Prologue: September 20, 1986
  • September 20, 1986

    We open on a lavishly decorated but somehow cozy and intimate interview room, with two empty chairs in the middle. Assorted flower arrangements are everywhere. Everything is in soft focus - an appropriate stylistic choice, for more reasons than one.

    Enter Baba Wawa - I mean, BARBARA WALTERS.

    WAWA: Her career in television has spanned thirty-five years - for almost as long as the medium has existed, she has been a part of it. First as an actress on her groundbreaking sitcom, "I Love Lucy", and then as a producer, with her company, Desilu, being responsible for some of the most beloved shows to have ever aired on television. But despite her incredible power and influence, she has always been known for her modesty, and her willingness to share credit with others.

    Cut to LUCILLE BALL, sitting in one of the chairs (with WAWA in the other).

    BALL: I couldn't have done any of it without everyone else. "I Love Lucy" was Desi, and Jess and Bob and Madelyn, and Viv, and Bill… Karl Freund, Marc Daniels… so many others. And Desilu - we would be here all night if you wanted me to tell you who's been keeping that place running. I just take credit for finding them, picking them, and keeping them around. That's what a manager does, what a producer does.

    Cut back to WAWA, alone.

    WAWA: Even if her only talent is in making decisions, she has made some of the best of them. And they have brought Desilu Productions - the studio she co-founded with her late ex-husband, Desi Arnaz, in 1950 - to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Her decision earlier this year to retire, to leave show business behind once and for all, has surprised a great many people. But tonight, in our exclusive interview, we're going to look at the woman behind the empire: the First Lady of Television, Miss Lucille Ball.

    Cut to various shots of BALL - smiling, laughing, nodding, contemplative, seeming almost in tears - before they dissolve into a title screen, with the text being “written”, in familiar cursive, over a giant “valentine” heart on velvet:

    "EVERYBODY LOVES LUCY: The First Lady of Television, in her own words"

    Cut back to WAWA, alone, again.

    WAWA: Join me as we discuss her humble beginnings, her rise to fame, and her triumphs and tragedies - personal and professional.

    Cut back to BALL, looking very solemn.

    WAWA (OC): And some of her most intimate secrets.

    BALL: For a while there… I didn't want to keep going. Didn't want to do what I was doing in the early sixties.

    Cut over to WAWA, nodding mutely and trying very hard to look sympathetic and perceptive at the same time [2]. Cut back to BALL.

    BALL: I knew I couldn't run Desilu and keep up my screen career at the same time. One or the other would have to go, and that's when she came to me.

    WAWA (OC): Lucy has often shared what she feels is the secret to her success. She believes that Carole Lombard, the legendary screwball comedy star from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and who died tragically in a plane crash in 1942, has been advising her… from beyond the grave.

    BALL: She came to me when I was deciding whether or not I should do "I Love Lucy", and she told me to "give it a whirl". And that's what I did.

    Cut over to WAWA. Still nodding, this time with an "aha!" expression, as if she totally understands where BALL is going with this, even though she obviously doesn't. Cut back to BALL again.

    BALL: Then she came to me when I was deciding whether or not to sell Desilu [3]. She told me I was done being a star, that it was time to start making stars. She knew I could do it, said I was the only one who could. (laughs) There's a reason everybody loved Carole.

    WAWA: Do you still believe that Carole talks to you?

    BALL: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

    WAWA: If you could say anything to Carole right now, what would it be?

    BALL: Just, thank you, Carole. Thanks so much for everything.

    WAWA (OC): That's just the beginning of the insightful and revealing discussion I had with Lucy, as the First Lady of Television talks about herself, her life, and her legacy
    all in her own words.

    Cut back to WAWA, alone, for the last time.

    WAWA: We'll be right back for more with Lucy, after these messages. [4]


    [1] Hereafter referred to as Wawa. I really want to write all her lines phonetically - but I'm (barely) resisting the urge.

    [2] FYI: Whenever any of these news magazine shows cut to the interviewer "reacting", it means that they just edited what the interviewee was saying. Most of you probably know that already, but if you didn’t, there you go.

    [3] And this is the POD. In OTL, Lucille Ball sold Desilu to Gulf+Western in 1967, and they merged it into Paramount shortly thereafter. Ball continued to star in a weekly series until 1974. She created a new "studio", Lucille Ball Productions, which was essentially a holding company for her star vehicles.

    [4] So why did Wawa drop this bombshell before the first commercial break? Actually, it isn't one - IOTL, Ball frequently shared her Carole Lombard dream story. Here she just has two to tell instead of one. She was always happy to divulge some very strange personal stories to anyone who asked - though the famous "radio waves in her fillings" yarn was likely apocryphal.


    Welcome to my first timeline! And thanks for reading. If you have any input, including constructive criticism, please feel free to provide it.

    A few introductory notes before we go any further: This is not going to be an "epistolary" timeline; it's going to be primarily descriptive/narrative. I just thought I would use such an opening to grab the reader's attention. And to lampoon news magazine programs, of course.

    As noted, the POD is Lucille Ball receiving a second dream/psychic communiqué from Carole Lombard in late 1966, telling her to hold on to Desilu and give up acting. Therefore, she isn't going to sell to Gulf+Western. Why does this matter? Well, among other reasons, she was a very hands-on studio chief, who was known to go to bat for shows she really liked, regardless of their ratings or their budgets. There was one Desilu show in particular that benefited from this policy, and I have no doubt that most of you will be able to guess what it is.

    Despite her being at the centre of the POD, don't expect Ball to be too central to the timeline. We're mostly going to be looking at the effects of her decision. And surprisingly, there are going to be a lot of them, and they're going to come fairly hard and fast. That's what attracted me to this particular POD in the first place.

    This timeline is mainly going to focus on popular culture, for a couple of reasons: it’s what I enjoy writing about, and there are many, many people on this forum who write about more serious and weighty subjects with a great deal more skill and finesse than I could.

    In the next update, we're going to be jumping back to era of the POD and moving forward from there.

    If you're not North American, and some of the details didn't make a whole lot of sense to you, I'm very sorry. Please feel free to ask me for clarification. If you're British, there is a little something I have planned that you might find worth your while - you just have to wait a while.

    I went with the current title because it's very vague and hopefully drew in people who might not be enticed by a more obvious one. If you had other ideas of who "That Wacky Redhead" might have been, I would love to hear them.
    1966-67: This Season is the First Season of the Rest of Your Career
  • This Season is the First Season of the Rest of Your Career (1966-67)

    “Desilu Productions and Gulf+Western Industries have announced an agreement that would see Desilu provide exclusive use of their surplus studio space to the conglomerate that owns Paramount Pictures, whose own facility is located just next door. It is believed that this arrangement will facilitate chief executive Charles Bluhdorn’s plans to expand into television; Paramount is the only major studio that does not yet have a television division. Initial negotiations for G+W to purchase Desilu outright were unsuccessful; nevertheless, President Lucille Ball is believed to be receiving a substantial lump sum payment in addition to the favourable rates agreed upon for the use of her facilities. Both Miss Ball and Mr. Bluhdorn, when reached for further comment, offered none.”

    - From the February 15, 1967 [1], edition of The Hollywood Reporter

    The first person she told about her dream was her husband and business partner, Gary Morton, who had been told the story about her previous encounter with Carole Lombard so many times that he knew better than to challenge her. He didn’t mind; he was all for Lucy staying at Desilu in the first place. If this apparition of her long-dead friend was what finally made her convince herself that it was what she wanted, too, then he wouldn’t complain.

    One person who did complain was Charles Bluhdorn, the mogul who owned Gulf+Western. The two companies had been engaged in tentative, preliminary negotiations regarding the potential but strictly hypothetical sale of Desilu. It had already been moving far too slowly for his liking; suddenly, the very morning after her fateful dream, Ball called the whole thing off.

    Eventually their attorneys were able to work out a compromise deal, but that still left him without rosters – either in terms of qualified staff or in terms of established programming. They would have to recruit people to work in their leased studio space. Plans to make a triumphant entry into the television arena for the 1967-68 season were abandoned; it was back to the drawing board. [2]

    Financial projections showing that the assets acquired from Desilu would not have been very profitable (indeed, several of its programs were extremely expensive to produce) [3] did much to mollify Bluhdorn, who decided to start from scratch. His R&D department was dispatched to contact freelance producers and writers who might be interested in getting in on the ground floor.

    In what she would later describe as the hardest decision of her career, Ball decided to drop out of the female lead role of her pet project picture: Yours, Mine, and Ours. She began shopping around for another lead actress, but never found anyone who met with her satisfaction. In the end, the movie was never made. [4]

    Removing herself from the cast of the film was the result of a conscious effort to lighten her workload. As part of her established agreement with CBS, she was set to end production on her sitcom “The Lucy Show” after the 1966-67 season, but network executives – mindful of the show’s very high ratings – convinced her to stay on for an additional season. [5] It made good business sense – another season meant more episodes for syndication, which meant more revenue. A proven revenue source like that certainly beat taking a risk on green-lighting Yours, Mine, and Ours – especially since her expenses were just as high as Gulf+Western’s accountants had projected.

    Without question, the 1966-67 production season was a trying one for Ball. But it ended on a high note, as one of her programs, “Mission: Impossible”, won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series. It was a vindication for her: she had fought hard for that show, and now it was earning the recognition that it so richly deserved. Years later, she would reflect that she knew, at that moment, that she had made the right decision, staying on as head of Desilu. The show’s creator and producer, Bruce Geller, was already working on a new show for Desilu, called “Mannix”, which would premiere in September 1967.

    Amusingly, earlier that night Ball won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for “The Lucy Show”, her second Emmy in the category, following her inaugural win in 1953 for “I Love Lucy”. [6] By this time it was well-known within the industry that she would be retiring from acting at the end of the following season, which she briefly acknowledged in her acceptance speech. It was the first time that the general public was made aware of that fact. The news made big waves, appearing on the front page of most newspapers’ entertainment sections the next day, and dominating discussion on the breakfast talkies the following Monday, with Baba Wawa devoting an entire segment to the topic on the Today Show. It even made the cover of TV Guide ("Say It Ain’t So, Lucy!").

    But of all the shows Desilu produced during this era, the most complex and interesting relationship that Lucille Ball had was the one with a little show about boldly going where no man has gone before


    [1] In OTL, on this date, Ball and Bluhdorn announced the sale of Desilu to Gulf+Western. The company continued to operate as an independent division of G+W until December of that year, when it was formally merged into Paramount.

    [2] As noted, Paramount was the only major studio that didn’t have a dedicated TV division. In 1967. That’s like a Fortune 500 company not having an internet presence… in 2009. That’s why Bluhdorn (who bought Paramount in 1966) wanted to buy Desilu, which had: a long and storied history; dedicated production facilities; and established programming on the air, with experienced producers at the helm.

    [3] This actually happened in OTL – after Gulf+Western had sealed the deal and Bluhdorn actually bothered to look at Desilu’s books.

    [4] Yours, Mine, and Ours is significant in popular culture for one reason: The success of the movie – which was about a single father with loads of kids, and a single mother with loads of kids, getting married and forming a massive blended family – resulted in ABC green-lighting a sitcom with a very similar premise. That sitcom? “The Brady Bunch”. That’s right: there will be no Brady Bunch ITTL. I expect this to be a very polarizing revelation.

    [5] “The Lucy Show” ran 1962-68 IOTL (and ITTL). As part of her contract with CBS, Ball had the right to end production on “The Lucy Show” at a time of her choosing. The suits begged for an additional season ITTL because the show’s ratings were gangbusters (#3 overall for the 1965-66 season, and #4 for 1966-67), and because it gave them time to develop a replacement series.

    [6] Both Emmy wins from that night are as IOTL. But the butterflies will be flapping their wings here soon enough!


    I assure you, the absence of “The Brady Bunch” is not going to be the biggest butterfly to hit this timeline. And technically it won’t be the first, either, as it wouldn’t have premiered until September 1969, by which time other changes will have taken effect.

    Join me for the next update, when I’m going to take an in-depth look at a certain show I’ve very deliberately avoided mentioning…
    Last edited:
    Beyond the Rim of the Star-Light, or: Star Trek: The Early Years
  • Beyond the Rim of the Star-light, or: Star Trek: The Early Years (1964-67)

    "This is going to be the biggest hit or the biggest miss God ever made."
    - DeForest Kelley, aka Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, on Star Trek [1]

    The history of Star Trek is an especially convoluted one, which has only added to its mystique. It was created in 1964 by Gene Roddenberry, a former police officer and experienced television writer. Roddenberry believed that a science fiction action-adventure series had great untapped potential. He also felt that it would be an excellent vehicle to promote his own personal values - tolerance, understanding, diversity, and optimism for the future being paramount among these. His pitch famously described Star Trek as a "Wagon Train to the Stars"; Wagon Train was actually a contemporary western series, but the phrase in and of itself was so wonderfully evocative that this allusion was soon forgotten.

    Herb Solow was, at the time, the assistant to Oscar Katz, Head of Production at Desilu. In 1964, Desilu's only in-house production was star vehicle "The Lucy Show", and so the directive was given to find original concepts that could be developed into new series. Naturally, Star Trek caught their attention right away, earning their approval along with that of Lucille Ball herself. [2] The pitch was then brought to CBS, with whom Desilu had a right-of-first-refusal agreement; the network, however, declined in favour of another science fiction action-adventure series called "Lost in Space". It was then decided to take the pitch to NBC, who were reluctant, but after much deliberation, Solow finally convinced the executives to take a chance on making the pilot.

    Robert Justman became involved during production, hired as assistant director. His ability and efficiency quickly made him invaluable. Cast in the lead role of Captain Christopher Pike was 1950s matinee idol Jeffrey Hunter; veteran character actor John Hoyt played ship's doctor Boyce. Roddenberry had preferred another veteran character actor, DeForest Kelley, for the part, but he was overruled by the pilot's director, Robert Butler. Cast as the alien Mr. Spock was little-known actor Leonard Nimoy, and in the most controversial casting decision, Roddenberry's mistress Majel Barrett played the First Officer. The presence of a woman and an alien as part of the command crew was a deliberate effort to promote diversity; unsurprisingly given the era, they met with some resistance among the higher-ups.

    Reaction to the pilot, screened to executives in early 1965, was mixed. Even many in the cast and crew, including director Butler and star Hunter, had serious doubts about the show. NBC decided not to go ahead with the series; the reasons for this have varied, depending on the source, but the most common explanation is that it was "too cerebral". [3] However, the network made the surprising - and unprecedented - decision to produce a second pilot. Katz, who had overseen production of the original pilot, departed Desilu at this time; Solow was promoted to Vice-President of Production, and assumed the role of Executive in Charge of Production for Star Trek, which he would retain for the entirety of the show's run.

    There was more turnover between the first and second pilots. Jeffrey Hunter declined to return as Captain Pike; in addition, the network refused to allow the character of the cool, calculated, and female First Officer to return. They were also not fond of "that guy with the ears", Mr. Spock, whose pointed, devilish ears were his distinguishing feature, but they allowed him to remain as a compromise. Thus, Leonard Nimoy was the only actor to appear in both pilots. William Shatner was cast as the new lead, Captain James Kirk. Again, Roddenberry hoped to have DeForest Kelley play the ship's doctor, now called Mark Piper; again, he yielded to the director, who selected another veteran character actor, Paul Fix. The new pilot was called "Where No Man Has Gone Before", chosen by the network as the best of three potential scripts. Another script, "Mudd's Women", was produced and aired in the first season. (The third, "The Omega Glory", was never produced). [4] Robert Justman was among the returning crew, having been promoted to Associate Producer. He served in this key position throughout the run of the show, his bean-counting and penny-pinching abilities becoming the stuff of legend.

    The new pilot, produced in mid-1965, was deliberately more "exciting" than the more sedate original had been, complete with an action-packed climax. It was good enough for NBC to green-light the series, which would begin airing in the 1966-67 season. When the series proper began production in mid-1966, most of the cast were in place. DeForest Kelley finally got the ship's doctor role - he played Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. James Doohan and Japanese-American actor George Takei, who had played minor roles in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", were given greatly expanded ones in the series proper, particularly Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott. African-American actress Nichelle Nichols also joined the cast as Lt. Uhura. Among the writers who set to work on the initial batch of episodes was Roddenberry's secretary, Dorothy, who professionally went by D.C. Fontana. Her insight and understanding of the characters did not go unnoticed; before the end of the first season, she was Story Editor. She had the distinction of being both the youngest writer and the only woman writer on staff. This diversity among both cast and crew helped put some muscle behind their message.

    The final piece in the puzzle was Gene Coon, who assumed the role of hands-on Producer from Roddenberry (who remained as showrunner) in the middle of the first season. Like Fontana, he was also a skilled writer with a strong grasp on the characters and setting. Over 25% of the episodes of the series credit one (or both) of the two as writer in some capacity [5]; unofficially, the two had a hand in virtually every script that made it to air. The "Big Five" of Star Trek, as they became known - Roddenberry, Solow, Justman, Fontana, and Coon - formed the core of the production staff. [6] They were all in place by the end of the first season, and the first major problem they faced as a unit was also one of the most notorious: the development of the classic episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".

    The author of the original script, Harlan Ellison, had written a truly beautiful time-travel love story - though bogged down by needless complications and an odious subplot, and describing effects that were so far beyond the show's budget that it cost far too much money even thinking about them. Ellison agreed to make changes, but he was too close to be objective, and it became clear that the staff writers would have to do the job themselves. [7] Coon made an uncredited rewrite, as did Fontana, and even Roddenberry himself. Ellison, never the most agreeable man at the best of times, began railing against being wronged by these horrible people and took his complaints all the way to the top at both NBC and Desilu. The famous story that he had stormed into Lucille Ball's office was apocryphal, however, invented by Roddenberry as a means of getting back at him. Still, continued delays pushed the episode to the very end of the production season; it aired as the season finale. [8]

    The first season of Star Trek was an auspicious beginning in all ways but one, and the most important one at that: ratings. They were barely good enough for a second season, which was about all that could be said in their favour. Still, reviews were good, and word of mouth was excellent. There was always hope that next season, they might have a better timeslot, and maybe even win an Emmy or two.

    Nobody had any idea what they were in for.


    [1] Yes, he also said this in OTL.

    [2] The other series to result from this talent hunt was "Mission: Impossible", created by Bruce Geller. Roddenberry and Geller both worked on a western called "Have Gun - Will Travel", leading commentators ITTL to sometimes call the late-1960s/70s era Desilu "The House that Paladin Built", Paladin being that show's lead character.

    [3] Read: "We didn't get it".

    [4] In OTL, "The Omega Glory", also known as "The One Where Kirk Reads the Preamble to the Constitution", was produced and aired late in the second season, well after our POD.

    [5] The figure is per OTL; the two have a combined 22 out of 79 writing credits (including story credits and pseudonyms), though they had no joint credits IOTL.

    [6] We can thank TTL David Gerrold for the nickname, which he coined in the early 1970s.

    [7] There's a lot more to the story than that, of course, and if you want Ellison's take on the whole thing, he has written a book on the subject. The entire affair deeply offends him. Then again, so does everything else.

    [8] Our first substantial butterfly to hit Star Trek. Not having the pending sale to Gulf+Western to worry about, the senior management at Desilu are able to spare some attention to the matter. In the end, this achieves little, but the added deliberation results in the episode being delayed. Thus, this episode becomes the season finale. In OTL, it was the penultimate episode of the season, behind the adequate but forgettable “Operation – Annihilate!”


    I know this update was fairly dry, and I apologize for that. But I thought it would be best to get this expository post out of the way, and lay the foundations for the many changes that Star Trek will be facing in TTL.

    I wasn't sure how to approach this post until it hit me to focus on the "Big Five". I'm sure the cast wouldn't be too happy about that, but I'll mention them as they become important. Shatner - who, however self-deprecating he may be now, was certainly a massive egotist back then - no doubt hates that I only gave him one passing mention. Sorry, Bill. At least now you know how your castmates feel!

    As a side note, part of the reason I'm emphasizing the "Big Five" is to draw your attention to them. Too many people think that Star Trek was all Gene Roddenberry. Solow, Justman, and Fontana at least lived long enough and had to enough to say that they've earned some well-deserved, if belated, recognition. But Coon - who died in 1973 - is criminally underappreciated.

    Of course, there are plenty of other important people I missed. I'll try to get through as many of them as possible in future updates.

    Join me next time when we tackle the 1967-68 season, and as we prepare to unleash a horde of butterflies upon an unsuspecting TL…
    1967-68: We Hope You Enjoy the Show
  • We Hope You Enjoy the Show (1967-68)

    "Live long, and prosper."
    - Spock, Star Trek

    "Sock it to me!"
    - Judy Carne, "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"

    “Mission: Impossible” had won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series in June of 1967, but this was a lone bright spot during a darker period of the show’s history. Creator and showrunner Bruce Geller had been recruited to develop another series for Desilu, and this behind-the-scenes shakeup was mirrored in front of the camera. Original lead Steven Hill was proving, to put it delicately, difficult. His peculiar scheduling needs and reluctance to commit to the material made him few friends among the cast and crew. [1] The executive in charge of production, Herb Solow, was among the first to float the idea of replacing him. He knew from his experiences working on the revolving door that was Star Trek that sometimes it took more than one try to get the right actor for the right role.

