Gabriel Maxwell

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Again I have Bing cache to thank for being able to resurrect this thread I originally posted in September 2008, just a couple of months after I joined Soapchat. I'm very glad because some of the information I found in Google News Archive at the time may no longer be available.

THE COLBYS [Season 1]

The press began reporting about a DYNASTY spin-off in February 1985 (the first article I found was published on the 21st).

At this early point, John James was the only actor on board, but the producers began talking to Pamela Sue Martin (who, as they said, had had a disastrous career since leaving 'Dynasty') to reprise the role of Fallon.

ABC's original plan was to air the first few episodes of THE COLBYS on Wednesdays after DYNASTY and then move it to Friday nights at 9, opposite DALLAS on CBS.

DYNASTY had finally managed to edge DALLAS out in the ratings that season (1984-85), but the Ewings remained an inch away from the Carringtons, so ABC wanted to weaken DALLAS without moving DYNASTY out of its regular timeslot on Wednesdays at 9. Both shows were averaging 20-21 million households each week.

Surprisingly, it was reported in those early days of the development that Heather Locklear was also being considered to move to THE COLBYS along with James (perhaps her character could have moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting/modeling career?).

The producers were also planning to include Linda Evans and Joan Collins in the first few episodes (we all know now how much Joan Collins hated the idea of a DYNASTY spin-off and vowed never to appear on THE COLBYS).

In March, ABC honchos were quoted as saying that although some DYNASTY stars will move to THE COLBYS (or at least make a special appearance) "great care will be taken not to jeopardize the parent series".

Although THE COLBYS has all the buzz in 1985, some industry observers had warned as early as April 1985 that the 1984-85 season was the season of Bill Cosby and that the audiences may have finally reached their saturation point with prime-time soaps, due to the failure of several new soaps and mini-series.

And they were absolutely right as Cosby shot straight to the top with 28 million households when his show returned in September (the kind of ratings that had been unheard of for years - even DALLAS peaked at 23 million several seasons before during the "Who Shot JR" hype).

On May 7, 1985 ABC unveiled its fall 1985 schedule putting THE COLBYS into the Thursday at 9pm timeslot (followed by 20/20). Despite the addition of THE COLBYS and HOLLYWOOD BEAT it was reported that Aaron Spelling had "only" 5 hours of programming on ABC, down from 7 in September 1984.

By this point, ABC had already decided to delay the launch of THE COLBYS until November, but made very little mention of that when announcing the fall schedule, thus listing THE COLBYS in the Thursday at 9 timeslot. A show called LADY BLUE (which failed and got cancelled) aired in the timeslot September-November. Had LADY BLUE become a hit, ABC was going to keep it in the Thursday at 9 timeslot and find a new home for THE COLBYS.

ABC had picked DYNASTY (TV's #1 show at the time) for 33 new episodes in its 6th season in order to avoid pre-emptions in April (after the show's sensational decline, the order was reduced to 31 hours).

At this time, James Darren of the just-canceled TJ HOOKER was being considered for a role on THE COLBYS.

One of the frontrunners for the role of Jason Colby was Burt Lancaster. Charlton Heston was the producers' second choice after the negotiations with Lancaster failed in June 1985. Meanwhile, they were also talking to Hollywood superstars Faye Dunnaway and Elizabeth Taylor to play regulars on THE COLBYS.

In a June 1985 interview John James said he had initially been ambivalent about the show because spin-offs usually end up being half the parent show and thought they needed a star of Heston's magnitude to succeed.

Meanwhile, James Darren returned to TJ HOOKER after it was announced that CBS would pick up the show that ABC had cancelled. Darren had already been committed to another year of HOOKER but was hoping to move on to THE COLBYS or a couple of other projects after ABC axed the cop drama.

A reputable ad executive Alison Danzberger said in an interview at this time it wouldn't be very easy for THE COLBYS to succeed because:

1. Emma Samms does not have the appeal of Pamela Sue Martin
2. The show would air opposite SIMON & SIMON which tied for 6th place the previous season
3. Its lead-in THE FALL GUY (Thursdays at 8) was a tired show

She did however think the show would survive at least 1 full season.

I also found an article which was speculating in late June 1985 that Ali MacGraw's character would survive the bloodshed in Moldavia and join THE COLBYS to provide a love triangle for Jeff and Fallon.

In an interview John James said: "Replacing an ongoing character is always a tough job, but I think the audience is forgiving enough. My hat's off to Emma. She's a good little actress."

Meanwhile, it was reported Doris Day was also in negotiations to join THE COLBYS as was James Coburn, who would play - Blake Carrington's brother Ben.

By early July, negotiations with Heston had almost been completed and the producers began talking to Angie Dickinson to play his wife Sable. The casting of Charlton Heston was officially confirmed on July 9.

Dallas Morning News wrote that Heston who signed on THE COLBYS that week may have stooped to TV because of his age and negligible box office returns. Esther Shapiro was meanwhile quoted saying she was excited about 'bossing a Hollywood legend'. The article about Heston's fading star caused angry reactions of his fans who wrote in to complain.

