JournalismTV & Showbiz

Angry Viewers to Station: Don’t Mess with Andy Griffith!

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.

What’s your favorite television show, old or new, that a local station airs? How upset would you be if the station moved it to a different time? Can you imagine being this upset?


  1. I totally agree with this column. I’m a native of North Carolina myself and absolutely do not understand this obsession with Andy Griffith. Those episodes have been running and running and running for 60 years, after all! WFMY, earlier this month, made a number of changes including a 4 PM local news/talk program, another half-hour of news at 5:30, and a second helping of Jeopardy! at 3:30. Andy was banished to the weekends. I love it! News is real life; Andy is a symbol of a world that never existed. And WFMY, one of the most backward stations it has ever been my misfortune to watch, finally seems to be getting in step with the 21st century.

  2. If something has been around for three decades then why bother messing with it? When I teach my students to write, I insist they know their audience. Come on now, if NC is the birthplace of the show and it’s been on that long, there has to be a reason for it. Why change it? It’s like iPhone 5. Why make the charger different? I think it is to tick people off.

  3. Just be glad that CBS has the AFC games, and the not the NFC
    games. My issue comes up with Fox and the NFL. Because Charleston is far enough
    away from the hometown of an NFL team, the Fox station has some liberty in what
    game they show. Usually it’s my beloved Carolina Panthers. But there’s a vocal
    minority of fans of Atlanta, Washington, and New Orleans that all want their
    teams games shown.
    The Carolina Panthers. South
    Carolina. That’s our regional team and it should be the game that’s shown.
    I realize NFL has the Sunday
    Ticket package that would allow me to control what game I get, however; the
    ONLY way to get Sunday Ticket is through Direct TV’s satellite system.
    Charleston is well known for the struggles it has with satellite TV. In
    addition, in my neighborhood we have a lot of old (that is tall) trees which
    make satellite TV an unreliable option.

  4. “Sorry, I’m having a hard time getting past “u’re” used to mean “your”. But “mutiny”? Really?”
    If the comment was from Twitter, sometimes you have to have to do some strange things to get your message to fit in 140 characters.

  5. I always wonder how many people who say they won’t watch anymore actually stick to that. 🙂 
    My favorite old TV show (right now) is Maude.  I missed much of Maude when it ran originally – some of it because I was too young to understand the subject, to be honest – but I’ve a new appreciation for the show and I’m enjoying watching reruns.  I wouldn’t be too upset if they changed the time. I’d just tape it if I couldn’t watch it live and watch it later on.  No big deal for me.
    My favorite new show is Grimm.  I would only get upset if they move it around so much that I can’t find it to watch it.  That probably won’t be an issue with this one as I have my DVR set to record all new episodes so as long as the listing is right, I’ll get to watch it.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.