moger and the ad hoc networks". The Gettysburg Times. AP. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Children's Story". IMDb. 1982. 
  6. ^ Jory, Tom (March 28, 1984). "Mobil Showcase Shines with '2 X Forsyth'". Ocala Star-Banner. AP. Retrieved 25 May 2012.