Diahann Carroll meanwhile said she was asked to appear on THE COLBYS and although she wasn't sure what her storylines would be she was hoping to keep "jumping in and out of bed, as that seems to be what everyone wants to see."

By July 15 it was reported that actor Maxwell Caulfield would play 'Maxwell Colby', a so-rich-you-could-puke cousin of Jeff Colby who would be featured heavily in the opening episodes of THE COLBYS.

On July 17, the press reported that Barbara Stanwyck signed a contract to join the show. A week later it was reported George Hamilton was joining DYNASTY and "if things worked out he would later move to THE COLBYS.

By July 29, it was reported that Angie Dickinson might not join the new series and that Susannah York and Elizabeth Ashley were next in line to take on the role of Sable Colby.

According to early plot outlines, THE COLBYS versions of Krystle and Alexis were going to be called Anthea and Sable.

By July 30, the press reported that "sanity prevailed" and Ali MacGraw would not be coming back as Lady Ashley and a part of a love triangle on THE COLBYS.

The casting of Katherine Ross as Francesca was announced on August 5. Three days later it was reported that Stephanie Beacham "a household name in Britain, has beaten out Angie Dickinson for the role of Charlton Heston's wife on ABC's DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS.

On August 19 the papers reported that Ken Howard would join either DYNASTY or THE COLBYS and that in either case he would first appear in the special 2-hour episode of DYNASTY in November.

An article in late August 1985 claimed ABC who finished last in the 1984-85 season despite its biggest hit DYNASTY finishing in the 1st place, was hoping THE COLBYS would go into the top-10 and was going to heavily advertise the new series during the World Series telecasts.

By August, the first scenes with THE COLBYS began filming. Those early scenes were being incorporated into the first 5+2 episodes of "Dynasty." The first actual episode of the show was to begin filming on Monday, September 2.

On September 4, the press reported Ricardo Montalban known as Mr.Roarke on FANTASY ISLAND and Chrysler spokesman, was joining the show. He described his character as ''complex, ambitious and scheming, but with a kind of charm that can allow him to get away with almost anything."

It was also revealed at this time that Rex Smith had declined a role on the show due to his involvement with national tour of "West Side Story."

In their reviews, many newspapers were referring to Heston and Ross as 'fading box office stars."

A leading media buyer was quoted as saying she purchased spots in the first couple of episodes of THE COLBYS because she thought they would do well because of all the hype, but ultimately she didn't think the show would succeed because of the competition from SIMON & SIMON on CBS and CHEERS and NIGHT COURT on NBC.

The casting of Joseph Campanella was announced on September 17. Meanwhile, it was reported the show would be filmed at Barron Hilton's home in Bel Air.

Ratings analysts were saying ABC should improve its performance on Thursday nights at least a little bit, once THE COLBYS premieres in November.

By early October, ABC confirmed THE COLBYS would premiere in its regular timeslot Thursdays at 9:00pm on November 21, the day after the series premiere which was scheduled in special time, Wednesday November 20 at 10pm, after Dynasty. The much-hyped 2-hour episode of "Dynasty" was scheduled for November 14.

Meanwhile, LADY BLUE wasn't doing too well, and ABC announced it would move the show to Saturdays beginning November 16, in the slot of Robert Wagner's LIME STREET which was being pulled.

LADY BLUE was however gone in mid October, being pre-empted by World Series, a repeat of GOLDFINGER and the mini-series NORTH & SOUTH which ABC scheduled for the first week of November sweeps.

On November 4 it was reported that country singer Gary Morris would begin his guest starring stint on THE COLBYS in the show's 8th or 9th episode.

The following day, Ronald Reagan spoiled ABC's plans to air the show's 2nd episode on November 21, the day after it premieres after "Dynasty". White House announced the President would give a speech the same evening in the same timeslot in which THE COLBYS was supposed to premiere.

Several days later, reports suggested Charlton Heston, an old friend of Reagan, tried to use his influence to see if there was anything that could be done to reschedule the speech so it wouldn't clash with the premiere of THE COLBYS (an 8pm timeslot could in fact give it a solid lead-in, providing it finished by 9pm).

White House however did not change plans, and ABC was forced to reschedule to timeslot premiere of THE COLBYS. Since the storylines would not allow the show to air after the next episode of DYNASTY (in which Blake Carrington returned from L.A. where he saw his presumed-dead daughter telling Alexis all about it), ABC decided that the next best thing would be to air the 2nd episode on Wednesday, but in the 8pm timeslot, before DYNASTY. The following 3rd episode (a Thanksgiving episode) would then air on schedule, on Thursday, November 28, as the show's timeslot premiere.

Meanwhile, in November multiple articles were reporting that the parent series was not doing too well in the ratings in the first 6 weeks of the season, despite raising to the top the previous season.

In the days before the premiere it was reported Philip Brown joined the show as love interest for Tracy Scoggins. Also, Troy Beyer who was joining DYNASTY as Diahann Carroll's daughter was told her character would be "a ball of fire" and might appear on both shows.

