The Bob Crane Show

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The Bob Crane Show
Title card
Also known as'Second Start'
Created byNorman S. Powell
Martin Cohan
Jim Allen
StarringBob Crane
Patricia Harty
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes14
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)MTM Enterprises
Distributor20th Television
Original networkNBC
Original releaseMarch 6 –
June 12, 1975

The Bob Crane Show is an American sitcom that aired on NBC. The series starred Bob Crane as Bob Wilcox, a man in his 40s who quits his job as an insurance salesman to return to medical school. The series co-starred Patricia Harty as his wife Ellie Wilcox, who becomes the family's breadwinner while Bob is in school. After initial delays, the series debuted on March 6, 1975. The Bob Crane Show performed poorly in the Nielsen ratings and was canceled after 13 weeks.


The Bob Crane Show was originally titled Second Start and NBC planned to debut it in the fall of 1974. However, the Federal Communications Commission re-instituted its Prime Time Access Rule, which limited the broadcast networks to programming only three of the four hours of the prime time programming block. This decision led NBC to delay the series until January 1975. Crane re-shot the pilot, leading to another delay to March 1975.[1]

Crane expressed his desire that his series be what he called "hard comedy", which he described as comedy that "goes for the fences. It's also what you might call take-a-risk comedy because if you don't hit a home run, you might strike out. It's either a belly laugh or it's no go and no show."[2]

MTM Enterprises produced the series, which was filmed with a three-camera setup in front of a studio audience with a sweetened laugh track.[2]



No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Mid-Term Blues"March 6, 1975 (1975-03-06)
Bob Wilcox returns to medical school, leaving the responsibility for supporting the family on his wife Ellie and facing mid-term exams.[3]
2"Not with My Mother You Don't"March 13, 1975 (1975-03-13)
Bob's mother (Audra Lindley) moves in with a man the same age as Bob.[4]
3"The Incredible Shrinking Bob"March 20, 1975 (1975-03-20)
Bob's anxiety over leaving his wife as sole financial supporter grows.[5]
4"Ellie's Sister"March 27, 1975 (1975-03-27)
Two of Bob's classmates fall in love with his visiting sister-in-law.[6]
5"One Summer of Misery"April 3, 1975 (1975-04-03)
Bob receives a summer scholarship to Columbia University but frets that Ellie, who can't afford to go with him, is a little too eager to see him go.[7]
6"But I Love My Wife"April 17, 1975 (1975-04-17)
A South African exchange student zeroes in on Bob with her swinging singles approach to medical studies.
7"Acute Bussophobia"April 24, 1975 (1975-04-24)
Bob's old skills of salesmanship come in handy when he has to persuade his landlord to enter the hospital for an operation.
8"Grin and Bare It"May 1, 1975 (1975-05-01)
Ellie decides to supplement her income by posing as a nude model for art classes at Bob's college.[8]
9"A Case of Misdiagnosis"May 8, 1975 (1975-05-08)[11]
Bob treats an old friend (John Astin) and is surprised to learn the man is a prominent gay activist, prompting concern that people will think he is also gay.[9] NBC, worried that the script might be offensive to gay people, refused to approve the episode until it was reviewed by gay media activist Newton Dieter.[10]
10"The Lyle Principle"May 15, 1975 (1975-05-15)
Bob and a friend give the newly appointed dean a pep talk.
11"An American Fiasco"May 22, 1975 (1975-05-22)
The descent of a pair of young documentary filmmakers on the Wilcox household creates havoc in domestic tranquility for Bob and Ellie.
12"The Doctor Sings the Blues"May 29, 1975 (1975-05-29)
Bob's burgeoning friendship with his anatomy professor backfires when the man unloads his marital problems on Bob.[12]
13"The Embezzler"June 5, 1975 (1975-06-05)
When the last man he hired before resigning as an insurance company executive embezzles thousands of dollars from the firm, Bob is suspected of having been an accessory.
14"The Son of the Campus Capers"June 12, 1975 (1975-06-12)
A campus flirtation of 20 years before causes some anxious moments for Bob when the lady turns up married to the dean of the medical school.


The Bob Crane Show debuted with a Nielsen rating of 23, a disappointment to the network.[13] NBC cancelled the series after 13 weeks.

Series star Crane blamed the failure on the lack of chemistry among the characters. He compared The Bob Crane Show to its fellow series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, in wishing that the same sorts of character relationships on those series had been present in his. "I had nobody to talk to....In my series, I had no Bill Daily."[14]


  1. ^ "The Dispatch - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Daily News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  3. ^ "The Times-News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Beaver County Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  5. ^ "The Sumter Daily Item - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  6. ^ "The Press-Courier - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ "The Sumter Daily Item - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Lewiston Evening Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  9. ^ Tropiano, p. 197
  10. ^ Alwood, p. 151
  11. ^ "TV Today". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  12. ^ "5 PM to Signoff Thursday". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Caribe ratings plunge, series may be short-lived". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Beaver County Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 10 November 2017.


  • Alwood, Edward (1996). Straight News. New York, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08437-4.
  • Tropiano, Stephen (2002). The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 1-55783-557-8.

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