    Hill was no fool, and he wasn’t much happier than the production staff at any rate. Both parties came together and agreed that it would be best if he did not renew his contract, and he departed the series after just one season. [2] Peter Graves was hired as his replacement. Additionally, popular recurring character Rollin Hand, played by Martin Landau, became a regular, and Landau formally joined the cast as the second lead. This cemented the show’s “classic” roster of Graves, Landau, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris, and Peter Lupus.

    In contrast to the challenges facing “Mission: Impossible”, it was smoother sailing for Star Trek… for the most part. Solow, who had been happy to see the back of Hill, found himself facing the flipside of the coin when Leonard Nimoy, who played breakout character Mr. Spock, demanded a pay raise. Solow liked Nimoy and knew how much he added to the show, but he had to play hardball, and even began suggesting possible replacements. [3] Eventually, they were able to work it out, and Nimoy remained as Spock. But it would not be the last time that an actor on the series sought greater remuneration… or recognition.

    In happier news, DeForest Kelley was given a place in the opening titles. The triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, with each character representing one of the three aspects of the Freudian psyche, was now firmly established. But the major cast change was the addition of Walter Koenig as Russian Ensign Pavel Chekov. The youthful character, crafted to appeal to the younger generation, was originally intended to be British as a nod to Davy Jones, a member of the Monkees. He was changed to Russian at the last minute, reputedly because of an article in Pravda, criticizing Star Trek for the lack of a Russian presence on the show, despite the advanced Soviet space program. Whether this article actually existed is questionable. Back in the U.S.S.R., Star Trek had never even been broadcast.

    “Amok Time”, written by famed science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon [4], was the fifth episode produced in the second season. It was considered the strongest of the initial batch of episodes, and was duly chosen as premiere. Following up the acclaimed, award-winning “The City on the Edge of Forever” with “Amok Time” was described by Robert Justman as “the greatest one-two punch we ever made”. [5]

    The primary creative challenge faced by the "Big Five" in the second season was the question of humour. The cast and the writers had a strong comedic flair, which was exploited in numerous episodes. But there was a line that could not be crossed. “Camp” was one of those terms that could not be adequately defined without providing examples, but the very popular “Batman” series defined camp better than any dictionary ever could: loud, ostentatious, completely over-the-top, not taking itself at all seriously, and inviting the audience to laugh at its characters rather than identify with them. Another great example was "Lost in Space", the series that CBS had chosen instead of Star Trek in 1964. It had started as a serious program, but had become a joke on every level. It served as the perfect cautionary tale for the "Big Five". Camp had also capsized the once-serious "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." series; the producers of that program attempted to reverse this, but it was too little, too late; the show was cancelled mid-season. It was decided that Star Trek could only be funny if the audience was laughing with the characters at their absurd situations, and felt sympathy for their plight, sharing in their ultimate triumph. [6]

    Replacing "U.N.C.L.E." was "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In", whose producer, George Schlatter, found himself locking horns with Gene Roddenberry. NBC had promised to move Star Trek to a friendlier timeslot in mid-season, but instead gave the slot to "Laugh-In", which became an instant hit, tapping into the zeitgeist. Star Trek, meanwhile, had middling ratings, but an incredibly devoted fanbase; it received more fan mail than any other show on the air. Demographic breakdowns consistently showed the program to be popular with viewers who were highly attractive to advertisers, with ample room for growth. Eventually, to compensate for their earlier reneging, NBC promised a plum timeslot – Mondays at 7:30 – to Roddenberry for the show's third season. "Laugh-In", which aired at 8:00, would have to pushed back by half a hour to accommodate this, and Schlatter was livid. Why should his show have to move for Star Trek and have it as a lead-in?

    What followed was a battle royale between Roddenberry and Schlatter. Network executives were divided right down the middle. The impasse was ended by none other Lucille Ball herself. She went to bat for Star Trek, reminding the executives of the show's positive ideals and its great potential. And as for "Laugh-In": well, surely audiences would be able to wait just half an hour more before they tuned into the show in droves? Her arguments tipped the scales; on March 1, 1968, NBC announced that Star Trek would be returning for its third season on Monday nights at 7:30. "Laugh-In" would follow an hour later. Schlatter was enraged; he decided to teach the network a lesson and abandoned "Laugh-In" to its fate, quitting as showrunner to focus on a show he was developing for ABC called "Turn-On", which would have a strong counter-cultural bent that, he was sure, would attract audiences in even greater numbers than "Laugh-In" had. [7]

    The series finale of “The Lucy Show”, airing at the end of the season, was the television event of the year. Ball spent most of the week prior to its airing promoting it on the talk show circuit, even taking the red-eye to New York City to speak with Baba Wawa on the Today show. It got the cover story on TV Guide, extending the record that she held for most appearances there. The finale would be an hour long and, in the grand tradition of her shows, it would feature a star-studded cast. Luckily, she got by with a little help from her friends.

    Among those invited to participate were Lucy’s real-life children, Lucie and Desi Jr., along with her “I Love Lucy” son, Keith Thibodeaux. Also returning was Vivian Vance, Lucy’s beloved sidekick, and – in a huge surprise – Desi Arnaz himself. Among the other guest stars was Carol Burnett, Ball's friend and protégée, who had previously appeared earlier that season. The ratings were spectacular: it was the second most-watched broadcast in television history, behind only the series finale of “The Fugitive” the previous year.

    At the Emmy Awards that year, Lucille Ball won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for the second time in a row. "The Lucy Show" also won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. In a twofer for Desilu, Star Trek won Outstanding Dramatic Series, with Leonard Nimoy receiving the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series. [8]

    Meanwhile, Charles Bluhdorn announced the creation of Paramount Television effective January 1, 1968. Douglas S. Cramer became the Executive Vice President of the new division, holding a role analogous to the one held by Herb Solow at Desilu. Sherwood Schwartz, who had created "Gilligan's Island", was among the first to bring an idea to the new company, a blended-family sitcom he called "The Bradley Brood" [9], but it didn't sell. Paramount was going to enter the 1968-69 season without any programs on the air. There was still a ray of hope for the company, however, when Bluhdorn was able to convince NBC executive Grant Tinker [10] to join forces with him


    [1] Hill was devoutly Orthodox Jewish, and therefore would not work on Friday afternoons. Also, as a Serious Thespian, who was often mentioned in the same breath as Marlon Brando, there’s some evidence that he felt the role beneath him.

    [2] He would temporarily leave acting entirely after this. IOTL, he would return to the business and have a late-career resurgence as DA Adam Schiff on Law & Order – ironically, he replaced the original actor (Roy Thinnes, as DA Alfred Wentworth) in doing so.

    [3] This is all OTL. Nimoy sought a raise from $1,500 an episode to $9,000 – both sides agreed on $2,500. Among the replacements suggested if a deal had fallen through? Mark Lenard (who had played the Romulan Commander in “Balance of Terror”, and would go on to play Spock’s own father, Sarek, in "Journey to Babel", and many other projects) and Lawrence Montaigne (who had played Decius in “Balance of Terror”, and would go on to play Stonn in “Amok Time”).

    [4] Sturgeon, despite his illustrious career, is today best known for his adage that "90% of everything is crud", also known as Sturgeon's Law (technically Sturgeon's Revelation). IOTL, just two of the numerous scripts that he submitted were produced: "Amok Time" and the first season episode "Shore Leave".

    [5] ITTL, thanks to the recency effect, Star Trek has more buzz coming into the new season. People remember “The City on the Edge of Forever” and want to see more. The network makes far and away the best possible choice for season premiere to capitalize on it (which, to be fair, was the same choice they made IOTL). As a result, the ratings for "Amok Time", and the rest of the second season, are slightly higher than IOTL.

    [6] Many of the show's most popular deliberately comedic episodes IOTL follow this logic: "The Trouble with Tribbles", "A Piece of the Action", "I, Mudd"... Contrast "campy" episodes that don't: "Spock's Brain", "Plato's Stepchildren", "And The Children Shall Lead"... most of the third season, really. Not surprisingly, this is after four of the "Big Five" left IOTL, and resulted in the fifth (Justman) quitting in disgust.

    [7] What Schlatter did ITTL is exactly what Roddenberry did IOTL. Roddenberry did it purely out of principle, whereas Schlatter at least has a fallback in development. Though, if you know anything about "Turn-On", you might appreciate the Schadenfreude. However, there's also another wrinkle here which will make itself clear in the coming updates.

    [8] IOTL, "Get Smart" won the Comedy Series Emmy; "Mission: Impossible" repeated as winner of Outstanding Dramatic Series; and Milburn Stone of "Gunsmoke" won the Supporting Actor Emmy. Why the changes? Well, the goodwill toward Lucy is one explanation; Star Trek's moderately better ratings, and being on the good side of the scheduling fiasco (in which Schlatter acted like a child and Roddenberry was dignified ITTL) is another. The average quality of the episodes is also higher, which I'll explain in more detail later.

    [9] As previously noted, "The Brady Bunch" (yes, this was a working title IOTL) will never be made.

    [10] IOTL, Tinker formed his own company, MTM Enterprises, with his wife Mary Tyler Moore in 1969.


    I think this will be the last time I cover so much ground in a single update. TTL 1968-69 is going to be significantly different from OTL, and all on account of that wacky redhead, so I'll probably divide the content into a number of posts.

    Let's start with the obvious. Yes, Star Trek is going to last for more than three seasons ITTL, and the "turd season" is going to be much better, thanks to the "Big Five" and their quality control. It won't be perfect, mind you
    but we'll get into that. I decided to save production details for Star Trek's second season that I couldn't work into the narrative proper for an appendix update, which will be entirely descriptive and mostly comprised of point form and lists.

    The first person to catch all the references to Beatles songs wins the No-Prize!
    Last edited:
    Appendix A, Part I: Star Trek, Season 2 (1967-68)
  • Appendix A, Part I: Star Trek, Season 2 (1967-68)

    I'll be doing one production appendix for each season of Star Trek, starting with the second. The differences between OTL and TTL Season 1 are negligible (basically it's just "Operation - Annihilate!" and "The City on the Edge of Forever" switching places in production and broadcast order). We'll start with an overview of the sweeping changes before we get down to the nitty-gritty. (My editorial comments and OTL points of comparison will be highlighted in RED, and placed in brackets.) I warn you now, this post is going to be drier than the Sahara. Also, you'll need to have at least a casual familiarity with the show and its episodes to appreciate it on any level.


    Ratings for the show are nothing to write home about, but they're stable, and demographic breakdowns show them to be exactly the right kind of viewers: young, affluent professionals and intellectuals with high discretionary incomes. This, combined with strong support from the studio, means that there is no serious doubt about the show coming back for a third season. The typical episode places in the 40s in weekly rankings, managing to break the Top 40 on a few occasions. (IOTL, the show never reached #50, let alone #40, in the second season. Demographics were excellent and the network knew this, but overall viewership was low enough that the pall of cancellation hung over everyone. Morale was abysmal. Most of the senior production staff left the show for dead, making other arrangements for the following season; many of the actors did not expect to return either. The show was famously saved by a massive letter-writing campaign, which had such high turnout that NBC actually announced Star Trek's renewal to the viewing audience at the end of one episode.)

    The production budget per episode is about $195,000. This is a slight raise from $190,000 in season one. (IOTL, it was instead a slight decrease, to $185,000. As a result, the average production quality is going to be noticeably higher, even notwithstanding other changes.)

    There are virtually no changes to the senior production staff. All of the "Big Five" remain in their positions from the start of the season to the end, with all of them carrying on into the third season. (Gene L. Coon left in the middle of the second season IOTL, because of a deal he had with Universal. The other four remained until the end of season 2: Solow then left because he was made redundant by Desilu's absorption into Paramount; Fontana left to pursue other writing opportunities; and Roddenberry left because NBC chose "Laugh-In" over Star Trek for the plum Monday night timeslot. Only Justman carried on into season 3.)

    Other returning staff include production assistant Edward K. Milkis, Gregg Peters (promoted from Assistant Director to Unit Production Manager), art directors Matt Jefferies and Rolland Brooks, cinematographer Jerry Finnerman, costume designer William Ware Theiss, prop master Irving Feinberg, and (unofficially) creature and effects designer Wah Chang. (IOTL, Both Brooks and Chang left the show partway through the second season. Chang, for his part, had a particularly convoluted arrangement with the producers in which he did pretty much everything under the table. His contributions to the show were immeasurable; his staying on might be even more important than Coon staying on. Between the two of them, they'll boost the rest of the second season well above what it was IOTL.)

    DeForest Kelley, as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, is added to the opening credits, alongside William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. All three appear in every episode of the season. The only new major role is that of Ensign Pavel Chekov, played by Walter Koenig. He joins the other regulars - James Doohan as Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, George Takei as Lt. Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura, Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel, and John Winston as Lt. Kyle. (Who? He was the Transporter Chief. IOTL, he made seven appearances in the second season. ITTL, he makes ten appearances - one more than Barrett as Chapel does. Once again, more money means that they can afford to bring him in more often. He'll be one of several OTL peripheral characters to have a larger role in TTL.) Takei misses several episodes in the middle of the second season to film The Green Berets - other actors, primarily Koenig, but to a lesser extent Doohan and Winston, step in to fill the void created by his absence.

    The season ends on a high note as Star Trek (or, Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon, to be specific) takes home the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series. Leonard Nimoy also wins the Emmy for Supporting Actor. ("Mission: Impossible" won Series for the second year in a row IOTL. I'm giving it to Star Trek instead for the reasons that I mentioned in my previous update. Leonard Nimoy is winning Supporting Actor because, really, it's a shame that he didn't IOTL. And considering who actually did win that year - Milburn Stone for "Gunsmoke"?! Really? Anyway, don't forget that "Amok Time", Nimoy's bravura turn of the season, was more widely viewed ITTL.)

    Twenty-six episodes are produced in the second season. (We'll only be covering episodes that differ from their OTL counterparts in non-trivial ways... or have some other significance. The episodes are listed in production order.)

    "The Doomsday Machine", written by noted science fiction author Norman Spinrad, is a Moby-Dick-in-space yarn that stars William Windom as the Ahab figure, Commodore Matt Decker. It marked the beginning of Spinrad's association with the show. (And, IOTL, the end of it. ITTL, the higher budget and the continued presence of Brooks help elevate the effects on the "whale", a planet-killer machine, to a level where Spinrad is merely ambivalent, rather than disdainful.)

    "Mirror, Mirror", in which Kirk, Bones, Scotty, and Uhura, while on a routine diplomatic mission, are accidentally sent to a parallel reality where the Enterprise is the flagship of a brutal and unscrupulous Empire. They have to find a way back, but the new, bearded Mr. Spock may be on to them! (No real changes, except that IOTL, the woman who was cast as Love Interest of the Week Marlena, Barbara Luna, became ill and they had to change around the whole schedule so that she could recover. ITTL, this doesn't happen.)

    "The Trouble with Tribbles", the first episode written by the promising young writer, David Gerrold (Yes, he'll be writing more than just the one episode ITTL), tells the story of Captain Kirk becoming sidetracked by a diplomatic dispute and the need to protect a shipment of grain. It gets complicated when Kirk's old rival, the Klingon Captain Kor, arrives on the scene. (John Colicos, who played Kor, introduced in "Errand of Mercy", kept being invited back to reprise his role, but was always busy. Here he isn't. Thank Barbara Luna! Here his First Officer is named Koloth instead.) And then there are these cute little fluffballs...

    (Every episode from "Journey to Babel" on will be subtly to moderately different from OTL, as Coon is remaining as Producer.)

    Paul Schneider makes his third writing contribution to the series with "Tomorrow, the Universe", popularly known as "The One with the Space Nazis". (IOTL, the "Nazi" episode was instead "Patterns of Force", written by John Meredyth Lucas, who had replaced Coon as Producer.) Writer John Meredyth Lucas is responsible for the episode "The Lost Star", a well-made but unremarkable episode treading familiar ground for the series, similar to previous episodes like "The Apple" and "Return of the Archons". (This is what he gets to make in compensation. Like another late season 2 episode, "The Ultimate Computer", it's actually quite good but can't help feel a little stale.)

    Spinrad also writes "Of Gods and Men", which serves as the season finale. The story of a Federation official (played, surprisingly enough, by Milton Berle) who installs himself as a God among primitives is viewed as a highlight of the season. (IOTL, Spinrad abandoned this script, with the working title "He Walked Among Us", dissatisfied with rewrites to both it and "The Doomsday Machine". Here, he's just barely willing enough to see this through. It's similar in plot to "The Omega Glory", which is never made ITTL, but with much better execution.)

    (Roddenberry doesn't attempt to create "Assignment: Earth" as a backdoor pilot. That's two of the worst episodes of Season 2 gone.)


    So there's a detailed overview of season 2 of TTL Star Trek. In short: the budget is slightly higher, ratings are moderately better, morale among the cast and crew is a lot stronger, and the average quality of the episodes is considerably greater. The show will be moving into its third season with critical acclaim, impressive demographics, and Emmy recognition in its arsenal, as it settles into a plum timeslot. Yessir, everything's coming up roses for Star Trek!

    I'll probably be making more appendices when the occasion calls for them. But coming up next time: the beginning of the 1968-69 season!
    Last edited:
    1968-69: Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • Where No Man Has Gone Before (1968-69)

    “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
    - Neil Armstrong, on the surface of the Moon, July 21, 1969 [1]

    1968 was, to put it delicately, an eventful year. Unrest at home, entanglements abroad, high-profile deaths, and closely-fought elections were a visceral reminder of how divided the people were, when once they had seemed so united, and against even greater adversities.

    On September 16, a Monday, at 7:30 PM, Star Trek aired its season premiere, “The Enterprise Incident”. [2] Ratings were even better than network executives had predicted: the episode finished in the top 20 for the week, winning its timeslot over the venerable “Gunsmoke”. Subsequent episodes did not match this feat, but the show remained comfortably within the Top 30 throughout the season. Demographics, of course, continued to be superb: an anonymous NBC executive was quoted as saying “the audience we have for Star Trek alone is worth more than the people watching five of the top ten CBS shows”. [3] At first, the rival network – still the undisputed champion in terms of overall viewers – brushed this brash boast aside, refusing to be baited; but over time, it started to needle at them.

    It didn’t help that “Laugh-In” had rapidly emerged as the #1 show on television – yes, even a half-hour later, and yes, even without George Schlatter. As a lead-in, Star Trek was perfect – it provided exactly the kinds of people the producers wanted to be watching their irreverent antics. Schlatter, for his part, was now shown to be not only incredibly immature, but also rash and short-sighted. All he had left was his pride, and he made good use of it, never once conceding that he might have made the wrong decision. Sure that lightning would strike twice, he made the notorious boast that “Turn-On is going to make Laugh-In look like Lawrence Welk”. [4] Well, he was right… so much so, that one might say he was a little too on-the-nose. “Turn-On” premiered on ABC on February 5, 1969, a Wednesday, at 8:30.

    It was cancelled fifteen minutes later. [5]

    The spectacular failure of "Turn-On", one of television's most infamous bombs, was enough to capsize Schlatter's career. [6] Though his production company continued to produce "Laugh-In", NBC made it clear that they would not accept him returning to work on the show in a hands-on capacity. In later years, his story would become a powerful cautionary tale of hubris and entitlement. In contrast to his career immolation, Lucille Ball and her studio, Desilu, "The House that Paladin Built", were going from strength to strength. Star Trek was now comfortably within the Top 30, and "Mission: Impossible" even cracked the Top 10 for the season. [7] Even the weak link in the Desilu stable, "Mannix", had decent ratings and good reviews. Producers and executives were beginning to take notice.

    Meanwhile, with Grant Tinker in charge at Paramount, that company finally began to make some headway. Two of their pilots were sold, both to ABC: "Barefoot in the Park", an adaptation of a Neil Simon play (also adapted into a film in 1967), and starring Robert Reed [8] of "The Defenders"; and "Room 222", an ensemble program loosely based on the recently-released Sidney Poitier vehicle To Sir, with Love, but set in an American high school. [9] Both series would be shot at Desilu, and were set to debut in September 1969.

    At the 1969 Emmy Awards, "Mission: Impossible" won Outstanding Dramatic Series for the second time. [10] Winning for Lead Actor and Actress were husband-and-wife Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. This was Bain's third consecutive win in the category. [11] The pair became the second spouses to win Emmy Awards on the same night, following Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne four years earlier. Star Trek went home without any Emmys
    the category that had been seen as a shoo-in, Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series, was not awarded at that ceremony. [12] Lucille Ball herself presented the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, which was awarded to "Get Smart".

    After the conclusion of the broadcast season, and as the culmination of a decade-long effort, NASA became the first organization to send men to the moon and bring them safely home again. The moon landing took place on the 20th of July. Early the following morning, as reckoned by Coordinated Universal Time, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. All of these events were watched by an estimated 500 million people worldwide. But as significant as they were, the truly unsung achievement was Armstrong and his fellow astronaut, "Buzz" Aldrin, taking off from the moon and reuniting with Michael Collins in the orbiting Command Module.

    Returning to Earth on July 24, they were all personally welcomed home by President Hubert H. Humphrey…


    [1] Yes, the “a” is clearly audible ITTL. Which means that either the mic picked it up or he didn’t fluff his line. Your choice.

    [2] IOTL, Star Trek premiered on September 20, a Friday, at 10 PM (the Friday Night Death Slot), with what is widely regarded as its very worst episode: “Spock’s Brain”.