The day the show finally premiered (Wed, Nov. 20 at 10pm), Los Angeles Times wrote "it's a clone-as close a replica as ABC and the "Dynasty" producers could concoct, right down to the credits." Some were calling it "a study in confusion" others said it was "more of the same" and "if you didn't care for DYNASTY you wouldn't have any reasons to watch this show."

When the initial good ratings came in (THE COLBYS was 9th for the week, while DYNASTY was 5th) the reviewers were asking "Will the same large audience stick with DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS the following week when it premieres in its regular Thursday time period?"

A ratings report published on Thursday, November 21 read:

"Scheduled behind Dynasty, the 10 p.m. Wednesday, the mega-hyped premiere of Dynasty II: THE COLBYS was a smash as it easily won the 12-city Nielsen ratings. The spinoff, which moves into its regular 9 p.m. Thursday, time slot on Thanksgiving Day, attracted 24.5% of TV homes. NBC's St. Elsewhere had 13.4% and CBS' The Equalizer had 10.1%. DYNASTY crushed its competition with 25%"

The following week, as the show premiered in the regular timeslot the critics were telling the readers not to hold breath for it to become a hit. And they appeared to be right - the show fell to 50th place and ranked last in the timeslot.

A report dated December 4 read: "With one-third of the new season behind us, those high-flying, steamy, prime-time soaps are being buffeted by stormy weather. "DYNASTY II," which had been rolling along on the shirttails of "DYNASTY," slipped on its first night in its new time period. Of course, it's too early to dismiss THE COLBYS, and Thursday was Thanksgiving, a night with different viewing habits. Most prime-time soap operas also take months to develop an audience. CBS' DALLAS, for instance, was nearly canceled after the first season.

On December 11, a sarcastic piece in Philadelphia Inquirer said: "In a move that will no doubt send tremors throughout the industry, ABC has announced that, beginning this week, DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS will simply be known as THE COLBYS."

A December 18 ratings reported stated that: "ABC's 'Dynasty' spinoff THE COLBYS, showed all the signs of an early failure with a 46th-place finish. So far, it's clear that it is not catching on."

On December 23, it was announced that "although it's not exactly burning up the ratings, ABC's THE COLBYS has received an order for 24 episodes from the network. Meanwhile, Hollywood insiders say that Chad Everett, James Franciscus and Sam Elliott are up for the role of Ben Carrington on DYNASTY.

Articles published in January 1986 focused on the new ABC president saying mistakes were made on DYNASTY and the network was working day and night since Thanksgiving on correcting the show. The networks was meanwhile saying although struggling in the ratings THE COLBYS was doing better than its previous season's Thursday night line-up and would give the show time to build an audience.

Esther Shapiro, who was recovering from pneumonia in February 1986, said they were "back on the road" and was hyping the March wedding of Jeff and Fallon on THE COLBYS.

In early March it was reported that the most recent episode of THE COLBYS had its highest Thursday night ratings finishing 26th for the week. Just a few week earlier it bottomed out in the 54th place.

ABC executives denied rumors that Pamela Sue Martin was going to return to her role of Fallon in THE COLBYS if the spin off is renewed for a 2nd season.

Also in early March THE COLBYS won People's Choice Award as "Favorite New Series".

On March 13, 1986 ABC renewed THE COLBYS for a 2nd season. It was reported the same day Barbara Stanwych might return for only 7 episodes, down from 24 she did in season 1. Just days later THE COLBYS would again score season-high Thursday night ratings with the wedding episode.

On March 18, CHEERS scored a 22.4/34 rating, THE COLBYS got 19.8/30, while NCAA on CBS got only 10.2/16.

A March 19 report suggested that "after a rocky start THE COLBYS is finally climbing in the ratings, but it appears to be so prohibitively expensive that future payoff in syndication seems very chancy."

On March 29 it was reported that CBS' SIMON & SIMON was now running third in the timeslot after being passed by THE COLBYS and would be gone by the end of the season.

On April 19 some stores pulled the current issue of tabloid GLOBE with John James and Emma Samms on the cover passionately kissing in the shower with a headline "TV's Steamiest Kiss" promoting an upcoming episode of THE COLBYS.

On April 27 in an interview, Pamela Sue Martin said she would never return to DYNASTY and could not give an opinion of Emma Samms who replaced her because she never saw THE COLBYS.

On May 13 during the Upfronts event for advertisers in New York where US TV networks present their fall schedules, ABC confirmed that they would retain 6 of the 17 new shows they tried in the 1985-86 season including THE COLBYS. Newsmagazine OUR WORLD would lead into THE COLBYS which was going to remain in the Thursday at 9pm timeslot (ABC honchos acknowledges that newsmagazine into series was not a perfect lead-in). OUR WORLD would eventually end the next 1986-87 season as one of the last of about 80 network shows, pulling THE COLBYS further down with it.

In late May it was confirmed that of the 5 prime-time soap operas, which generally don't do very well in repeats, 3 would get summer reruns, including DALLAS (which was moving to Wednesdays at 8pm for the summer), KNOTS LANDING and THE COLBYS.

