US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

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George White
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US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by George White »

The Red Hand Gang
Cagney and Lacey and Dallas were as popular in the UK as in the US (I have heard that BBC helped finance the former, as they did with Fame in its syndicated run).
Baywatch was saved because of its UK/INTERNATIONAL popularity. Didn't Thames co-finance?
Babylon 5 had a more concentrated run on C4, AS IT WAS SYNDICATED IN THE US. I think Straczynski even put deliberate refs as a thank you to C4.
The Virginian - huge in Ireland, I believe the Men from Shiloh was intended as a more European-aimed series, hence the spaghetti stylings.

Duncan
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Duncan »

Why the capitals for B5 being syndicated. Star Trek TNG and DS9 were first run syndication shows. I thought B5 was on the TNT network?

Arguably you could include Bilko on such a list.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by George White »

Duncan wrote:Why the capitals for B5 being syndicated. Star Trek TNG and DS9 were first run syndication shows. I thought B5 was on the TNT network?

Arguably you could include Bilko on such a list.
Oh, just a point.
The spinoffs were on TNT.
Originally it was part of PTEN, a syndicated block.

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David Boothroyd
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by David Boothroyd »

Steven Bochco's 'Murder One' series in 1995/96 was poorly received in the US because the lead character was very untypical of TV series heroes (short bald middle-aged bloke with a breathy voice), and it only really dealt with one case over 20+ episodes.

It was much better received in the UK because the storytelling was different from the typical crime/law show, building the audience over a long run, and the lead character didn't look like a typical TV series hero.

(Unfortunately the network was more interested in the USA so junked Daniel Benzali, brought in Anthony LaPaglia as a more typical hero, and had it deal with three separate cases. It didn't work in the US and there was no third series)

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by SgtPepper »

Kids from Fame was going to be axed but continued due to its popularity in Britain. Ironically then the last two series were ditched by the BBC.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by prisoner5 »

Didnt ITV have something to do with the rescue of Baywatch? think i remember it was very popular here and elsewhere in Europe and talk in the U.S. of it being pulled.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by prisoner5 »

Sorry just noticed a previous post has raised this, sorry.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by fatcat »

I think ' Lou Grant ' the newspaper drama which was only shown in a few regions in the UK was immensely popular where it was shown ..however the political issues it sometimes raised were bit too close to home in the US and so it got heavily criticized and thus axed.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by fatcat »

prisoner5 wrote:Didnt ITV have something to do with the rescue of Baywatch? think i remember it was very popular here and elsewhere in Europe and talk in the U.S. of it being pulled.
Yes I think LWT bankrolled the final seasons after talks with David Hasselhoff

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Brock »

SgtPepper wrote:Kids from Fame was going to be axed
The TV series was called "Fame", after the 1980 film on which it was based. "The Kids from 'Fame' " was the name of the group formed by members of the cast of the TV series (also the name of their first album).

Quite a common error, I think.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by JezR »

Bilko. Not so much when in production, but the amount and frequency for repeats over the decades.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Brock »

JezR wrote:Bilko. Not so much when in production, but the amount and frequency for repeats over the decades.
Mostly in the margins of the schedules, though, or used as "filler" material in London and the South-East while the regions were showing their own programmes.

Was it ever really peak-time entertainment?

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Rory Clark
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Rory Clark »

Don’t think that being in “the margins of the schedules” makes Bilko disallowable in terms of this thread though.

I’m not aware that it was ever used as a London and South East filler on a regular basis. It was almost always networked – otherwise I wouldn’t have grown up watching it in Wales in the 70s and 80s.

It certainly went out in peak time in the 50s and 60s and there was even a “Best of Bilko” series of re-runs in the mid 60s. (Will have to dig out the relevant Radio Times to pin down the year.)
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Post by Brock »

Rory Clark wrote: I’m not aware that it was ever used as a London and South East filler on a regular basis. It was almost always networked – otherwise I wouldn’t have grown up watching it in Wales in the 70s and 80s.
Maybe I'm just remembering one particular run in 1979:

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bb ... 6#at-22.20

I was living in the BBC West region at the time and I'd never seen Sergeant Bilko - I thought it was something that only Londoners got to see (like Points of View before it). We had our own programmes from 10.15-10.45pm.

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Rory Clark
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Rory Clark »

Oh yes, I don’t deny that it was used as an opt-out filler but those were a drop in the ocean compared to the number of networked screenings. Fifty years of (admittedly on and off) repeats in the UK is a pretty remarkable achievement and presumably accounts for the fact that while it’s still a fondly remembered show here, it’s almost forgotten in the USA. Which is a shame, as it’s one of the greatest sitcoms in the history of TV.
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by JezR »

Brock wrote:
JezR wrote:Bilko. Not so much when in production, but the amount and frequency for repeats over the decades.
Mostly in the margins of the schedules, though, or used as "filler" material in London and the South-East while the regions were showing their own programmes.

