Texas (TV series)
Texas is an American daytime soap opera which aired on NBC from August 4, 1980, until December 31, 1982, sponsored and produced by Procter and Gamble Productions at NBC Studios in Brooklyn, New York City. It is a spinoff of Another World, co-created by head writers John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington, and executive producer Paul Rauch of Another World. Rauch held the title of executive producer for the parent series and its spin-off until 1981.
Series title card
|Created by||John William Corrington|
Joyce Hooper Corrington
|Written by||Pamela K. Long (head writer, 1981-1982)|
|Composer(s)||Score Productions (1980-1981)|
Elliot Lawrence Productions (1981-1982)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||625|
|Executive producer(s)||Paul Rauch (1980-1981)|
Gail Kobe (1981-1982)
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Procter & Gamble Productions|
|Original release||August 4, 1980 –|
December 31, 1982
|Related shows||Another World|
Premiere and first season
The debut episode featured Iris Cory Bancroft on a plane, leaving Houston after visiting her son Dennis, who had relocated to Texas with his new love to open an art gallery. During her sojourn, she reconnected with her first love, self-made millionaire Alex Wheeler. Alex is determined not to let the past repeat itself and lose her again. He arranges for the Bay City-bound jet airliner, which Iris is on, to return to Houston.
The first season of the series, the stories centered around the daily lives of the wealthy Wheelers and Bellmans and the middle-class Marshalls, and their ranching and oil interests. The series would never achieve ratings success on NBC in the USA, due to numerous factors.
The Corringtons' development
The Corringtons' initial concept was for a show set in the Antebellum South entitled Reunion, but NBC wanted something more in line with the hugely successful CBS primetime soap Dallas. which was dominating the ratings. Rauch then chose to have the show revolve around the popular Another World character Iris Cory Carrington, played by Beverlee McKinsey. Iris initially set out to visit her grown son Dennis (Jim Poyner), who had relocated from Bay City to Houston. Within a matter of weeks, Iris reconnected and became romantically involved with her first love, Alex Wheeler (Bert Kramer).
A slew of characters debuted on Another World in the months prior to August 1980, in the hope that when they eventually moved over to Texas, they would have made a sufficient enough impact with viewers so they would watch Texas, too.
Musical artists were featured on Texas to focus and contribute to some of the characters' storyline, such as brother and sister Elena and Rikki Dekker both venturing into the musical careers, although short-lived. Almost all serials in the 1980s had notable musical artists appearing on their respective shows, with some of the characters playing rising musical artists, and Texas was no exception, The character of Randy Hamilton (Rikki Dekker) gave his rendition of Luther Ingram's R&B hit, "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right", and notable country music singers of the 1970s and 1980s such as Johnny Paycheck, Tom T. Hall, and Ray Stevens all made appearances as themselves at venues, mostly at the Coop, on the series.
In addition, politicians also made appearances, such as Oklahoma Governor George Nigh and his wife Donna. They appeared in walk-on roles (playing themselves as Governor and First Lady of Oklahoma) during the show's first month on the air; cast member Lisby Larson (Paige Marshall) serenaded the couple with a rendition of "Oklahoma!". Also, while he never appeared on the actual series, Texas Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby, Jr., took a tour of the program's Brooklyn studio, and praised the show's realistic visual feel.
The 1981 revamp
In November 1981, McKinsey left the show and the secondary characters seen in the first year were given more story. Texas lost one million viewers upon McKinsey's departure. While Another World, which also lost a million viewers upon her 1980 departure, could afford the drop in ratings, Texas could not, and its days were numbered. To try to appeal to the younger audience, the show rechristened itself Texas: The New Generation.
In the daytime ratings for 1980-1981 season, Texas achieved a 3.8, tied with The Doctors at the 12th position. Its time slot contenders Guiding Light had an 8.2 rating, fourth position in the ratings, as opposed to an 11.4 rating for General Hospital, which was the top-rated serial for the 1980-1981 season. In its second season, the series fell to a 3.6 rating. At the end of its broadcast season, it ended with a 2.7 rating, in the 12th position out of 14 daytime serials. According to A.C. Neilsen, the total viewers for the first two seasons was at 2.8 million, followed by a drop to 2.2 million in the final season.