Gabriel Maxwell

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[Season 2]

An article published in early June 1986 discussed CBS' decision to move KNOTS LANDING from 10pm to 9pm in the 1986-87 season, believing the spin-off of DALLAS was popular enough to put the spin-off of DYNASTY out of business. It was also stated that ABC was hoping THE COLBYS would slowly build their audience, but CBS was tossing a roadblock in their path. KNOTS LANDING was successfully beating HILL STREET BLUES in the ratings for 2 straight seasons, and CBS execs were confident it would do even better against THE COLBYS.

The same day the tabloids reported Emma Samms was engaged to David Corwin, 31, who catered the Maria Shriver-Arnold Schwarzengger wedding.

On June 24, the press reported that Barbara Stanwyck demanded her exit from THE COLBYS despite originally agreeing to do at least 7 episodes in the show's 2nd season. According to the report, Stanwyck was sulking over the way her character had been developed and wanted Constance Colby killed off to eliminate pressure to return. It was also said that Stanwyck had been complaining about the development of her character for some time, but finally was at the end of her tether.

As ABC's prime-time schedule trailed behind NBC and CBS in the ratings the previous season, Brandon Stoddard, ABC's president of entertainment didn't seem optimistic that the situation would improve dramatically next fall. When someone asked him if ABC's new fall lineup could pull the network out of the ratings basement, Stoddard didn't even try to put on a brave face at the annual television press tour in Los Angeles in late June 1986.

Stephanie Beacham however said at the event that she "believes her show will increase in popularity because it veers a little more to the truth than its competitors."

On July 2, it was reported that unlike its high-profile competitors, THE COLBYS had no problem signing its stars for a 2nd season (expect for Stanwyck, of course) because it was a new show, and the show's main concern at the time was improving the ratings.

On July 8, the creators of DYNASTY, Richard and Esther Shapiro filed a $40 million suit against Aaron Spelling seeking to block sale of the Spelling stock, under which company owner Spelling would retain 68.7% of the voting shares. The same day TV Guide named KNOTS LANDING the best prime-time soap opera, and THE COLBYS the worst.

On July 21, 1986 it was reported that Kim Morgan Green joined THE COLBYS as magazine reporter Channing Carter, beginning with the season premiere.

According to Philadelphia Inquirer, Charlton Heston was paid $85000 per episode of THE COLBYS (as were DYNASTY's John Forsythe and THE COLBYS departing cast member Barbara Stanwyck).

On August 6, Tracy Scoggins said in an interview her character would continue to choose the wrong kind of man.

On August 14 it was announced Ken Howard was leaving THE COLBYS after he signed on as host for a new weekly syndicated beauty pageant "Dream Girls". Instead of perishing in a cliffhanger, his character Garret Boydston would simply move to a New York office. The actor would appear in the first 2 episodes of the 2nd season. Howard was also going to teach at Yale Drama School and work at Harvard's Loeb Theater with his mentor, Robert Brustein.

On August 17, Los Angeles published an article on the returning series, including a segment about THE COLBYS reporting from the set:

"Jeff and Miles Colby were fighting over Fallon-again-on THE COLBYS (returning this fall to ABC). In all, eight hours were spent Monday staging and shooting a complicated fight sequence, in which furniture, vases and bottles (all of the breakaway variety) were smashed and strewn."

Also in August it was reported that Karen Cellini, who originally auditioned for the role on THE COLBYS was going to replace Catherine Oxenberg on DYNASTY after the latter failed to reach a contractual agreement with the producers. Cellini who was selling Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts on commission said her character was warm and nice and people would like watching someone who made them feel good. Little did she know.

On August 9, it was announced that the newest addition to ABC's THE COLBYS was Kevin McCarthy, who would play smarmy magazine publisher Lucas Channing.

Ratings reports indicated THE COLBYS was not doing well in reruns. The show generated 5% of the available audience, while lead-out 20/20 was building on that to 13%.

A late August report suggested the 2nd season of THE COLBYS would probably be the show's last. According to the article, the show started off relatively well, especially having to air against NBC's blockbuster line-up, but it was too costly and CBS was moving KNOTS LANDING to gang up on the show.

In September 1986, Emma Samms was promoting Diet Coke in a commercial with a baby elephant.

In a September 14 interview, Stephanie Beacham said she believed the producers of THE COLBYS wanted to make Sable more sympathetic.

More forecasts of THE COLBYS upcoming season 2 failure were published prior to the Wednesday, September 24 season opener (which aired immediately after the season 7 premiere of DYNASTY). The reports emphasized the show's troublesome timeslot and the fact that it was sandwiched between two ABC News shows, "Our World" and "20/20."

A September 25 article about state trying to lure more movie and TV productions profiled filming of THE COLBYS stunt scene atop a Century City high-rise (most probably the Miles and Jeff roof fight).

On October 1, a ratings report stated the 2nd season premiere of THE COLBYS which aired after DYNASTY finished 28th, but the timeslot premiere the following night finished 56th. The show was the last in the timeslot and competing CHEERS rose to its best ratings ever. ABC was however going to keep the show in the timeslot for the remainder of the season.