Was it ever really peak-time entertainment?
It was originally shown in the early evening (varying times between 19:00 and 21:00) but a quick search shows that repeats have been at all times of the day and night over the years. In the 1970s in particular it was mainly late night, but it got a long run on BBC2 in the late 1980s at 19:30-ish. In 1996-2000 it was regularly on BBC2 in the morning and in 2004 at 13:00 in the afternoon.

It almost certainly would have been cheap to show, but why this kept in circulation so long rather than one or more of the many other B&W USA comedies available is a good question. In the show 'Forty Years' in 1976 looking back over 40 years of BBC-tv it was the only non-BBC production to be highlighted in the Radio Times.

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Post by Brock »

When you think about it, it's quite remarkable that any black-and-white programme was still being shown such a long time into the colour era. There can't be many other examples.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Juswuh »

The band Serious Drinking had a song called "Countdown To Bilko", a tribute to its status at the time (c.1982) as a fixture last thing before closedown on BBC1 at the weekend.

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Post by Juswuh »

Re Murder One, the whole point of the show was to tell the story of a single trial over the season - possibly inspired by OJ Simpson? Anyway, changing the format and replacing Daniel Benzali was obviously doomed to failure.

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Post by fatcat »

Rory Clark wrote:Oh yes, I don’t deny that it was used as an opt-out filler but those were a drop in the ocean compared to the number of networked screenings. Fifty years of (admittedly on and off) repeats in the UK is a pretty remarkable achievement and presumably accounts for the fact that while it’s still a fondly remembered show here, it’s almost forgotten in the USA. Which is a shame, as it’s one of the greatest sitcoms in the history of TV.

Yes everyone loved Bilko IIRC ...in it's long career on the BBC it had one slot on a late Saturday night.. great scheduling for those who had just come from home from the pub.

The BBC thought it was so good that they then bought the rights for 50 years- hence it's near recent absence from the schedules.

I think when the US went looking for it again recently they found it was the BBC who had the complete set.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by ian b »

Ratings data may shatter this, but my memory says that the tv series of PLANET OF THE APES which ran on Sunday nights on ITV was pretty big in the UK - it was the certainly the first time I came across newspaper reports about a series being curtailed without resolution.

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Post by Mark »

Wasn't there a commotion over "The Invaders", viewers wanting to know where the ending was?
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by JezR »

ian b wrote:Ratings data may shatter this, but my memory says that the tv series of PLANET OF THE APES which ran on Sunday nights on ITV was pretty big in the UK - it was the certainly the first time I came across newspaper reports about a series being curtailed without resolution.
It doesn't appear in the national top 20 ratings lists, but it wouldn't be helped in this regard by STV deciding not to show it.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by ian b »

Mark wrote:Wasn't there a commotion over "The Invaders", viewers wanting to know where the ending was?
Dunno - I was speaking personally, and THE INVADERS was a bit before my time.

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Mark »

Yes, I'm pretty sure there was.

"Planet Of The Apes" was certainly more popular here than in the states, there is an interview with Marl Lenard on YT, where he talks about the poor scheduling of the series and it not being given a chance, shame, I liked it.
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by fatcat »

Mark wrote:Wasn't there a commotion over "The Invaders", viewers wanting to know where the ending was?
Yes -it was abruptly cancelled just as Vincent was finally starting to make some progress with his plight leaving fans with no satisfactory conclusion.

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Post by Mark »

fatcat wrote:
Mark wrote:Wasn't there a commotion over "The Invaders", viewers wanting to know where the ending was?
Yes -it was abruptly cancelled just as Vincent was finally starting to make some progress with his plight leaving fans with no satisfactory conclusion.
UK viewers eventually began to understand the brutal nature of the US ratings system.

"Planet Of The Apes" fared slightly better than poor old "Fantastic Journey", which I also quite liked.
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Richard F »

fatcat wrote:
Mark wrote:Wasn't there a commotion over "The Invaders", viewers wanting to know where the ending was?
Yes -it was abruptly cancelled just as Vincent was finally starting to make some progress with his plight leaving fans with no satisfactory conclusion.
The last episode seems incredibly rushed as the aliens are about to come into the open launching an all-out attack on Earth and Edgar Scoville gets shot - but somehow Vincent pulls everything back from the brink and restores the status quo by the conclusion. There must have still been some uncertainty whether the show might actually get renewed after all - the fact Scoville survives is only communicated by the narrator during the "Epilog".

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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by Mark »

I'm reminded of another sci-fi show from a couple of decades later, "V", after various incarnations, it too was left up in the air!...and The Robinsons never got home, or the crew of the Spindrift...
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Re: US TV shows that were more popular in Britain

Post by brigham »

I tend not to watch 'last episodes', if I can help it. I've always been happier leaving things 'ongoing', if you grasp my meaning.

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