Mama (CBS, 1949-1957)
Mama was a weekly Maxwell House and Post Cereal-sponsored CBS Television dramedy series that ran from July 1, 1949 until March 17, 1957. The series told the ongoing story of a loving Norwegian family living in San Francisco in the 1910s through the eyes of the elder daughter, Katrin Hansen (Rosemary Rice). Katrin would be seen looking through the pages of the family album at the start of each episode. The show was originally broadcast live from CBS Studio 41 above the 42nd Street waiting room in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.
By the end of the 1955–56 season, even though the ratings for Mama were still respectable, viewership had decreased. Maxwell House, who co-sponsored the show, complained that not enough viewers were buying their coffee. This complaint led to CBS’s cancellation of the show in July 1956. Carol Irwin, the show’s producer, urged viewers to write the network demanding a return of the show. As a result, 175,000 letters poured into CBS, and the network immediately renewed the show. Unfortunately, with the prime-time schedule already filled, CBS scheduled Mama at 5:00pm on Sunday afternoons beginning December 16, 1956. This time, 26 episodes were filmed. The entire cast was reunited with the exception of actress Robin Morgan, who had portrayed the youngest daughter Dagmar beginning in 1950. Morgan opted not to continue with the role, wanting to pursue writing rather than acting. So, when Mama returned to CBS in December, 1956, the role of Dagmar was played by actress Toni Campbell. However, because of its less-than-desirable new time slot, Mama‘s ratings plummeted to the point of ultimately terminating its run three months later in March 1957, with several episodes left unaired.