In his Nov. 28 Arts article, "Network TV, Ensconced in a Blue Period," Paul Farhi recalled the rise and fall of what he called the "hayseed TV boom," without noting that almost all of these shows were CBS properties and almost all died in 1971 under the ax of famed executive Fred Silverman during the "rural purge."
"Petticoat Junction" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC" went first, in 1970. Then, in 1971, came the end of "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Mayberry RFD," "The Johnny Cash Show" and "Hee Haw." "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" somehow survived until 1972, perhaps bolstered for a season by urbane sophisticates such as Rob Reiner and Steve Martin on its writing staff. That "Hee Haw" was to survive for 22 more years in first-run syndication suggests Mr. Silverman was perhaps overly harsh.
Certainly, some of these shows were at their end anyhow, but Mr. Silverman's agenda was explicit. Whether it was a strict business maneuver based on a smaller advertiser demand for these shows' large audiences or Mr. Silverman's personal bias, a cultural sting was associated with the purge and is still recalled bitterly by the show's producers and performers, as well as by their old fans.
EDWARD O'N. HOYT