The long-running Western series “Gunsmoke” was canceled in 1967, but it was quickly reinstated. The reason for its quick un-cancelation varies according to different sources. The book “How I Escaped From Gilligan’s Island” was written by “Gilligan’s Island” writer-producer William Froug, and it asserts that the schedule reshuffling was due to CBS executive William S. Paley, who had reportedly been championing “Gunsmoke” since its radio show days. According to Froug, then-recent CBS president James T. Aubrey was responsible for canceling “Gunsmoke” after 12 seasons, as the show was declining in viewers and, according to some, quality. “Aubrey canceled it without consulting Paley,” Froug writes, noting that the cast and crew got cancellation notices and a teary wrap party followed.

Paley apparently wasn’t having it. “When Paley was told of the cancellation, he immediately ordered the show renewed,” Froug explains, “leaving [business affairs exec Anne Nelson] the extremely difficult job of going back to the many agents involved and trying to pick up the stars’ contracts as if the cancellation hadn’t happened.” CBS paid the price, as the writer-producer says several “Gunsmoke” stars negotiated higher salaries after the screw-up. With “Gunsmoke” back on the air, “Gilligan’s Island” could no longer have its time slot, and the show — the creation of which, ironically, Aubrey had reportedly helped oversee — was canceled.



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