Sanford and Son, TV series about junk dealer, an instant, impressive hit
By Rick Du Brow, Hollywood
NBC TV’s new midseason situation comedy series, “Sanford and Son,” about an aging black Los Angeles junk dealer, appears to be an instant, impressive hit, according to the national ratings issued Monday.
The series, already critically acclaimed for its hilarious and touching portrayal of the relationship between the elderly junk dealer and his ambitious 32-year-old bachelor son, finished fifth among all network programs. “Sanford and Son” stars Redd Foxx as Fred G. Sanford, and Demond Wilson co-stars as his son Lamont Sanford.
Indications that NBC TV had a potential major success in “Sanford and Son” came when it got whopping overnight ratings in New York and Los Angeles for its premiere, and then came in sixth in the 70 city ranking.
What the national ratings seem to indicate rather clearly is that “Sanford and Son” is not merely popular in such big cities as New York and Los Angeles and the top 70 markets, but with the nation at large.
At least, that is the message from the statistics announced Monday, which cover the week ending January 16, and include the “Sanford and Son” premiere episode. Last Friday night’s second episode, by the way, made a strong showing again in the New York and Los Angeles overnight ratings, though not quite up to the first one.
While “Sanford and Son” came in fifth in the rankings issued Monday. CBS TV’s “All in the Family” finished No. 1 again, and this double success is quite a tribute to the production company of Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear, which turns out both series.
The difference is that while “Sanford and Son” seems to have caught on immediately with a large audience, “All in the Family,” which also began as a midseason replacement last year, was a slow starter in the ratings. It had mediocre statistics in its first 13 programs, and then, curiously, caught on big in its reruns, with a big push from critics.
While audiences have naturally taken to such stars as Carrol O’Connor In “All in the Family” and Redd Foxx in “Sanford and Son,” the Yorkin-Lear production company is the chief hero of the success because of its persistence in getting the shows on the air, and doing them its own way.
The result is a breath of fresh air in video comedy, a funny exposure to some aspects of contemporary life heretofore considered taboo or unsaleable at the ultra cautious networks., Who would have thought that a bigot and a black junk dealer would be the central characters of two of the nation’s most popular shows?
Sanford and Son intro and opening credits – show theme song
Other network ratings
The national ratings also reported on some other new midseason series. CBS TV’S situation comedy with Don Rickies as an advertising man with a family did fairly well, coming in 34th, despite a dreadful time slot late Friday night.
Another new CBS TV situation comedy,”Me and the Chimp,” a stupid little entry, went nowhere, ranking 56th. And an ABC TV melodrama about a psychic investigator, “The Sixth Sense,” failed badly in the statistics finishing 64th.
CBS TV’S “Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” a relatively new entry, dropped sharply to 35th place after a strong start. James Garner’s comic western, “Nichols,” was humiliated by coming 69th among 70 shows. And ABC TV’s “Bewitched,” once television’s hottest series, ranked dead last in a rather astounding turn of events.