Simultaneously, Texas aired on CTV in Canada at the 3:00 pm ET slot following Another World, which had also aired on CTV since the early 1970s. The series was immensely popular in Canada, topping the BBM daytime ratings charts for many weeks. Beverlee McKinsey vacationed often in the Province of Nova Scotia during her tenure on both shows, according to numerous soap opera sources. After NBC moved Texas to 11:00 am in April 1982, CTV opted not to follow suit, and continued airing Texas at its original timeslot of 3:00 pm (ET). In addition, Canadian viewers who either lived near the border and had access to NBC terrestrial affiliates or a cable TV subscription had the option of viewing the series mornings or afternoons, respectively.
A popular storyline at the end of 1981 called Hitopah involved numerous characters in adventurous settings and intriguing circumstances to locate Sutars Rock, which nonetheless offered comic relief provided by good friends Ruby and Lurleen. Hitopah was about an ancient Indian artifact called the Fire Compass that was covered with runes and which Ruby's boyfriend Beau Baker opened. The opening of the Fire Compass released a toxic gas that turned Beau instantly into a mummy. Then, following some comedic hijinks with Lurleen and Ruby attempting to rid of the body and make sense of the situation, Gretchen tried to get part of the Fire Compass back from them, leading to a chase to find the secret underground chambers in Hitopah (which contain a huge quantity of petroleum), towards which the Fire Compass is supposed to guide the owner.
The last episodes featured a Christmas miracle (snow fell in Houston as Long's character Ashley and her unborn baby, who had been presumed dead after a flash flood, returned home to loving husband Justin) and a New Year's series finale where the local TV station was bought out and all the major characters were fired. The Doctors also aired its last episode on this day. The final scene was a bittersweet final toast, "To Texas!".
NBC replaced the time slot with the game shows Wheel of Fortune and Hit Man (the latter of which was canceled after 13 weeks despite an increase in the network's ratings in the 11:30 a.m. timeslot), as well as reruns of 1970s primetime shows. CTV in Canada replaced the hour with ABC's General Hospital.
Cast and crew
- Daniel Davis (Eliot Carrington)
- Harley Jane Kozak (Brette Wheeler)
- Beverlee McKinsey (Iris Wheeler)
- Jim Poyner (Dennis Carrington)
- George Patterson Nigh (Governor of Oklahoma)
- Kin Shriner (Jeb Hampton)
- Carla Borelli (Reena Bellman Cook Dekker Wheeler)
- Lee Patterson (Dr. Kevin Cook) (1980-1981)
- Jerry Lanning (Justin Marshall)
- Tina Johnson (Lurlene Harper) (1981-1982)
- Paul Rauch (executive producer, 1980-1981)
- Gail Kobe (executive producer, 1981-1982)
- Judy Lewis (producer)
- Joyce and John William Corrington (head writers, 1980)
- Dorothy Ann Purser and Samuel D. Ratcliffe (head writers, 1981)
- Paul Rader and Gerald Flesher (head writers, 1981)
- Pamela K. Long (head writer, 1981-1982)
Production staff on Texas included Tim Cagney, Carolyn Culliton, Charles Edwards, Richard Gullieth, Pamela Hammer, John Knutz, Michele Poteet, Dorothy Purser, Samuel D. Radcliffe, Paul Rader, Eric Rubinton, Gary Tomlin, Joyce Corrington, William Corrington, Paul Rauch, Gail Kobe, Bud Kloss, Judy Lewis, Robert Calhoun, Mary S. Bonner, John P. Whitesell, Kevin Kelly, John Pasquin, Bruce M. Minnix, and Andrew D. Weyman.
In the run-up to the premiere of Texas in the summer of 1980, a handful of characters was introduced on Another World, in the hope that once Texas began airing on August 4, 1980, the viewers who had become invested would continue watching as Iris Bancroft and these newer characters moved to Texas. The premiere of Texas came at a time when NBC's daytime lineup (consisting of Another World, Days of Our Lives, and The Doctors) had fallen into ratings trouble, after a highly successful period in the early and mid-1970s. Given that the show aired from 3:00-4:00 PM (ET), it caused a small domino effect on the NBC daytime schedule: Another World, which had become daytime's first 90-minute drama 17 months earlier (airing from 2:30-4:00 pm), was scaled back to 60 minutes and aired from 2:00-3:00 pm, and The Doctors, which previously aired from 2:00-2:30 pm, now moved to 12:30-1:00.
