The following is an article from the June 20, 1971 edition of
the "Los Angeles Herald Examiner":
"Magic....It is" by Morton Moss Tv Editor
An impartial observer might guess that ABC was trying to get Nanny and the Professor
knocked off during the past couple of years but has been constantly frustrated in that
Anyway, Nanny, since it replaced the Flying Nun in January of
1970, has been booted around so freely from time-slot to
time-slot that the wonder is that it still is flying.
But flying it is, although it barely got up off the airstrip
this time after a season in which the comedy, teaming magic-minded
Juliet Mills and widower and daddy Richard Long, was revived in spite
of the rigor mortis that had set in.
At the moment, Nanny is re-running Friday, 8 to 8:30 p.m. the
niche it inhabited throughout the recent season. But it will be scrambled across
the face of the clock worse than ever when the fall season swings into
"Do you know what they call Nanny and the Professor on Madison
Avenue?" said executive producer Dave Gerber. "Little Orphan Nanny.
I know that's so. I'm close to those guys. I know how they think.
I used to be vice president in charge of sales at 20th Century Fox and
had considerable contact with the advertising boys."
You can believe it. Gerber's approach is reminiscent of the hypo'd
methods of ulcer gulch. He spans the gamut from frantic to manic. His
natural pace hasn't been even slightly discouraged by the eccentric manner
in which the program has been bounced hither and yon.
So what's new? Well this is new: Nanny and the Professor is going to have
the distinction, according to present indications, of appearing not only at
different times but different days in different sections of the country.
Outside the West Coast, Nanny has been posted to lead off the network night
Monday at 8. On the Coast, because of the fact that ABC's pro football games
goes here at 6 in the evening, Nanny will probably be switched to Saturday or Sunday-
7 or 7:30 Sunday or 7:30 Saturday.
Just to confuse the situation further, Gerber imparted that Nanny could be screened
on different days of the weekend down here and in the Northwest.
Elsewhere in the country, ABC offers its pro football at 9 p.m. and Nanny has
been slated for 8 to 8:30 Monday night in that case.
We're in a perfectly horrendous position," said Gerber. "But we always are.
Do you know that we were off the ABC schedule the night before the network decided
to pick us up?
"It was a last-minute decision that finally kept us on the schedule. And it
was certainly a very unusual decision to split our days in different parts of the
Gerber told us he was happy that Juliet Mills, as the nanny, had a gift for magic.
He hoped fervently that it would work for the show in its prospective time-table
"You know why they finally picked us up?" Gerber said. "Thursday night we were out.
Friday morning the ratings appeared and showed us with a 36 per cent share in the 70-city
market Nielsen. This meant we're entering 13 million homes. Counting two and a half
people to a home, we were watched by more than 30 million people."
You may not have noticed any of those half people around. But a good mathematician can
see them and they really add up when you deal in millions of the population.
Normally, we're sceptical of such occult matters but perhaps--just perhaps--Juliet's
magic did have a bearing on the final, final decision to retain Nanny and the Professor.
We understand that the following telegram was dispatched by Juliet to Marty Starger,
vice president in charge of programming:
"Think positive and good things will happen."
Nanny started life Wednesday at 7:30, opening the network primetime, not an especially
favorable post position for a show that hasn't yet earned its epaulettes. The second
season found it on Friday night at 8.
"Friday night on ABC," said Gerber, "was traditionally known as The Black Hole of
Calcutta. We were between Hee Haw and The Virginians and we survived. We were the
sleeper of the year. Now, off the West Coast we're against Laugh-In and
Gunsmoke. I'd like to be able to do something in self-defense."
One thing he's doing is to pump more of the fantasy of Nanny and her family into
scripts for the fall season. Another is to bring back John Mills, Juliet's father
in real life, for a continuing role as her uncle in fantasy life. He arrives now
armored by the Academy Award he won for his role in Ryan's Daughter.
"I'm also looking for an aunt," said Gerber. We've written an offbeat aunt into
the story. She owns a circus and travels on an elephant. I need a picilated
character, someone on the style of Hermione Gingold or Elsa Lanchester."
Gerber disclosed that Nanny and the Professor remains committed to a constant stream
of well known name guests. This name policy was instituted "to fight off last
January's threat," and it stays intact.
Nanny has been living this cliffhanger existence from the beginning. What are we saying?
--from before the beginning. It began whenn Gerber went to England and bought out the
house of She Stoops to Conquer for a week in order to kidnap Juliet Mills and haul
her over here for a pilot. May we amend that and insert that Gerber bought out the
house with the money of 20th Century Fox?
"The first pilot was a disaster," Gerber said. "But ABC liked Juliet even if it
disliked the pilot. On the basis of that like, the network asked for another pilot
and accepted it."
If that ain't magic....