Mary Tyler Moore Hour, The

A few years after The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended its historic run, Mary decided she not only wanted to be back on television but to venture into the then-dying field of variety programming, Her first attempt (titled simply Mary) was a quick failure, yanked from the airwaves before it could do irreparable damage to her stardom. A year later, she was back with a new format that tried to split the difference between variety and a situation comedy. On The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, she played TV star Mary McKinnon, who was engaged in the business of starring in a weekly variety series. Most weeks, the storyline involved securing a couple of guests to appear on her program and within the framework of that scenario, there was ample opportunity to sing, dance and do sketches. But it all felt forced and contrived, and no one was too happy with the result.

A writer who worked on the show once told me that among the reasons that its makers gave for the failure was that Mary felt out of place. Even though they surrounded her with friends (like Nancy Walker), she still would have been happier if they could have done the show at the facility at Radford. Unfortunately, that studio was still primarily film and did not seem to have an available stage suitable for a big variety show. The venue was probably not a major reason for the show not working but it seems to have been at least a tiny contributing factor. (Bob Newhart stuck to the same building when he attempted to follow his hit MTM sitcom.)