Again I have Bing cache to thank for being able to resurrect this thread I originally posted in September 2008, just a couple of months after I joined Soapchat. I'm very glad because some of the information I found in Google News Archive at the time may no longer be available. THE COLBYS [Season 1] The press began reporting about a DYNASTY spin-off in February 1985 (the first article I found was published on the 21st). At this early point, John James was the only actor on board, but the producers began talking to Pamela Sue Martin (who, as they said, had had a disastrous career since leaving 'Dynasty') to reprise the role of Fallon. ABC's original plan was to air the first few episodes of THE COLBYS on Wednesdays after DYNASTY and then move it to Friday nights at 9, opposite DALLAS on CBS. DYNASTY had finally managed to edge DALLAS out in the ratings that season (1984-85), but the Ewings remained an inch away from the Carringtons, so ABC wanted to weaken DALLAS without moving DYNASTY out of its regular timeslot on Wednesdays at 9. Both shows were averaging 20-21 million households each week. Surprisingly, it was reported in those early days of the development that Heather Locklear was also being considered to move to THE COLBYS along with James (perhaps her character could have moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting/modeling career?). The producers were also planning to include Linda Evans and Joan Collins in the first few episodes (we all know now how much Joan Collins hated the idea of a DYNASTY spin-off and vowed never to appear on THE COLBYS). In March, ABC honchos were quoted as saying that although some DYNASTY stars will move to THE COLBYS (or at least make a special appearance) "great care will be taken not to jeopardize the parent series". Although THE COLBYS has all the buzz in 1985, some industry observers had warned as early as April 1985 that the 1984-85 season was the season of Bill Cosby and that the audiences may have finally reached their saturation point with prime-time soaps, due to the failure of several new soaps and mini-series. And they were absolutely right as Cosby shot straight to the top with 28 million households when his show returned in September (the kind of ratings that had been unheard of for years - even DALLAS peaked at 23 million several seasons before during the "Who Shot JR" hype). On May 7, 1985 ABC unveiled its fall 1985 schedule putting THE COLBYS into the Thursday at 9pm timeslot (followed by 20/20). Despite the addition of THE COLBYS and HOLLYWOOD BEAT it was reported that Aaron Spelling had "only" 5 hours of programming on ABC, down from 7 in September 1984. By this point, ABC had already decided to delay the launch of THE COLBYS until November, but made very little mention of that when announcing the fall schedule, thus listing THE COLBYS in the Thursday at 9 timeslot. A show called LADY BLUE (which failed and got cancelled) aired in the timeslot September-November. Had LADY BLUE become a hit, ABC was going to keep it in the Thursday at 9 timeslot and find a new home for THE COLBYS. ABC had picked DYNASTY (TV's #1 show at the time) for 33 new episodes in its 6th season in order to avoid pre-emptions in April (after the show's sensational decline, the order was reduced to 31 hours). At this time, James Darren of the just-canceled TJ HOOKER was being considered for a role on THE COLBYS. One of the frontrunners for the role of Jason Colby was Burt Lancaster. Charlton Heston was the producers' second choice after the negotiations with Lancaster failed in June 1985. Meanwhile, they were also talking to Hollywood superstars Faye Dunnaway and Elizabeth Taylor to play regulars on THE COLBYS. In a June 1985 interview John James said he had initially been ambivalent about the show because spin-offs usually end up being half the parent show and thought they needed a star of Heston's magnitude to succeed. Meanwhile, James Darren returned to TJ HOOKER after it was announced that CBS would pick up the show that ABC had cancelled. Darren had already been committed to another year of HOOKER but was hoping to move on to THE COLBYS or a couple of other projects after ABC axed the cop drama. A reputable ad executive Alison Danzberger said in an interview at this time it wouldn't be very easy for THE COLBYS to succeed because: 1. Emma Samms does not have the appeal of Pamela Sue Martin 2. The show would air opposite SIMON & SIMON which tied for 6th place the previous season 3. Its lead-in THE FALL GUY (Thursdays at 8) was a tired show She did however think the show would survive at least 1 full season. I also found an article which was speculating in late June 1985 that Ali MacGraw's character would survive the bloodshed in Moldavia and join THE COLBYS to provide a love triangle for Jeff and Fallon. In an interview John James said: "Replacing an ongoing character is always a tough job, but I think the audience is forgiving enough. My hat's off to Emma. She's a good little actress." Meanwhile, it was reported Doris Day was also in negotiations to join THE COLBYS as was James Coburn, who would play - Blake Carrington's brother Ben. By early July, negotiations with Heston had almost been completed and the producers began talking to Angie Dickinson to play his wife Sable. The casting of Charlton Heston was officially confirmed on July 9. Dallas Morning News wrote that Heston who signed on THE COLBYS that week may have stooped to TV because of his age and negligible box office returns. Esther Shapiro was meanwhile quoted saying she was excited about 'bossing a Hollywood legend'. The article about Heston's fading star caused angry reactions of his fans who wrote in to complain. Diahann Carroll meanwhile said she was asked to appear on THE COLBYS and although she wasn't sure what her storylines would be she was hoping to keep "jumping in and out of bed, as that seems to be what everyone wants to see." By July 15 it was reported that actor Maxwell Caulfield would play 'Maxwell Colby', a so-rich-you-could-puke cousin of Jeff Colby who would be featured heavily in the opening episodes of THE COLBYS. On July 17, the press reported that Barbara Stanwyck signed a contract to join the show. A week later it was reported George Hamilton was joining DYNASTY and "if things worked out he would later move to THE COLBYS. By July 29, it was reported that Angie Dickinson might not join the new series and that Susannah York and Elizabeth Ashley were next in line to take on the role of Sable Colby. According to early plot outlines, THE COLBYS versions of Krystle and Alexis were going to be called Anthea and Sable. By July 30, the press reported that "sanity prevailed" and Ali MacGraw would not be coming back as Lady Ashley and a part of a love triangle on THE COLBYS. The casting of Katherine Ross as Francesca was announced on August 5. Three days later it was reported that Stephanie Beacham "a household name in Britain, has beaten out Angie Dickinson for the role of Charlton Heston's wife on ABC's DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS. On August 19 the papers reported that Ken Howard would join either DYNASTY or THE COLBYS and that in either case he would first appear in the special 2-hour episode of DYNASTY in November. An article in late August 1985 claimed ABC who finished last in the 1984-85 season despite its biggest hit DYNASTY finishing in the 1st place, was hoping THE COLBYS would go into the top-10 and was going to heavily advertise the new series during the World Series telecasts. By August, the first scenes with THE COLBYS began filming. Those early scenes were being incorporated into the first 5+2 episodes of "Dynasty." The first actual episode of the show was to begin filming on Monday, September 2. On September 4, the press reported Ricardo Montalban known as Mr.Roarke on FANTASY ISLAND and Chrysler spokesman, was joining the show. He described his character as ''complex, ambitious and scheming, but with a kind of charm that can allow him to get away with almost anything." It was also revealed at this time that Rex Smith had declined a role on the show due to his involvement with national tour of "West Side Story." In their reviews, many newspapers were referring to Heston and Ross as 'fading box office stars." A leading media buyer was quoted as saying she purchased spots in the first couple of episodes of THE COLBYS because she thought they would do well because of all the hype, but ultimately she didn't think the show would succeed because of the competition from SIMON & SIMON on CBS and CHEERS and NIGHT COURT on NBC. The casting of Joseph Campanella was announced on September 17. Meanwhile, it was reported the show would be filmed at Barron Hilton's home in Bel Air. Ratings analysts were saying ABC should improve its performance on Thursday nights at least a little bit, once THE COLBYS premieres in November. By early October, ABC confirmed THE COLBYS would premiere in its regular timeslot Thursdays at 9:00pm on November 21, the day after the series premiere which was scheduled in special time, Wednesday November 20 at 10pm, after Dynasty. The much-hyped 2-hour episode of "Dynasty" was scheduled for November 14. Meanwhile, LADY BLUE wasn't doing too well, and ABC announced it would move the show to Saturdays beginning November 16, in the slot of Robert Wagner's LIME STREET which was being pulled. LADY BLUE was however gone in mid October, being pre-empted by World Series, a repeat of GOLDFINGER and the mini-series NORTH & SOUTH which ABC scheduled for the first week of November sweeps. On November 4 it was reported that country singer Gary Morris would begin his guest starring stint on THE COLBYS in the show's 8th or 9th episode. The following day, Ronald Reagan spoiled ABC's plans to air the show's 2nd episode on November 21, the day after it premieres after "Dynasty". White House announced the President would give a speech the same evening in the same timeslot in which THE COLBYS was supposed to premiere. Several days later, reports suggested Charlton Heston, an old friend of Reagan, tried to use his influence to see if there was anything that could be done to reschedule the speech so it wouldn't clash with the premiere of THE COLBYS (an 8pm timeslot could in fact give it a solid lead-in, providing it finished by 9pm). White House however did not change plans, and ABC was forced to reschedule to timeslot premiere of THE COLBYS. Since the storylines would not allow the show to air after the next episode of DYNASTY (in which Blake Carrington returned from L.A. where he saw his presumed-dead daughter telling Alexis all about it), ABC decided that the next best thing would be to air the 2nd episode on Wednesday, but in the 8pm timeslot, before DYNASTY. The following 3rd episode (a Thanksgiving episode) would then air on schedule, on Thursday, November 28, as the show's timeslot premiere. Meanwhile, in November multiple articles were reporting that the parent series was not doing too well in the ratings in the first 6 weeks of the season, despite raising to the top the previous season. In the days before the premiere it was reported Philip Brown joined the show as love interest for Tracy Scoggins. Also, Troy Beyer who was joining DYNASTY as Diahann Carroll's daughter was told her character would be "a ball of fire" and might appear on both shows. The day the show finally premiered (Wed, Nov. 20 at 10pm), Los Angeles Times wrote "it's a clone-as close a replica as ABC and the "Dynasty" producers could concoct, right down to the credits." Some were calling it "a study in confusion" others said it was "more of the same" and "if you didn't care for DYNASTY you wouldn't have any reasons to watch this show." When the initial good ratings came in (THE COLBYS was 9th for the week, while DYNASTY was 5th) the reviewers were asking "Will the same large audience stick with DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS the following week when it premieres in its regular Thursday time period?" A ratings report published on Thursday, November 21 read: "Scheduled behind Dynasty, the 10 p.m. Wednesday, the mega-hyped premiere of Dynasty II: THE COLBYS was a smash as it easily won the 12-city Nielsen ratings. The spinoff, which moves into its regular 9 p.m. Thursday, time slot on Thanksgiving Day, attracted 24.5% of TV homes. NBC's St. Elsewhere had 13.4% and CBS' The Equalizer had 10.1%. DYNASTY crushed its competition with 25%" The following week, as the show premiered in the regular timeslot the critics were telling the readers not to hold breath for it to become a hit. And they appeared to be right - the show fell to 50th place and ranked last in the timeslot. A report dated December 4 read: "With one-third of the new season behind us, those high-flying, steamy, prime-time soaps are being buffeted by stormy weather. "DYNASTY II," which had been rolling along on the shirttails of "DYNASTY," slipped on its first night in its new time period. Of course, it's too early to dismiss THE COLBYS, and Thursday was Thanksgiving, a night with different viewing habits. Most prime-time soap operas also take months to develop an audience. CBS' DALLAS, for instance, was nearly canceled after the first season. On December 11, a sarcastic piece in Philadelphia Inquirer said: "In a move that will no doubt send tremors throughout the industry, ABC has announced that, beginning this week, DYNASTY II: THE COLBYS will simply be known as THE COLBYS." A December 18 ratings reported stated that: "ABC's 'Dynasty' spinoff THE COLBYS, showed all the signs of an early failure with a 46th-place finish. So far, it's clear that it is not catching on." On December 23, it was announced that "although it's not exactly burning up the ratings, ABC's THE COLBYS has received an order for 24 episodes from the network. Meanwhile, Hollywood insiders say that Chad Everett, James Franciscus and Sam Elliott are up for the role of Ben Carrington on DYNASTY. Articles published in January 1986 focused on the new ABC president saying mistakes were made on DYNASTY and the network was working day and night since Thanksgiving on correcting the show. The networks was meanwhile saying although struggling in the ratings THE COLBYS was doing better than its previous season's Thursday night line-up and would give the show time to build an audience. Esther Shapiro, who was recovering from pneumonia in February 1986, said they were "back on the road" and was hyping the March wedding of Jeff and Fallon on THE COLBYS. In early March it was reported that the most recent episode of THE COLBYS had its highest Thursday night ratings finishing 26th for the week. Just a few week earlier it bottomed out in the 54th place. ABC executives denied rumors that Pamela Sue Martin was going to return to her role of Fallon in THE COLBYS if the spin off is renewed for a 2nd season. Also in early March THE COLBYS won People's Choice Award as "Favorite New Series". On March 13, 1986 ABC renewed THE COLBYS for a 2nd season. It was reported the same day Barbara Stanwych might return for only 7 episodes, down from 24 she did in season 1. Just days later THE COLBYS would again score season-high Thursday night ratings with the wedding episode. On March 18, CHEERS scored a 22.4/34 rating, THE COLBYS got 19.8/30, while NCAA on CBS got only 10.2/16. A March 19 report suggested that "after a rocky start THE COLBYS is finally climbing in the ratings, but it appears to be so prohibitively expensive that future payoff in syndication seems very chancy." On March 29 it was reported that CBS' SIMON & SIMON was now running third in the timeslot after being passed by THE COLBYS and would be gone by the end of the season. On April 19 some stores pulled the current issue of tabloid GLOBE with John James and Emma Samms on the cover passionately kissing in the shower with a headline "TV's Steamiest Kiss" promoting an upcoming episode of THE COLBYS. On April 27 in an interview, Pamela Sue Martin said she would never return to DYNASTY and could not give an opinion of Emma Samms who replaced her because she never saw THE COLBYS. On May 13 during the Upfronts event for advertisers in New York where US TV networks present their fall schedules, ABC confirmed that they would retain 6 of the 17 new shows they tried in the 1985-86 season including THE COLBYS. Newsmagazine OUR WORLD would lead into THE COLBYS which was going to remain in the Thursday at 9pm timeslot (ABC honchos acknowledges that newsmagazine into series was not a perfect lead-in). OUR WORLD would eventually end the next 1986-87 season as one of the last of about 80 network shows, pulling THE COLBYS further down with it. In late May it was confirmed that of the 5 prime-time soap operas, which generally don't do very well in repeats, 3 would get summer reruns, including DALLAS (which was moving to Wednesdays at 8pm for the summer), KNOTS LANDING and THE COLBYS.