Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BUCK ROGERS (1979) Syndication Ads

This industry trade magazine ad from MCA-TV, circa 1983, boasts of the popularity of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century in syndication, specifically in weekday daily airings (known in syndication as "stripping"). While I'm sure that the series did do well in some markets, the "Is a cult developing?" line seems more like wishful thinking on the part of MCA's marketing department.

I suppose it does have a cult following now (and if so, I'm certainly a part of it), but in '83? A mere two years after it ended its network run? I love the show, but Star Trek it ain't.

Thanks to Star Kid Peter Noble, for sharing this ad on the Space: 1970 Facebook page. Here are a few more MCA trade ads, also courtesy of Master Noble:


  1. With only two seasons worth of episodes, you wouldn't think that it'd be economically worth it to Universal's syndication arm to strip the series five nights a week.

    When neither "BJ and the Bear" and "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" had enough episodes in their respective runs to strip, Universal combined them into a package called "The BJ/Lobo Show".

    In my market for a few years the station that ran "Star Trek" reruns also acquired the syndication packages of "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers" and would run them in rotation, so you'd get three months of "Star Trek" followed by one month of "Battlestar" and then two months of "Buck" and would cycle through the rotation that way for a couple of years.

    There's no indication of it in that trade ad you post, but I wonder if "Buck" and "Battlestar" were made available to stations in syndication as some sort of package deal while maintaining their separate identities (what with Buck being a licensed property and all)in a way that BJ and Lobo were not.

    1. What you said makes me wonder if Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, and a few other companies could market some of their short-lived TV shows the same way as you'd mentioned. A lot of obscure but classic TV could be marketed in this manner.

  2. the funny thing is the John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy" lyric reference.

    i'm sure it's intentional, but what an odd choice.

  3. Sometimes the editing was so bad it was difficult to follow the plot- but no one who likes this blog won't already know that.
    Chris seems to find some of the most interesting items to show. I remember very few of these ads like the one shown. Was that quip about a cult an attempt to create one?
    The stations I saw Buck Rogers on in syndication certainly didn't treat it as a cult show. Usually it was packaged as Donald mentions- with some other show. The time slot in my market seemed to aim these at the kiddie level.
    The Cult shows were often shown as marathons- Logan's Run , Planet of the Apes and the original Battlestar Galactica. But I do not remember ever seeing episodes of Buck combined for a TV movie like we saw with the Apes and Battlestar ones..
    btw- that line in the ad "6 Additional Runs Now Available" would have been more apropos for Logan's Run.

  4. This may be heresy, but there are times when I wish Glen Larson would stick to straight, contemporary drama. When he did that, we were treated to great, long-running, award-winning shows like McCloud, Quincy M.E. and Magnum P.I. Frankly, his science fiction and fantasy offerings, while often fun guilty pleasures (at least in the 1970s), never lasted very long and weren't anything anyone would call masterpieces of television or even great examples of SF. They never rose to the level of say, Deep Space Nine. They all seemed to have that veneer of cheesiness, especially the later ones like The Highwayman, Nightman, Automan, and even Knight Rider.

  5. I remember in the early 1980's having Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers running on the local independent station for a bit, 5 days a week. Then they went weekends only, before letting both shows go.