Due in no small part to the then-peak success of ABC's General Hospital, Texas remained in the bottom echelon of the daytime serial chart with a 3.8 rating, tying with The Doctors for last place, 12th, in 1980. However, the show's numbers fell gradually after its first year. The struggles of Texas also affected the ratings of its mother show, Another World, in such a way that the latter show was no longer NBC's highest-rated soap. The 1980-1981 season saw Another World finish with a 5.1 ratings by comparison to a 7.1 during the previous season (1979-1980). In that same season, Days of our Lives would become the highest rated serial on NBC.
The show had a very difficult task from the beginning in the ratings for NBC; its 3:00 pm timeslot competitors were ABC's General Hospital, then the highest-rated daytime soap opera due in large part to the popularity of the Luke and Laura storyline, and CBS' Guiding Light, which had undergone a ratings resurgence under the more youthful and fast-paced direction of showrunner Douglas Marland. At that time, NBC was third in the ratings. The serial finished with a 3.8 in the ratings for its first year.
Critics complained that Iris Bancroft (who was known on Another World as being a villainess) had become too tame in her new environment in Houston, and that other roles were poorly cast or suffered from paper-thin writing. In early 1981, the Corringtons were replaced as head writers. Other casting moves were made with little gain, such as hiring away well established and popular General Hospital star Kin Shriner (Scotty Baldwin) in October 1980, at great expense, to be cast as Jeb Hampton, only to give him almost nothing to do except as a supporting role until he finally departed the series in August 1981.
In addition to popular Shriner, veteran actor Jay Hammer, who had a notable credit role as Allan Willis during the 1978–1979 season on the primetime CBS sitcom The Jeffersons, replaced Chandler Hill Harben in February 1981 as Max Dekker. The character was paired off with Carla Borelli's character, Reena Bellman Cook. They both brought charisma to the roles, but their storyline was short-lived, as Hammer's contract ended, and Max was killed off in a fatal explosion.
Gail Kobe and Pam Long
In late 1981, Gail Kobe became executive producer and Pam Long (who appeared on the show as Ashley Linden Marshall) became head writer. The show began to improve in quality, but the ratings remained in the basement due to numerous factors such as losing affiliates due to timeslot rescheduling.
Kobe and Long went on to make their marks on Guiding Light for much of the mid-1980s. They were able to lure McKinsey, who had been on hiatus from the genre since leaving Texas in 1981. McKinsey portrayed Baroness Alexandra Spaulding Von Halkein, her second and final iconic character in the genre of daytime television. Jay Hammer, Lisby Larson, James Rebhorn, Harley Jane Kozak (Brette Wheeler), and Michael Woods (Mark Wheeler) were all cast and given new roles on Guiding Light.
On April 26, 1982, Texas moved to the 11:00 am timeslot. The serial had been at a critical low point in the ratings, and NBC, as part of a reshuffling of its morning lineup and a last-ditch effort to save the show, opted for this late-morning move, which also resulted in a change of timeslot for the hit game show Wheel of Fortune. As part of this shuffle, NBC moved Wheel of Fortune from 11:00 to 10:30, which subsequently resulted in the termination of Blockbusters and Battlestars.
However, this move may have exacerbated the ratings problems for Texas: although it no longer had to face General Hospital, it was now directly against CBS' hit game show The Price Is Right. While Wheel of Fortune had given The Price Is Right some competition in the slot, Texas was unable to make even the slightest dent against the long-running CBS game. Therefore, NBC cancelled Texas and the still-struggling The Doctors (which had been bumped up to noon to make room for NBC acquiring CBS' Search for Tomorrow at 12:30) on December 31, 1982. Strangely enough, Somerset, the first spin-off of Another World, had aired its finale on the same date in 1976.