    [3] Said anonymous executive was actually in favour of “Laugh-In” remaining at 8:00. Executives have the worst long-term memories.

    [4] Schlatter never said this IOTL – as he was still working on “Laugh-In”, and he wouldn’t disparage it like that. (Not that I, personally, have anything against Lawrence Welk, mind you.

    [5] This isn’t technically true – the show wasn’t officially cancelled for another few days – but several network affiliates refused to return to the program after the first commercial break, and many promised not to air another episode the following week.

    [6] "Turn-On" was as colossal a disaster ITTL as it was IOTL. Our Schlatter was able to shrug it off because he was also producing the #1 show on the air at the time, but this one has no such luxury. Remember, kids: don't put all your eggs in one basket, and don't count your chickens before they've hatched!

    [7] "Mission: Impossible" finished at #11 for the season IOTL. However, "Here's Lucy", which starred Lucille Ball, finished at #9. As that show doesn't exist ITTL, everything below it is bumped up by one spot. (At least, until we get to the Ersatz-Lucy-starring sitcom that replaced "The Lucy Show" ITTL, which we'll say is hovering around #30.)

    [8] Reed had been starring in the play on Broadway and was lured back to Hollywood in 1968 to appear in a "Barefoot" sitcom. It was then decided to make the show a vehicle for an African-American cast, and Reed was shifted to another project Paramount was developing, which was, of course, "The Brady Bunch". Without that in the works ITTL, they go ahead with a straight adaptation of "Barefoot" instead.

    [9] The show was produced by 20th Century Fox IOTL, though it did still air on ABC. ITTL, the combination of Tinker and Cramer – a former Fox executive himself – would be enough to lure the creator over to Paramount instead. That creator's name? James L. Brooks. We'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

    [10] IOTL, "NET Playhouse", an anthology series airing on the precursor network to PBS, won instead. This was likely a political decision, however, and the factors leading to it do not exist ITTL. Why did Star Trek not win instead? That's what production appendices are for!

    [11] IOTL, Carl Betz of "Judd, For The Defense", won for Lead Actor instead. Bain's three consecutive wins are as IOTL.

    [12] As per OTL. To date, 1969 marks the last occasion that this award was not presented.


    And I bet you thought I was kidding about the changes coming hard and fast. And about all the butterflies. Oh, but I wasn't! :cool: However, I want to stress that this will remain a pop culture timeline. So don't expect a sudden shift in content or tone.

    I've actually hinted at and foreshadowed the reason for this massive butterfly on a number of occasions. The first person to correctly deduce the reason wins the No-Prize! (Yes, I'll reveal it if nobody gets it.)

    I'll talk about the bombshell I just dropped in more detail later. Right now, I really want to see the raw reactions…
    Appendix B, Part I: US Presidential Election, 1968
  • Appendix B, Part I: Current Events (US Presidential Election, 1968)

    This marks the first installment of a series that I'll be writing about "serious alternate history". One important point: these posts are going to be the only ones that aren't focused on pop culture. And even then, expect a general overview meant solely to provide a frame of reference... along with some trivia and statistics, largely because I'm a fan of those things myself. (Just as before, my editorial comments, and comparisons to OTL, will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets.)


    "With the counting of the last ballots in Illinois, CBS News is now ready to project that Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee, has been elected the 37th President of the United States. His running mate, Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine, will succeed him as Vice-President. California remains too close to call at the moment, but even if former Vice-President Nixon wins his home state, it will not be enough for him to take the Presidency. With at least 275 electoral votes, Vice-President Humphrey has also surpassed the 270 necessary to attain a majority in the Electoral College, thwarting Governor Wallace's attempts to split the electoral vote and throw the election to the House. Once again, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey will be the next President of the United States of America."

    - Walter Cronkite, for CBS News, calling the presidential election early in the morning of November 6, 1968

    TWR US 1968.png

    Map of Presidential election results. Red denotes states won by Humphrey and Muskie; Blue denotes those won by Nixon and Agnew; Gold denotes those won by Wallace and LeMay. (IOTL, Nixon won seven states that he lost ITTL: New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri to Humphrey; and Tennessee and South Carolina to Wallace. It's not a uniform swing: Nixon very narrowly retains California, along with Alaska and Wisconsin, despite them being closer IOTL than several states that were lost ITTL. Also IOTL, Wallace received the support of a faithless elector pledged to Nixon, one Lloyd W. Bailey from North Carolina; butterflies take care of him.)

    Turnout for the election was approximately 60%. (Just below 73 million; slightly below OTL.) Though Democratic Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey and his running mate, Senator Edmund Muskie, carried only 18 states out of 50 (along with the District of Columbia), this translated to 275 electoral votes out of 538; in contrast to Republican Richard Nixon and his running mate Governor Spiro T. Agnew, who won 25 states but only 199 electoral votes. Third-party candidate, Governor George Wallace, and his running mate, retired General Curtis LeMay, won the remaining seven states and 64 electoral votes. (IOTL, Nixon won 302 electoral votes, Humphrey won 191, and Wallace won 45; Wallace then gained an additional vote at Nixon's expense from the aforementioned faithless elector.)

    As is so often the case, the popular vote was much closer than the electoral tally might suggest. Humphrey had a less than one million-vote lead over Nixon; approximately 32 million to 31 million. This translated to a lead of slightly more than 1% of the vote: 43.6% to 42.4%. (This is almost double the OTL margin - in the other direction, of course - of about 500,000 votes. Nixon loses over 750,000 votes from OTL; Humphrey gains a little less than that.) Wallace received over 10 million votes, or almost 14%. (Up about 200,000 or so from OTL.) No other candidate received more than 25,000 votes nationwide. (Eugene McCarthy receives about 20,000 write-in votes in California, which is larger than the margin between Nixon and Humphrey there ITTL.)

    As for the campaign, it was a long and divisive one, on both sides, though certainly more so on the Democratic side. Both Humphrey and Nixon emerged as candidates largely because the opposition to them within their respective parties could not coalesce around an alternative. From the nadir at the Democratic Convention in late August, when it had seemed that most factions within that party's coalition of supporters would not support the ticket, Humphrey staged an incredible recovery. By October, most polls showed him in a dead heat with Nixon - a few had him slightly ahead. (Though still within the margin of error.)

    (And so begins the chain of events: In early 1967, Lucille Ball did not sell Desilu to Gulf+Western, and remained in a hands-on role running her company. In this capacity, a year later, in early 1968, she spoke on behalf of her series, Star Trek, to NBC executives. Because of her prestige and influence, the network decided to move the show to a better timeslot. IOTL, they instead sided with George Schlatter, producer of "Laugh-In". But ITTL, Schlatter was shafted. In retaliation, he abandoned his duties at "Laugh-In" to focus on the ill-fated sister series, "Turn-On". But Schlatter had the idea to invite both Nixon and Humphrey to appear on "Laugh-In" and say "Sock it to me!" IOTL, only Nixon accepted. ITTL, Schlatter can't even make the offer, so Nixon can't accept it.)

    (So here's where we play the numbers game. "Laugh-In" was the #1 show on the air in the 1968-69 season. It had a 31.8 rating. This means that 31.8% of all TV-owning households were estimated to be watching the average episode. At this time, that's 18.5 million households. Let's assume that just one person in each of those households goes to vote. In fact, we'll even go down to a nice, round number: 18 million. Now, suppose that 1% of these people are swayed toward Nixon by his appearance on "Laugh-In"; that they find him warmer, more personable, and so on. That's 180,000 people, or all you need to change the election result from OTL (as it's more than half of 300,000). But we know these people are more easily swayed than most, less set in their ways; that's why advertisers find them so attractive. So let's bump it up to 5%. That's nearly a million people, with a potential impact of 1.8 million votes. These people, being so demographically attractive, would be disproportionately found in urban/suburban states, like Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois.)

    It was during the month of October that Humphrey opened up a lead and maintained it until election day. This was largely due to two key events: first was the endorsement of his nomination rival, Eugene McCarthy, and the second was the announcement of a bombing halt in their quagmire of an overseas conflict, and a resulting peace conference. (Sorry, I promised I wouldn't say the "V"-word. It's verboten. And yes, Nixon's people attempted their backdoor sabotage ITTL, too, but the polls showed Humphrey slightly ahead and those in charge waffled; they saw that Nixon wasn't likely to win and weren't sure what move to make. In the end, they didn't pull out of the peace talks.) The last Gallup poll taken just before the election showed Humphrey's lead to be just outside the margin of error; as it turned out, support for Nixon was understated, and the result was the second close election in three cycles. Nixon had the dubious distinction of being on the losing end of both of them. (Projecting based on Gallup's poll would show Nixon losing Alaska, California, Wisconsin, and Oregon to Humphrey, and North Carolina to Wallace; in the actual TTL results, he won all five states by less than three points.)

    A third high-profile defeat, following his loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and his California gubernatorial loss to Pat Brown in 1962 was the final curtain for Richard Nixon's political career. He became to the Republicans what Adlai Stevenson had been to Democrats a generation earlier: a respected elder statesman, revered within his party, who nonetheless failed to gain traction with the people. Never terribly gracious in defeat, Nixon largely retreated from public life, doing his best to avoid the scrutiny of his bete noire, the news media. (And so, Nixon and the man who won him the election, George Schlatter, are two of TTL's biggest losers. I'm not deliberately planning a zero-sum game, but when you focus on a dog-eat-dog industry like television, it's hard to avoid.)

    The closely-fought election and, to put it delicately, the eventful year of 1968 behind him, Hubert H. Humphrey was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States on January 20, 1969.


    I bet now it's pretty obvious that psephology is one of my other interests :D I hope all the lovely statistics distracted you from the dearth of policy discussions. And if you're waiting for me to name every member of the Humphrey Cabinet... well, keep waiting! :p One thing that's worth thinking about is how a Humphrey presidency might affect popular culture... because it will affect popular culture.

    Any other, minor discrepancies with OTL can be explained away by butterflies too insignificant to mention :cool:

    Coming up, another production appendix for Star Trek! How will what was known in OTL as the "Turd Season" turn out ITTL? Stay tuned.

    TWR US 1968.png
    Last edited:
    The Rating Game (1968-69)
  • The Rating Game (1968-69)

    The primary source of revenue in television is from advertising. Certain blocks of time are reserved during programming to be sold to advertisers who, in turn, make commercials to promote their goods or services. This replaced the previous system that was inherited from radio, and existed throughout the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s. Back then, each program had a dedicated sponsor, who would interrupt the narrative to promote their products, usually by way of having the show's stars act as pitchmen. During the era of Classic TV that followed, there were about five minutes of commercial time for every half-hour of programming. So half-hour shows had 25 minutes of content, hour-longs had 50 minutes, and so on.

    Advertising being the primary source of revenue for an entire medium means that determining the rates for commercial spots becomes very important. Logically, any program with more viewers would have more expensive ad time. How do we determine what has more viewers? Well, we use a technique called audience measurement, which was pioneered by a man named Nielsen. The system he developed was named for him, and thus we have the Nielsen ratings, or simply the Nielsens.

    A ratings point, or simply a rating, is the percentage of all television-owning households in a given market (like the United States). A 50 rating means that half of all televisions in that market are watching a given program; a 25 means that a quarter are, and so on. A share, which is usually given with a rating, is the percentage of all televisions that are currently turned on that are watching. Shares are considered less important than ratings, and are generally harder to come by, especially for historical data. The shows with the highest ratings are ranked accordingly. In this era, the magic number for rankings is 30 - you're a bona fide hit if you're in the Top 30 most-watched programs. This is similar to the music industry, with their emphasis on the Top 40.

    Now I'll be providing you with the list of Top 30 Shows for the 1968-69 Season ITTL. Information will be provided in the following order: (Ranking) - (Full Name of Series) - (Network) - (Timeslot) - (Rating) - (Estimated Number of Households/Audience) - (Format and Genre). This will hopefully give you all a good idea of what people were watching at this time. (As always, editorial comments and comparisons to OTL will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets after each entry.)


    #1 - "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In" - NBC - Monday 8:30 - 31.8 - 18.5M - Hour-long, Variety (Aired on Monday at 8:00 IOTL. Ratings are virtually identical, because this was appointment television.)
    #2 - "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." - CBS - Monday 8:30 - 26.9 - 15.7M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Aired on Friday at 9:00 IOTL. Ratings are lower, given the tougher competition.)
    #3 - "Bonanza" - NBC - Sunday 9:00 - 26.6 - 15.5M - Hour-long, Western
    #4 - "Mayberry R.F.D." - CBS - Monday 9:00 - 25.1 - 14.6M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ratings are down slightly from OTL due to "Laugh-In" lasting until 9:30.)
    #5 - "Family Affair" - CBS - Monday 9:30 - 24.7 - 14.4M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ratings are down slightly from OTL as a two-pronged effect: lower ratings from the lead-in, and tougher competition.)
    #6 - "Julia" - NBC - Tuesday 8:30 - 24.6 - 14.3M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ranked at #7 IOTL)
    #7 - "The Dean Martin Show" - NBC - Thursday 10:00 - 24.1 - 14.0M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #8 IOTL)
    #8 - "Gunsmoke" - CBS - Monday 7:30 - 23.6 - 13.75M - Hour-long, Western (Ranked at #6 IOTL; ratings are down slightly due to competition from a little show about going where no man has gone before.)
    #9 - "The Beverly Hillbillies" - CBS - Wednesday 9:00 - 23.5 - 13.69M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ranked at #10 IOTL)
    #10 - "Mission: Impossible" - CBS - Sunday 10:00 - 23.4 - 13.63M - Hour-long, Action-Adventure (Ranked at #11 IOTL; ratings are up slightly due to greater care and investment from the parent studio.)
    #11 - "Bewitched" - ABC - Thursday 8:30 - 23.3 - 13.573M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ranked at #12 IOTL)
    #12 - "The Red Skelton Hour" - CBS - Tuesday 8:30 - 23.3 - 13.572M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #13 IOTL)
    #13 - "My Three Sons" - CBS - Saturday 8:30 - 22.8 - 13.281M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ranked at #14 IOTL)
    #14 - "Green Acres" - CBS - Wednesday 8:30 - 22.8 - 13.280M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Ranked at #15 IOTL)
    #15 - "Ironside" - NBC - Thursday 8:30 - 22.3 - 12.99M - Hour-long, Crime (Ranked at #16 IOTL)
    #16 - "The Virginian" - NBC - Wednesday 7:30 - 21.8 - 12.699M - 90 minutes, Western (Ranked at #17 IOTL)
    #17 - "The F.B.I." - ABC - Sunday 8:00 - 21.7 - 12.64M - Hour-long, Crime (Ranked at #18 IOTL)
    #18 - "Dragnet" (formally "Dragnet 1969") - NBC - Thursday 9:30 - 21.4 - 12.47M - Hour-long, Crime (Ranked at #19 IOTL)
    #19 - "Daniel Boone" - NBC - Thursday 7:30 - 21.3 - 12.41M - Hour-long, Action-Adventure (Ranked at #21 IOTL)
    #20 - "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" - NBC - Sunday 7:30 - 21.3 - 12.40M - Hour-long, Anthology (Ranked at #22 IOTL)
    #21 - "The Ed Sullivan Show" - CBS - Sunday 8:00 - 21.2 - 12.35M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #23 IOTL)
    #22 - "Star Trek" - NBC - Monday 7:30 - 21.0 - 12.24M - Hour-long, Science-Fiction (Aired on Friday at 10:00 IOTL and was unranked; does much better because... well, that's what the production appendices are for!)
    #23 - "The NBC Tuesday Night Movie" - starts at 9:00 - 20.8 - 12.13M - Two hours, Anthology (Ranked at #20 IOTL)
    #24 - "The Jackie Gleason Show" - CBS - Saturday 7:30 - 20.8 - 12.12M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #25 IOTL)
    #25 - "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" - CBS - Sunday 9:00 - 20.6 - 12M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #27 IOTL)
    #26 - "The Mod Squad" - ABC - Tuesday 7:30 - 20.5 - 11.941M - Hour-long, Crime (Ranked at #28 IOTL)
    #27 - "The Lawrence Welk Show" - ABC - Saturday 8:30 - 20.5 - 11.940M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #29 IOTL)
    #28 - "I Dream of Jeannie" - NBC - Monday 9:30 - 20.4 - 11.90M - Half-hour, Sitcom (Aired on Monday at 7:30 IOTL and was ranked #26. Ratings are slightly lower given the more competitive timeslot, but with "Laugh-In" as lead-in, they're still more than good enough.)
    #29 - "The Carol Burnett Show" - CBS - Monday 10:00 - 20.4 - 11.89M - Hour-long, Variety (Ranked at #24 IOTL; ratings are lower because the lead-ins have less punch, and the show has some direct competition.)
    #30 - "The Doris Day Show" - CBS - Tuesday 9:30 - 20.4 - 11.88M - Half-hour, Sitcom

    CBS has 14 shows in the Top 30, NBC has 12, and ABC has a paltry four. (The narrow overall lead that CBS enjoys is a tenuous one, however, for reasons we'll soon discover.) Two new shows, "The Mod Squad" and "The Doris Day Show", make the Top 30 in this, their first season.
    ("Here's Lucy", a Lucille Ball vehicle which also made its debut this season, was ranked #9 IOTL. It obviously does not exist ITTL.)

    NBC's Monday night schedule is: Star Trek at 7:30; "Laugh-In" at 8:30; "I Dream of Jeannie" at 9:30; and "The High Chaparral" at 10:00. (IOTL, it was "Jeannie" at 7:30, "Laugh-In" at 8:00, and then Movie Night at 9:00. Yes, NBC had two movie nights in a row that season IOTL.)
    Opposite NBC was CBS, with "Gunsmoke" at 7:30; "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." at 8:30; "Mayberry R.F.D." at 9:00; "Family Affair" at 9:30; and "The Carol Burnett Show" at 10:00. (IOTL, "Here's Lucy" aired at 8:30 instead.) Every single one of those CBS shows place in the Top 30; all but "Carol Burnett" are in the Top 10. But NBC is no slouch, either; all but "The High Chaparral" also crack the Top 30, with "Laugh-In" at #1. This makes Monday night the most-watched night on television. In contrast, Friday doesn't have a single Top 30 show, the only day of the week to be shut out. (IOTL, it had just one hit, but it was a biggie: "Gomer Pyle", the #2 show on the air.) NBC, for their part, have a Friday night lineup of "The Name of the Game" at 7:30, followed by the Friday Night Movie at 9:00. (IOTL, it was "The High Chaparral" at 7:30; "The Name of the Game" at 8:30; and yes, alas, Star Trek in the Friday Night Death Slot of 10:00.)


    Well, I hope that provides some insight into the workings of the television industry, and the viewing habits of the late 1960s audience. It saves me from having to mention all of this in my actual production appendix - I was going on about ratings and scheduling for more than two pages before I got the idea to make this post. Now I can cut all that down to one or two sentences!

    I don't think I'll be doing this again; it's rather time-consuming, and once I'm done with Season 3, I'm quite sure I never, ever want to see the 1968-69 network broadcast schedule ever again. I think now I know how others feel poring through the JSTOR archives :eek: Not to mention, butterflies are going to be introducing far too many variables as early as next season, and if I'm going to create premises for TV shows, I should probably be getting paid for them, right? ;)

    This time I really mean it: Star Trek Season 3 is next out of the gate!
    Last edited:
    Appendix A, Part II: Star Trek, Season 3 (1968-69)
  • Appendix A, Part II: Star Trek, Season 3 (1968-69)

    Here we are again, this time taking a look at the third (and IOTL, the last) season of Star Trek. Just like last time, we’ll be taking a top-down overview of the production details of the series. (As always, my editorial comments and explanations of changes from OTL will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets.)


    Ratings for the series are excellent. The season finishes with a 21.0 rating, which translates to over 12 million households watching the average episode. In terms of rankings, this is enough to put the series comfortably within the Top 30; a few episodes, including the highly-rated season premiere, are even able to crack the Top 20. On these occasions, Star Trek has been able to win its timeslot against “Gunsmoke” on CBS, though usually the venerable and long-running western has emerged victorious. Demographics, on the other hand, are spectacular; breakdowns have shown the show’s audience to be arguably the most valuable, per capita, of all shows on television.

    The production budget per episode is slightly over $215,000 – above the intended figure of $210,000, due to the occasional cost and schedule overruns – Desilu, as always, was remarkably accepting of the situation; NBC, happy with the show’s strong ratings, had little room to complain. (This is how TV works, folks; high-rated shows get away with murder. Also, Desilu was a far more tolerant and patient taskmaster than Paramount, and it really shows here. IOTL, the production budget per episode was a paltry $180,000, which was a further reduction from the OTL Season 2 budget of $185,000. TV production budgets tend to inflate over time, and Star Trek doing the opposite had catastrophic effects on production values. These include: virtually eliminating location shoots; constant reuse of props, costumes, sets, and model shots; dramatically reduced number of extras and recurring characters, beyond the core regulars; less time and money for rewrites, retakes, and reshoots; and, of course, dreadful morale.)

