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Frank StantonFrank Stanton
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Session:         Page of 755

big story. Now, I think probably, with what [Howard K.] Stern has been doing on radio and things of that kind, that maybe it wouldn't be as much of a problem.

Q:

The Smothers Brothers were pulled, weren't they? What happened to that show? Were they pulled by CBS?

Stanton:

Lost audience. The circulation went down, the public got tired of it and that was that. They had a clever show. Did you ever see it?

Q:

I did, yes. I remember when it went off the air, and I always wondered why.

Stanton:

Like “Studio One,” like “Playhouse 90,” like “Jack Benny,” there comes a time when it's a worn-out program format. Now, people say, “Look at how great Jackie Gleason was.” Sure. He was terrific. But Jackie Gleason's curve was going down, it wasn't going up. Walter Cronkite sat in exactly the chair you're sitting in, in my old office -- not at CBS, but after I had retired -- he came over to see me about whether he should throw in the towel and give up. His great debate was whether his curve was going to begin to go down. He didn't want to go off the air when he was going down. Ed Sullivan the same way. A lot of them overstay their time, think they can do one more season and get back up again, and that's when the competition clobbers them, because the public senses the fact that this is sliding, they turn to the opposition, and the downward slide is accelerated. The neat trick is to get out before the sheriff gets there, you know.

Q:

What did you advise Walter Cronkite, by the way?



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