The following day, Daily News reported that: "The newest handsome hunk on THE COLBYS, a model-turned-London-actor Adrian Paul started working on the series as a Soviet ballet dancer with a thick Russian accent. But the producers now have decided he should become Americanized rather fast."

The following week ratings analysts reported CBS' bold move of KNOTS LANDING may not have been so wise, as the network was damaging the show's ratings by having it compete against CHEERS. In fact, an article stated that "Thursday night soaps are killing each other off". THE COLBYS plunged to 65th place, while KNOTS LANDING was out of the top-20 and down to 43rd place. The author was asking if CBS was damaging KNOTS LANDING beyond repair.

On October 13, John Forsythe said in an interview he believed DYNASTY brought itself to the verge of self- destruction the previous season -- and would be surprised if it ever regains the popularity it once enjoyed. "It was a very painful year, totally beyond anyone's belief," said the debonair, down-to-earth, nice-guy actor about that recent period in DYNASTY history when "we went astray, had kings and queens, etc." Adding to the difficulty, he notes, "was the fact that we literally gave birth to THE COLBYS. It's hard enough to keep a 6-year-old show alive and fresh without shuffling actors back and forth between two series."

On October 21 1986, it was reported that both THE COLBYS and Lucille Ball's new comedy LIFE WITH LUCY both Aaron Spelling productions were finishing in the bottom 10 in the ratings.

Since ABC was airing THE COLBYS with as few pre-emptions as possible (and the first 2 and the last 2 episodes of the season aired back-to-back in the same week) a November 11 report revealed the cast had just begun filming "double-load" -- two episodes at once. "The pressure is on," Claire Yarlett who played Bliss said. "It takes 10 days to shoot an episode, but one airs every seven days."

The following day, Los Angeles Times reported that "Magnum PI" (14.8 million homes) passed DYNASTY (14.6 million) in the ratings. CBS was initially criticized for renewing the show which dropped the previous year, but once they moved it out of the way of THE COSBY SHOW and into DYNASTY's timeslot on Wednesdays, its ratings went up again. Meanwhile, the article suggested "Once you lose the loyalty in a soap opera, it can drop pretty quickly, as ABC has seen with THE COLBYS. If people stop watching for a couple of weeks and lose track of the story, they can become disinterested." Spelling's HOTEL also dropped from 20th to 35th place.

On November 13, 1986, CBS decided to move KNOTS LANDING back into the 10pm timeslot and out of the way of CHEERS. Meanwhile, Spelling's THE COLBYS was in critical condition, ranking 62nd among 69 prime-time series through seven weeks of the regular season. DYNASTY, previous season's 7th most-popular series with a 21.8 rating, 33 share, was 18th season thus far, with an 18.1 rating, 28 share.

Sam Elliott, Katherine Ross' husband said to Dallas Morning News he thought "the show was pretty light-headed", and he objected to the way Ross was lit. "It's that flat Spelling lighting,' he said. "She's much prettier in person.'

On November 22, the tabloids reported that Emma Samms' planned Christmas-time marriage was off.

On December 9 it was announced Michael Parks had been added to the cast of ABC's THE COLBYS as Hoyt Parker, a mysterious man who becomes suspect in the disappearance of Barbara Stanwyck's Constance Colby character.

On December 23 the Shapiros ended their dispute with Aaron Spelling and dropped their lawsuit.

On December 29, Daily News reported that Charlton Heston had sent co-star Maxwell Caulfield a letter blasting his behavior on the set of THE COLBYS. Heston said to the paper his feud was only with Caulfield, he thought the rest of the cast was one of the most professional he had worked with in the past 30 years.

The same paper reported the same day in a separate article Emma Samms was earning over $30,000 per episode of THE COLBYS.

On December 31, 1986 Dallas Morning News predicted THE COLBYS would not survive in the New Year.

The producers began touting the February wedding of Jason and Francesca Colby in the first week of 1987, while Playboy announced it would publish Stephanie Beacham's 1972 nude photos in its February issue.

On January 12, 1987, John Fosythe said: "I think clearly the scenes taking place off stage were better than the ones being shot," referring to the feud of DYNASTY creators and Aaron Spelling. "We were sort of a ship without a captain for a while," said Linda Evans. Meanwhile, the Shapiros acknowledged their responsibility, and said they were back and better storylines were just around the corner.

On January 19, 1987, Daily News reported that Bianca Jagger started work on the ailing THE COLBYS the previous Friday. She was making a special appearance in two March episodes as the mysterious and exotic Maya Kumarara, who magically appeared to clear up some shady elements in Hoyt Parker's past.

In a February 21, 1987 interview in TV Guide, Ken Howard said that unless you're Bill Cosby you have no creative control in television acting and then compared his work on THE COLBYS to a factory job.

A February report suggested some local ABC affiliates were preempting the network Thursday night line-up of OUR WORLD and THE COLBYS with movies and local programming, thus further exacerbating the shows' ratings decline.

