The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

CBS (ended 1974)




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The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

Show Summary

When The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted on CBS the first day of August in 1971 as a five-week summer replacement series, it was an immediate ratings hit. The bright musical arrangements interspersed with humorous on-stage bickering from the husband and wife team scored big in the lounges they were performing in, and this translated well into television. Based on the success of the summer show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour was back on the air in December of 1971, replacing The Chicago Teddy Bears Friday nights at 8:00. A string of hit records and concert tours brought in big bucks. By the fall of 1972, in its Wednesday night at 8:00 time slot, the show became a consistent top-ten winner. The program featured regulars Terri Garr, Freeman King, Peter Cullen, Billy Van, Murray Langston (later the 'Unknown Comic'), Ted Zeigler, and Chastity Bono, the couple's toddler. The series was famous for the outlandish outfits designed by Bob Mackie, (who did the costumes for Cher only, as he was under contract to Carol Burnett for her entire show) and catchy musical numbers scored by Billy Barnes. Sadly, all was not happy in Sonny and Cher land. By 1973, the tabloids were ripe with stories of their offstage shouting matches, canceled gigs (including a last minute cancellation in Vegas, filled by Johnny Carson), and even reports of Cher sporting a black eye. Just as Sonny and Cher's recording career was coming to an end, Cher began charting top-ten solo records. Tensions increased when Cher moved out of the couple's home. Truth was, they had been living separate lives for some time in their Bel Air mansion. With the TV show finishing 7th for the 1973-74 season, Sonny Bono filed for divorce; 58 hours later on February 22, 1974, the final episode of 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' was taped. CBS had no choice but cancel one of their biggest hits when it became apparent that the duo couldn't work together any longer. Cher wanted a solo career. 'The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour' left the air May 29, 1974 when one television show was split into two.moreless