‘Father Knows Best’: Initial TV Ratings Forced the Shows Cancelation Before Protests Brought it Back

by Atlanta Northcutt
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The hit television show “Father Knows Best” made a massive comeback at the request of fans.

“Father Knows Best” is a popular TV series that began as a radio program in 1949. Robert Young was the only actor to play the “Father” on the show, moving from radio broadcasts to the TV set in 1954 where it ran for six seasons.

“Father Knows Best” Cycles Through Networks

After its initial CBS debut, the network decided to cancel the show. NBC was the next to pick up “Father Knows Best” where it ran for three years. In 1958, the program was canceled. CBS seemed to have remorse for first dropping the show. As soon as the Peacock network let it go, CBS again began to air it until 1960 when the sitcom came to its final run.

The TV show isn’t the only series to continuously be picked up and dropped until finding its beginning and ending spot at CBS. “The Odd Couple” also suffered from this fate. However, as “Father Knows Best” grew older, it began to pick up even more fans.

Young, the main star of the show, left the series during its height of popularity. Prime-time TV continued to run the program on CBS from 1960 to 1962. ABC picked up the series, where it lasted for one year. The network continued to broadcast reruns for many years.

The TV Show’s Impact on American Pop-Culture

“Father Knows Best” was actually on air on Nov. 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The airing of the show in New York City was quickly rerouted to the news stations that was covering the president’s death.

In the late 1950s, the sitcom was so well-known that it became ingrained in America’s pop-culture. In 1959, an episode of the show was filmed and sent out to schools, churches, and civic groups by the US Treasury. It was entitled “24 Hours In Tyrant Land” where it was used to promote Savings Bonds sales. The episode never reached TV screens.

Whether known for its appearances in pop-culture or for the love of the show, “Father Knows Best” proves to be an important part of American TV history. In fact, the family sitcom is so well-known that viewers demanded the show’s return after one of its initial cancellations.

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