‘Happy Days’: Why the Series Was Almost Canceled After 1 Season

by Emily Morgan

The cherished sitcom “Happy Days” left a mark on entertainment history no one saw coming— even the cast. During the ’70s and 80s, audiences raved about the show, which followed the lives of the Cunningham family.

When producers nearly canned the show after one season, who knows how different television history could’ve been?

After the show’s producers saw low ratings after the first season, they seriously debated calling it quits. The show found it hard to capture audiences and compete with the other shows in the same time slot.

However, things started to look up for “Happy Days” after producers featured Henry Winkler’s character, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, in a much more significant role.

For viewers, their favorite part was getting to see the grease monkey work on cars while charming various cute girls.

He became so essential for the ratings that producers even considered changing the show’s name to “Fonzie’s Happy Days.” However, there were other alternative titles in the running.

‘Happy Days’ Almost Had A Different Title

Before taping the first episode, the show’s working title was “COOL.” The show’s creator, Gary Marshall, thought the one-word, all-caps title accurately described the characters and setting. However, he changed his mind about the title once various focus groups didn’t share Mashall’s opinion.

When the producers asked test audiences about the name, many thought it reminded them of the Kool cigarette brand. As a result, it made them believe that “Happy Days” revolved around smoking.

A producer finally suggested the name “Happy Days” and finally the name stuck, according to History 101.

When the network came to Marshall about the show, the idea was the sitcom would take place in the 1920s.

Marshall was interested in the idea but had one condition. He stipulated that the show would be set during the era of his childhood: the idyllic 1950s.