‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Stars Reflected on If They Thought Show Would Be a Hit

by Josh Lanier

If you say the name Dukes of Hazzard today, it will conjure up a myriad of things. It left tread marks deep in pop culture thanks to the General Lee car and the Daisy Duke shorts. But when they first started making the show, the only thing the show brought to the mind of CBS higher-ups was failure.

The cast sat down to discuss their time on The Dukes of Hazzard and discuss how the show that no one wanted became an international hit. Well, they’re still not exactly sure about the last part. But they all remembered how unloved they felt in the early days.

CBS originally ordered five episodes of the show, but the network wasn’t thrilled with the result. The cast could tell when they showed up to take the publicity photos for the marketing teams.

“It was at CBS. Nobody that had anything to do with the show thought it was gonna last more than the five shows we shot down there,” John Schneider said.

“Nobody cared about us,” Catherine Bach said.

That quickly changed as the ratings came in for those first batch of episodes. The Dukes of Hazzard was a massive hit. It ran for 147 episodes over seven seasons.

Each of the show’s main stars became break-out stars. They all remained popular actors throughout the 1980s. That kind of instant fame normally causes problems behind the scenes for the new stars, but Bach said everyone was just happy to be working.

“Everybody was a star on our show,” Bach said in a 2013 interview. “Everybody was recognized for what they did, and everybody did their very best job. We all sort of started in the business together.”

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Cast Says Shows’ Success Was Because of Crew

Every TV show set is like a small city. There are hundreds of people who work behind the scenes to make the handful of stars look great, and Dukes of Hazzard is no exception. The cast went as far as to say that the show wouldn’t have been a hit if it had a different cast of characters behind the cameras.

“We had the most wonderful cameramen, the mos wonderful cinematographers, and the most wonderful stunt group,” Catherine Bach said. “Everybody would come by our set to see what was going on next, what they were going to do. Because of the quality of people that were hired.”

Bach said that while the cast had years of experience, the crew helped hone their skills into something people wanted to watch week after week.

“These men were so incredible and so generous with their talent and helping us all,” she said. “Tom has his master’s in music. I went to school for a million years at UCLA, drama classes, and had been in a lot of plays. John had done an incredible amount of work for a youngster as well. These men took us to another level and watched over us. All the cast of Dukes of Hazzard were just incredible in their parts. And we all gave each other a lot of respect for that.”