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Must-See Rerun TV: ‘Mork & Mindy,’ Which First Made Robin Williams a Star, Back on TV

Mar 19, 2012  •  Post A Comment

"Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982) was the sitcom that made Robin WIlliams a household name.

Starting on Monday, April 2, The Hub–the kids and family network that’s a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro–will add "classic sitcoms “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” “The Facts of Life” and “Mork & Mindy” to the network’s [prime-time] lineup … with encore presentations in late-night and on weekends," the netork has announced.

"Mork & Mindy," a spinoff of a crazy UFO episode of "Happy Days," was an immediate hit. It was tied for No. 3 in the ratings for the 1978-1979 season, with "Happy Days." Both had a 28.6 rating. Only "Three’s Company" (30.3) and "Laverne & Shirley" (30.5) had higher ratings for the season.

What happened next is also famous in the annals of TV. According to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows,’ by our good friend TIm Brooks and his partner Earle Marsh, "After a season of simple slapstick and big ratings, both the producers and the network (ABC) unfortunately got a little cocky and violated one of television’s cardinal rules: ‘Don’t tamper with a hit.’ "

"In the process of doing so, they almost destroyed the program. The producers decided to shift to more ‘meaningful’ stories, opening the second season with a strange, surrealistic episode in which Mork shrunk away to nothing and dropped into a never-never world filled with caricatures of good and evil. At the same time practically the whole supporting cast was changed. Simultaneously, ABC decided to move the series from its established Thursday time slot to Sunday, to prop up their sagging schedule on that night. Understandably confused, viewers deserted the show in droves and it lost nearly half its audience."

  

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