The Andy Griffith Show has been a fixture on many stations for years, long after it left the air in 1968. A North Carolina station is catching a backlash for relocating the program to make way for a new news program.
When certain shows on your schedule don’t air, you know you’re going to hear about it: big sports events, soap operas, Star Trek. Even recent breaking news pre-emptions of The Price is Right caused angry fans to start tweeting up complaints.
But when you’re in North Carolina, the birthplace of the late Andy Griffith, removing his 1960s CBS sitcom from its regular time slot brings an even higher temperature of firestorm.
That’s what CBS affiliate WFMY-TV in Greensboro is finding out the hard way. For three decades now — yes, 30 years — they’ve been running the rural comedy weekdays at 5:30pm, sandwiched between its 5pm and 6pm newscasts.
Then, they got a bright idea. The kind of idea any news consultant who took one look at their schedule without the ability to appreciate the popularity and loyalty of a program like The Andy Griffith Show generates might have.
They decided to take that 5:30pm time slot for a new news program. They also decided to offer an hour of Griffith reruns at 3:00pm. You’d think doubling the Mayberry exposure would be well-received.
Cue the outrage.
I have to be honest: I’m a big fan of The Andy Griffith Show. I own the first five seasons on DVD. (I stopped at five because that was the last year Don Knotts was on the show, and when he left, it just wasn’t the same.) But really, folks, it’s a television show. As good as it was, as brilliantly written as it was, it’s a television show.
Keep that in mind as you consider the feedback this station received:
“ok news 2 if u actually listen 2 u’re viewers then u might want 2 leave andy where he is at or u’re going 2 have mutiny on the bound cause there r some very loyal andy fans n NC”
Sorry, I’m having a hard time getting past “u’re” used to mean “your”. But “mutiny”? Really?
“No Andy at 5:30…i won’t be watchin…tune in to Maury on My48… ”
Yes, because when you think of wholesome family entertainment, the first two shows that roll off the tip of the tongue are The Andy Griffith Show and Maury. Who’s your baby-daddy?!?
“Andy at 5:30 is what made me watch News 2 either at 5 or at 6 until recently when Eric Chilton got moved to the mornings…then, I watched News 2 for most of the news except for the weather. Now, I will have no reason tohave channel 2 on at all. … I am sorry to say it, but this is the final straw…goodbye, WFMY.”
Here’s a little fact of life about television: viewers are never sorry to tell you they’re going to stop watching you. From the number of times every station I’ve ever worked for has had someone say that, you’d think delivering that message might just be the national pastime. But if Andy Griffith is the only reason this person watched the news, I’d say she isn’t really interested in the news to begin with.
“I have been watching Andy Griffith since I was too young to remember! changing it up is a bad idea because most people don’t get home til after 5pm.”
This one really makes me chuckle. I have to wonder if this person realizes that VCRs, DVD players and DVRs were ever invented. If you aren’t home when the show you want to watch is on, record it.
Common sense is your friend.
I think it’s great to be passionate about a show. But unfortunately, times change and tastes change. Sometimes, even for the classics.