Mobil Showcase Network
|Availability||top 50 markets|
SFM Media Service
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.
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, Mobil launched its first show, Ten Who Dared, hosted by Anthony Quinn and adapted from a 1975 BBC documentary series, which was originally shown in the UK as The Explorers and presented by David Attenborough. The show dramatized the adventures of various explorers (including Cook, Columbus, Amundsen and Mary Kingsley), and was one of the highest budgeted BBC shows for its time. The commercials were exclusively for Mobil, with some of them in a "documentary" or reality-based format showing Mobil employees out in the field, and shown in a positive light. 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."
- Ten Who Dared (1976), a BBC/Time-Life/West German TV series with Anthony Quinn hosting for the Mobil Showcase broadcast
- When Havoc Struck (1978)
- Between the Wars (1978)
- Edward & 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
- The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
- The Children's Story (1982 TV short), by James Clavell
- King Lear (1984)
- 2 X Forsyth (1984)
- A Careful Man
- Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy (scheduled for 1986)
- Fourth television network
- Masterpiece (TV series) (previously Masterpiece Theatre)
- Operation Prime Time
- SFM Entertainment
- 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.
- Boyer, Peter J. (July 11, 1980). "Mobil Showcase: In defense of big oil". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- Buck, Jerry (May 20, 1978). "John Jakes' 'The Bastard' is latest effort from Operation Prime Time". Eugene Register-Guard. AP. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
- Jory, Tom (March 21, 1983). "Stan Moger and the ad hoc networks". The Gettysburg Times. AP. Archived from the original on 18 November 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "The Children's Story". IMDb. 1982.
- Jory, Tom (March 28, 1984). "Mobil Showcase Shines with '2 X Forsyth'". Ocala Star-Banner. AP. Retrieved 25 May 2012.