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1970s / Bridget Loves Bernie - Controversial Sitcom
Bridget Loves Bernie was a CBS sitcom that ran for just one 24-episode season in 1972-73. Starring Meredith Baxter and David Birney, it was based on the long-running Broadway play Abie's Irish Rose. The show's premise was that a young school teacher from a well-to-do Irish-American family falls in love with and marries a poor Jewish cab driver. The show was given an excellent time slot--Saturdays at 8:30 PM, between All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore--and finished fifth in the overall ratings for the season. Why was the show cancelled? It was widely reported that Jewish groups opposed to inter-religious marriages inundated CBS with hate mail! (Officially, CBS claimed the show's ratings were disappointing.) Bridget Loves Bernie remains the highest-rated show ever to be cancelled after just one season. Birney and Baxter were later married in real life.