The Doris Day Show

Caproni

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Anyone with the slightest knowledge about Doris Day knows she absolutely despised doing THE DORIS DAY SHOW, a sitcom she had been obligated to by her late husband Martin Melcher. She had been contracted to the series for five years without her knowledge, and she didn't learn about it until after Melcher passed.

THE DORIS DAY SHOW had a successful 1968─73 original run (at least in the Nielsen ratings), although it is perhaps best-known today for its season-to-season changes in cast and premise. It was not widely seen in syndication, but has been out completely on DVD for several years.

Any fans?

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Matt Hough

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After she moved off that farm and got into San Francisco, I liked it a lot more. It also helped to have Rose Marie and Kaye Ballard and Billy De Wolfe to help give the show some sass and zip. But it was hard to grow greatly attached to it since they did keep shaking it up year-after-year.
 

Caproni

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I've been a big fan of Doris Day for many years, and there was a long time I hadn't any idea there was ever such a thing as THE DORIS DAY SHOW. I feel kind of bad that I claimed Doris Day fandom, but was oblivious to her television series at the tale-end of her acting career.

As it's been stated above, Doris hadn't any idea that she was going to do a TV series. Once Martin Melcher, her husband of close to twenty years, had died in 1968, she learned that Marty had signed her up to do a TV series and a host of specials, all without her ever knowing. She also learned that his bad investments and bad management of her career left her severely in debt. Without any steady source of income to repay her debts, Doris hadn't any choice but to commit to the sitcom she never wanted to do.

The original concept of THE DORIS DAY SHOW had her playing Doris Martin, a widow living with her father and two young sons on a farm around Mill Valley, California. There was also two different maids and a good-hearted farm hand in the mix. This phase of the show was probably inspired by such rural-based comedies like THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GREEN ACRES, which were both very popular in the ratings at the time. THE DORIS DAY SHOW, however, perhaps had the most in common with THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, being that both shows concerned a widowed parent raising their child(ren) with aid from an older relative.

Day was always fighting for more creative control over her show. She wanted the scenery shifted from the countryside to the city. Perhaps Day saw that the TV landscape was changing at the time ─ in the late 1960s, all the television networks, especially CBS (where THE DORIS DAY SHOW called home), began canceling a host of rural-based shows in what's become known as the "rural purge". They replaced these rural shows with more urban and topical shows. Doris jumped on that wave, and THE DORIS DAY SHOW shifted during its second season, when Doris Martin began working in the city. For the third season, she and her boys moved to San Francisco full-time, where she and her sons lived above an Italian restaurant.

I'd say HERE'S LUCY and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW probably had the biggest impact on THE DORIS DAY SHOW and the direction it would take. For the fourth season, which started in 1971, Doris Martin suddenly became a swinging single career woman and nothing concerning her previous life was ever mentioned. This bears resemblance to THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, which revolved around an independent young woman making her way as a reporter for a news station. At the same time, a more physical slapstick comedy was introduced to the show, which obviously drew inspiration from HERE'S LUCY, where Lucille Ball was undoubtedly the queen of physical humor. The slapstick slant ended up falling flat for Day, so the fifth season swung into high gear to promote the single woman making a living premise. The show ended after five years in 1973.

THE DORIS DAY SHOW had many faces. Every season setup a new story that usually only lasted that season, with the one exception of season five carrying on the story laid out the previous year. The ever-changing direction of the series is probably the biggest reason it didn't do well in syndication. If markets chose not to air the episodes in order, then audiences would be confused. Heck, even if they did run them in order, they were still probably questioning what in the world was going on. THE DORIS DAY SHOW is a gentle old-fashioned sitcom with the one constant being Doris Day. All the scenery and secondary cast is always revolving, and there is never any consistency. On top of that, the writing and execution of such is bland and leaves a lot to be desired. Any fan of Doris Day knows she's worthy of far better material than what she's being given here.

What's funny is audiences didn't really seem to mind that THE DORIS DAY SHOW kept juggling its formula. It was a popular success in the Nielsen ratings for nearly all of its five-season-run, wherein it spent four years in the Nielsen Top 30 (it peaked at #10 in 1970). It had fallen to #37 in 1973, but the network was still pushing for a sixth season. Day flat-out refused, however, commenting that her contract said five years and that's all she was going to do.

