This Is The Place To Be
In 1971, ABC utilized a fresh approach with This Is The Place To Be, a spot offering up the network as a wholesome part of the American family experience. This innovative film, with music written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter (arranged and scored by Jimmie Haskell), utilized a kaleidoscope of shows that the network had on the air in 1971 - an amazing array of still recognizable classics like The Mod Squad, 77 Sunset Strip and The Brady Bunch - blended with hip special effects of couples dancing and people having a good time.
This was the same kind of graphic innovation the network was employing on its highly successful ABC Movie of the Week series. The animation may look like it was created by computer, but that was an impossibility at the time. Instead, it was achieved with a complex mirror/camera device that is still used today, most recently by CBS for one of their 1999 prime-time IDs.
The same This Is The Place To Be jingle was used again in 1972, freshly rearranged by Johnny Mann.
This time the stars were a part of the special effects, their images flying toward viewer amid the hypnotic mirrored animation. The music was warmed-over schmaltz, but the visuals remain modern, grabbing and dynamic - meant to lull audiences into a trance, I suppose, no longer able to reach for the remote.
The results were mixed. ABC's ratings (with the exception of sports programming) for 1972-73 slipped to the lowest point in a decade. The net's only bright spot came with a '73-'74 mid-season sleeper, Happy Days, and that show would change the net's fortunes forever. For 1973, it was CBS that dominated the top Neilsen spots, promising viewers that "CBS is easy on the eyes," a tepid endorsement at best.
In 1974, the graphic effects were minimized and a warm and fuzzy visual approach was embraced for a brand new slogan - "What you see on ABC this fall, you'll be talkin' about tomorrow.". In this syrupy, Bizarro-world concoction (with cringe-inducing lyrics like "You and Me and ABC, We're talkin' it over, and workin' it out") everyday people were seen bonding at work, falling in love and seeking spiritual guidance, having soaked up the 'ABC experience' the night before. "If we talk it out together, we could make it, and I could be your friend," the network pleaded. With only three shows in the top twenty when the last season's ended, ABC was understandably contrite.
In another overblown '74 spot, workers talked about the ABC shows they watched the night before in the most unrealistic way possible (like two construction workers suspended hundreds of feet in the air on a steel girder talking about how frightening The Night Stalker was). Every one of the new shows in that overblown, clearly desperate 1974 promotion was a great big flop. And no wonder - ABC's mediocre line-up that fall could never have lived up to the hype.
The alphabet net knew they had the best promotion guys in the business, what they needed was a new quarterback. Fred Silverman, CBS' programming whiz, was recruited in 1974 to perform the same ratings magic for ABC that he delivered for CBS in recent years.
But until Silverman's CBS contract was up and he could start at ABC, interim programmer Michael Eisner (Disney's current president) was given an impossible task - create 6 midseason hits for January, 1975. Rising to the challenge, three of his entries hit and hit big - Barney Miller, S.W.A.T., and Baretta.
Because of these recent successes, and steadily growing numbers for Happy Days, ABC ended up as the highest-rated network for 1975-76. Suddenly, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Rich Man Poor Man, The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, the ABC Movie, Starsky and Hutch, Welcome Back Kotter and other ABC entries were crowding the top twenty.
The network's stategy was finally paying off, just as they were undergoing a regime change.
The slogan for Fred Silverman's first season as programmer in 1976 was "Welcome to the Bright New World of ABC". The network stayed on top for the next few seasons thanks to still-hot hits like Happy Days, Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch and Rich Man, Poor Man, all primarily developed under Eisner and/or Diller.
ABC was 'Still The One' in 1977. This music-video (based on a 1976 hit song by the band Orleans) emphasized the history of great shows seen on the net over the years with clips from past and present day hits. CBS may have been the 'Tiffany Network' in 1977, but ABC also had a long, rich history of family entertainment to draw on for this spot - and ABC was, solidly, the number-one rated network now.
('Still the One' songwriter John Hall made the news in 2004 when he demanded that the Bush reelection campaign stop using the tune at their rallys.)
We're the One in a Million - ABC
By 1979-80, Fred Silverman had moved on to NBC, but ABC was Still The One (yet again) with a jazzy, modern rearrangement of the 1977 promo tune produced by Jam Productions in Dallas .
This time the ABC stars were seen congregating at a big family picnic, meant to bring the net's celebrities down to earth a bit.
But it was ratings that were falling from the sky. ABC was bleeding viewers because the Silverman regime failed to come up with enough renewable programs - ending up with only 6 (rapidly-aging) shows in the top-twenty by the end of the 1979-80 season.
contrast, CBS was gaining ground and "Looking
Good", while "Proud
As A Peacock" NBC was dependent on gimmicks, specials and
movies for their biggest ratings.
Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Ken Berry Interview / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Kathy Garver Interview / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Bill Cosby - WTF?!? / Ed Asner Interview / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Gavin McLeod / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Carson Tonight Show / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / Punk Book / / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|