Monday, April 2, 2007

Angel's In Paradise, September 14, 1977

In the spring of 1976, a new television genre was officially launched. A jiggly television movie starring Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith surpassed anyone's expectations, scoring a staggering 55% share of the TV audience. Naturally, ABC scheduled the movie for a fall series and promoted the upcoming series, Charlie's Angels, with posters, dolls, bubble gum cards, and magazine covers. It didn't matter that most episodes featured stale writing or ridiculous plots. Audiences were tuning in to watch the three beautiful ladies trot around, bra-less, in skimpy costumes.

By the first season's end, as full-scale Farrah-mania gripped the country, Fawcett announced she was leaving the show. With ABC in panic, lawsuits were filed, but to no avail. Farrah Fawcett wanted out of the show. The withdrawal of Fawcett, however, actually pushed the show to greater heights. Summer rerun ratings were enormous, and every tabloid, newspaper, and magazine scored with talk of a new angel and Farrah's departure. Even Farrah's non-Angel appearances inadvertantly promoted the show, as she was repeatedly described as "former-angel Farrah Fawcett."

As it turned out, ABC had nothing to worry about. The producer's taunted and teased the audience as everyone waited to see the new angel, kept secret until the broadcast. At first glimpse, however, it was readily apparent that Cheryl Ladd was the perfect replacement. The second season premiere landed firmly at #1. As before, audiences tuned in for the T&A, and Charlie's Angels wiggled and jiggled around the Top Ten for two more years.

ORIGINAL SPECIAL OPENING CREDITS FOR SEASON 2 and new angel introduction.....

Trivia: In one of the strangest power plays in TV history, Fawcett's husband Lee Majors, star of the Six Million Dollar Man, was the culprit behind Farrah's departure. Somehow this did not offend ABC, nor did Lee Majors' demands that the network cancel the top-rated Bionic Woman, despite an Emmy award win for Bionic star Lindsey Wagner. And ABC did cancel the Bionic Woman! It has been stated by biographer Herbie J. Pilato that Mr. Majors was unhappy that the Bionic Woman was receiving higher ratings and critical acclaim than his own bionic show.

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