    All five members of the “Big Five” return, with this season beginning to blur the distinction between their precise roles in the production; Gene Roddenberry begins to distance himself from the decision-making process, his fertile mind already beginning to develop ideas for new series; Gene L. Coon thus becomes the showrunner in all but name. Several people begin to shoulder some of Coon’s lesser responsibilities, primarily Robert Justman, who joins Coon and Story Editor D.C. Fontana in approving story ideas and scripts for the series. Herb Solow remains the Executive in Charge of Production; of the three shows he produces for Desilu, he devotes the most time and energy to this one. His preferential treatment for it over the other two is the worst-kept secret on the studio lot. (IOTL, Roddenberry, Coon, Fontana, and Solow were all effectively gone by the beginning of Season 3; though Coon and Fontana continued to contribute scripts and story ideas, usually under pseudonyms. Justman, promoted to Co-Producer, was the only one who remained; he left when it became clear to him just what Star Trek had become.)

    Among the other key people of Season 3 are new staff writers John Meredyth Lucas, who also becomes a frequent director for the series, and 24-year-old David Gerrold, the youngest staff writer not just on Star Trek, but on all of network television. In addition, Production Assistant Edward K. Milkis and Unit Production Manager Gregg Peters assist Justman in assisting Coon, effectively becoming junior producers themselves. (IOTL, both Milkis and Peters did indeed become Associate Producers in Season 3, to help fill the creative vacuum. This proved a very effective springboard for Milkis, who teamed up with executive Thomas L. Miller to form a production company that created “Happy Days” along with Garry Marshall. Then Milkis and Miller joined forces with a fellow named Boyett…) Other returning members of the production staff include art directors Matt Jefferies and Rolland Brooks; cinematographer Jerry Finnerman; costume designer William Ware Theiss, prop master Irving Feinberg; and, still uncredited, creature and effects designer Wah Chang. (IOTL, Chang and Brooks were gone before the end of the second season; Finnerman left in the middle of the third. I want to stress how much better the show will look and feel ITTL with all of them still in place.)

    The entire regular cast also return. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley, who are billed in the opening titles, appear in every episode of the season, as does James Doohan as Scotty. Doohan, however, along with all the other regulars, appear only in the end credits, often listed under a “featured” credit or even as a “guest star”. Nichelle Nichols appears in Lt. Uhura in all but three episodes; George Takei as Lt. Sulu can be seen in all but four; Walter Koenig as Ensign Chekov misses only five. John Winston as Lt. Kyle appears in fourteen episodes; Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel appears in thirteen, or half the episodes of the season. (In most cases, these appearance levels are similar to OTL, with the exception of Kyle, who appeared in only one Season 3 episode: “The Lights of Zetar”. Again, higher budget means they can afford to bring him back on a semi-regular basis.) Other actors who make multiple speaking appearances as the same character in the season include: Barbara Baldavin as Lt. Angela Martine, a tactical officer introduced in the first season episode “Balance of Terror”, in three episodes; and Diana Muldaur as Lt. Cmdr. Ann Mulhall, a scientist introduced in the Season 2 episode “Return to Tomorrow”, in two episodes. Both women appear at the behest of D.C. Fontana, who feels that the female crew should have a more visible and diverse presence on the ship. Baldavin and Muldaur are both popular with producers and get along well with the two female regulars. (IOTL, Baldavin and Muldaur appeared in the third season, though only Baldavin appeared as her previous character. Having a stronger female cast is going to pay big dividends in the very near future.)

    The editorial decision made by the “Big Five” to present unflinchingly allegorical stories in numbers beyond even the first two seasons is a double-edged sword. Though critics praise their audacity, more staid forces, especially within the network, balk at some of their more bold ideas. Lucille Ball, always the show's fiercest defender, comes to their rescue on more than one occasion. (Surprisingly, many of the show's most overtly political and controversial episodes were produced in the third season IOTL. Of course, they were incompetently executed; imagine them here, in the hands of people who actually know what they're doing.) This does have some drawbacks; the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Series is eventually awarded to the "safer" choice of "Mission: Impossible", which also wins for Actor and Actress; Desilu throws their weight behind it to deflect the accusations of preferential treatment dogging both Ball and Solow, and CBS does the same as it is their only nominee in the category. (IOTL, "NET Playhouse", an anthology series on public television, won instead.)

    26 episodes are produced in the third season. The five primary directors are series veterans Marc Daniels, Joseph Pevney, Ralph Senensky, Vincent McEveety, and Lucas, who between them direct 21 episodes. (IOTL? Six.) Some of the highlights for the season:

    "The Enterprise Incident", written by D.C. Fontana, is the fourth episode produced, but is chosen as the season premiere. Loosely based on the real-life USS Pueblo incident early in 1968, the episode is an intriguing thriller in the vein of "Balance of Terror". (Even IOTL, this is considered one of the best episodes of Season 3. ITTL, it's considered one of the best episodes of the entire show, and is a common sight on Top 10 lists. It's not quite the triumph that "Amok Time" was, but it confirms the show's tradition for coming strong out of the gate.)

    Another lauded episode is the Captain-Kirk-goes-missing, Enterprise-is-a-sitting-duck story "The Tholian Web", another episode that owes much to "Balance of Terror". (Basically the OTL episode with a little more spit and polish to it. For the record, this episode is this editor's choice for best episode of the Turd Season IOTL.)

    Popular trickster adversary Harry Mudd returns in “Deep Mudd”, a direct continuation the previous season's “I, Mudd”. (Never made it past the outline stage IOTL. The new showrunner didn't want any "comedy episodes". Yes, I realize the irony.) Also making a third appearance in the third season is the nefarious Klingon Captain Kor in “Day of the Dove”. (IOTL, it was Kang, played by Michael Ansara, who served as villain; John Colicos was invited to reprise his role as Kor, but was busy.)

    Three episodes are directed by their writer: "The Beast" by Marc Daniels (not made IOTL); "Elaan of Troyius" and season finale "The Godhead", by John Meredyth Lucas. ("The Godhead" was also not made IOTL.) "The Godhead" is an episode in the fine tradition of those "Kirk confronts - and defeats - a seemingly-omnipotent being" stories. (Ansara is instead cast as this episode's villain, Ehdom.)

    Theodore Sturgeon makes his third contribution to the series with “The Root of Evil” (not made IOTL). A “joy machine” featured in the episode is a transparent allegory for addiction; hallucinogens and the like are hardly alien to audiences of the late 1960s. David Gerrold, for his part, provides just two scripts, most of his duties as staff writer being focused on uncredited rewrites: "The Cloud Minders" and "Bem". ("Bem" resurfaced as an episode of the animated series, but Gerrold pitched it hard to Roddenberry, who approved, and it very much looked like it was going to be produced before the changing of the guard.) The latter episode is notable in that it is the first to show Lt. Uhura - a black woman - in command of the ship (though this is not explicitly mentioned in dialogue).

    Among the new writers in the third season are several women: Joyce Muskat, a librarian, writes "The Empath"; Jean Lisette Aroeste provides two episodes, "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" and "All Our Yesterdays". There are also a number of episodes co-written by women: "The Tholian Web" is one, and "The Lights of Zetar", co-written by "Lamb Chop" creator Shari Lewis and her husband Jeremy Tarcher, is another. Lewis makes an onscreen appearance in her episode as Mira Romaine. (IOTL, Lewis wrote the part of Romaine for herself, but was not cast. Yet they decided to cast a lawyer to play another episode's villain...) Fontana, for her part, writes or co-writes four scripts.

    One of them, “Joanna”, explores the past of Dr. McCoy, introducing his eponymous daughter. An allegory of the generation gap, as fathers are confronted with the very different ideals of their baby-boomer children, Bones also becomes disturbed when Joanna seems to develop romantic feelings for his best friend, Captain Kirk. This very human element speaks to the appeal of Star Trek, and what made it distinctive from the traditionally cold and clinical science fiction of the past; as such, this episode is widely considered a standout of the season and, arguably, the series as a whole. (IOTL, the story treatment that became this episode instead developed into a very different one called… “The Way to Eden”. Yes, that's right, The One With The Space Hippies.)

    But the most controversial episode of the entire series, let alone the season, is “Bondage and Freedom”, which tells the story of a planet with a dark-skinned people and their fair-skinned slaves. A Federation diplomatic envoy including Captain Kirk is sent down, but lost; Dr. McCoy and Lt. Uhura are sent after them, and they are forced to infiltrate their society to rescue their crewmates, with Uhura as "master" and McCoy as her "slave". Based on a story idea by Roddenberry himself, it marks the first direct collaboration between Gene Coon and D.C. Fontana, neither of whom are truly satisfied with the script, but it is filmed anyway, at the urging of many in the cast and crew. Most famously, the episode contains what is often called the first interracial kiss (between Kirk and a dark-skinned noblewoman who is also the daughter of the episode’s primary villain) in television history. (IOTL, this was the pet project that never came to fruition; everybody wanted to make it, but nobody could figure out how. Here, they found a way. It’s very heavy-handed, even by Star Trek standards, but even as people criticize that, they find it very difficult not to praise the episode’s message. The title is taken from an autobiography of Frederick Douglass. Kirk, naturally, gets to give what ITTL is one of his most famous speeches, equal parts Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. It gets made because Lucille Ball pushes hard for this episode; some Southern affiliates refuse to air it. Public reaction is on par to OTL "Plato's Stepchildren" was in this regard alone: overwhelming praise for the "controversial" aspects. It's an excellent microcosm of the season as a whole: ambitious, allegorical, well-executed overall but sometimes a little too blunt or clumsy for its own good.)

    (The following episodes were not produced for TTL Season 3 in any form: “Spock’s Brain”, “And The Children Shall Lead”, “Plato’s Stepchildren”, and “Turnabout Intruder”. Why yes, those are four of the worst episodes of OTL Season 3, thank you for noticing! As for all other episodes I didn't mention, they were made ITTL, but just imagine them with better props/sets/effects, all the glaring flaws ironed out, and various little personal touches added here and there.)


    One special note about OTL Season 3: The perpetual scapegoat, replacement showrunner Fred Freiberger, has been absolved of blame for its failings by virtually everyone else involved, including Justman, who would be in a better position to know than anyone else. Freiberger, a WWII veteran who was a Nazi P.O.W. for nearly two years, has actually said that producing Star Trek was the worst experience of his life. (Because he spent the rest of it dealing with the fallout. He lived until 2003 – that’s 35 years.) Now, I’m not saying that the show wouldn’t have been better if Coon were Producer, but I have to admit, I feel for him.

    Now, as for TTL, I want to stress that this season is considered on par with the first two - perhaps even slightly worse. Some episodes are stale, and others are more a case of reach exceeding grasp. Of course, with the “Big Five” in charge, “reach exceeding grasp” is along the lines of not quite being able to get something on the top shelf of your kitchen cupboard. IOTL, it was more along the lines of a baby lying in its crib, trying in futility to grab at the mobile hanging overhead. But season three is considered a worthy successor to the first two, and several of its episodes are mentioned alongside all the ones we think of when asked to name the best IOTL.

    And now to officially, explicitly reveal the worst kept secret of this TL: Star Trek will be back for a fourth season! Yes, it's true! NBC will bring it back on Mondays at 7:30 for the 1969-70 season. Now, it won't be all smooth sailing; there are going to be plenty of wrinkles. But we'll cover them as we come to them. So join me for the next update, when we finally begin to say our Long Goodbye to the 1960s!
    Last edited:
    1969-70: Let the Sunshine In
  • Let The Sunshine In (1969-70)

    "But in the field of television, the strongest constant has been Miss Lucille Ball. She entered this decade one of the medium's biggest stars, and that is exactly how she will depart it - though in a very different role. In 1960, she continued to appear on the "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" specials with her now ex-husband, and co-stars Vivian Vance and the late William Frawley, as an actress and comedienne. Today, she is the sole chief executive of Desilu, the studio she co-founded with Desi Arnaz, which has remained one of the most successful in Hollywood. Desilu's programming has helped to define this era in which we Americans are living, and the challenges we're facing ahead. We see no reason that she won't continue to be as firm a fixture in the coming decade as she has been in the last two."

    - Excerpt from The 1960s in Review, in the December 15 - 21, 1969, edition of Variety

    There was no doubt about it – as the 1960s came to a close – Desilu was the toast of the town. In addition to the critical acclaim and awards recognition bestowed upon the series produced there, this season marked the apogee of their ratings success - all three ranked in the Top 30 for the 1969-70 season, with one of them cracking the Top 10. But such astonishing success did not come without its own price. Star Trek and “Mission: Impossible”, the twin triumphs that had turned the studio into “The House that Paladin Built”, both found themselves facing troubles with their respective casts, though very divergent ones.

    The husband-and-wife team of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, hot off their Emmy wins as Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Dramatic Series, wanted more money to stay with “Mission: Impossible”. It was no bluff, either; the two of them were fully prepared to walk. In an 11th-hour meeting, Desilu and CBS agreed that the two were worth keeping, and signed the pair to a two-year contract extension. [1] (Landau and Bain had initially insisted on taking extensions on a season-by-season basis, but made this concession as a compromise.)

    The situation on Star Trek was more complicated. Most of the supporting cast – led by James Doohan, who played Scotty – demanded credit in the opening titles, alongside stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley, rather than in the end credits. Obviously, the five actors (Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and John Winston [2] – with Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry’s mistress, remaining conspicuously silent on the issue) could not all be added there, or the opening would run too long. In the end, a surprisingly simple compromise took a surprisingly long time to reach: the supporting actors who appeared in each episode would be listed in Act I, on the episode's title card, under the heading “Co-Starring”, followed by the writer and director credits on the next card.

    These issues, however, were minor speed bumps on the otherwise very smooth ride for Desilu. Lucille Ball, having ended her onscreen career, was free to focus on running the studio, a responsibility she handled with aplomb. But Paramount had made good on the deal she had signed in 1967, and were now beginning to produce programs of their own, using her studio space. Conferring with her right-hand man, Herb Solow, the two agreed that Desilu could produce four shows – as the studio had done in the 1967-68 season – rather than just three, and allow Paramount carte blanche to the rest of their lot. Financially, it suited Desilu's needs just fine; Ball was a champion of allowing her shows the greatest amount of creative expression possible, but the extra costs had to come from somewhere.

    One of the first producers to approach them when the word went out was a distinguished veteran, and longtime friend of Ball: Rod Serling. He had been thoroughly impressed with the high quality of the studio's product, the creative freedom afforded to producers, and the reputation for furthering and legitimizing "genre" television. He pitched a macabre anthology series idea he had called "Night Gallery". Ball and Solow both loved the idea, and immediately set to work in the pilot: this would be picked up by NBC and air as a television movie in late 1969, ahead of the series proper, which would begin airing in the 1970-71 season. [3]

    In contrast to the established Desilu, Paramount Television failed to make much of an impact with its first two shows: "Room 222" and "Barefoot in the Park", both of which aired on ABC. This did not discourage Division President Grant Tinker, who still had an ace up his sleeve: his wife, Mary Tyler Moore. She had co-starred in "The Dick Van Dyke Show", and remained extremely popular. A vehicle for his wife would be just what Paramount needed to get a sure-fire hit on its hands. Tinker consulted the creator of "Room 222", James L. Brooks, who was commissioned to write a pilot script with his partner, Allan Burns. [4] The decision was also made to adapt another Neil Simon play (that had also been adapted into a film), "The Odd Couple", to join "Barefoot" on the studio's roster. This had been Paramount owner Charles Bluhdorn's idea; he supported synergy between Paramount's film division (which had produced the movie) and its television division.

    On the broadcasting front, since the collapse of the DuMont Network in 1956, there had only been the three networks on television: ABC, NBC, and CBS. The nearest thing to a “fourth network” was the publicly-owned National Educational Television, or NET. However
    contrary to what was the case in the Commonwealth countries in the USA, the public broadcaster was not dominant – far from it. Indeed, it had barely been viable for the last several years, teetering on the edge of going the way of DuMont. That changed with the election of President Humphrey, who – in one of his first acts in office – earmarked the funding necessary to utterly revamp NET. The new network to be established from its ashes would be called the Public Broadcasting System, or PBS. It would begin broadcasting in 1970. [5]

    With regards to ratings for the three networks, CBS had 14 shows in the Top 30; the same amount as in the previous year. NBC had been reduced to 10, with ABC seeing their numbers rise to 6. However, NBC had five of the Top 10 shows, with CBS having only four. ABC had their first Top 10 hit since the heyday of the aging “Bewitched”, with the brand-new series “Marcus Welby, M.D.” Once again, “Laugh-In” was the #1 show of the year, though viewership numbers were down. Monday night continued to be the most-watched night of the week, with a whopping five of the Top 10 airing on that night alone (three on CBS and two on NBC). A further four shows airing that night placed in the Top 30, for a total of nine. Friday, on the other hand, continued to be the only day of the week shut out from the Top 30.

    At the Emmy Awards that summer, Star Trek won Outstanding Drama Series for the second time, making it the fourth consecutive year that a Desilu series had taken home the big prize. Leonard Nimoy also won his second trophy for Supporting Actor; and for the fourth consecutive year, Barbara Bain won the Emmy for Lead Actress. Winning for Outstanding Comedy Series was one of Paramount’s new shows, the fledgling “Room 222”, which also picked up the Emmys for Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series. [6] The Emmy win proved a boon to the struggling series, and marked a triumphant end to an uneven first season for Paramount


    [1] IOTL, Paramount wasn’t willing to hand out the extra money, resulting in the pair’s departure. Here, the added cachet of an Emmy win for Landau, coupled with the more accommodating brass at Desilu, means that most of their demands are met, and they stay. Interestingly, Landau’s OTL replacement was the recently-unemployed Leonard Nimoy – obviously Nimoy would not be available ITTL even if Landau did leave. (The show lasted an additional four seasons without Bain and Landau IOTL.)

    [2] Winston, as Transporter Chief Kyle, has appeared in 28 episodes, putting him up three on Barrett, as Nurse Chapel. IOTL, the character of Kyle appeared in the animated series (though not voiced by Winston) and made a cameo in Star Trek II, so obviously the creators liked the character (and/or actor) and wanted him around, but couldn’t afford to keep another regular given the budget problems.

    [3] Serling, IOTL, partnered with a production team that did not respect his control-freak nature and creative genius; therefore, the resulting show suffered. Here, he's smart enough to pair with a studio that has a reputation for letting creators off their leash, and with whom he already has an "in" to begin with, as Desilu was involved in the early development of The Twilight Zone. The airing schedule is as per OTL; "pilot movies" were very common in this era. This will also give Desilu two shows on NBC, and two shows on CBS.

    [4] Brooks and Burns created "Mary Tyler Moore" IOTL. Accordingly, this show's development will follow the same trajectory.

    [5] IOTL, Nixon wanted to slash funding for public broadcasting from $20 million to less than half that – effectively strangling PBS in the cradle. The prospective network was saved by the most unlikely candidate: a mild-mannered, soft-spoken man of faith, by the name of Mister Fred Rogers. His arguments before Sen. John Pastore rescued PBS from oblivion. ITTL, that won’t be necessary, alas.

    [6] The Emmy Awards have historically been very kind to critically-acclaimed but struggling shows, and have been known to award them (as a kind of advocacy). IOTL, the 1969 Emmy for Dramatic Series was almost certainly awarded to "NET Playhouse" because Nixon's funding cuts were threatening the end of public television altogether. Since that wasn't a threat ITTL with the election of Humphrey, it instead went to "Mission: Impossible" (over the more controversial choice of Star Trek).


    And with this update, we have finally arrived in the 1970s! Welcome to the "Me" Decade, everyone!
    Appendix B, Part II: Moonlight Madness
  • Appendix B, Part II: Moonlight Madness

    “Houston, this is Aquarius. We have landed.”
    “Message received and understood,
    Aquarius. Have there been any problems?”
    “No, Houston, we haven’t had a problem here.”
    “That’s a negative to problems?”
    “Affirmative, Houston.”
    “Good to hear. Say, Jim… would you say this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius?”
    “That’s amazing, Gene… we can actually hear the hundred million groans coming from Earth all the way up here.”

    - Jim Lovell
    , on the lunar surface (aboard the Lunar Module Aquarius), and Gene Kranz, at Mission Control in Houston, Texas, injecting some levity into the Apollo 13 mission; April 16, 1970

    The surge of popularity and public interest in the lunar landings – to the surprise of many – had legs beyond the fanfare of the initial moon shot in the summer of 1969. The men of Apollo 11 had safely returned home, having become worldwide heroes, and spent the rest of their lives in the shadow of their glorious achievement, for better and for worse.

    In the space of less than a year, two more Apollo missions followed: Apollo 12 and Apollo 13. [1] Both missions were successful, as the first had been, and were widely viewed throughout the world. The American audience responded to the moon landings as they would major sporting events; they were appointment television, never to be missed, despite occurring at fairly regular intervals. Worldwide, the moon landings also continued to be popular; in the First World, they were framed as the ultimate technological triumph of capitalist society; in the Third World, they were more simply, and apolitically, viewed as a marvel unto themselves.

    And in the Second World, the whole thing was viewed with defeated resignation. It had very much seemed that the Space Race had ended by default, rather than the by-the-nose victory everyone had expected some years earlier. After a long and painful series of setbacks, it would eventually become clear that the Soviet Union would never be able to follow the United States to the Moon. Though they had been able to end the nuclear monopoly in 1949, they could not end the lunar one.