Afterward, THE DORIS DAY SHOW briefly entered into syndication, before basically fading away into oblivion.

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Caproni

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After she moved off that farm and got into San Francisco, I liked it a lot more. It also helped to have Rose Marie and Kaye Ballard and Billy De Wolfe to help give the show some sass and zip. But it was hard to grow greatly attached to it since they did keep shaking it up year-after-year.
I also think the show was at its best once she was single, without kids, and living in an apartment in San Francisco. They should have went that route from the start, and if they had been bold enough to do the show before a live audience, I think it would have went over better. It probably would've turn up in syndication more and perhaps even been more successful there, too.
 

jberthoty

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Anyone with the slightest knowledge about Doris Day knows she absolutely despised doing THE DORIS DAY SHOW, a sitcom she had been obligated to by her late husband Martin Melcher. She had been contracted to the series for five years without her knowledge, and she didn't learn about it until after Melcher passed.

THE DORIS DAY SHOW had a successful 1968─73 original run (at least in the Nielsen ratings), although it is perhaps best-known today for its season-to-season changes in cast and premise. It was not widely seen in syndication, but has been out completely on DVD for several years.

Any fans?

I've recently watched a few episodes on Amazon Prime. So quaint, yet relaxing.
 

BobO'Link

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I own this series on DVD and watched it during its original airings. I liked the first season, still do, and as it went on I stopped watching as it became "just another sitcom" with rather pedestrian scripts, something I'm finding still true as I slowly make my way through the discs.

I recently watched S3 of those DVDs (I'd watched S1 and S2 months ago) - the first time I've seen that season since it originally aired. I really like Day's movies and really wanted then, and now, to greatly like this show. Thing is, I really don't much care for it. And it has nothing to do with Ms. Day. It's the overall blandness of the scripts and production that hurts. Kaye Ballard and Bernie Kopell were horribly miscast. Rose Marie plays the same old tired schtick from The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Billy De Wolfe was absolutely wasted, as well as the talents of Ms. Day, who gamely keeps on chugging along (of course we know now it was mostly to pay the bills as she didn't like doing the show and has said it pretty much killed her career).

Even knowing the premise changes, again, I'm having trouble getting up the desire to watch season 4.
 

Caproni

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I've recently watched a few episodes on Amazon Prime. So quaint, yet relaxing.
It is very sedate, but enjoyable, especially when you're in the right mood. It was old-fashioned even when it was "new".
 

Caproni

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I own this series on DVD and watched it during its original airings. I liked the first season, still do, and as it went on I stopped watching as it became "just another sitcom" with rather pedestrian scripts, something I'm finding still true as I slowly make my way through the discs.

I recently watched S3 of those DVDs (I'd watched S1 and S2 months ago) - the first time I've seen that season since it originally aired. I really like Day's movies and really wanted then, and now, to greatly like this show. Thing is, I really don't much care for it. And it has nothing to do with Ms. Day. It's the overall blandness of the scripts and production that hurts. Kaye Ballard and Bernie Kopell were horribly miscast. Rose Marie plays the same old tired schtick from The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Billy De Wolfe was absolutely wasted, as well as the talents of Ms. Day, who gamely keeps on chugging along (of course we know now it was mostly to pay the bills as she didn't like doing the show and has said it pretty much killed her career).

Even knowing the premise changes, again, I'm having trouble getting up the desire to watch season 4.
It's like Doris Day is the opposite of Lucille Ball. I've heard it said that film was not Lucy's medium, and I've got to agree. Lucy fed off the studio audience she eventually got very accustom to playing in front of, and when she was on film, that was vacant and her performances were more structured and flat.

The exact opposite goes for Doris Day, who relished on the silver screen, but comes across a little stale on her sitcom. I was going to say stiff, but I didn't think that was quite accurate. Her chemistry is ever-present, but its the format that she's out of her comfort zone in. Had THE DORIS DAY SHOW been done before a studio audience instead of utilizing a laugh track and naturally had better writers, she might have fared better. She might have fed her performance off the audience in a similar manner to Lucy, but of course, we'll never know now.
 
