Over the course of its tenure, “M*A*S*H” moved all over the place in terms of its air time and day. And that continued until one day, the show’s cast and crew marched over to CBS headquarters to demand a fixed time slot.
In the show’s fourth season, CBS put the show up against NBC’s “Sanford and Son” and “Chico and the Man” on Friday night. “M*A*S*H” then fell out of the top 10 in the Nielsen ratings. At that point, the show had been moved around so much that co-creators Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds had hit their breaking point.
‘M*A*S*H’ Cast and Crew Demand a Set Time Slot
So Gelbart and Reynolds asked the cast to join them on a trip over to CBS headquarters. Once there, the whole group sat down across from CBS President Robert Wood and VP of Programs Fred Silverman.
The “M*A*S*H” group requested that the network quit moving them around and give them a better night than Friday night. What does “M*A*S*H” mean to CBS that it’s being treated this way?, they asked.
The CBS executives reassured the group that “M*A*S*H” was the network’s most prized show. And they consented to give it a better night. So “M*A*S*H” switched midseason from Friday to Tuesday night at 9 p.m. And there it remained for two years, before ultimately settling in on Mondays at 9 p.m.
CBS Nearly Canceled the Show in Its First Season
“M*A*S*H*” got off to a rough start, and the network almost canceled it during Season 1. But by the series finale, 105.9 million viewers were watching “M*A*S*H,” a ratings record that lasted until the 2010 Super Bowl.
During its run, the show received more than 150 Emmy nominations and won the award 62 times. And the cast of “M*A*S*H” has remained close over the years, with Major Margaret Houlihan actress Loretta Swit referring to them as a “family.”
And that certainly was how the “M*A*S*H” cast and crew settled things with the network: All for one and one for all.