‘M*A*S*H’ Actor Alan Alda Doesn’t ‘Mind’ That State of Television is ‘Splintered’

by Joe Rutland

If anyone has a keen eye for the television industry and what’s going on in it, then put “M*A*S*H” star Alan Alda in that category.

Alda talked about what he sees going on in a 2018 interview with radio station WTOP.

“I don’t mind that things are splintered now — that means nobody will kill our record!” Alda, who played Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce on “M*A*S*H,” joked. “It’s fun having that record. It was an amazing moment.”

‘M*A*S*H’ Cast Caught Off-Guard By People Staying Home For Finale

What moment is Alda referring to in the interview? The final episode of an 11-season run on CBS called “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.”

“We didn’t know how popular the show was until the night the last episode was playing,” Alda said. “We were on our way to a restaurant to celebrate while the country was watching the show and suddenly we realized that the streets were practically empty.”

Then a stark moment hit Alda. “We said, ‘Oh my God, they’re all home watching the show!'” he said. The final episode of “M*A*S*H” was, from 1983 through 2010, the most-watched series finale in television history.

What topples the show from its top spot? Super Bowl XLIV, where the New Orleans Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts in 2010.

Nielsen puts the total viewers for that “M*A*S*H” series ending at 105.97 million viewers. The Saints’ victory drew 106.5 million viewers. Still, the last show with Alda, Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, and others remains among the elite finales.

Alda Freely Admits That He Is Not A Fan Of Hearing, Reading Criticism

For his career, Alan Alda has remained somewhat leery of reading reviews. That’s not just about “M*A*S*H” but any production he’s involved with be it on stage or in a film. It’s the criticism that gets to Alda and he talks about it in a 2017 interview with Harvard Business Review.

“I’ve always hated criticism,” Alda said. “For a long time, I would not read any reviews, because they stick in your head. The bad ones you never forget, and the good ones often praise you for the wrong things.”

When doing the interview in 2017, Alda says he believed he was getting better at receiving it.

“I mean, when we do a workshop, I say, ‘Tell us what didn’t work for you or what you think we could do better,'” Alda says. “I don’t crave criticism, but I do want an honest response.”

He admits to being “a little more aware that criticism.” Alda adds that it is simply one person’s opinion “and I don’t have to accept it.”

Alan Alda did find success not only on “M*A*S*H” but in movies, too, like “Paper Lion” where he plays author George Plimpton trying out for the National Football League’s Detroit Lions.