Eddie Albert had the best response to people who ''turned their noses up'' at The Beverly Hillbillies
Eddie Albert was a man who stood up for many things, even if it meant going against powerful people. We've all heard about the rural purge, how it completely wiped out all shows surrounding country/farm living and what critics believed "praised stereotypes." In 1970, the first wave of the purge happened.
According to the Calgary Herald, in a 1970 article, for the first time in 14 seasons (years), CBS saw a ratings defeat against rival NBC, and the network thought it was time for a new approach to gain their audiences back.
Its network programming was about to change drastically, and CBS President Robert Wood wanted to "shed its hayseed, silo-set image."
The article stated that top-10 favorites were dumped, like Red Skelton, and even mentioned Petticoat Junction, which ended in April of 1970 due to the network's change in direction. What rural comedies managed to survive the first wave? Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies.
Eddie Albert, who played Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres, didn't hold back his thoughts when he was asked about the changes. "Hogwash," the actor told the Calgary Herald. "It wasn't that at all. I'll tell you what it was. The brass at CBS are more concerned about what their Madison Avenue friends think than what the public thinks."
Albert didn't believe ratings had anything to do with CBS' decision to wipe out rural comedies. "The boys on Madison Ave. always turned their noses up at Beverly Hillbillies as though it was Dogpatch illiterates. But let me tell you something, that show is one of the best-written series on television. So is my show," he added.
Both shows saw major success, and despite being on critics' "worst shows" list, audiences tuned in every week.
He continued, "What those SOBs at the network and their Madison Avenue friends never wanted to accept is that there is more humor, more raciness, double entendre in Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres than in any other show. There's more humor in one Hillbillies (episode) than there could ever be in a month of Bob Hope shows."
Although Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies survived the first wave of the purge in 1970, both were canceled in 1971 as CBS focused on a new era.