    President Hubert H. Humphrey embraced the lunar legacy, and his relentless promotion thereof may have been the biggest contributor to its enduring popularity, and how it came to define the early 1970s. He did his best to take care of his predecessor’s unpopular foreign entanglements in advance of the moon landing, to allow the public to focus their undivided attention on them. [2] Humphrey, for his part, emphasized his connection to President John F. Kennedy, benefactor of the Apollo program, and stressed his own continued support for lunar and space exploration. He was not the only individual to see political benefits from his connection to the space program; astronaut John Glenn, the first American in space, launched his own political career, after several false starts, and was elected as a U.S. Senator for the state of Ohio in 1970. Glenn, running as a Democrat, narrowly defeated Republican Jim Rhodes, the sitting Governor of the state. [3]

    The Apollo missions were scheduled to continue until 1974, ending with Apollo 20. An order had been placed for an additional set of Saturn V rockets, which would carry out the next phase of NASA plans. [4] Some of the more far-flung objectives, both literally and figuratively speaking – a permanent moon base, a manned mission to Mars – were considered overly ambitious; but it was felt that, by its very nature, the space program should always see its reach exceed its grasp. Its legitimacy as an integral organ of the United States government was confirmed when the position of Administrator of NASA was recognized as being of cabinet level-rank in 1970. [5]

    The immense popularity of the space program with the general public, and particularly the younger generation, resulted in a phenomenon with many names: "Moonshot Lunacy" was a popular, pun-based title, with "adherents" becoming known as "Moonshot Lunatics". This term was then famously abbreviated to "Moonie Loonies". [6] Another popular term was "Spacemania", which was more vague but also more inclusive. Certainly it would more aptly describe the rise of science fiction in an outer space setting, not only in literature, but also on television and in the movies. [7] The established Star Trek, the most successful of these programs, saw a big boost during the height of this mania, landing in the Top 10 most-watched programs on the air in the 1969-70 season. Other science-fiction series were already in development at this time, thanks in part to Star Trek’s success, and would premiere before the end of 1970.

    Despite the conflicting motives on the part of all involved; despite the great expense of the program, and resistance within certain camps to the continued high spending in regards to it; despite continued social turmoil throughout the era; despite the very raw wounds on the American consciousness from the very tumultuous decade past... despite all of these things, the space program was a great unifier: a pure, undiluted shot of optimism and an enduring celebration of those giant leaps for mankind.


    [1] Obviously, ITTL, Apollo 13 goes off without a hitch. Why? Funding is higher, and given the even brighter spotlight on the Apollo program, scrutiny is a little tighter. Among the many things this butterflies away is the OTL 1995 film of the same name. Also, Ken Mattingly is orbiting the moon in the Command Module, as opposed to Jack Swigert, as the German measles scare is also butterflied away.

    [2] Yes, the overseas conflict that dare not speak its name will see the winding down of direct U.S. involvement by mid-1969 ITTL. Remember, the attempted sabotage by Nixon’s team failed, and all sides continued on with the peace conference through the election. It was a top priority for both the outgoing Johnson administration and the incoming Humphrey administration.

    [3] Glenn ran for his party’s nomination for this seat that year, but narrowly lost to Howard Metzenbaum; the two became lifelong rivals. IOTL, Glenn defeated him in a rematch for the state’s other seat in 1974, and went on to win the general election (Metzenbaum, meanwhile, would then win this seat in 1976). Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the ledger, Rhodes challenged for his party’s nomination but narrowly lost to political scion Robert Taft, Jr., who went on to win the seat IOTL; the Kent State Shootings (which obviously never happened ITTL) took place two days before the primary, which might have hampered Rhodes’ chances.

    [4] For various reasons, funding for NASA is much higher ITTL. Throughout the early 1970s, it gradually declines and levels off at 2% of the total federal budget by 1975. IOTL, it was more of a plummet, leveling off at half that, 1%, within the same timeframe. As a concrete example of what this changes, the order for a second batch of Saturns was cancelled IOTL; here, it wasn't.

    [5] This never happened IOTL.

    [6] The term "Moonie Loonie" (or "Moony Loony"; obviously, there's no standardized spelling) comes from a TTL episode of "Laugh-In", during a parody "news" report on the "moonshot lunatics" - interrupted by Goldie Hawn bursting in and interjecting this phrase whenever someone mentions the phenomenon. She would then continue to randomly shout "Moonie Loonie" throughout the rest of the episode.

    [7] Young people, influential celebrities, and intrepid journalists have to find something else to fixate on, given the lack of an overseas quagmire and, in particular, a certain politician who, IOTL, attracted their ire like a moth to a flame. The enduring success of the moon landings ITTL will draw them in for two reasons: they won't be ended prematurely, and they just happen to be in a feedback loop with a certain science-fiction series that's also entering the height of its popularity.


    So now I've given you some insight into one of the dominant strands of popular culture in the early 1970s, and the mood of the people living in that era ITTL. Obviously, it's a far more optimistic and forward-looking society than the one we're used to, and will contrast immeasurably with the gloom, cynicism, and rage of OTL. This will obviously affect popular culture in ways beyond imagining... but that won't stop me from trying! :D
    Last edited:
    Appendix A, Part III: Star Trek, Season 4 (1969-70)
  • Appendix A, Part III: Star Trek, Season 4 (1969-70)

    So here we are, looking at the fourth season that never was! (As always, editorial notes and comparison points to OTL will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets.) As there was no Season 4 IOTL, I'll be making more judicious use of the annotations this time around...


    Viewership for Star Trek peaks in this season, with a rating of 23.0, or 13.45 million households watching the average episode; these numbers are good for an overall ranking of #10 for the season. It remains in the Monday 7:30 timeslot, which it consistently wins, even over the stiff competition of "Gunsmoke" on CBS. As for viewer demographics, they are phenomenal; without question, the most desirable audience on television is watching the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.

    The average production budget is a little over $250,000 per episode; this is considerably inflated from tentative pre-production budget projections of $240,000, largely due to increased cast salaries, and the by-now typical schedule overruns. Desilu is beginning to see secondary revenue from merchandising, and thus has absolutely no problems with the costs of developing new props and costumes; NBC, though now beginning to feel the costs affecting their bottom line, are well aware of the incredible upside of the show’s success, and show remarkable restraint – especially by network executive standards – but make sure to express some concern.

    The lack of friction coming from the top is in marked contrast to the incredible shakeups and conflicts occurring at the production level. The "Big Five" are, as ever, a good microcosm of this phenomenon: though Herb Solow continues as Executive in Charge of Production, the other four members see changes in their status: Gene Roddenberry, though remaining the nominal Executive Producer, effectively removes himself his duties as showrunner, primarily to work on ideas that Desilu might develop into their potential fourth series, though in the end he gets shot down for Rod Serling. Gene Coon is promoted to Co-Executive Producer, and is finally recognized as showrunner. He retains creative control and final approval of all scripts and stories, but he spends far less time actually writing, revising, and editing. D.C. Fontana, the Story Editor, is given the more glamorous title of Supervising Producer basically the same job, with a better salary and more prestige – important for a female producer to have in 1969. She takes over most of the heavy lifting on the creative aspects of production. Finally, Robert Justman is promoted from Associate Producer to full Producer; theoretically, he's taking Coon’s old job, but he chooses to remain focused on budget issues and the day-to-day production.

    This volley of promotions result in a vacuum at lower level production positions, so the good fortune inevitably trickles down. Staff writers John Meredyth Lucas and David Gerrold are both promoted to Co-Producer: Lucas handles many tasks once dealt with by Coon, in addition to retaining his directing duties, so that Justman to keep his mind on the money; Gerrold, by his own reckoning, becomes the de facto "Assistant Story Editor", mostly working in tandem with Fontana. Also, the two senior-most below-the-line production staffers, Eddie Milkis and Gregg Peters, are both brought above it, elevated to Associate Producer. The other production and creative staff are largely unchanged; though, at the behest of the producers, a new arrangement is finally made with Wah Chang, allowing him to receive the credit for his work on the show that he so richly deserves.

    And then there is the cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley continue to appear in the opening titles and in every episode of the season. Newly added to the credits in Act I are James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and John Winston – in that order conditional upon their appearance in each episode. Doohan alone appears in every episode, though all six appear in the majority of them. Other actors who have speaking roles as Enterprise crewmen and appear in more than one episode are Mulhall, Martine, Doctor M’Benga, and Yeoman Tamura. Among the other returning characters are Harry Mudd, Cyrano Jones, Sarek, Amanda Grayson, Admiral Komack, and, of course, the Klingon Captain Kor. (M'Benga, introduced as a Vulcan specialist, here assumes the role of a "backup" Doctor to Bones who is, after all, often in the landing party. Tamura appeared only in "A Taste of Armageddon" IOTL and is the only woman on the series who could be described as "security". And yes, both have larger roles ITTL because of their non-white status, as it occurs to the producers that Uhura and Sulu shouldn't be the only recurring people of colour with actual lines.)

    To accommodate certain planned stories, and to reflect the passage of time, several characters are promoted: Scotty from Lt. Commander to full Commander; Sulu and Uhura from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander; and Chekov from Ensign to Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Chapel is also established as a full Lieutenant, though her previous rank was never mentioned and she is not explicitly promoted. (A number of these promotions did take effect in the Animated Series IOTL; the rest were in place for Phase II, which later became the first movie.)

    The show's star, William Shatner, is regarded as a bloated, narcissistic egotist, culminating in his high concept album, The Transformed Man, released in 1968. Of his castmates, only Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley get along with him at all; most of the others hate him, with Shatner himself aloofly unaware of this. Nimoy, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of Shatner: quiet, withdrawn, pensive. This is partly due to his alcoholism, exacerbated by his long hours on set and in the makeup chair. Another constant worry is the fear of disappearing into the character of Spock. (Nimoy had problems IOTL; here he's under more pressure, which means more problems. On the whole, trying to live up to something can be harder than feeling you're wasting away.) Intriguingly, he too had released an album, Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space. Kelley, alone among the cast, gets along with everybody else. He does his best to keep the peace on set, and to his credit, the others do their best to put their squabbles aside whenever "De" is around; but he himself finds the work grueling, and feels he can't carry on like this forever. Nichelle Nichols, though happier with the juicier parts she's getting, still feels undervalued; for their part, James Doohan and George Takei both feud with Shatner – Doohan in particular loathes Shatner, and it is a tribute to his professionalism that this does not carry over to the screen. A common accusation against Shatner is the stealing of lines – even whole scenes – from the other players, solely because he is the Star Of The Show. (This is all basically OTL – the difference being that here, as Star Trek is a success, what little restraint and perspective Shatner had IOTL is gone, and he’s a raving egomaniac, pure and simple. And of course, everyone else has to spend more time festering in rage at him, given the show's longer run.)

    This hectic atmosphere contributes to a growing sense of fatigue; D.C. Fontana wants to move on and write for other shows; Gene Coon is beginning to look at other production opportunities; Herb Solow, now juggling four shows, is tiring of active production duties, hinting at Lucille Ball that a promotion might be well-deserved, and much obliged. Amongst the Big Five, only Robert Justman seems utterly committed to Star Trek for the indefinite future. Including the wider production staff, David Gerrold is also fiercely loyal to the series, but many of the others (Lucas and Milkis especially) are ready, willing, and able to move on. Most of the cast are beginning to see things in much the same way – the burgeoning of salaries notwithstanding. Many of them demand even bigger raises for the fifth season; only money can soothe the pain of an increasingly hostile work environment. Obviously, both the network and the studio are happy to produce a fifth season, but with costs skyrocketing, the obvious question is whether they can afford a sixth season and maintain the same level of quality. (IOTL, the fact that Coon and Fontana left so easily for greener pastures does indicate something in their characters that wouldn't want them stuck in one place for too long. Success keeps them with Star Trek for a while longer, but something's got to give. As for Solow, feel for the man. He has been responsible for overseeing the production of three shows for the last three years - with a fourth in development. He has got to be dead tired by now.)

    For the first time, serious discussions are held about bringing the show to an end. It seems natural to stop at five – five years is the length of standard TV contracts, and, most obviously, the opening narration contains an explicit reference to a "five-year mission". All sides come together in early 1970, and decide that the fifth season will be the show's last. This allows Desilu and NBC to hatch a scheme. The feature-length series finale of "The Fugitive", which had aired on ABC in June 1967, was the most-watched broadcast of all time; perhaps providing a definitive final mission for the Enterprise, to air in the summer of 1971, might be able to attract similar numbers.

    But for all this behind-the-scenes upheaval, the end results of the fourth season are widely beloved by the viewing audience. 26 episodes are produced this season, with the five primary directors (Marc Daniels, Joseph Pevney, Vincent McEveety, Ralph Senensky, and Lucas) responsible for 22 of them. Among the highlights of the season include:

    "Yesteryear", the most expensive episode of Star Trek produced up to this point, which is chosen as the season premiere. A story very near and dear to the heart of its author, D.C. Fontana, it shares the details of Spock’s childhood on Vulcan. Mark Lenard and Jane Wyatt reprise their roles of Sarek and Amanda, Spock’s parents, from “Journey to Babel”, but the story is largely a one-man show focusing on Spock. Even Kirk, Bones, and Scotty each appear only at the beginning and the end of the episode. The only other regular to appear is Kyle. (Apparently, there were plans to produce this episode in the never-made Season 4 IOTL. Obviously, the budget would never support it, but ITTL they have just enough to do it. The plot is similar to the TAS episode of the same name; longer, obviously, with an extended teaser and tag to get Kirk and Bones their share of screentime, and more character scenes for Sarek and Amanda.)

    "The Lorelei Signal", Star Trek's initial attempt to answer to Women’s Lib – the entire male crew become seduced by evil siren-like creatures and, even though Kirk and Spock are able to break the enchantment, they still cannot outmatch them in combat, due to their Amazonian physiques. Lt. Cmdr. Uhura, the fourth officer, takes command of the Enterprise, forming a new command crew consisting of herself, new CMO Lt. Chapel, Science Officer and First Officer Lt. Cmdr. Mulhall, and Chief Engineer Lt. Martine. They heroically rescue the crew of the Enterprise, with Uhura receiving a special commendation. (Again, very similar to the TAS episode, with a more fleshed out story, the "Amazonian" revamp to the villains, and more character scenes for Uhura and her female crewmates.)

    "Mudd's Passion", featuring the customary once-a-season appearance of Harry Mudd; not to be confused with "More Tribbles, More Troubles", featuring the return of Cyrano Jones, and, of course, the tribbles, not to mention the nefarious Captain Kor. (Again, both TAS episodes IOTL.) Another David Gerrold script produced this season was "The Protracted Man", a very visually "trippy" episode. Theodore Sturgeon also makes his customary once-a-season contribution with "Once Upon A Planet", which sees a return to the planet of "Shore Leave" from the first season. (Not the same as the OTL episode of TAS; IOTL, a "Shore Leave II", written by Sturgeon, was developed but abandoned. ITTL, it developed into this episode.)

    "The Stars of Sargasso", seeing the return of Dr. McCoy's daughter, Joanna, who finds herself caught up in the middle of a space plague which the Enterprise is sent to relieve. Serving as an orderly for her father, she discovers a genuine desire to care for people and heal them, and the episode ends with her returning to Earth to become a doctor (as opposed to a nurse, as she had originally planned) herself. (All we have IOTL is a name, and an indication that Joanna McCoy was planned to be introduced after "Joanna" mutated into "The Way to Eden". I'm throwing in a plague to make it relevant to Bones, and having Joanna decide to become a doctor for Women's Lib.)

    Finally, the season finale is one of the show's most ambitious episodes: "The Sleepers of Selene", an episode about deep cover Klingon agents in a sleeper cell located on none other than the Earth's Moon. An obvious attempt to cash in on Moonshot Lunacy, it contains the most elaborate set-piece yet constructed: a "moon" set where, with the help of special cables, stuntmen dressed in spacesuits simulate low lunar gravity. (Naturally, all the structures on the moon have artificial gravity.) The episode famously contains a scene with a "rover" actually a modified Desilu studio golf cart before such a vehicle was actually brought to the real moon by Apollo astronauts, yet another example of Star Trek "creating the future". It is also the only episode written solely by Gene Coon in the entire season.

    (The average quality of this season's episodes are perceived to be higher than that of Season 3; they may not be as weighty or "important", but they are a lot more fun to watch, with more emphasis on adventure and character interaction. The dialogue is particularly sublime, up there with some of the very best witticisms of OTL. There's a certain "staleness" there, but it's still warm and familiar.)


    I apologize for the lack of episode detail in this season. Obviously, it's much harder to come up with a full list for a season that never happened IOTL. This truly is a list of "highlights" - the most ambitious episodes, the funniest comedies, and so on.

    So, yes, the secret is out! Star Trek will, fittingly, have a five-year run ITTL. Creatively speaking, I think that's the perfect length. They won't have overstayed their welcome, and they'll leave the audience wanting more. (How much more, and how soon? That's another story.) It's also going to get a big finale
    and with it, a sense of closure. The importance of that cannot be understated.

    I'll be sure to get to responding to all of the lovely comments that have accumulated
    – and any that may arrive in the meantime – soon. Coming up next time, a night at the movies, circa 1970. Stay tuned!
    Last edited:
    A Night at the Movies
  • A Night At The Movies

    During the late 1960s, the American motion picture industry had been undergoing a dramatic change from the status quo of the previous few decades. This could be attributed to the fall of the fabled studio system, which had kept Hollywood running like a well-oiled machine; it had rivaled even television in terms of its efficiency, and dwarfed it greatly in terms of sheer scale. The term "studio system" referred to the apparatus by which an oligarchy of Hollywood conglomerates controlled all the means of film production and distribution. As each conglomerate during the Golden Age owned both a studio and a theatre chain, they all had complete control over which theatres would show which films at which times. The courts interpreted this as a violation of existing antitrust laws in a landmark 1948 decision, and one-by-one, each of the conglomerates was subsequently dismantled.

    As the creative control exercised by studios weakened, a new generation of writers and directors began to take inspiration from stylistic movements around the world, such as the French New Wave; as well as individuals, including the Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. The final stumbling block between the dying days of Old Hollywood and the era that would replace it, which naturally came to be called New Hollywood, was the Hays Code. This was an instrument of censorship that had been in force since 1934. The "Miracle Decision" of 1952, yet another key court ruling with regards to the industry, recognized motion pictures as art; this overturned a ruling that had been made in 1915, during the infancy of the medium, regarding them as solely the end products of a business. From that point forward, compulsory censorship was technically illegal; though it wasn't until 1968 that the Motion Picture Association of America, which created and enforced the Hays Code, finally replaced it with a "voluntary" ratings system, following in the footsteps of many of the other Western Democracies.

    The MPAA Ratings System sorted all films into four categories: G (for General Audiences), M (Mature Audiences), R (Restricted), and X (Adults Only); however, audiences were confused by the ambiguity of these ratings, resulting in M being replaced by GP (General Audiences – Parental Guidance Suggested), in 1970. [1] Only films rated R and X were to refuse younger audiences – under age 17 – admission, though children would be allowed into an R-rated film if they had parental supervision. All of these ratings were trademarked by the MPAA, meaning that only they would be allowed to designate films with said ratings – except for the X-rating, until 1970. [2]

    If any single film could be said to have heralded the beginning of the New Hollywood era, it would be 1967's Bonnie and Clyde. Replete with French New Wave influences, it was the beginning of a revolution, led by Young Turk figures such as Warren Beatty, that film's star, producer, and uncredited script doctor. Other popular, envelope-pushing movies of this era included Midnight Cowboy, the first X-rated film to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture [3], The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Easy Rider, and Five Easy Pieces.

    1970 saw the release of three major war films, the first batch of such films that could be called "modern", having been produced under the new, relaxed censorship laws, and following the conclusion of an unpopular overseas quagmire: Patton, a biography of the eponymous WWII general; Tora! Tora! Tora!, a historical recreation of the events surrounding Pearl Harbor, seen from both the American and the Japanese perspectives; and, finally, M*A*S*H, ostensibly an adaptation of a novel set during the Korean War, but more obviously a transparent critique of certain, more recent foreign entanglements.

    Tora! Tora! Tora!, an American-Japanese co-production, was praised for its ambition and historical faithfulness, but many critics failed to find the film sufficiently entertaining. Audiences certainly weren’t in any rush to see a very dry, expository documentary-style film, especially not one that portrayed the Japanese – defeated only 25 years earlier – in a sympathetic light. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit related to the film was who was originally intended to direct the Japanese segments – none other than Akira Kurosawa. However, an auteur of his caliber found himself chaffing in such a tightly-controlled, restrictive environment, and he and the studio soon parted ways.

    Patton, covering the theatre on the opposite side of the world from the Pacific, starred George C. Scott as General George S. Patton, perhaps the most talented general officer of the entire war, and certainly one of the most controversial. A mostly positive portrayal of Patton, his philosophy, and his exploits, it also took great pains to detail his many flaws. One of the biggest hits of the year, it was universally praised for Scott's indelible performance as Patton, including by those who personally knew the general, who all claimed that he had truly captured his essence. The film was a smash hit, the third-biggest of 1970 [4], behind only the melodramatic Love Story, and the seminal disaster movie, Airport. All three films were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture of that year.

    And finally, there was M*A*S*H. Directed by an iconoclastic New Hollywood figure named Robert Altman, he took the script – written by veteran Ring Lardner, Jr. – and figuratively tore it to shreds, largely improvising the film’s dialogue. Disliked by the cast and by executives, Altman remained entrenched as director, but the end result – though critically well-received – was a failure at the box-office.

