Thursday, September 30, 2010

"The Colbys" Season 2 - Tonight on LBColby

As of tonight, those of you who have been eagerly anticipating the return of "The Colbys" (as I could tell by the numerous comments and messages I received over the summer)...

...will be happy to see the first of an additional 25 episodes of the glam drama on this "Dynasty" blog. 
I will be posting the episodes every Thursday night at 9:00pm Central European Time (that's the show's old timeslot on the ABC TV network) - which will be 3:00pm EST / 12:00pm PST in the US.

That means I'll be somewhat copying the show's original schedule - the series finale will be posted in late March 2011.

Here's now a little background information on tonight's episode which is titled "The Gathering Storm."

It aired on Wednesday, September 24, 1986 at a special time of 10:00pm (after the 7th season premiere of "Dynasty") replacing "Arthur Hailey's Hotel" for one week only (the show's 2nd episode then aired the following day, September 25, in the show's regular timeslot - Thursdays at 9:00pm). 

The scheduling move, as expected, did give the show's 2nd season a solid start - the episode finished 28th for the week ("The Colbys" averaged 35th in season 1) posting a 16.6 rating (that means about 14.5 million households or over 20 million viewers watched the episode - killer ratings today, but only average in those days). The following night, however, the show dropped to 55th and remained out of the top-50 for most of the season.

In the early summer of 1986, shortly before the production of season 2 began, it was confirmed that ABC agreed to allow Barbara Stanwyck to leave the series after she had spent the whole first season publicly complaining about her role.

Stephanie Beacham, Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, John Forsythe and Linda Evans promoting a special 2-hour "Dynasty" episode in 1985
The actress demanded that her character Constance Patterson Colby be killed off (which is why her mid-season demise came as no surprise), supposedly to prevent any chance that she return to the show. She was originally supposed to appear in 7 episodes.

Later, in July 1986, the press reported the casting of Kim Morgan Greene as a new love interest for Maxwell Caulfield's "Miles Colby." Karen Cellini, who auditioned for the same role, was instead hired to replace Catherine Oxenberg on "Dynasty", who herself was fired that month after asking for a raise.

In August 1986, the producers announced the departure of Ken Howard ("Jason Colby's" attorney "Garret Boydston"), who would still appear in the first two episodes of season 2. He went on to do some work at Yale and Harvard, before returning to series TV. Later, the actor spoke of his frustration about the lack of creative control and compared acting on "The Colbys" to a factory job.

Shortly before the season began, many had predicted "The Colbys'" ratings collapse. CBS was moving its "Dallas" spin-off "Knots Landing" from Thursdays at 10pm into the same timeslot. Also, NBC continued to air its blockbuster hit "Cheers," a part of its legendary Must-See-TV line-up.

To make matters worse, ABC sandwhiched the show between two newsmagazines, one of which - "Our World" ("The Colbys'" 8:00pm lead-in) was the lowest-rated program on US television, giving "The Colbys" very little lead-in support.

Finally, the prime-time soap genre as a whole (including the parent series "Dynasty") continued its decline, and ABC tried to help "The Colbys" by airing the show with as few pre-emptions as possible, thus forcing the producers to film two episodes at the same time.

And it was under those pressures that the writers and the actors tried to improve the show and come up with the best 2nd season possible.

Love Thy Brother - John James & Maxwell Caulfield played the dogfighting Colby siblings

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