Switch (TV series)
Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner, 1975.
|Created by||Glen A. Larson|
|Theme music composer||Glen A. Larson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||70 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Glen A. Larson
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Glen Larson Productions
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution (syndication)|
|Original release||September 9, 1975– August 20, 1978|
Switch is an American action-adventure detective series starring Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner. It was broadcast on the CBS network for three seasons between September 9, 1975 and August 20, 1978, bumping the Hawaii Five-O detective series to Friday nights.
Switch was inspired by the 1973 movie The Sting and was similar to The Rockford Files, which had debuted a year earlier. It was created by Glen A. Larson; in his memoir, The Garner Files, Rockford Files star James Garner accuses Larson of essentially rewriting Rockford scripts without authorization for use on this show. Donald P. Bellisario was also one of the writers.
The series focused on two main characters, Frank MacBride (Eddie Albert) and Pete Ryan (Robert Wagner). MacBride was a retired bunco cop who once arrested Ryan, a con man. After Ryan's release from prison, the two men opened a detective agency in Los Angeles. Their speciality involves the use of confidence tricks to trap criminals into revealing evidence of their guilt. Assisting them is another reformed con man, restaurant owner Malcolm Argos (Charlie Callas), and Maggie Philbin (Sharon Gless), Mac and Pete's naive-but-competent receptionist and assistant.
The series pilot for CBS aired on March 21, 1975, as a 90-minute made-for-television movie. During the second season, the series became more serious in tone and more of a traditional crime drama. William Bryant joined the cast as Lt. Shilton in season two, and Mindi Miller and James Hong joined the cast in season three. In the third season, Pete moves into an apartment above Malcolm's bar.
The modestly successful show was put on hiatus in early 1978, its time slot taken by The Incredible Hulk. The remaining 10 unaired episodes were broadcast the following summer before the series was canceled in August due to low ratings.
- Eddie Albert - Frank "Mac" MacBride
- Robert Wagner - Peterson T. "Pete" Ryan
- Charlie Callas - Malcolm Argos
- Sharon Gless - Maggie Philbin
- William Bryant - Lt. Shilton (seasons 2-3)
- James Hong - Wang, Malcolm's cook (season 3)
- Mindi Miller - Revel, a waitress who works at Malcolm's restaurant (season 3)
- Anne Archer - Laurie, a grifter who helps Mac and Pete with their sting operations (recurring season 1 only; clips of the actress in character appeared in the opening credits sequence during seasons one and two)
Eddie Albert and Robert Wagner are the only actors to appear in every episode. Sharon Gless appeared in all but three episodes, and Charlie Callas did not appear in four episodes during the run.
The short-lived ABC 1976-1977 crime drama The Feather and Father Gang was seen as an unsuccessful attempt to imitate Switch. Coincidentally, Wagner would later costar with one of the stars of The Feather and Father Gang, Stefanie Powers, in another crime drama Hart to Hart which ran for 5 seasons beginning in 1979.
- McCoy, a similarly themed TV series that also debuted in 1975.
- McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 282.
- The New York Times: The Feather and Father Gang