How to Survive a Marriage

How to Survive a Marriage is an American soap opera which aired on the NBC television network from January 7, 1974 to April 17, 1975. The serial was created by Anne Howard Bailey, with much input from then-NBC Vice President Lin Bolen. The show's working title was From This Moment and was an in-house NBC production.

How to Survive a Marriage
Created byAnne Howard Bailey
Developed byLin Bolen
StarringRosemary Prinz, et al.
Country of originUSA
No. of episodes335
Running time30 minutes
Original networkNBC
Original releaseJanuary 7, 1974 
April 17, 1975


Larry and his wife Christine (nicknamed "Chris," played by Jennifer Harmon) soon divorced and while battling for custody of their daughter Lori, Chris entered the workforce. On Valentine's Day 1975, Chris and Larry remarried, and she then battled alcoholism.

Initially, the show featured veteran soap actress Rosemary Prinz in the role of Dr. Julie Franklin, a staunch feminist who counseled her friends on the joys of being an independent woman, only to decide that her life was truly complete by marrying a man. Prinz only agreed to stay on the show for a short time (as she had with All My Children several years earlier), and earned top billing, a three-day work week, and supposedly $1,000 an episode, which was a big salary for a soap actress to earn in the 1970s. After six months Julie left town to marry Dr. Tony DeAngelo.

Another major story centered on Fran Bachman (Fran Brill) coping with sudden widowhood. Brill received over a thousand letters of condolence from viewers.

Ratings and cancellation

The show did not profit from the large lead-in that the high-rated Another World provided, mostly due to its many attempts to be socially relevant, which usually took the place of traditional storytelling to which American soap viewers at the time were acclimated. How to Survive a Marriage ran a distant third in the 3:30 PM timeslot, behind Match Game on CBS (daytime TV's highest-rated program) and One Life to Live on ABC; a move to 1:30 PM on January 6, 1975 (to enable Another World to expand to an hour) only brought worse ratings. Despite NBC's high hopes for How to Survive a Marriage, it would only last on air for sixteen months, ending on a Thursday (the 1:30pm–3:00pm block on NBC was pre-empted the following day for a 90-minute special, First Ladies' Diaries: Rachel Jackson). The Monday after, Days of Our Lives expanded to an hour and assumed the vacant half-hour left in NBC's daytime schedule.

How to Survive a Marriage holds a rather dubious distinction as the first soap opera to become victim of the first soap opera to expand a to a full hour, the second being The Edge of Night, when As the World Turns expanded to a full hour in late December 1975. These expansions were due to NBC's success with Another World and Days of Our Lives expanding to a full hour, both series having done so within three months of each other. The Edge of Night subsequently moved to ABC, making its own history as the first soap to switch networks. However, ABC did not expand a soap to a full hour until 1976, with All My Children being the first to do so.


Fran Brill is now best-known for her work on Sesame Street, where she performed Muppet characters, including Zoe and Prairie Dawn, from 1970 to 2014.

Other cast members included Ken Kercheval (Larry Kirby #2), F. Murray Abraham (Joshua Browne), Armand Assante (Johnny McGhee), and Brad Davis (Alexander Kronos).

Awards and nominations

The serial won Best Sequence at the third annual Afternoon TV Writers & Editors Awards, for "The Death of David Bachman." Fran Brill also won an award from the Afternoon TV Writers & Editors for her portrayal of Fran Bachman during the same award-winning sequence.

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