On February 25, 1987, Emma Samms, filed a suit yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court to get back semi-nude pictures of herself.

On March 4, 1987, ABC scheduled the season finale of THE COLBYS for April 2nd and said a new show called JACK & MIKE would move into the show's spot the following week. The network said THE COLBYS would, for the being, remain in the limbo between hiatus and cancellation until the final decision was made.

Just a couple of days later, ABC rescheduled the season finale to March 26, adding the penultimate episode which was originally supposed to air that night to the post-Dynasty timeslot on March 25.

Just days after the UFO cliffhanger aired, Dallas Morning News said in the article titled "THE COLBYS a Dirtier Show Thanks to Heston's Efforts":

"Charlton Heston, who has gravitated from the glory of BEN HUR to the hokum of THE COLBYS, made a surprise phone call the other day. He phoned, unannounced, to ask for some interest in ABC's THE COLBYS, which ended its second season Thursday with a cliffhanger that saw Fallon Carrington Colby (Emma Samms) carried off in a flying saucer. "I think they handled it rather well. Of course, I lose my daughter-in-law Heston said without laughing."

In an April 5 LA Times article, it was stated that: "Though she adored the four seasons as the matriarch Barkley in "THE BIG VALLEY," Barbara Stanwyck had no fun at all with THE COLBYS last season as the sister of Colby patriarch. The actress said: "Aaron (Spelling, producer of THE COLBYS) is a kind man, but the telling of it was better than it was on paper."

In an interview the following day, Heston said he "largely invented Jason Colby". In the article titled "Heston uses influence to mold THE COLBYS he said: "The difference between THE COLBYS and DYNASTY's Carrington family is that "the Carringtons don't sweat. The Colbys do."

At this time DYNASTY was slightly improving in the ratings as it was approaching the end of season 7, beating its competition and the show's creator said in an interview the show's problems could be traced back to the launch of THE COLBYS.

On April 11, AFI saluted Barbara Stanwyck for her work.

On April 14 it was reported Emma Samms would play Stacy Keach's daughter on MIKE HAMMER as his punk daughter with pink hair. The producers said the door would be open for her to return to the show in the fall if THE COLBYS gets cancelled.

Meanwhile, ABC was said to be considering moving the show to a new timeslot, possibly following DYNASTY on Wednesday nights.

On May 1 Charlton Heston was asked in an interview if he thought there would be another season of THE COLBYS and he said "I think so." The network honchos had remained undecided, more than a month after the season ender aired.

In a May 13 interview, Emma Samms said: "I found the story very offensive. It was teaching the public a message that they should not be taught, because, you know, women don't forgive a man for raping them," referring to an early THE COLBYS plot about Miles raping Fallon.

ABC officially cancelled THE COLBYS on May 16, 1987 when it announced its fall 1987 schedule at the Upfronts. The same day ABC said it was moving its declining 7-year old soap DYNASTY to a later timeslot at 10pm and cutting the season order to the standard 22. JACK & MIKE which briefly replaced THE COLBYS on Thursday nights was also discarded. THURSDAY NIGHT MOVIE was going to replace THE COLBYS and "20/20" in the fall of 1987.

On May 21, 1987 Charlton Heston said to Daily News he wasn't depressed about the cancellation of THE COLBYS as it was a part of actor's life to constantly change jobs and "this was his longest running job since Air Force in World War II."

On May 24, 1987 Emma Samms said she and John James had been offered a chance to return to the parent series DYNASTY Meanwhile, Joan Collins who was again renegotiating her salary said she would leave DYNASTY the following year.

ABC president confirmed the return of Samms and James to DYNASTY on June 1, 1987. The network did not pick up any new shows from Spelling, and the fading DYNASTY and HOTEL were his only shows on schedule. Just 2 years earlier DYNASTY was #1 in the ratings and Spelling had 7 shows on ABC.

On September 4, John James said he was happy to go back to DYNASTY. Since his original contract expired after 7 years, it was his own decision to return to the series.

On November 7, 1987 Los Angeles Times wrote: "It is difficult to understand how a network that should be interested in its ratings could discontinue a good show like THE COLBYS and stay with DYNASTY. Even though the plot of DYNASTY was deteriorating, at least the wardrobe was something to look at, until now."

Gabriel Maxwell

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July 13, 2008

Finally, I added several items I initially missed from the early development, as well as post-cancellation reports:


An early March 1985 report announced the casting of Emma Samms in the role of Fallon. GENERAL HOSPITAL star Samms already appeared in an early 1984 episode of Aaron Spelling's HOTEL, romancing her DYNASTY mom Joan Collins' MAKING OF A MALE MODEL co-star Jon-Erik Hexum, who tragically died on the set of his new show COVER-UP in October 1984.

Just days after THE COLBYS was first announced in the press in late February, negotiations with Pamela Sue Martin fell through and the producers quickly looked elsewhere. They were in a hurry to film a couple of Fallon scenes for late season 5 of DYNASTY - the Moldavian massacre was being filmed in late March and they needed someone to play Fallon before they wrapped production.


