The New Andy Griffith Show
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|The New Andy Griffith Show|
Andy Griffith and Lee Meriwether, 1971.
|Created by||Aaron Ruben|
|Written by||James Fritzell
|Directed by||Lee Philips|
Ann Morgan Guilbert
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Executive producer(s)||Richard O. Linke|
|Cinematography||Wilfred M. Cline|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||ADA Productions|
|Original release||January 8– May 21, 1971|
Actor Andy Griffith had left his first sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, voluntarily after the 1967-68 season while it was still number one in the Nielsen ratings and despite a high-dollar offer from CBS to continue it, in order to pursue his other interests, singing and motion picture acting, and to prevent his being typecast solely as a rural Southern sheriff.
When he decided to return to network television two years later, in the fall of 1970, it was in Headmaster, a drama, in which he played the headmaster of an exclusive California private school. When that program very quickly sank in the ratings, Griffith replaced it immediately with this one, which was much closer in tone and content to his earlier, more successful role, and this program replaced Headmaster on the CBS Friday night schedule effective January 8, 1971.
This time the setting was a mid-sized North Carolina town called Greenwood (pop. 12,785), with Griffith portraying Andy Sawyer, a returning hometown boy who instantly becomes the town's new Mayor pro tem.
Andy Sawyer was the model family man, always agreeable and understanding, spending lots of quality time with his children. His character bore more of a folksy attitude Griffith had previously portrayed in early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and the teleplay and film No Time for Sergeants.
Lee Meriwether was cast as Andy's wife. Marty McCall and Lori Rutherford were seen as Griffith's children, T.J. and Lori, and Ann Morgan Guilbert was Lee's sister Nora, a live-in relative. Nora was constantly complaining, neurotic, meddling and superstitious. Rotund country comic Glen Ash was cast as town councilman Buff McKnight. Ruth McDevitt played Mrs. Gossage.
The premiere episode was a major success for CBS, buoyed by guest appearances by The Andy Griffith Show regulars Don Knotts, George Lindsey and Paul Hartman. Lindsey and Hartman explicitly played "Goober" and "Emmett", their characters on both The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. (still on the air at the time); this is confirmed in both dialogue and in the closing credits. Knotts, meanwhile, played an unnamed character who was identical in mannerisms to Barney Fife of The Andy Griffith Show. All three characters were "old friends" of the character Andy Sawyer; they dropped by his new house to welcome him to town. These Mayberry characters treated Andy Sawyer exactly as if he were Andy Taylor, and the two characters had similar backstories: both Andys by this point were married and had two children (although Taylor's two sons, Opie and infant Andy Jr., were both boys as opposed to Sawyer's one boy and one girl), and prior to the start of The New Andy Griffith Show, both were living in larger cities.
Overall, the introduction of characters from Mayberry and the similarities in character gave the appearance that the show was an alternate version of Griffith's earlier show, only with some names and details changed, creating confusion. Griffith also blamed the bad reputation of Headmaster for making it more difficult for The New Andy Griffith Show to succeed. Coincidentally, CBS had a public desire to overhaul its image to appeal to wealthier, more sophisticated audiences, which left the network less eager to promote rural sitcoms that previously been a network staple.
Although the premiere gathered respectable ratings, viewership quickly declined over the next several weeks, and after ten episodes, CBS canceled the series on March 12, 1971. These ten episodes repeated through May 21, then were replaced with reruns of Headmaster during the summer.
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|Episode title||Original air date|
|1-1||"My Friend, the Mayor" (pilot)||January 8, 1971|
|1-2||"Get Me Glen Campbell"||January 15, 1971|
|1-3||"Berries, T.J. and the Law"||January 22, 1971|
|1-4||"Town Square"||January 29, 1971|
|1-5||"Nearly Nuptials For Nora"||February 5, 1971|
|1-6||"Otis Burfoot Is A Hundred Years Old"||February 12, 1971|
|1-7||"Big Noise, Small Claims"||February 19, 1971|
|1-8||"The Connection"||February 26, 1971|
|1-9||"The Millionth Visitor Is A Bum – Or Is He?"||March 5, 1971|
|1-10||"A Visit From Cousin Billy Jim"||March 12, 1971|
The first, second and fourth episodes circulate among collectors.
- Leszczak, Bob (2012). Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979: A Complete Guide. McFarland. p. 137. ISBN 9780786493050. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 752. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
- Kelly, Richard Michael (1981). The Andy Griffith Show. John F. Blair, Publisher. pp. 68–69. ISBN 9780895870438. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows
- Leszczak, Bob, Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide (McFarland Publishing, 2012), ISBN 978-0786493050, p. 137. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- The New Andy Griffith Show, TVparty.com