1969 Dodge Charger, 1980s, action, avoided cancellation, Bo Duke, Boss Hogg, Catherine Bach, CBS, comedy, Daisy Duke, Dukes of Hazzard, fair licensing agreement, General Lee, John Schneider, Luke Duke, merchandise, Moonrunners, protest, ratings sank, season 5, Tom Wopat, TV
The Dukes of Hazzard (CBS, 1979-1985)
The Dukes of Hazzard was an American action-comedy series that aired on CBS from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985 (147 episodes) about the “Duke Boys,” cousins Bo and Luke Duke (John Schneider and Tom Wopat) who live in a rural part of the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia with their attractive cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach) and their wise old Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle), as they race around in their 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, named the General Lee. The Duke Boys have to evade crooked county Commissioner Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and his inept county sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best). The boys always manage to get caught in the middle of various escapades and incidents occurring in the area. The Dukes of Hazzard was on the air for seven seasons and inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was also created by Guy Waldron. The Dukes of Hazzard was consistently among the top-rated television series, which allowed huge profits from merchandising and the products included a huge array. This merchandise deal caused Schneider and Wopat to protest by not reporting to set at the beginning of season five. Bach also considered joining the protest but both men convinced her not to stating that if she left too that they could just cancel the show. Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer were hastily hired as Coy and Vance Duke, previously unmentioned nephews of Uncle Jesse. Bo and Luke were said to have been racing on the NASCAR circuit. Coy and Vance were slated to air for 10 episodes but had to go to 19. They were extremely unpopular and ratings sank. This forced Warner Brothers to negotiate a much more fair licensing agreement for all involved (Schneider, Wopat and Bach). Waldron later commented that the boys had been right that if Bach had joined in the process that The Dukes of Hazzard would indeed have been cancelled. Schneider and Wopat were able to return for the last four episodes of season five. With Bo and Luke’s return, Coy and Vance were written out of the very episode of their return and were never heard from again. In 1980, The Dukes of Hazzard‘s theme song — The Good Ol’ Boys by Waylon Jennings hit #1 on the American country chart and #21 on the Hot 100.