Charlton Heston's late December letter to co-star Maxwell Caulfield (which he sent to ABC management and Aaron Spelling and the entire cast) was prompted when the BEN HUR star got irritated by Caulfield jogging on the rooftop of the studio where he was trying to film a scene. Caulfield was often late on the set and reportedly a tad too self-confident, so the jogging incident may have simply been the last straw.


On April 22, Charlton Heston said there just aren't many good roles for "grown-ups" in today's teen-dominated movies. ... "Every night, every week in THE COLBYS, which is not even a top-rated show, in terms of the audience, more people see it than saw BEN HUR in theaters."

On August 2, Emma Samms said DYNASTY producers would not use the dream device to solve the UFO cliffhanger from THE COLBYS series finale, when she and John James return to the original series.

On August 30, Charlton Heston said that he was a little disappointed when THE COLBYSwas canceled. "We were coming closer to what we had in mind originally for the show," he says. He and executive producers Esther and Richard Shapiro wanted to make THE COLBYS as different from the Shapiro's DYNASTY as possible. "We wanted to make it less baroque," Heston says. Though he had a great deal of input into the scripts, he says he had nothing to do with the season's final episode in which Emma Samm's had an UFO encounter. 3 weeks earlier he told the reporters that he would consider making another TV series, now that THE COLBYS had been canceled.


On May 24, 1988 it was reported that: " season on ABC's "DYNASTY," Stephanie Beacham will resurrect her COLBYS character, Sable Colby. The British actress, who played nasty Sable on the defunct series, will portray that nasty woman on DYNASTY too. She'll go head- to-head with DYNASTY Alexis, played by another Brit, Joan Collins."

On June 3 it was confirmed that Beacham had signed to a full-time DYNASTY contract for next season. John Forsythe had an every-episode contract, but ABC was committed to only 13 1988-89 episodes of 37th-ranked Dynasty (the show got a full 22-episode season before Christmas).

On November 16 as the final season of DYNASTY got under way, Joan Collins was quoted as saying: "Stephanie Beacham, who returned this season, ''is a really good bitch. We go at each other hammer and tongs.'"


On February 1 it was reported that Tracy Scoggins would join the cast of ABC's DYNASTY later this month, reviving her character Monica from the failed Dynasty spin-off THE COLBYS.

On May 16, 1989 NBC announced its fall line-up, saying Stephanie Beacham will star in freshman sitcom SISTER KATE. The press speculated that probably means the end of DYNASTY because Linda Evans left, Joan Collins is on the way out, and John Forsythe is said to be not very enthusiastic about continuing.

On May 23, 1989, ABC canceled DYNASTY when they announced their fall 1989 schedule.

On October 1, it was reported that British actress Stephanie Beacham had purchased a beach-view house in Malibu. The hacienda-style home, with 3000 square feet and two sun decks, went for just over $1 million.

According to a ratings report published on October 5, "in spite of a cushy preview on Saturday night and another outing on Thursday night (two strong nights for NBC), Stephanie Beacham's sitcom has finished 69th and 70th in its regular time period the past two weeks."

Finally, on October 8, Stephanie Beacham who stars in NBC's SISTER KATE says: "If DYNASTY had not been canceled I would have stayed with that show. I think NBC checked with DYNASTY producers Aaron Spelling and Esther Shapiro before making a deal with me for SISTER KATE.


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Finally, on October 8, Stephanie Beacham who stars in NBC's SISTER KATE says: "If DYNASTY had not been canceled I would have stayed with that show. I think NBC checked with DYNASTY producers Aaron Spelling and Esther Shapiro before making a deal with me for SISTER KATE.
Oh... if only if only...


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On May 16, 1989 NBC announced its fall line-up, saying Stephanie Beacham will star in freshman sitcom SISTER KATE.
On May 23, 1989, ABC canceled DYNASTY when they announced their fall 1989 schedule.
Finally, on October 8, Stephanie Beacham who stars in NBC's SISTER KATE says: "If DYNASTY had not been canceled I would have stayed with that show. I think NBC checked with DYNASTY producers Aaron Spelling and Esther Shapiro before making a deal with me for SISTER KATE."

Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice might say here.

First, that NBC could announce that it had SB in its show even before ABC had said anything about either one scenario: that SB was leaving Dynasty or that Dynasty had been cancelled. Wow.

Second, that SB had the gumption to go ahead and make a deal with NBC, not just have talks, before it was even announced that her ABC show was cancelled. Wow-wee.

It seems she's suggesting that Spelling & Shapiro had gone from thinking the axe might fall on Dynasty... to knowing that the axe had fallen before it was announced to the public.

(Because they wouldn't have let her sign with NBC if they hadn't known for sure. Wonder how long they'd known.)

It's been reported that the decision to cancel Dynasty was made by one man alone: the new president of ABC, WhatsHisName, who stood and bowed to reporters who applauded him for axing Dynasty. :embarrass: Sorry, I forgot the guy's name.

