The New Dick Van Dyke Show
|The New Dick Van Dyke Show|
Van Dyke as Dick Preston and Dick Van Patten as Max Mathias, 1973.
|Created by||Carl Reiner|
|Starring||Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Patten
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||72 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes per episode|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 18, 1971 – March 18, 1974|
CBS was so eager to have Dick Van Dyke return to their network that they signed him to a three-year contract. Van Dyke was living in Cave Creek, Arizona at the time and did not want to move back to Hollywood, so the network agreed to film the show at Southwestern Studio on Stage 1 in nearby Carefree, Arizona. Dick Van Dyke Show creator Carl Reiner wrote and directed numerous episodes, also serving as creative consultant.
Van Dyke starred as Dick Preston, a local television talk show host at KXIV-TV in Phoenix, Arizona (the KXIV call sign actually belonged to a Phoenix radio station that Van Dyke co-owned). Like Van Dyke's previous series, this show divided its time between Dick's job in television and his home life with his wife and child. The show featured Hope Lange as his wife, Jenny; Arizona native Angela Powell as their daughter, Annie; Fannie Flagg as his sister, Mike; David Doyle as his boss, Ted; and Marty Brill and Nancy Dussault as the Prestons' friends, Bernie and Carol Davis. The Prestons also had a son, Lucas (played by Michael Shea seasons 1–2; Wendell Burton season 3), who was away at college and seen occasionally.
The show's Nielsen ratings were good during the first season. The show had a timeslot in CBS's highly rated Saturday night lineup which included All in the Family, Funny Face and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which starred Van Dyke's former co-star. The ratings, however, were much lower than the shows surrounding it. It ranked #18 and obtained a 22.2 rating. In its second season, the show was moved to the network's low-rated Sunday night lineup and the ratings fell tremendously. CBS wanted to cancel the show but they had Van Dyke under a three-year contract, so the network decided to retool the show.
The final season
For the third season, the setting and production of the show moved to Hollywood. Dick and his family move there after he lands a role in a soap opera called Those Who Care in which he played Dr. Brad Fairmont. New cast members included Dick Van Patten as the show's producer, Barry Gordon as the show's writer, Henry Darrow as the stage manager, Barbara Rush as the show's star, and Richard Dawson and Chita Rivera as the Prestons' neighbors. In the fall of 1973, the beginning of its third year, CBS gave the series another time slot, this time on Monday nights at 9:30 P.M. immediately following Here's Lucy starring Lucille Ball. The network felt that Ball's series would provide a strong lead-in for The New Dick Van Dyke Show.
An episode produced for the third season, "Lt. Preston of the 4th Cavalry," included an off-camera scene in which Annie, Dick and Jenny's daughter, walked in on her parents having sex. CBS refused to air the episode, claiming it was incompatible with Van Dyke's family-friendly image. This so incensed Carl Reiner that he refused to continue on the show beyond the third season, citing the network's hypocrisy. Notably, CBS at this time was allowing a number of other shows, such as All in the Family, which featured Reiner's son, Rob, to deal openly with much more controversial topics. Reiner promised never to work in television, particularly CBS, again.
Although the show's ratings improved, Van Dyke did not enjoy working away from his home and did not want to continue the show without Reiner. After the third season, he chose not to renew his contract and moved back to Arizona.
The show was rarely run in syndication, though various local stations aired it occasionally in the 1970s. In the early-1990s, reruns aired briefly on TNT. In 2002, the Christmas episode "The Jailbird" aired as part of TVLand's traditional classic Christmas show marathon. In 2004, the show aired on GoodLife TV Network. The reruns included the previously unaired episode "Lt. Preston of the 4th Cavalry".
- "Guests Chosen for Personality - New Dick Van Dyke Show". The Palm Beach Post. May 26, 1984.
- Brooks, Tim; Earl Marsh (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
- In 1976, Reiner returned as star of the popular but short-lived ABC sitcom, Good Heavens; in 1981, Reiner appeared in an episode of CBS's Walt Disney and the CBS TV-movie drama, Skokie.
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