Old School Americana & Nostalgia


4 Classic TV Shows That Didn’t Get a Series Finale

4 Classic TV Shows That Didn’t Get a Series Finale

Some television shows resonate so deeply that we actually feel personally connected to the characters. So after spending years with them, we need to see their stories wrapped up with a perfect series finale. However, we don’t always get what we want. These classic TV shows never got series finales, and fans are still sour decades later.

‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Brought in the Wrong Demographics

The Beverly Hillbillies had a grand beginning when the iconic Clampet family struck black gold in the Ozark Mountains, strapped Ma to the hood of their beat-up jalopy, and moved into a California mansion. The series aired from 1962 to 1971 and ranked at or near the top of Nielsen’s ratings list each season, according to Britannica. But despite all the love, CBS abruptly ended the story. After almost a decade with the Clampets, viewers never saw a formal send-off. 

TV Series Finales explained that 1971 was the year advertisers and networks really started honing in on demographics. And while The Beverly Hillbillies were bringing plenty of eyes to the screens, CBS didn’t think the demographics were ideal. So, they axed the show along with several other classics, such as Green Acres and Mayberry R.F.D.

“It was the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it,” Green Acres star Pat Buttram once said. 

Because of the timing, the series ended with a regular mid-season episode. A decade later, a few of the stars appeared for a made-for-TV movie that bombed in ratings because it still didn’t give fans closure. A 1993 CBS mockumentary titled The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies ended up being a success. Later that same year, a movie called Hillbillies hit theaters and became a box-office success. However, it didn’t star the original classic TV stars.

‘The Addams Family’ is Classic TV Today But Bombed in the 1960s

The Addams Family franchise has been hugely popular over the past few decades. The 1990s movies starred a-listers and instantly became classics. Netflix even rebooted the story recently in a series surrounding daughter Wednesday. That, too, has been a hit. Surprisingly, however, the original series only ran for two seasons. While it’s considered classic TV today, it wasn’t well received in the early ’60s. 

During its first year, The Addams Family ranked 23rd in ratings. The following year, it dropped off the Nielsen list. ABC decided to pull the plug that year, and the producers never had a chance to put together a finale.

‘The Jeffersons’ Bosses Never Gave Answers

Classic TV legend Norman Lear introduced The Jeffersons in 1975. The comedy came as a spinoff to his massively famous All in the Family. Audiences enjoyed the series for years, and it ranked in the top four on Nielsen during the beginning of its run. As the story continued, viewers slowly tuned out, and The Jeffersons dropped down to 52nd on Neilsons by Season 4. However, CBS held onto the series. For the second half of its run, it regularly ranked in the top 10. Nonetheless, The Jeffersons had an abrupt cancelation.

CBS never said why it pulled the plug. What made the situation even worse was that the execs never bothered to tell the cast and crew the show was ending. According to TV Tropes, lead star Sherman Hemsley found out his show ended while reading the newspaper. 

The ‘Bewitched’ Star Had Enough

Spunky Samantha Stephens charmed fans for an impressive eight seasons in Bewitched. So when the show came to an unceremonious close in 1972, fans were both shocked and heartbroken. 

In the case of Bewitched, neither bad ratings nor network meddling was to blame for its cancelation. Instead, Samantha actress Elizabeth Montgomery wanted out. She originally quit the show before Season 5, but ABC lured her back with a massive raise. But by Season 8, her marriage to series producer Bill Asher was on the rocks, and she’d had enough. So, she walked. 

“It wasn’t canceled because of low ratings,” Twitch Upon A Star author Herbie J. Pilato told Fox News. “Bewitched was actually renewed for Seasons 9 and 10, but [she] wanted out. It was at this same time that Montgomery’s marriage to Asher began to unravel. The sitcom came to an end in 1972 and the couple divorced a year after.”