After initially filling the slot with reruns of CHiPs for a few months, NBC experimented with other programming in the 3:00 timeslot; two 60-minute game shows occupied the slot over a period of nearly two years. The first of these, Fantasy, ran for thirteen months and was replaced by The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. When the latter ended its run in July 1984, Santa Barbara premiered in the 3:00 timeslot; aside from running for nine years, it achieved better ratings and critical acclaim than Texas ever did. Santa Barbara was also the last network program NBC aired in that slot, as NBC returned the hour to its affiliates after the show ended in 1993.
Shortly after the cancellation of Texas and The Doctors, NBC turned its focus back to game shows and improving the struggling but still higher rated soaps Days of Our Lives and Another World in early 1983. The daytime block led off with the Jim Perry-helmed revival of Sale of the Century at 10:30 am in January 1983. The 11:00 slot went back to Wheel of Fortune, which Texas had displaced with its move to the mornings, and the 11:30 slot was filled by Hit Man, which introduced audiences to Peter Tomarken. The noon slot, which The Doctors previously occupied, was taken by Just Men!, hosted by Betty White. Of the shows that premiered that day, Sale of the Century lasted until March 1989, but Hit Man and Just Men! each lasted only 13 weeks.
Texas was used as a starring vehicle for Daytime Emmy-nominated Beverlee McKinsey, whose Another World character of Iris Carrington, penned in 1972 by Harding Lemay on the mother show as the rich, spoiled daughter of publishing magnate Mackenzie Cory, was made the focal point of the series. McKinsey was the first daytime performer to be given the distinction of having a starring credit on the opening of the show. Narrator Ken Roberts announced at the end of the theme song, "Texas, starring Beverlee McKinsey," grazed with an outside picture of the iconic actress. However, she left Texas 16 months after its debut.
Texas was also the first daytime soap opera to air hour-long episodes from its inception, as all the other hour-long soaps airing at the time had expanded from 30 minutes. Noteworthy, the multiple Emmy Award-winning Santa Barbara, which took over the former Texas time slot in 1984, also premiered with hour-long episodes. Santa Barbara managed to achieve more critical acclaim and slightly higher ratings during its 8-and-a-half-year run.
Soon after Texas was cancelled, TBS began reairing the show in a weekday morning timeslot in a 30-minute format. These airings were paired with a new half-hour soap, The Catlins, which was one of the few made-for-cable soaps.
In 2006, Procter and Gamble began making several of its soaps available, a few episodes at a time, through America Online's AOL Video service, downloadable free of charge. Reruns of Texas episodes began with the show's first episode from August 4, 1980.
As of January 1, 2009, Procter and Gamble announced that Texas and three other of its cancelled soap operas would no longer be streamed on AOL Video. The notice referred to exploring other options to make the shows available for viewing. The last Texas episode made available through AOL Video was #339, which originally aired on December 4, 1981. Additionally, numerous clips of the show are available on the video-sharing site YouTube.
Five episodes are known to be missing so far:
- Episode #47 dated October 7, 1980, posted at AOL is the same as episode #24 and it seems to be either missing or was somehow mislabeled.
- Episode #203 dated May 21, 1981
- Episode #245 dated July 21, 1981
- Episode #247 dated July 23, 1981
- Episode #288 dated September 18, 1981
Episodes 78-163 were once available at AOL, but removed sometime in spring 2008. Although episodes 1-77 are still available through the WMV stream URLs, AOL has completely removed the embedded player pages at the website.
- Grunwald, D: "Who Shot Texas", pages 23-27. TV Guide (Canadian edition), March 5, 1983.
- List of US daytime soap opera ratings#1970s
- Payne, A: "Texas Lives Again - On Cable," pages 38-40,Soap Opera Digest, January 31, 1984.
- "AOL to Launch New Video Portal," WebWire.com, July 31, 2006.
- "PGP Classic Soap Channel," pgpclassicsoaps.com, January 1, 2009.
- Schemering, Christopher. The Soap Opera Encyclopedia, September 1985, ISBN 0-345-32459-5 (1st edition)
- Texas on IMDb
- Texas fan website
- Texas at the Another World Home Page
- Clips from Texas episodes