@Gabriel Maxwell, you once posted links to those reports on the Dynasty forum. Was the date on which he made the decision to axe Dynasty given? (For a ballpark date when S&S might have known for sure that they could let SB go.) Thanks in advance for any info.

I wonder if the rest of Dynasty's cast & crew had also known about the cancellation the same time SB had become sure of it, or if SB had been negotiating in secret. Idle curiosity.

An observation: Nothing in SB's quoted words hints that her personal choice might have been to remain with Dynasty had it not been cancelled.

Gabriel Maxwell

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@Gabriel Maxwell, you once posted links to those reports on the Dynasty forum. Was the date on which he made the decision to axe Dynasty given? (For a ballpark date when S&S might have known for sure that they could let SB go.) Thanks in advance for any info.
Here are the stories I linked in the old forum.

First, the July 1989 report from an annual event for TV critics where ABC President of Entertainment Robert Iger (the man who killed Dynasty) infamously stood up and took a bow having admitted to pulling the plug, while the critics were applauding. Iger became President of ABC Entertainment in late March 1989 and assumed his responsibilities in the first week of April (as he mentions himself in the article):,5288606

The other story I linked from 1992 (when Spelling unveiled Melrose Place) refers to the same July 1989 press conference and Iger's bow as "a rare sign of public disrespect", still a sore spot for Spelling three years on:,4175048

Stephanie Beacham filmed the pilot for Sister Kate during the spring of 1989, on a weekend away from Dynasty. Here is the article (from October 1989) where she said NBC checked with Dynasty producers:,4024109

I believe Becham referred to NBC simply getting an approval from Spelling/Shapito to film the pilot with Beacham. Had ABC renewed Dynasty, NBC would've had to either not pick up the show to series, or re-cast with another actress.

ABC could've easily pulled the plug in early May and let NBC know Beacham was free. They just announced it to the public on May 22 (when they unveiled their new fall schedule at the Upfronts, as all networks do every year to this day).

By the way, in the first report, Stephanie Beacham said there was talk of a reunion movie that should've wrapped the stories up and mentioned Europe as the filming location and March 1990 as the possible production time ("when everyone is on hiatus").


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Ah, yes. Robert Iger. My mistake, not the new ABC network president but ABC’s president of entertainment.

So, Dynasty’s owners would have learnt about the show’s cancellation anytime between Iger assuming his new duties (late March 1989) and NBC announcing Stephanie B would lead in Sister Kate. (May 16, 1989).

[And it was in the Spring of 1989 that SB filmed the pilot of Sister Kate, ‘on a weekend away from Dynasty’. Final episode of DS9, “Catch 22”, aired May 11, 1989.]

The program development season for the fall is not just for new shows. If Iger says “we were well into our development season for the fall” when he took over duties from Brandon Stoddard, then shouldn’t Dynasty have already been preparing for Season 10 by then? Hm.

And, it was as early as late July 1989 that SB first mentioned that there was talk about making a wrap-up movie featuring Europe in the spring hiatus of 1990. …Ok, ok, I know this is for discussion on the Dynasty forum. lol

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If Iger says “we were well into our development season for the fall” when he took over duties from Brandon Stoddard, then shouldn’t Dynasty have already been preparing for Season 10 by then? Hm.
No, because the shows already on air typically

- get picked for a new season at any point until mid May when the fall schedules are announced (the worse the show is doing in the ratings, the longer it takes the network to make that decision) and then
- the writers have less than 2 months to come up with the first scripts for the new season and then
- the filming begins in July about 2 months before
- those first episodes begin airing in late September.

Even if a show is a big hit and gets picked up for a new season early (for example, in January or February), the writing for the new season won't start until May/June like all the other shows that get picked up at the last moment.

"Development" only refers to new shows. It begins in the fall (one year before they air) when the pilots are being ordered, then after the holidays they start casting and the filming usually takes place in March. By April they are reviewed by the network, which then decides which pilots they want to pick up to new series.

So, if Iger took over in late March, it was too late for him to influence the new show development for the following season, because by this point the pilots are already being finished. He could only make his initial mark in terms of selection of the new series from the pilots developed by the previous management.

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This is outstanding. Well written and researched. Highly informative as well. Thanks for tracking all this down for us.

Michael Torrance

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Again I have Bing cache to thank for being able to resurrect this thread I originally posted in September 2008, just a couple of months after I joined Soapchat. I'm very glad because some of the information I found in Google News Archive at the time may no longer be available.
What an amazing post. Thank you so much for all this info.
The Colbys seemed like a colossal miscalculation on the part of the ABC/Shapiros/Pollocks by the time they appeared. Some good things that came out of them (like Sable, Phillip back from the dead, Jeff's paternity, and the off the charts hotness of Maxwell Caulfield) could have been integrated into Dynasty, which was sorely lacking in storylines these years with Rita/Krystle and Kristina's heart and Leslie. But it could have worked if it had been done earlier and had it really been a spin-off rather than a clone. And if they had done it at the end of season 4, with Fallon's fate (played by PSM) decided on THE COLBYS in California they would have had a big hit on their hands.