    At the Academy Awards – also known as the Oscars – ceremony recognizing the best in film for 1970, held on April 15, 1971, Patton was given the award for Best Picture. For his portrayal of the eponymous character of Patton, the Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role was awarded to George C. Scott, who famously refused the award, calling the entire proceedings a "meat parade". He did formally ask the Academy to present his Oscar to the Patton Museum many years after the fact; they duly complied, and it remains there to this day. [5] M*A*S*H, on the other hand, went home empty-handed. [6] Seen by many as a needlessly provocative and irreverent piece, its failure capsized the career of once-promising director Altman, who became the first casualty of New Hollywood, and was scapegoated not only by the studio, but by certain members of the cast, including stars Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland. [7]

    The late 1960s, moving into the 1970s, marked an era of great creativity and exploration for the art of cinema in the United States, and this fertile period would eventually reach television, as well. The future of New Hollywood with regards to these two very diverse media would naturally meet two very different fates…


    [1] IOTL and ITTL, GP would also be replaced, by the more familiar PG (Parental Guidance), in 1972.

    [2] The X-rating was never trademarked by the MPAA in OTL. This resulted in its use by promoters who wanted to give their films an identifiably "adult" label. The pornography industry – which reached its mainstream peak in this decade – took full advantage, inventing the XXX "rating" to indicate "hardcore" releases. This discredited the X-rating, resulting in the NC-17 rating that replaced it in 1990.

    [3] And, IOTL, the only X-rated film to win the award.

    [4] IOTL, Patton was "only" the fourth-biggest hit of 1970, behind M*A*S*H at #3. Note that, IOTL, the four top-grossing movies of the year were all also nominated for Best Picture.

    [5] Scott did give this instruction to the Academy, who ignored it because it was not submitted in writing. IOTL, the Oscar is displayed at the Virginia Military Institute, which Patton attended.

    [6] The film received one Oscar IOTL: the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. As all the dialogue was improvised, this is often considered one of the more dubious Oscars (in terms of eligibility, that is, and not subjective merit). An important note: either screenplay award (Adapted or Original, depending on the source material) is sometimes viewed as a "consolation" prize, or as an award to the "real" best picture of the year, which cannot actually be awarded Best Picture for various political reasons.

    [7] Taking a big risk and making a bold gamble can only be successful when it pays off. When it doesn't, well… IOTL, Sutherland and Gould also spoke very poorly of Altman and attempted to have him fired; though ITTL they were vindicated, IOTL, they were not. Gould personally apologized to Altman; Sutherland did not, and the actor and director never worked together again.


    In addition to giving you a primer on the creative atmosphere of Hollywood in this era, I've also shared with you some very important exposition that justifies one of the biggest butterflies to hit American television. Granted, it was only logical given what I've revealed so far, but I thought I should mention it now anyway, especially since one of my readers has specifically asked after it.

    Yes, this means that "M*A*S*H", the series, will not exist ITTL. Why would anyone want a show, based on a flop movie, which itself satirized an overseas conflict that has already ended? So now I've killed two beloved 1970s series. Although one could say that "M*A*S*H" killed itself, given the antics of the film’s auteur director blowing up in its face. Well, Suicide is Painless, apparently…
    Last edited:
    The Many Faces of Doctor Who
  • The Many Faces Of Doctor Who

    "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow."

    - The Third Doctor, Doctor Who

    One of the predominant trends of the 1960s was the popularity and influence of British culture around the world, at a level not seen since the Victorian Era. The popular term for this phenomenon was the "British Invasion", which made its presence known in all forms of media. Two of the most successful examples of this trend were the Beatles, in music; and James Bond, in film. But even in television, British productions found themselves catching on across the pond. Perhaps the most successful example of this was "The Avengers", an action-adventure program which showcased the swinging attitude of 1960s England. It became so popular that it was broadcast on an American network, ABC, for a few years. Another series which saw American airplay was "The Saint", another action-adventure.

    But by 1970, this trend was obviously a thing of the past. The Beatles, who had spent the past several years on the verge of breaking up, finally pulled the plug early in the year. The James Bond series was having great difficulty moving on without Sean Connery, their iconic lead actor – among those that producers considered casting in his place was Adam West, star of the campy "Batman" series [1], before settling on George Lazenby. His performance was considered so poor that the producers threw everything they had at getting Connery to return for the next film. And "The Avengers" just wasn't the same without Mrs Emma Peel, the feminist heroine who epitomized the show's charm and style – both it and "The Saint" went off the air in 1969. Once again, American culture captured the British imagination.

    Star Trek, first broadcast over British shores in the summer of 1969, was aired on the public broadcaster, the BBC. It was an instant hit; indeed, it caught on there immediately, in contrast to the years it took to become popular in the United States. Certainly, the timeliness of the show's debut in the UK may have had some bearing on its success – just days before the historic Apollo 11 mission [2], marking the height of Moonshot Lunacy, which, though diluted by the vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean, was still readily apparent. Audiences also appreciated the unity among the crew despite their disparate origins, including two regulars (Scotty and Kyle) [3] from Great Britain.

    At the same time, there also was a popular homegrown science fiction program on the BBC called Doctor Who. It featured a mysterious figure, known only as "the Doctor", who took on mostly ordinary people as his companions, as they journeyed through time and space. Running since 1963, it had survived two successive departures of its lead actor through a technique known as "regeneration". The previous incarnation of the Doctor would "die" and then somehow turn into the new one. There had recently been such a turnover, which resulted in Jon Pertwee assuming the role of the Third Doctor. Despite this clever and creative way to resolve such a dramatic cast change, which theoretically allowed the program to continue indefinitely, there were still problems on the horizon.

    The primary problem facing Doctor Who was the budget. It had been systematically reduced, resulting in the producers having been forced to develop an ongoing story arc in which the Doctor had been exiled to Earth in the present day, unable to take advantage of the time-travel or alien-world plots for which the program had become famous. The potential for a vicious circle was obvious. Reduced budget, less spectacle, lower ratings – which would result in the budget being reduced even further, and so on. But the popularity of Star Trek gave the producers of Doctor Who, and the brass at the BBC, the idea of opening another front in the then-dormant British Invasion: perhaps the adventures of the Doctor could appeal to American audiences, starving for more science fiction, in the same way that British audiences came to embrace the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. [4] This suggestion – little more than a lark, even to those who proposed it – surprisingly attracted some serious interest from NBC, who had aired "The Saint" some years earlier.

    NBC was interested in airing Doctor Who for the very simple reason that, starting in 1971, they would have a free timeslot before "Laugh-In", and importing an existing show would be a great deal cheaper and less time-consuming than listening to pitches, commissioning pilots, and then paying the studio overhead. This was especially true for science fiction, which was obviously a desirable genre, but had very high initial costs. [5] When official negotiations got off the ground, however, the American network discovered one major problem: the unusual format of serialized, arc-based stories would make building an audience difficult. An obvious solution would be a crossover event, done especially in the introductory style of a backdoor pilot. [6] This would help to bridge the gap, and to generate excitement for their new show. The question of which show would introduce the Doctor and his universe to American audiences was answered almost before it had been asked: it would have to be NBC's only established show where travel through time and space was commonplace; the one that would be going off the air at the end of the 1971 season; the one that had become so big a hit in Britain in the first place. Star Trek.

    The next person the negotiators then contacted was the chief of the studio that owned Star Trek: Lucille Ball. Certainly, she had the power to put the kibosh on any "crossover" event; at the same time, the producers of the show would certainly yield to her directives. Obviously, bringing her onside was crucial. Both she and her right-hand man, Herb Solow, found the idea of a crossover intriguing; however, she was a shrewd businessperson, and knew better than to just give anything away. She agreed to allow the crossover on the condition that Desilu be sold the American syndication rights to all old episodes of Doctor Who [7], as well as those episodes that would air on NBC. The BBC agreed to these terms only if Desilu would provide the facilities and absorb the costs for stateside post-production; they had seen Star Trek, after all, and they knew that the people working on that show were better than anything Doctor Who could manage. Ball, who knew the profit potential of the rerun first-hand, acquiesced to the arrangement, and thus the crossover.

    The finer details were soon ironed out. Desilu would produce the crossover in Hollywood, using the Star Trek sets (and the studio backlot) with additional pickup shots to be filmed in London, if necessary. NBC and the BBC would split the overhead costs fifty-fifty. Enough material would be filmed for a two-part episode (in the US) or a four-part arc (in the UK). Only the actors, a few writers, and the producer of Doctor Who would be brought out to Hollywood for the crossover; all the below-the-line work would be done by the Star Trek crew. The scriptwriting duties were done by committee, starting in early 1970. Filming would take place in the summer, and the multi-part crossover would serve as the premiere for both Season 5 of Star Trek, in September 1970, and Season 8 of Doctor Who [8], in January 1971. In the event that the crossover went over well, NBC would then pay the BBC to air the program first-run in the United States, starting with Season 8 in September 1971; by this time, Desilu would likely have syndicated the previous seasons, strengthening its potential audience.

    And thus began the next wave of the British Invasion…


    [1] Adam West has repeatedly shared this story IOTL, to the point of claiming that they offered him the part, and that it would make him "part of two of the Three Bs of the 1960s: Batman, the Beatles, and Bond". He apparently turned it down in support for a British actor. For those of you who hated George Lazenby, always remember: it could have been worse. Much worse.

    [2] The second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", was the first episode of Star Trek to air on the BBC, on July 12, 1969 IOTL and ITTL, only a few days before the launch of Apollo 11 (and only a few weeks after the final episode aired in the US IOTL).

    [3] John Winston hails from Leeds, Yorkshire. His accent on the show is almost certainly the result of him
    – like so many actors of his generation – attempting to speak with a "posh" or RP (Received Pronunciation) accent to hide his natural one. In apocrypha, this has resulted in the occasional claims of an Australian origin, but he's firmly established ITTL as being of English extraction.

    [4] The entire first season of Doctor Who ran in Canada on the public broadcaster, the CBC, in 1965 (two years behind schedule). They declined to air the following season, and IOTL, Doctor Who would not be seen again in North America until PBS started running it in 1972.

    [5] ITTL, some low-level functionary at the BBC decides to send an informal c
    ommuniqué to NBC in the late summer of 1969; by this time, Moonshot Lunacy is a reality, though networks are already developing new science fiction series (Star Trek having been a Top 30 hit in the previous season). Therefore, NBC decides to express formal interest. As it becomes clear that Star Trek isn't coming back after the 1970-71 season, formal interest evolves into a firm commitment. The deal is essentially done by early 1970.

    [6] A backdoor pilot, also known as a Poorly Disguised Pilot, is when the premise and characters of a given TV show take a backseat to an entirely new premise and set of characters, which classically have nothing to do with the original ones. The Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth", which was never made ITTL, is an iconic example. Doctor Who obviously already exists, but Star Trek will still essentially be lending airtime; British audiences already know the crew of the Enterprise, so they don't need to be introduced to them.

    [7] Yes, ladies and gentlemen, That Wacky Redhead has just saved all the OTL "lost episodes" of Doctor Who from oblivion ITTL.

    [8] Ordinarily, what Americans call "seasons", the British instead refer to as "series". For the purposes of simplicity and comprehension, I will use only the term "season" in these instances, but I will also eschew the use of "series" to refer to British programs (programmes).


    Well, my British readers, as well as the many non-British fans of Doctor Who, I present your carrot. I hope you find it palatable :)

    We'll find out more about this crossover in greater detail in the next cycle of updates, which will cover the 1970-71 season.

    I want to thank you all for your fantastic suggestions for additional science fiction series in the future of TTL. A special No-Prize for Prescient Prediction is awarded to Mal, who almost exactly deduced my secret purely by speculation! You were the impetus for me finishing this update tonight, to prove that I didn't steal the idea from you. I promise, this was intended as the carrot all along!

    I'll do my best to respond to the many wonderful comments I've already accrued, as well as any that are forthcoming, as soon as possible; so by all means, please keep them coming. But for now, thus concludes the 1969-70 production cycle! Coming up next, you can a post about what I have planned for the 1970-71 cycle. Until then, good tidings to you, wherever you are!
    1970-71: The End of an Era
  • The End of an Era (1970-71)

    "Who can turn the world on with her smile?
    Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
    Well it's you, girl, and you should know it,
    With each glance and every little movement you show it.
    Love is all around, no need to waste it,
    You can have the town, why don't you take it?
    You're gonna make it after all.
    You're gonna make it after all!"

    - "Love is All Around", aka the Theme from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", written and performed by Sonny Curtis, 1970 [1]

    The 1970-71 season was, in all respects, one of transition. It was the first full season in which a fourth network, PBS, joined the Big Three on the airwaves; it was the first in which the two prevailing genres of the early 1970s – far-beyond-the-stars science fiction and down-to-earth situation comedy – made themselves apparent on broadcasting schedules; it was the last season in which the primetime schedule began at 7:30, and, partly as a result, the last season for a larger proportion of shows than ever before in broadcast history.

    Desilu Productions, for their part, were producing four series during this season, returning to an output level last achieved in 1967-68. However, they would only maintain it for this one season, just as they had before, because it would mark the finale of Star Trek, one of their most successful series. The rookie show on the Desilu lot, "Night Gallery", was able to take full advantage of the elaborate sets built for the other three shows, keeping overall costs down and providing some interesting settings for showrunner Rod Serling. In terms of ratings, all three of the studio's returning shows remained in the Top 30, though only "Mannix" saw ratings improve from the previous season. Lucille Ball, always one to give credit where credit was due, decided to reward the man she felt was most responsible for Desilu's success: Herbert F. Solow, the Vice-President in Charge of Production since 1965. He was promoted to Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer [2], effective as of the end of the production season, so as not to interfere with his ongoing commitments.

    Meanwhile, across the lot, and just next door, Paramount Television was facing a rougher, more uneven road to success, much to the chagrin of Charles Bludhorn. However grateful he had been at the time to evade the exorbitant operating costs that came with buying Desilu, he had since spent a great deal of time lamenting his inability to convince Ball to sell her studio. "The House that Paladin Built" had become the toast of the town; Paramount's struggles, on the other hand, had become the subject of derision throughout Hollywood. He had little choice but to stay the course, hoping that what he had already set into motion would eventually yield good returns. And indeed, this season, Paramount Television finally found itself with a genuine success story: "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", a hip and relevant star vehicle for Division President Grant Tinker’s eponymous wife, cracked the Top 30, in a first for the studio.

    "Mary Tyler Moore" was a landmark sitcom, which emphasized appealing, believable characters placed into a realistic setting and dealing with relevant situations. Most importantly, a new emphasis was placed on supporting the strong cast with intelligent, naturalistic, and consistent writing, rather than relying on the actors to carry the show in spite of the sub-par writing; a paradigm which had dominated sitcoms of the previous decade (with a few exceptions). It also deliberately avoided escapism, attempting to depict a close facsimile of the lives of their ideal viewers:
    relatively young, living in urban markets, and receptive to the societal changes taking place in this era. On all these fronts, it was remarkably successful; though like most pioneers, it would later seem cautious, even quaint, in its ambitions.

    Among the other new programs on the air was "Monday Night Football", which aired on ABC. Certainly, the risk of ceding prime airtime to a sporting event on a regular basis was a calculated one that only that network – still the lowest-rated of the Big Three – was willing to make. There was definite upside to such a risk, however; football had already superseded baseball as the most popular spectator sport in the United States, and regular television broadcasts the pet project of National Football League commissioner, Pete Rozelle – were seen as the logical next step to challenge the supremacy of the National Pastime. Certainly those sporadic broadcasts of the late 1960s had been largely successful [3], in particular the annual championship game, known as the Super Bowl. And as for "Monday Night Football", it became an instant hit, particularly the dedicated colour commentary provided by an especially colourful individual named Howard Cosell.

    PBS, in their first full season on the air, inherited several of the programs produced by NET, including "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and "Sesame Street", both of which would become mainstays, and receive credit for helping to raise generations of children across the country. Their modus operandi was providing educational and informational programming to American audiences. As was the case for most public broadcasters [4], they were commercial-free. Government funding subsidized some of their exploits, but they became famous for their pledge drives, during which they would interrupt on-air programming with telethons where they would attempt to raise money for their continued operations. Each network affiliate would generally conduct pledge drives independently, as PBS was far more decentralized than the three privately-owned networks were, with programming generally funded and produced by individual affiliates. [5] Naturally, this resulted in shows that were especially sensitive to the interests of local communities.

    With regards to ratings for the networks, CBS had 13 shows in the Top 30, down one from the previous year; NBC had 11, up one. ABC was level, with only six shows in the Top 30. However, the Top 10 was far more evenly distributed; CBS and NBC had three shows each, and ABC led them both with four. One of those four was "Marcus Welby, M.D.", the #1 most-watched show on television. This marked the first time in broadcast history that the #1 show was on the Alphabet network. Monday was again the most-watched night of the week, with eight of the Top 30 shows, though none of the Top 10. Other widely-viewed nights were Thursday and Saturday, with five Top 30 hits apiece. Tuesday was a phenomenal night for ABC, with all three of the shows it aired that night in the Top 10, but it was a quiet night for the other networks. Finally, Friday had a Top 30 hit for the first time in three years, with "The Partridge Family".

    At the Emmy Awards taking place that May, Star Trek won Outstanding Dramatic Series for the third and final time, with Leonard Nimoy also winning a third trophy for Supporting Actor. For the fifth consecutive time, Barbara Bain won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Series, a record for the category that still stands today. [6] Bain finally removed her name from consideration for the role shortly thereafter. On the Comedy side of the ledger, the Series award went – for the second year in a row – to a low-rated but critically-acclaimed series; this time it was the CBS program, Those Were the Days [7], which also won Lead Actress for Jean Stapleton.

    And then, only a few weeks later, to close out the season, came the biggest television event in broadcast history to date


    [1] IOTL, the lyrics for the first season's theme were somewhat more tentative, more cautious, before they were reworked in the second season to the more familiar lyrics written above. ITTL, given this more optimistic society, these lyrics are used from the outset.

    [2] Solow was, for all intents and purposes, already the #2 guy at Desilu – this promotion rewards his years of faithful service, gives him a big, fat raise, moves him to a nicer office, and of course, removes him from directly supervising the production of four series at once.

    [3] Note that by far the most notorious NFL broadcast of this era IOTL, known as the "Heidi Game", has been butterflied away ITTL.

    [4] Other examples include the BBC, and the ABC in Australia. A curious exception to this rule is the CBC in Canada, which has always been a commercial network - not that it's prevented them from running into financial trouble on a near-constant basis.

    [5] For example, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was produced by WQED, the Pittsburgh affiliate of PBS. More ambitious (read: expensive) productions were often co-produced by two or more affiliates.

    [6] The most Emmy wins by any actress in this category for a single role IOTL was 4, by Tyne Daly for "Cagney and Lacey". Michael Learned also won 4 Emmys in this category, for two separate roles (three for "The Waltons" and one for "Nurse").

    [7] The series was known IOTL as All in the Family; Those Were the Days was a working title. The Emmy category for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series was not introduced IOTL until 1974; the inaugural winner was Alan Alda for "M*A*S*H", which will not exist ITTL.


    Welcome to the 1970-71 season, which is going to involve some long and hard goodbyes. It's out with the old, and in with the new!
    Appendix A, Part IV: Star Trek, Season 5 (1970-71)
  • Appendix A, Part IV: Star Trek, Season 5 (1970-71)

    And now for the final season! (As always, editorial notes and comparison points to OTL will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets.)


    "Captain’s log, final entry. These have been the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Throughout her five-year mission, she explored strange new worlds, sought out and discovered new life and new civilizations, and has boldly gone where no others have gone before."

    - James T. Kirk, delivering the final lines of Star Trek

    Viewership for Star Trek declines somewhat from the peak achieved in the previous season, with a rating of 21.0, or 12.62 million households watching the average episode; these numbers are good for an overall ranking of #19 for the season. For the third consecutive season, it can be found in the Monday 7:30 timeslot, and despite its lower ratings, it is still consistently able to defeat "Gunsmoke" on CBS, to win the timeslot. Viewer demographics continue to be superb; indeed, they are now better than those for "Laugh-In", which ranks at #12 overall for the season. (These viewership numbers exclude those for the series finale, which will be included later.)

    The average production budget is almost $300,000 per episode, though this includes both the two-part crossover with Doctor Who, and the two-part series finale. Excluding these, the budget is roughly $275,000 per episode; that this figure is above initial projections fails to surprise anyone. Whether NBC would agree to cover these exorbitant expenses if they hadn't already arranged for this to be the final season is doubtful – especially since their margins are now very slim indeed. Desilu, of course, are more than able to cover their margins, thanks to merchandising revenues. Indeed, the studio makes over $10 million from products bearing the Star Trek name in 1970 alone.

    All members of the "Big Five" remain in the same positions they held in the previous season. Gene Roddenberry, still the nominal Executive Producer, spends virtually no time involved with the show's production; when he isn't developing new ideas to pitch to the studio, he's planning an elaborate wedding, to make an honest woman out of his long-suffering mistress, Majel Barrett. (IOTL, he married Barrett in Japan as soon as his divorce to his first wife went through - in the closing days of 1969.) Gene Coon, the Co-Executive Producer and showrunner, remains committed to his work, despite his own blissful second marriage, already in progress. Supervising Producer D.C. Fontana, though she spends most of her spare time writing spec scripts for other genre shows, in anticipation of the new opportunities awaiting her, also focuses on the task at hand: keeping up her writing duties for Star Trek. As always, the man who really keeps the show running is Robert Justman, the Producer. He never seems to tire of his micromanaging duties, which suits everyone else just fine. And finally, there is the Executive in Charge of Production, Herb Solow. His boss, Lucille Ball, had finally gotten the hint, and promoted him above needing to take a direct role in the production of Desilu's programming, though he remains with all of them through the end of the 1970-71 season; partly so that there will be time for a suitable replacement to be found, and partly so that Solow can continue on with his duties with Star Trek, to see the show off properly. He would never want anyone else to finish the task at hand.

