You can’t say THAT on Television!

February 6, 1967 – The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour premiers on CBS.  Using the typical comedy/variety stick of the era, the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour became what the “cool people” watched on TV.  Pushing the envelope of what was considered permissible for television, the conservative looking Smother Brothers and their writers (including Steve Martin, Rob Reiner and Al Brooks) were often at odds with CBS censors.  While their parents watched Bonanza on NBC, kids in the 15 – 25 year old demographic were watching guest stars like of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Joan Baez, and Steppenwolf.  Once taboo topics such as  politics, sex, race, and drugs were openly discussed for the first time.  Battles with the network over delivering shows 10 days prior to broadcast for approval or editing finally led CBS to cancel the show.  The Smother Brothers filed suit for breach of contract, which they won, but the show never renewed.  In 1970 they did a summer show for ABC but it was not picked up for the fall season.  In 1975 they had a show on NBC, but it too was cancelled after a few weeks.

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Filed under 1960s, 1970s, Television

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