ABC (ended 1978)
|I would say it was. But that is me. Lindsay won an Emmy for her part of Jaime Sommers. I believe the show topped #5 in the Neilson Ratings and was in the top 10 and 20 for all 3 years.|
|It was a cult hit, but it was getting regularly trounced in the ratings against Sixty Minutes on CBS. NBC picked it up after ABC dropped it.|
Actually, Bionic Woman was never opposite 60 Minutes (During 76-78, ABC and NBC left that Sunday night battle to more kid-oriented fare like The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Wonderful World of Disney). When it first premiered, Bionic Woman wason Wednesdays at 8pm against Tony Orlando & Dawn and Little House on the Prairie - both of which were moved to new timeslots that fall, presumably to escape the beating in the ratings they were taking opposite BW. The only notable show against it in its second season was Good Times. When it moved to NBC however, it was shuffled off into the "dead zone" of Saturdays at 8pm. It wasn't being trounced by any one show at this point - the viewers just weren't there at all. None of the shows on ABC, NBC or CBS in that timeslot even cracked the Top 30 that year.
|As someone stated, The Bionic Woman ended season 1 as # 5 and season 2 as #14. Though I don't see how it could have been "trending downward badly" because the ratings listed in "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows" are the ratings each show ended up with for the entire season. Therefor it had to have consistantly been in the top 15 all season to have done well enough to have averaged 14.|
I know Lindsay Wagner personally, and even if you don't, she has said in print that she didn't want to get typecast in a sci-fi series, as she wanted to do movies. Originally, neither Universal nor ABC had any plans for a regular bionic show featuring Lindsay, and when they decided they wanted her, they had to pay her $500,000 per season with a guarrantee of five seasons contracted for. Yet another issue was Lindsay's insistence on having a hand in the story development for each episode. She has said in both a Lifetime special and an interview on "Supreme Master" (Buddhist nun) Ching Hai's TV network that her "struggles" with the writers and producers over content, coupled with the long hours eventually wore her down. She wanted Jaime to win not just through brute force, but by winning over people's hearts, including the bad guys, who she wanted to see portrayed as decent people just doing the wrong thing because they had temporarily warped perspectives. You'll note how the best episodes, starting with Season Two, all had that element. Lindsay felt so strongly about keeping Jaime gentle and nonviolent that in the early nineties she testified before a Senate subcommittee on violence in children's programming, which had become relevant because by that point she had had two boys with BW stunt coordinator Henri Kingi. In her interview on a "Forty Years of TV Stars" special, she even said she wouldn't let her kids watch Bionic Woman reruns when they were young because: "they're watching their mom, not some superhero".
So my guess is that The Bionic Woman ended so soon because Lindsay and the writers/producers found it too taxing to work together week in and week out. I say this as someone who thinks the world of Lindsay, and with firsthand knowledge of how spiritually evolved and active she is. Every inch of film she shoots is an opportunity for Lindsay to push her message -- which, while very empowering, just doesn't mesh well with mainstream television. That's also why we haven't seen much of her since the nineties: when cable channels started asking for more sex and violence, Lindsay "dropped out" of the Hollywood scene, and hasn't really come back. The last couple things she's done have been in limited distribution, like Billy, The Early Years, or not even come out at all, like Buckaroo. And one more thing: The Bionic Woman killed Lindsay's marriages to both Michael Brandon (#2) and Henri Kingi (#3), whom Lindsay still spoke of loving in that 1999 Lifetime special. You notice she hasn't been on any regular series since BW, except for a very short-lived show called Peaceable Kingdom, which isn't available on DVD and I've never even seen in reruns.
So that's my guess: The Bionic Woman just ran out of steam. Her power pack ran down, and she got tired of chasing spies, and decided to take her life in a different direction. Her gain, and ultimately ours, too, since she's now offering her message in the form of workshops and retreats ANYBODY can go on, Bionic Woman fan or not.