    At lower levels, there is even less movement. John Meredyth Lucas remains as Co-Producer, though he is forced to scale back on his directorial and writing duties to focus on actual producing. David Gerrold, the other Co-Producer, picks up the slack, spending virtually every spare moment writing for the show. As usual, most of his time is spent rewriting and punching up completed scripts, an act for which he receives no additional onscreen credit. The two Associate Producers, Gregg Peters and Eddie Milkis, are able to run a tight ship, though Milkis in particular is often out and about, looking for new opportunities. Early in 1971, Milkis meets Garry Marshall, developer and executive producer of "The Odd Couple", a Paramount production filmed on the Desilu lot, and becomes interested in an idea that Marshall is developing, tentatively titled "New Family in Town" (IOTL, this idea would eventually be developed as "Happy Days").

    Which brings us to the cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley once again appear in all the episodes of this season; this makes Shatner and Nimoy the only actors to appear in every episode of the entire series, Kelley having missed a few first-season shows. James Doohan, for the third consecutive season, also appears in every episode, cementing his status as first-tier cast member in all but name. (This ambiguity between the "Big Three" and the "Big Four" ITTL is part of the reason why Gerrold coined the term "Big Five", as a reference to and gentle mockery of the ensuing fan dispute.) Among the second-tier cast, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and John Winston all appear in the majority of the season's shows. All four of the third-tier cast members – Martine, Mulhall, M’Benga, and Tamura – appear in several episodes apiece. The only episode(s) to feature all thirteen of them is the two-part series finale.

    Interactions between the cast are considerably mellowed, tensions being much lower, and morale being much higher, with a clear end in sight. Nonetheless, Shatner continues to annoy his co-stars with his towering ego, which has produced yet another musical album, Man of the Future. (This was never produced IOTL; the world had to "wait" until 2004 for his second album, the actually-pretty-good Has Been, made during the height of Shatner's latter-day "comeback".) For his part, Leonard Nimoy, continuing to withdraw into himself and his drinking problem, interacts very little with his castmates or even the fans outside of the job. One new opportunity shared by both Shatner and Nimoy this season is the chance to direct episodes of the series. Kelley, for his part, is exhausted; his hours are even longer and harder than they were in past seasons, and having to referee and mediate conflicts between his castmates is emotionally draining. Doohan, though he continues to despise Shatner, does his best to avoid conflict for the good of the show. Takei, on the other hand, has no such reservations, and his feuds with Shatner become the talk of the Desilu lot. It occurs to many members of the crew that the cast seemed to get along much better when Star Trek was just a struggling show that was flying under the radar.

    30 episodes are produced this season: 26 regular episodes; 2 episodes as part of the crossover with Doctor Who; and 2 episodes as part of the series finale (which is aired as one two-hour episode). 24 of these are directed by one of the five regular directors: Marc Daniels, Joseph Pevney, Vincent McEveety, Ralph Senensky, and Lucas. Shatner directs one episode; Nimoy directs two. Every episode but one is written, at least in part, by a veteran Star Trek writer. The highlights of the season include:

    "The Borderland", the only episode credited entirely to a rookie, Larry Niven, who obviously has credentials as a science-fiction writer. The episode, which features an elaborate plot about disappearing starships and black holes, and is unusually "hard" science-fiction by Star Trek standards, is the most expensive of the 26 regular episodes, but wins plaudits for its literate script by Niven; up to and including the 1971 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the third won by the series. (IOTL, Niven submitted this story idea
    as "The Borderland of Sol" to D.C. Fontana for TAS; she declined, believing it too complex for a half-hour, so he instead sold them "The Slaver Weapon", a reworking of his own "The Soft Weapon". Niven also wrote, but never pitched, a script idea called "The Pastel Terror".)

    "Cassandra", the fifth and final once-a-season contribution by Theodore Sturgeon, is a comedic episode featuring a clumsy Yeoman (Tamura, in her most developed part in the series), and a Gremlin-like mischief-making creature; similar to "The Trouble with Tribbles", though obviously with a more malevolent alien menace. (This episode was written for Phase II IOTL.)

    "To Attain the All" continues the fifth-season trend of returning science-fiction writers, with Norman Spinrad (absent since the second season) coming back to write the story. It tells the tale of the Enterprise crew unwittingly becoming involved in a contest to access a vast repository of knowledge, though they soon discover themselves to be agents for disembodied aliens, similar to "Return to Tomorrow". (Another Phase II script. Spinrad isn't thrilled about coming back to work with Coon, but the producers ask really nicely.)

    "Cyrano de Mudd", a Harry Mudd-Cyrano Jones teamup written by Stephen Kandel (with an uncredited rewrite by Gerrold), features the two trickster traders becoming involved in a galactic smuggling racket; their presence in the scheme alerts the crew of the Enterprise, and it's a madcap chase to intercept the illicit merchandise. (No OTL analogue; that truly terrible title is all mine.)

    "The Savage Syndrome", written by Margaret Armen, features a strange device that strips inhibitions from humans and amplifies their rage, touching on themes from many previous episodes: "The Naked Time", "Day of the Dove", "The Savage Curtain"... with the added twist that Spock, for once, is completely immune, whereas Kirk is among the most strongly affected. Considered by the writing staff as a sign that they are running out of ideas, it is usually considered one of the fifth season's weakest episodes a symptom of having to write 30 instead of 26, in the view of many. (Another Phase II script, written by a series regular. Stale as stale can be.)

    "Lord Bobby's Obsession" marks the return of first-season writer Shimon Wincelberg (also known as S. Bar-David), who spins the tale of a figure from days gone by, mysteriously found on a Klingon derelict. Similar to the episode "The Squire of Gothos", also from the first season, it features a seemingly omnipotent trickster character, who causes the Enterprise crew no end of trouble. (One last Phase II script. Again, the fact that it was written by a series veteran gives it priority. And again, nothing we haven't seen before.)

    (In short, Season 5 is very uneven. A few episodes are considered among the very best of Star Trek, and there are few outright disasters, unlike in earlier seasons; but those stale episodes and overused plots really feel old here, to the point of being boring on occasion. The effects, props, costumes, and sets are at their most elaborate and ambitious in this season, which at least provides a lot of eye candy.)

    And then there is the two-part series finale, "These Were the Voyages", aired on a single night: July 5, 1971, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. In addition to all thirteen recurring Enterprise crewmen, the two most frequent guest characters
    Admiral Komack, and the nefarious Klingon Captain Kor make an appearance in the finale, as does Spock's father, Ambassador Sarek (though only in the first part). Gene Roddenberry is credited for the story, but despite his providing a few suggestions, these are mostly discarded by the actual writers, Gene Coon and D.C. Fontana (credited for the teleplay), with input from Lucas, Gerrold, and even Justman. The plot entails the expiration of the Organian Peace Treaty, resulting in the Federation and the Klingons quickly coming to blows; chaos breaks loose when the Romulans launch a sneak attack on both sides. (ITTL, the Klingons and Romulans are not established as erstwhile allies, a situation which only came about because of budget limitations which forced the producers to reuse Klingon ship models for the Romulans; indeed, there is said to be tension between them, as an allegory of the Sino-Soviet split.) The Romulans, stand-ins for Red China through most of the series, suddenly become Imperial Japan analogues, with the Enterprise finding itself at the heart of a Pearl Harbor situation.

    In the midst of a long-awaited and heated battle between Kirk and Kor, they're ambushed by a Romulan fleet, eager to take out the two enemy flagships. To the surprise of the Enterprise crew, Kor sacrifices his own ship, defiantly declaring that no one could defeat Kirk
    except for him. This allows the Enterprise though badly wounded to defeat the remaining ships and escape. The Federation and Klingon fleets, learning of this sacrifice, form a truce, teaming up and beating back the Romulans. They are so successful in their joint offensive that they push the Romulans back to the Neutral Zone "faster than the Allied forces marched through Europe at the end of World War II", a classic example of the series directly referring to one of its allegorical situations. Thus, just as the Enterprise, crippled and outgunned, engages another Romulan Bird-of-Prey, and is facing certain doom, news arrives from Admiral Komack: all three sides have agreed to a tripartite truce. After the Enterprise hobbles to the nearest starbase, the story reaches a denouement, which functions as a long goodbye.

    The five-year mission, as announced at the beginning of the finale, is drawing to a close; the crew are welcomed to Starbase 10 by Komack himself. (Byron Morrow makes his only appearance on-set with the other actors on this occasion; all his other appearances are as a talking head on a viewscreen, which adds to the significance of this scene.) The peace negotiations are underway, and Komack formally declares the end of the five-year mission, as of the end of that day (Stardate 9999.0). A round of promotions and reassignments are announced. Kirk is promoted to Commodore, and given command of the new ship, USS Excelsior. Spock is promoted to Captain, and given command of the ship on which he has served for his entire career: the Enterprise, pending repairs. Bones decides to resign his commission to return to Earth, and spend time with his daughter. The Big Three are going their separate ways, and indeed, all ten of the other recurring characters will move in one of those three directions. (Scotty seems to take the path of least resistance; he remains a Commander and Chief Engineer aboard the Enterprise, promoted only to First Officer.) The Enterprise is still spaceworthy, and Kirk convinces Komack to allow the crew one last patrol of the sector; he delivers his final log entry before the ship flies off, one last time.

    The moral of the story is a simple one: in war, there is no victor; in peace, there is no loser. An unabashedly sentimental finale, everyone involved has good feelings about it, but even the most optimistic of them can not anticipate the public response. It
    receives a 47.0 rating and a 75 share. This means that 47% of all television sets in the United States – and 75% or three-quarters of all those that are turned on – are tuned to Star Trek. This figure represented 28.25 million households. These remarkable numbers are enough to shatter previous ratings records, notably dethroning "The Fugitive" as the most-watched episode of any continuing series in television history. (The numbers for "The Fugitive" are a 45.9 rating and a 72 share, for 25.7 million households.) Without a doubt, the grand finale of Star Trek brings the era of classic television to an end with a big bang.


    Thus concludes the original run of Star Trek ITTL. It ran from September 8, 1966, to July 5, 1971, for a total of 137 episodes, plus the unaired pilot. We'll be taking a look at Star Trek with two additional posts: a trivia and statistics update; and a legacy and aftermath update. One will be included in each of the next two cycles, so there's still more Star Trek to come!

    I deliberately avoided discussing the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, which will be detailed in the next update. Thank you all very much for reading my longest post to date, and once again, Happy New Year. Here's to a most productive 2012!
    Last edited:
    Doctor Who and the Enterprise
  • Doctor Who and the Enterprise (1970-71)

    "Any suggestions, Bones?"
    "Me? I’m a doctor, not… not the Doctor."

    - Captain James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, "Lords of Time and Space, Part II" / "Starship from the Future", Episode 3

    In initial preparation for the crossover, it was agreed on all sides that, in hopes of appealing to the American audience, the Doctor's new companion (an audience surrogate character) would also be American. However, there would be no additional time for the BBC or the producers of Doctor Who to conduct a casting call in the USA, and they did not want to entrust that responsibility to NBC or Desilu. Therefore, the natural solution was to hire an American expatriate living in London. In a stroke of good fortune, they hit upon a promising candidate very early on, after having started their search by looking at young women connected to the BBC.

    Connie Booth [1] was married to John Cleese, a member of the Monty Python troupe, who starred in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on the BBC. Booth had appeared on the program, but had relatively little television experience otherwise. Cleese personally vouched for her abilities, and she did have the advantage of being fresh-faced - ideal for an audience surrogate. Booth agreed to commit to the program for at least two seasons of episodes, and to return to her native land for filming. Her character was given the name Linda Johnson [2] - initially "Jackson", but it was changed at the last minute because of the similarity to British actress Glenda Jackson.

    The final script was credited to four people: Gene Coon; D.C. Fontana; Doctor Who Story Editor Terrance Dicks; and frequent writer Robert Holmes. Clearances with the Writer's Guild of America were extremely cumbersome to arrange, though fortunately it was one of the few tasks that could be tackled well in advance of all the others. Many of the other Star Trek writers had a hand in the script, particularly the scenes dealing exclusively with the crew of the Enterprise. The shooting schedule was another logistical nightmare, but eventually it was settled that those scenes with only the Star Trek characters would be shot first, followed by the location scenes with both sets of characters, followed by the on-set scenes, and finally, pickup shots in London (mainly those set within the Doctor's peculiar vehicle, the TARDIS). Those scenes not featuring any characters from Doctor Who were shot in May, three weeks in advance of the arrival of the principals from London. In the closing days of that month, six - and only six - people arrived in Hollywood: Dicks; Holmes; director-producer Barry Letts; Jon Pertwee, who played the Doctor; Booth; and Roger Delgado, chosen to portray the main villain.

    Actually, the situation was somewhat more complicated than that. The writers had planned for an over-arcing villain who would serve as the antagonist of each serial for the entire eighth season: a fellow Time Lord, like the Doctor, who was created as his equal and opposite. They were willing to compromise on the casting of the Doctor's new companion - obviously, they would have preferred a British woman - but they were resolute on Delgado for the part of the Master. It was later noted by several members of the Star Trek crew that the Master somewhat resembled the nefarious Klingon Captain Kor, the primary antagonist of their own program.

    After the filming in Hollywood at the Desilu studios and in the backlot, the cast and crew of Doctor Who returned to London to film the TARDIS scenes. The plot called for Spock and Scotty to investigate the mysterious craft, so Leonard Nimoy and James Doohan were able to take an all-expenses paid trip to England for a few days. [3] Those scenes were directed by Letts, who was credited (in the United States) for the second part of the two-parter; Marc Daniels, who directed the American footage, was credited for the first part. In the UK, both directors were jointly credited for all four episodes of the arc, even though no footage by Letts appeared in either of the first two episodes. Altogether, the shooting schedule was 16 days, completed (with the footage flown back to Hollywood, along with Nimoy and Doohan) by mid-June. The first part of the two-parter was due to air on September 14, 1970, in the United States; and the first of the four-episode arc on January 2, 1971, in the United Kingdom. [4] As per the agreement between Desilu and the BBC, the American studio handled all aspects of post-production (with the help of the necessary sound effects from the BBC library), with the exception of the music; as the soundtrack styles for the two programs were distinctly different, they would have to continue to be scored separately.

    With regards to the plot,
    the Enterprise encounters a mysterious source of unusual waves of temporal distortions. To Mr. Spock's surprise, the source appears to be moving at warp speed. Kirk orders Scotty to fire up the engines in pursuit, and the ship does indeed catch up with the mysterious vessel (said to be "smaller than one of our shuttles"). In following the peculiar entity, Sulu notes that the chronometer is moving backward; they are travelling through time. It eventually becomes clear that they have followed the machine to Earth, in the "early 1970s" (the year is deliberately left ambiguous). Arriving in the United States, several crew members beam down, in an attempt to determine the source of these waves. While conducting their investigation, they encounter an enigmatic individual who claims that he can be of some assistance; he calls himself "the Doctor", working on behalf of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Though the library computer aboard the Enterprise provides the history of UNIT, it does not discuss the "Doctor", who refuses to provide his real name; and tricorder scans reveal him to be non-human. Kirk becomes increasingly frustrated with their so-called ally, until he finally reveals the truth about himself: he is a Time Lord, and he believes that their quarry is another Time Lord; far more malevolent than he.

    The Master is not content to spend time in hiding; he begins launching attacks against the good people of the United States, with the help of recurring adversaries, the Autons. [5] During the course of the adventure, a young female bystander named Linda Johnson finds herself embroiled in the crossfire. With continued tensions between the Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise, both sides part company, attempting to seek out the Master on their own terms. The Doctor is able to find the Master first; but in tracking him down, little does he know that he too is being followed, by Johnson. It's all for naught, however, as the two of them find themselves caught in a trap. Their rescue comes from an unlikely, but at the same time, entirely expected source: the Enterprise. The crew beams down, rescuing the Doctor and his companion, but allowing the Master to escape. Captain Kirk and the Doctor finally put their differences behind them, with the Enterprise bidding the Doctor and his new companion farewell, departing Earth to take a slingshot back to their own native time.

    American and British audiences naturally had different responses to the crossover. American audiences, being unfamiliar with the Doctor, weren't entirely sure what to make of him. The character of Linda, though intended as an audience surrogate, did not prove entirely successful in this role, given that the viewers already identified with the crew of the Enterprise. However, audiences were intrigued not only by certain aspects of the Doctor, but also by the character of the Master. They noted his resemblance to Kor, and that he seemed a good deal more clever and devious. The promise of continued clashes between the Doctor and the Master in the future provided the narrative hook that made further adventures an appealing prospect. British audiences also had mixed reactions, though for different reasons. By early 1971, the third season of Star Trek was being broadcast on the BBC, and viewers were therefore familiar with the crew of the Enterprise. However, they were even more familiar with the Doctor, and seeing the adventure being told from their perspective, rather than his, made little sense to them. Despite this, fan reception was very positive, as they were aware that they were watching history in the making. Seeing Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty all interacting with the Doctor was a thrill to them.

    Starting in the summer of 1970, Desilu sold the earlier seasons of Doctor Who into syndication [6], in anticipation of the crossover that fall. Surprisingly, the show became a sleeper success; that, plus mostly good reaction to the actual two-part episode, convinced NBC to buy the rest of the eighth season from the BBC. Doctor Who would begin airing in a weekly timeslot in September of 1971, Mondays at 8:00 PM.


    [1] Yes, I've just cast Polly Sherman as a Doctor Who companion.

    [2] Linda was the second-most common name for baby girls in the US in the 1940s and 1950s; Johnson is the second most common surname in the United States (it ranks seventh in the UK). The most common names, Mary and Smith, were deemed too generic. At least, when used in combination. Perhaps one or the other, when combined with a slightly more interesting name, could be useful.

    One publicity photo was taken by Letts, and features the two of them in the TARDIS along with Pertwee and Booth.

    [4] In both cases, the first of these episodes functions as the season premiere.

    [5] The Autons, automated mannequin creatures, were the featured adversaries in the OTL serial that this crossover replaced: "Terror of the Autons". They were added here to raise the stakes, and because they were easy for Desilu costumers and prop masters to fabricate.

    [6] Many of these off-the-dial UHF stations that carried Doctor Who at the oddest hours are the same ones that, IOTL, decided to make room for that little show about boldly going where no man has gone before.


    So there you have it! Doctor Who is coming to America - on one of the Big Three networks, in a weekly timeslot! And as far as the tone of the crossover, think "Terror of the Autons" meets "Assignment: Earth". Far from the best for either show, given the inevitable clash of characteristics, but considered an important piece of television history even in the present day of TTL. As it should be...
    Last edited:
    Science Fiction/Double Feature
  • Science Fiction/Double Feature

    The science-fiction craze of the early 1970s was predominately viewed as an offshoot of Moonshot Lunacy, which dominated the era. However, a minority opinion held the craze as the culmination of a steadily growing interest with roots as far back as the 19th century (with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, who remained two of the genre's defining authors). Film and television had produced iconic works of science-fiction from their infancy; and now, in both media, the genre was finally coming of age.

    The annus mirabilis, decided in retrospect, had to be 1968 - the year of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the year that Star Trek became a mainstream success. At the time of its release, 2001 faced a violently mixed reaction from critics and audiences. It was "rediscovered" shortly thereafter by the counter-culture, who deemed the film's psychedelic climax as the perfect opportunity for the ultimate acid trip. But eventually, mainstream critics began reappraising the quality of the film, and came to regard it as a seminal masterpiece.

    2001 and Star Trek, when taken together, opened the floodgates; both predated Moonshot Lunacy, though it certainly can be (and often is) argued that these established properties and the moon landings entered into a feedback loop, and rode each other to glory.

    A new wave of science-fiction films and television series soon emerged. A few of the more prominent ones are listed below:

    "Far Beyond the Stars" was an anthology series, in the vein of "The Outer Limits". It began airing on ABC in 1970; perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series was its host, also an occasional writer, credited as the show's "Consulting Producer": Harlan Ellison.

    An H. Beam Piper novel called Little Fuzzy is filmed as The Fuzzies [1]. Neither critics nor audiences were quite sure what to make of the unusual premise - best described as a cross between Miracle on 34th Street and the classic Star Trek episode, "The Devil in the Dark" - but the movie was family-friendly and generally intended as a parable for children, to appreciate those who were different.

    Even in the United Kingdom, science-fiction was given a new lease on life: Star Trek began airing there in 1969, and a new program by veteran producer Gerry Anderson called "UFO" soon followed. Darker and more sombre than the sunny, optimistic Star Trek, it effectively captured the far more cautious and reserved atmosphere of early 1970s Britain as compared to the United States. "UFO", which aired on ITV, also served as a rival program to Doctor Who, on the BBC. The show aired in the US in syndication and became a sleeper hit; a second season was commissioned [2], with the help of American money (as CBS, aware of the NBC deal to begin airing Doctor Who, decided to follow in their footsteps), though with a change of setting to a lunar base, to better appeal to the Moonie Loonies. This second season was retitled "UFO: 1999", and began airing in the United States in September, 1972.

