‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Here’s Why the Show Was Canceled in 1971

by Kayla Zadel

The iconic hit show “The Beverly Hillbillies” was actually holding its own in rating when CBS Network decided to pull the show.

That’s right. “The Beverly Hillbillies” weren’t only living the high-life on screen, but off too. The show was maintaining a loyal audience in 1971. As a matter of fact, it was the fastest-rising number-one show in history. That’s when CBS decided to cancel the show as part of its rural purge. The network was moving in a new direction and wanting to expand its horizons.

Sitcoms like “The Beverly Hillbillies” were ratings gold in the 1960s. Audiences across the country loved to laugh at and with shows like “Hillbillies.” According to Cheat Sheet, “Hillbillies” along with “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction,” and “The Andy Griffith Show” not only defined TV but CBS as well.

However, CBS canceled every single rural-set show, despite them being a hit and something that its audience related to. But the network chose to cater to its younger audiences that wanted something real and gritty.

About ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

The show that so many Americans loved was about a family of misfits, called hillbillies. This rural family was struggling. However, Jed Clampett, played by Buddy Ebsen, accidentally struck oil when he was looking for food. As a result, the Clampett’s decided to move out west and live the ritzy life in Beverly Hills.

Most of the sitcom shows how the Hillbillies stick out like a sore thumb. Audiences tuned in every week to see what sort of shenanigans the Clampett family would find themselves in.

Albeit fictional, the show was somewhat of an insight into the divide between urban and rural dwellers.

Despite the cancellation, the cast reunited for a pair of specials in the eighties and nineties. Then the Hillbillies got a big-screen deal, too, in the 1990s.

Read more about “The Beverly Hillbillies” here on Outsider.com.