‘Dukes of Hazzard’: One Star Only Signed On for Eight Episodes

by John Jamison

When “Dukes of Hazzard” hit TV screens, fans were immediately taken by the family dynamic between Bo, Luke, Daisy, and Uncle Jesse. But the show first aired as a replacement, and as such, the network had only ordered eight episodes. Because of this, actor Denver Pyle only anticipated a short stint in the role of Uncle Jesse.

Much to the cast’s delight, however, “Dukes of Hazzard” proved popular, and the show went on a successful run. In a 1996 reunion show on Prime Time Country, the cast talked about having no idea how successful the show would be.

“Not only I didn’t have any idea, Warners didn’t have any idea,” Pyle said. “This whole thing started out to be a summer replacement. And we had a contract to do eight shows, you know? And that was- they were just going to run it for a summer, somebody wanted to fill up a little contract at Warner Brothers. We came on the air and these two guys took us to number one.”

Denver Pyle was referring to John Schneider and Tom Wopat, who played Bo and Luke Duke. Although, he was being modest. While fans loved Bo and Luke, Uncle Jesse was a major fixture on the show as well. And he contributed to its success in his own way. Further, Catherine Bach playing Daisy Duke did her own part in carrying the show to new heights.

“And remember? They came back and said ‘We gotta do 22 more,” Pyle continued in the 1996 show.

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Stars Remembered How Quickly Things Changed

CBS quickly realized what they had their hands on and locked “Dukes of Hazzard” up for another two years. And according to Tom Wopat, everything was a blur from there on out.

“We worked for the next two years straight. It was wild,” he said during the reunion show.

And work they did. It was reportedly an incredibly demanding show to put together, too. The cast was frequently working in hot conditions for 12 hours a day. And they kept up the pace for 10 months out of the year.

Difficult as it was, Denver Pyle and the rest of the cast were happy with the success they enjoyed on “Dukes of Hazzard.” Even though they only anticipated those first eight episodes.