    Though not exactly science-fiction, a popular film with some elements of the genre (blended with fantasy and a touch of horror) is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory [3], starring Gene Wilder as the titular confectioner. Adapted from a popular children's book by Roald Dahl, the film also served as a vehicle for a line of chocolate bars developed by the Quaker Oats company. The "Wonka bar", a mixture of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers, was very successful, and a classic example of art imitating life. [4] For all the success that the film - and the candy - faced, Dahl thought little of the enterprise; the screenplay that he had submitted was heavily rewritten by David Seltzer, and it did not meet the original author's approval.

    One of the genre's few high-profile flops was THX-1138, a dark, dystopic picture directed by a formerly rising New Hollywood figure named George Lucas. Though not quite the disaster that M*A*S*H had been, it still did much to stop his momentum cold. [5] Any potential for rebound would have to be found within the studio system he so despised.

    In recognition of the leaps and bounds made by science-fiction in the popular media, the Academy of Science Fiction in Films and Television, created by Dr. Donald A. Reed, organized the Saturn Awards, first presented in 1972. [6] Star Trek, which had been off the air for almost a year by the time of the first awards ceremony that May, nonetheless received the Saturn Award for Best Television Series, along with Best Actor for William Shatner, Best Supporting Actor for Leonard Nimoy, and Best Supporting Actress for Nichelle Nichols.


    [1] Coincidentally, "The Fuzzies" was a working title for what later became the legendary Star Trek episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles"; the name of those creatures was changed specifically on account of the novel in question.

    [2] IOTL, a second season was almost commissioned, but ratings had declined too steeply for the executives' tastes. Here, with the audacious Doctor Who crossover in place, and NBC reaping the rewards, CBS decides to take a chance. It helps that, given those Moonie Loonies, ratings stay just high enough to justify the risk.

    [3] Quaker wanted the name of the film changed from Charlie to Willy Wonka in order to promote their Wonka bars. The urban legend that it was changed because of "Charlie" having connotations with regards to the overseas quagmire appears to be false; hence, despite the premature end to said quagmire, the name change sticks ITTL.

    [4] IOTL, there was an error in the formula for the real-life Wonka bars, which caused the chocolate to melt too quickly. Quaker Oats, which bankrolled the film, sold the rights to it a few years later. ITTL, since the Wonka bars were successful, we'll assume that the accompanying film was also more successful. All five of the kids are played by different actors; Wilder and Albertson remain in their OTL roles. The song "Cheer Up, Charlie" (the only song that is neither set in nor describing the magic of the chocolate factory) was cut, but all other songs remain in place.

    [5] IOTL, THX-1138 was re-released by Lucasfilm in the wake of the release of the original Star Wars, and even that wasn't enough to make the movie a hit. Therefore, it's a fairly safe bet that it's audience-proof.

    [6] IOTL, the Saturns were created to honour science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Here, given the higher profile of science-fiction relative to the other two, a greater need is felt to exist to honour it above the others. Also, thanks to the success of Star Trek and its imitators, the Saturns also cover television from the very beginning (making them akin to the Golden Globes).


    Don't worry; there will be more on this subject. I just thought I would give you an amuse-bouche before I continued with the meat of the matter. Besides, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. "Far Beyond the Stars" is entirely my creation, except for the title. I'm sure many of you will have no trouble guessing its origin. We all know that Harlan Ellison loves to hear himself talk, so giving him this platform should be lots of fun. He had plenty of teleplay experience IOTL, so let's assume that he fancies himself the next Rod Serling.

    Coming up next, the epic history of everybody's favourite lovable bigot! It should be ready in the next few days.
    Meet the Bunkers
  • Meet The Bunkers

    "Boy, the way Glenn Miller played,
    Songs that made the hit parade;
    Guys like me we had it made.
    Those were the days!
    Didn’t need no welfare state;
    Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee, my old LaSalle ran great.
    Those were the days!
    And you knew where you were then,
    Girls were girls and men were men.
    Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
    Hair was short and skirts were long,
    Kate Smith really sold a song.
    I don’t know just what went wrong.
    Those were the days!

    - Theme from Those Were the Days, lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse; sung by Carroll O'Connor, aka Archie Bunker, and Jean Stapleton, aka Edith Bunker [1]

    The history of Those Were the Days is an especially convoluted one, which has only added to its mystique, and would put even Star Trek to shame. It began life across the pond, as a British sitcom called "Till Death Us Do Part". It was created by veteran comedy writer Johnny Speight, who intended to use the program, and its lead character, Alf Garnett, to satirize racist and reactionary viewpoints. The show was defined by the ongoing conflicts between Garnett and his son-in-law; this was symbolic of the gaping generation gap facing young adults, and their middle-aged parents, in this era. Topical and highly provocative, the show became an instant hit; it also caught the attention of an American writer-producer by the name of Norman Lear.

    Lear became convinced that an adaptation of the program, tailored to American audiences, would also become hugely successful. ABC, the last-place network, was desperate enough to take a chance on this long-shot idea, and a pilot was developed in 1968, which was, to put it delicately, an eventful year indeed. It was named "Justice for All", a reference to the Pledge of Allegiance but also, in a manner typical of the show's British origins, a pun on the family’s surname: Justice. Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton played Archie and Edith Justice, being involved with the show from conception to delivery. [2] O'Connor, who had been living in Europe at the time that Norman Lear had contacted him about the part, moved back to his birthplace of New York City, where the pilot was being taped, to play the role. He found himself intimately involved in the writing process, as well as the characterization of Archie. Like Lear, O'Connor was very liberal, but he had an incredibly insightful understanding of the character and his circumstances, and imbued in him a powerful sense of pathos. He and Stapleton worked well together, their low-key chemistry perfectly evocative of a long-time married couple. Like O'Connor, Stapleton was a gifted performer, bringing warmth and humanity to her character, who would become the emotional core of the series.

    For all the strengths of the "Justice for All" pilot, there were many weaknesses, particularly the poor casting of the daughter and son-in-law characters, Gloria and Richard. [3] ABC, following the footsteps of NBC with Star Trek a few years before, agreed to commission a second pilot. It was renamed "Those Were the Days", and the filming was moved to Hollywood. Gloria and Richard, now nicknamed "Dickie", were recast, and the surname of the family was changed from "Justice" to "Bunker", a name deemed suitably Anglo-Saxon and evocative of American culture. The pilot script underwent only light revisions; indeed, it was O'Connor, and not Lear, who was largely responsible for the rewrite. 1969 was shaping up to be a far more optimistic year than 1968 had been; Hubert H. Humphrey, the "Happy Warrior", was now President, and he was working to end the overseas quagmire in which the United States had become entangled. Accordingly, the second pilot was considered "softer" than the first had been. But it wasn’t enough for ABC, who had seen the failure of "Turn-On" blow up in their faces earlier that year, and weren’t ready to take a chance on another highly topical, controversial series. [4] They rejected the pilot, and it looked like the show would be over before it even got started.

    But then salvation came from seemingly the unlikeliest of places. Fred Silverman, the new Vice-President of Programming at CBS, bought the broadcast rights from ABC. He wanted to revamp his network’s image, and was eager to produce shows that would appeal to younger, more urban audiences in order to do so. [5] He gave Lear and O'Connor one more chance to sell him and the network executives on the show. Though Star Trek had been the first series to secure a second pilot, and other shows had since followed, an order for a third pilot was unprecedented. Gloria and Dickie were once again recast: Gloria was played by Penny Marshall [6], who strongly resembled Stapleton, and Dickie, whose name was restored back to Richard, was played by… Richard Dreyfuss. Among the other finalists for the role was Marshall’s husband, Rob Reiner, who was deemed "too mean" for the part. [7] The script was once again lightly revised; it was 1970, and the renewed sense of American optimism, coupled with the rise of Moonshot Lunacy, meant that the originally intended tone of the show (that of the younger generation aghast at the continuing endurance of Archie's viewpoints, and the people who held them) was turned on its head: instead, it became about the struggle of the older generation to cast their viewpoints aside and embrace the positive changes impacting society. Norman Lear was hesitant about this paradigm shift, but O'Connor and Stapleton were both insistent that it would work. [8] The suits at the network agreed, and Those Were the Days was set to premiere in mid-season, on January 12, 1971. [9]

    The expected controversy surrounding the series failed to materialize, for the very simple reason that nobody was watching. Critics gave the show very positive notices, but audiences mostly ignored the show throughout its entire first season of 13 episodes. Word-of-mouth was excellent, as it had been with Star Trek in the early going, and combined with strong support from Silverman, there was no doubt of the series returning for a second season. It was during the Emmy Awards of May 9, 1971, that Those Were the Days finally made its mark. The characters from the show were featured in the opening sketch of the awards ceremony, and the series would go on to win three Emmys that night, including Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Lead Actress for Stapleton. It was a complete vindication for all involved, and from that point forward, the ratings continued to climb. The 1971-72 season would prove a turning point for network television in general, and Those Were the Days was leading the way…


    [1] IOTL, seven different versions of this theme song were produced: the 1968 pilot version; the 1969 pilot version; the 1972 single release version; and four different versions used throughout the run of the series proper. Stapleton's piano playing is livelier and more uptempo than most of her OTL renditions, reflecting both the optimism of TTL society and the greater emphasis on nostalgia. Also, the theme is reprised over the end credits; IOTL, the instrumental "Remembering You" was used as the end theme instead.

    [2] Stapleton was famously offered the role of Mrs. Teavee on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but declined in favour of shooting the third (and final) pilot instead. IOTL, the role was instead offered to Dodo Denney; ITTL, it went to somebody else.

    [3] Richard was Irish-American, echoing the Irish Catholic roots of the analogous character from "Till Death Us Do Part". It was only when Reiner (who could never pass as Irish-American) was cast IOTL that "Michael" (renamed after the original son-in-law) became Polish-American instead. The obvious irony was that Carroll O'Connor - playing a WASP - was himself Irish-American.

    [4] This is the exact same reason that ABC ultimately rejected All in the Family IOTL.

    [5] We'll hear a good deal more about Silverman and his plans for CBS in short order.

    [6] Penny Marshall would, IOTL, go on to play Laverne in "Laverne and Shirley" and become the first woman to direct a picture that grossed over $100 million: 1988's Big. She was chosen over the OTL Gloria, Sally Struthers, because it was felt that the character should be able to stand up to both her husband and her father, and Struthers was seen as "too passive".

    [7] Given the zeitgeist of TTL, a character who constantly complains and gripes about society in the Reiner mould would not work. Also, Dreyfuss - though he, like Reiner, is Jewish - is seen as more able to "pass" as Irish-American. Dreyfuss and O'Connor would both make light of their cross-ethnic casting, noting that they were an Irishman and a Jew playing a WASP and an Irishman.
    Since Dreyfuss is slightly shorter than Marshall, she has to wear flats and slouch a lot, and he wears lifts in his shoes.

    [8] O'Connor and Lear had two very different views of their lead character, why their show was a success, and how it appealed to people. IOTL, O'Connor was right, but Lear had just enough plausible deniability to delude himself into believing that his view was the correct one.

    [9] Given the show's emphasis on the older generation coming to terms with the new ways, Those Were the Days is retained as a title. IOTL, it was of course replaced by All in the Family. The date of the series premiere is as IOTL; the series being replaced was called "To Rome With Love", which was moved to another timeslot and, unsurprisingly, did not survive the 1970-71 season.


    And thus, we explore the origins of one of TTL's most important series: Those Were the Days. I'm sure that many of you can already see the rabble of butterflies forming in response to the changes from OTL. We'll further discuss production details, content, and audience response when we return to the series in the next cycle of updates. But coming up next time: a final farewell to classic television.
    The Final Curtain for Classic TV
  • The Final Curtain for Classic TV

    It was the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it.

    - Pat Buttram, aka Mr. Haney from “Green Acres”, on the Rural Purge (of 1971)

    The 1970-71 season is usually regarded as the final season of classic television, because it marked a number of important milestones for the medium. First and foremost, a brand new regulation was enacted that completely changed the nature of primetime network television.

    This regulation, the Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR), continued the proud American tradition of antitrust legislation. In essence, it existed because there were only three broadcast networks on American television – and had been since 1956, as it happened; though, as was so often the case, it took the while for the law to catch up with the changing times. The PTAR enacted a number of new restrictions to prevent the three networks from exercising too much power over their affiliate stations – many of which were not (and, under already existing antitrust laws, could not be) owned and operated by them. It also prevented simultaneous control of broadcasters and syndicates [1], in anticipation of a relationship forming that would be analogous to that between the theatres and the studios in the Golden Age of Hollywood, outlawed by the Miracle Decision of 1952. But the most important aspect of the new regulations was the effect that it would have on the primetime network schedule: Starting on September 13, 1971, it would begin at 8:00, instead of the customary 7:30 (7:00 on Sundays). [2] This meant that each network would lose four hours of primetime, for a total of twelve lost hours on the weekly aggregate network schedule. Therefore, the standard round of cancellations at the end of the season would have to be more drastic than usual, given the premium on timeslots. NBC and ABC were forced to be discriminating in choosing which shows to renew. CBS, on the other hand…

    CBS had an image problem. Though it was still the #1 network in terms of overall ratings, many of its most popular programs were considered over-the-hill; most of the hot, new shows with all the buzz were on the other two networks. And with all the buzz came the favourable demographics. A new paradigm had emerged among the mass of advertisers who funded the television industry: it just wasn’t enough to get eyeballs any more; they needed to be attached to young, affluent, and urban viewers, who weren’t watching CBS, derisively nicknamed the “Country Broadcasting System”. It was the network for old fogies and hayseed bumpkins. And this was a reputation would need to be overhauled in order to move forward. Enter Fred Silverman, the new Vice-President of Programming. Relatively young, and with an unusually keen talent for tapping into the zeitgeist, he had already set the network on the right track with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, and more recently Those Were the Days. But taking a risk on new shows was only half the battle; as far as Silverman was concerned, those old shows that continued to hang around the network like an albatross needed to go, yesterday. There would be no sacred cows at the new CBS, and the PTAR provided a golden opportunity for him to put his radical plans into action.

    Thus, the Rural Purge came into being. Under Silverman’s watch, at the conclusion of the 1970-71 season, virtually all programs that were perceived to appeal to primarily rural (or older) audiences were cancelled. Among the many shows on the chopping block were:

    “Beverly Hillbillies”, which had been one of the highest-rated programs of the 1960s, along with sister series “Green Acres”. Additionally, the rural-tinged variety show “Hee Haw”, another cornerstone of the CBS Tuesday night lineup, got the axe; though it was successfully revived in first-run syndication, and would continue to run for many years thereafter. It also had the dubious distinction of being the top-rated casualty of the Purge, finishing in the Top 20 that season, and standing as proof positive of the value of viewer demographics.

    “Family Affair” [3] and “Hogan’s Heroes”, neither of which had a rural setting, were both cancelled because of unfavourable demographics, particularly with regards to their decidedly “un-hip” reputations, and poor critical reviews. Tentative attempts were made to revive both shows, neither of which really went anywhere, much to the consternation of their legions of fans.

    “Lassie”, the longest-running of the shows targeted by the Purge, having aired since 1955. The famous show about a boy and his dog, based on the beloved series of films, was considered unbelievably quaint and even trite. It, like “Hee Haw”, survived in first-run syndication. “Mayberry R.F.D.”, a spinoff of “The Andy Griffith Show”, was also eliminated, as was “The Jim Nabors Hour”, another variety show starring the one-time “Gomer Pyle” star. [4]

    “Gunsmoke”, famously rescued from oblivion in 1967 by none other than the network CEO, William Paley, was finally cancelled for good, becoming perhaps the most notorious victim of the Rural Purge. [5] But it had fallen out of the Top 30, thanks to the tough competition from Star Trek, and even though that show would not be returning in the following season, Silverman’s mind was made up. This time, Paley did not come to his beloved program’s rescue. After 16 years, it was finally time to get the hell out of Dodge.

    The combined factors of the PTAR and the Rural Purge would result in a completely revamped network schedule for CBS in the coming 1971-72 season, with a turnover of over 38% – or nearly two-fifths – from the previous season. [6] Without a doubt, Silverman’s solution to the problems facing the network was an extremely risky one, but with great risks, there would surely come great rewards. But when it came to bringing an era to a definite close, he was without question one of the primary agents responsible.

    ABC and NBC, though far less comprehensive in meeting their own needs to make tough cancellation calls, also tended to eliminate shows with older, rural audiences. Lawrence Welk, Andy Williams, and Johnny Cash, all of whom hosted variety programs, saw their shows cancelled at the end of the season. Welk, like “Hee Haw” and “Lassie”, was able to continue in first-run syndication. Surprisingly enough, however, NBC did bring back all three of its flagship Western series, “Bonanza”, “The Virginian”, and “The High Chaparral”, for the following season. [7] This was in stark contrast to much of the other programming on its schedule, which would form the core of an emerging identity crisis for the network as it continued to move into the 1970s.

    The combination of the PTAR and the Rural Purge resulted in a natural dividing line between what had come before and what would come after. This was complemented by several other, lesser milestones that only served to solidify the sense of two distinct “eras” of television.

    Star Trek, one of the most popular and influential programs on television, fittingly ended its run in 1971 – July, as it happened, making it the final product of that season and, therefore, “The Last of the Classic TV shows”. This unique legacy was bolstered by its association with Desilu, which had also produced the pioneering “I Love Lucy”, and it was seen as fitting that the bounds of “Classic TV” were bookended by those two equally groundbreaking series. [8] In addition, several products from the twilight years of the Classic era would find prominence in the era of “Modern TV”, and indeed would come to define it: PBS, launched in 1970, would only gradually take shape as a cohesive network, with a strong brand of programming; “Mary Tyler Moore” and Those Were the Days, two shows that had a profound influence on much of the programming of the 1970s, and especially the shift in situation comedy from ridiculous and broad “madcap” plots to relatable, character-based stories. There were some enduring trends that bridged the gap between old and new, such as the continuing popularity of the science-fiction genre; but all things considered, there was a surprisingly potent air of finality involved for such an inherently fluid medium. It was truly the end of an age…


    [1] This combination of syndicates independent of the networks, and a strong presence of unaffiliated stations (along with more free timeslots for those that did have a network affiliation) would result in the rise of the first-run syndication market; this became the first widespread method of disseminating original television programming that did not involve the conventional broadcast networks.

    [2] The FCC allowed the networks to reclaim their lost hour of Sunday primetime in 1975 IOTL. On all nights of the week, primetime ends at 11:00, typically followed by the local nightly news, and then late night programming (in this era, that’s Johnny Carson on NBC, against all comers on the other two networks). Worth noting is that the concept of a “watershed” has never really existed in the United States.

    [3] “Family Affair” was almost brought back by ABC IOTL, because it was considered along the same lines as “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family”. The Bradys never aired ITTL, and in their place we have “Barefoot in the Park”, about a young married couple. Therefore, “Family Affair” would be less attractive to ABC, though “The Partridge Family” did finish in the Top 30 for the 1970-71 season.

    [4] “Mayberry R.F.D.” was the highest-rated casualty of the Purge IOTL, finishing at #15 for the 1970-71 season, and with that ranking still stands as one of the most popular shows ever to be cancelled in all of broadcast history. However, it only ran for three seasons, and followed in the footsteps of the beloved “Andy Griffith”, which explains its lack of staying power, even among classic TV buffs.

    [5] “Gunsmoke” finished at #5 in the 1970-71 season IOTL, and indeed, had seen something of a renaissance in the ratings in the late 1960s. But with Star Trek as competition ITTL, this doesn’t happen. Indeed, it quickly became very clear that all the attractive viewers were watching Star Trek, and all the unattractive ones were watching “Gunsmoke”. IOTL, given the show’s much higher ratings, it survived until 1975, with every indication that it would continue for a twenty-first season until the very last minute. With an original run of 20 seasons, it set a record that was finally tied by Law & Order in 2010.

    [6] That rate is calculated from eight new hours of programming out of twenty-one on the post-PTAR schedule. At eight hours out of twenty-five, measured according to the traditional schedule, that’s a turnover of “only” 32%. IOTL, the turnover was seven hours (one-third and 28%, respectively), given the survival of “Gunsmoke”.

    [7] IOTL, both “The Virginian” (renamed “The Men from Shiloh”) and “The High Chaparral” were cancelled at the end of the 1970-71 season. Both had higher ratings ITTL, particularly “Chaparral”, which had an attractive berth at the end of the now-legendary NBC Monday night lineup from 1968 onward, and duly benefitted from that.

    [8] This defines the bounds of “Classic TV” as being from 1951 – 1971. The era prior to that becomes known ITTL as “Experimental TV”, though many standards and conventions were firmly in place by the late 1940s. IOTL, the end of “Classic TV” is also traditionally defined as 1971, given the combined impact of the PTAR and the Rural Purge; but it was never as widely used as ITTL and, given all the time that has passed since then, the end boundary is continually shifting forward.


    And thus ends the 1970-71 cycle! And if I were inclined to divide this timeline into "Parts", in the vein of epic novels, then this would be as good a place as any to mark the end of "Part I". Thank you all for your continued interest in this timeline! Please join me as we continue the story with an exploration of the 1971-72 cycle. Until then, may all your channel-surfing end with something worth watching :)
    Last edited: