The Mary Tyler Moore Show
April 22, 2012 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Need sources on the media build-up to the premiere of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Need some help for a project I'm working on.

Would like to get some links to any articles or reviews that would have been written in the build-up to the series premiere of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the fall of 1970.

Trying to get some idea of the level of anticipation to this show's premiere.

Bonus question: I noticed this show was on Saturday nights. I take it that that used to be a big TV night. When did Saturday go from being a night when popular shows were on to the relative TV wasteland (in terms of popular network shows) that it is now? Why the change?
posted by glenngulia to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have access to Proquest through a library? That's probably your best source for stories. Saturday was a big night (hence Saturday Night Live) before cable.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2012

It seems the Times didn't review it until it had been on for a year. Quick search of the New Yorker archives turns up bubkis also.

Those are the only two sources I can think of off the top of my head which have archives this far back which would be readily accessible online --- I'm not 100 percent sure Lexis-Nexis even goes back that far. You'll have to hie thee to a library which access to historical newspaper archives --- preferably one with the TV Guide on microfiche. Also probably want Variety and Parade, if it goes back that far. Museum of TV and Radio might have some promos and so forth on file.
posted by Diablevert at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2012

Here are two places I'd try:

First off, the Paley Center has an archive of pretty much everything that has ever been broadcast in the US. I did a quick search and turned up a few promos for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. My guess is that they would know when Saturday became a less popular TV night. They also archive shows with commercials, so you can see how many ads they ran to promote the show in the run up to the premiere.

(Also, if I had to guess, the demise of Saturday night would be somewhat related to the advent of VCRs.)

Secondly, if you can't get to the Paley Center, which has branches in NYC and LA, try newspaper indexes. If I were at the library right now, I'd pull some for you. But many libraries will subscribe to digital archives of the NY Times or LA Times, and hopefully you should be able to find what you're looking for.
posted by juliaem at 8:19 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW I remember when the MTM Show premiered. My Dad was particularly looking forward to it (there wasn't an unusual amount of hype before the premiere, but it was featured in those CBS Fall Season promos they'd show during the late summer) because he still had a crush on her from her Dick Van Dyke Show days. At that time the leading women of TV were the subjects of mostly fluff pieces when they made the cover of TV Guide - I remember both Elizabeth Montgomery and Marlo Thomas getting a lot of press coverage when they changed their hairstyles on Bewitched and That Girl. The observations about feminism and non-nonsense females came years later; at the time their newsworthiness was strictly "Marlo Thomas's bangs in Season Four was a hairpiece and she's doffing it for Season Five!" stuff.

Here's an early review of MTM - note that even the term "sitcom" wasn't common back then.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:44 AM on April 22, 2012

I take it that that used to be a big TV night.

Actually I don't think that was true. I do remember reading an article that said the MTM show (and Bob Newhart) made it acceptable to stay in on Saturday nights. Society hostesses complained that people were foregoing parties to watch it when it aired (in those pre-vcr days).
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:39 PM on April 22, 2012

Best answer: The Subversive Mary Tyler Moore, LIFE Magazine, Dec. 18 1970.
posted by Smallpox at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2012

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