The cancellation of Hart to Hart
[thanks to Coral for the photo]
Scroll down to read why the television series was cancelled, and the reaction to the cancellation.
Why was Hart to Hart cancelled?
There were various reasons given for the cancellation
Bettelou Peterson answered a readers query about the axing of Hart to Hart by saying "Stars Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers claim they were surprised although both had complained abut the poor quality of the scripts. The adventures of the high-style, happily married Harts slipped in the ratings during the last season and ABC figured a new show - Lindsay Wagner as 'Jessie', a police psychiatrist- would do better." 1
- Another report that suggested that bad scripts and plummeting ratings were to blame was printed in an Australian magazine. " Alarmed by the plummeting popularity of the series which he co-owns, star Robert Wagner and his business associates decided not to renew the contracts of any of the current writers, producers or directors if the show is extended to another season. " It goes on to say, that Stefanie and Robert "have become less and less pleased with the scripts presented to them over the past few years and there have been expensive delays while they've virtually rewritten their own scenes." As a result they both "feel their ship is going down. Usually in the top 20 prime-time shows, Hart to Hart recently slipped to 60th, an all time low." Just weeks after this report was printed, Hart to Hart was cancelled. 2
- Robert Wagner said that " a new president came into ABC and he wanted to put his own shows on the air. We had been on for 5 years and he made a tremendous change in all of the programs. He took off 7 hours of prime time which we were the last ones to be taken off. We were, at that time the 12th most viewed shown in the nation and syndicated all around the world. This often happens when a new group comes in, but it was very shocking for us....." 3
RJ and Stefanie's reaction
"Even thinking that we might be cancelled is traumatic. Hopefully, Hart To Hart will go another 10 years." This wasn't to be. 4
" The thing that I was upset about was that it was at the last moment, absolutely the last five minutes of the business day (before the ABC's schedule for the following fall was set). We had four scripts ready to go, we had two directors hired, and we had a production unit in Paris ready to start shooting. It was just a shock." 5
"Hart to Hart was a hit from day one. We had a great run and we were absolutely shocked when they cancelled it without warning. The show was one of the most viewed series in the United States. It was syndicated to 89 countries." 6
"I was shattered. I would say it took me about a year and a half to get over it," Wagner recalls. "We were ready to go forward and had scripts and directors. Stefanie was already in Paris, and I was leaving to meet her there to begin shooting and they just canceled it. "I called her in Paris, and she burst into tears. We couldn't believe it, because it was the 12th most viewed show in the United States and we were syndicated in 89 countries." 8
When the show was cancelled I went everywhere trying to get it back." 9
" I heard about Hart to Hart here (Paris) and it was a terrible shock. The most bitter pill to swallow was that it was cancelled the day before the new programs were to be announced for the next season. Robert and I knew that the last shows could have been better, so we had already put a lot of time and energy into thinking positively about all the things that we could do in the new year. I'm really sad that we won't be working together any more. He's my buddy and neither of us has spent so much time with another single man, woman or child. Sure the financial blow is a shock too. I send a lot of what I earn to the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. It is very important to me." 10