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octobercountry

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... Had THE DORIS DAY SHOW been done before a studio audience instead of utilizing a laugh track and naturally had better writers, she might have fared better. She might have fed her performance off the audience in a similar manner to Lucy, but of course, we'll never know now.
That's possible, but I can't see Doris ever agreeing to do the series in front of a live audience. From what I recall, she said she hated appearing before large groups of people and performing live; it made her terribly nervous and that was the worst aspect of performing, back in her big band days. If she had been comfortable in front of an audience, perhaps she could have gone the nostalgia route and appeared in small concerts/nightclubs in the 70s and 80s, for some (relatively) easy money.
 
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KPmusmag

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I watched The Doris Day Show because it was on after Here's Lucy. I enjoyed the show, as I was familiar with Doris; my grandmother played her records and we had seen in her in a few films, such as Please Don't Eat the Daisies. I never really realized how much the format changed until I bought the DVDs a few years ago.
 
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octobercountry

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As of yet, I've only watched the first season of the Doris Day show, so I can't compare it to the later (better?) seasons.... What impresses me, is that she comes across as being so carefree and natural and charming onscreen, when her real life was in chaos due to the death of her husband and the discovery of his financial malfeasance. I believe she later said that the show was a godsend, in the sense that it gave her a sense of purpose and structure; a reason to get up every morning when her life was a chaotic disaster--- not to mention a regular paycheck when she needed it the most.
 
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Caproni

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As of yet, I've only watched the first season of the Doris Day show, so I can't compare it to the later (better?) seasons.... What impresses me, is that she comes across as being so carefree and natural and charming onscreen, when her real life was in chaos due to the death of her husband and the discovery of his financial malfeasance. I believe she later said that the show was a godsend, in the sense that it gave her a sense of purpose and structure; a reason to get up every morning when her life was a chaotic disaster--- not to mention a regular paycheck when she needed it the most.
The latter episodes of THE DORIS DAY SHOW being "better" is really all up to one's opinion. I personally prefer seasons four and five because of the setting. It was all kind of drab when in comparison to what were the "hot" shows on TV at the time.

What I preferred about the last two seasons was her kids being gone and her being a single career woman. Sure, it wasn't necessarily new territory, but I feel like that was the best route they had and the one they should have had from the start.

But I wasn't in charge.
 

AlanP

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She should have done something similar to her films in the early 60's, like "The Thrill Of It All", "Move Over Darling" or 'Lover Come Back"........ more creative, have seen a few rerun on COZI, or METV. I found her series dull and boring. She could have done something much more creative. Maybe like a mystery series "Midnight Lace", "Julie", or "Storm Warning
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Matt Hough

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Well, once they got rid of her kids in the last two seasons, it was obvious they were trying to make the show a small screen sitcom version of Pillow Talk or Lover Come Back, but the writing, of course, just wasn't up to the mark.
 
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Caproni

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Doris Day was the Queen of the Box Office in the early 1960s. She ranked number one more than any other female in film history. PILLOW TALK was an international success in 1959, and I believe she even got an Oscar nod for that role. It led to other roles in similarly orchestrated romantic comedies, the more successful starring Rock Hudson and James Garner. Two of my personal favorites are MOVE OVER, DARLING and SEND ME NO FLOWERS, the latter which is typically regarded as the point that her niche was starting to show its age. She was a lovable, sweet, talented woman and dazzled in these types of pictures. One film critic called them "sex comedies without sex".

THE DORIS DAY SHOW came along at a time when her latest movies were very family-friendly and had her playing mothers. My mind immediately goes to her last film called WITH SIX YOU GET EGGROLL. I personally think someone took some inspiration from that, if only the thought Doris playing a single mother to young children. And, let's face it, television comedy back then was cluttered with single parents raising their children with the aid of an older relative that was typically goofy.

THE DORIS DAY SHOW just seemed to lack focus. It seems like four different shows rolled into one. Every year was new territory, a new foundation to be laid. When it finally got on track in its last two years, her audience was gone. CBS still apparently wanted a sixth season in 1973, but she was ready to move on.
 
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