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1970s / TV Disaster - My Three Sons Final Season
My Three Sons ran for 12 seasons (1960 through 1972), first on ABC then on CBS. It is the second-longest running live-action sitcom in American TV history, behind only The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Despite plentiful cast changes, the departure of three major characters, and implausible plot twists, it remained a reliable ratings-grabber year after year. For most of its time on CBS, MTS enjoyed a favorable Saturday 8 p.m. time slot. Prior to what would be its final season, CBS decided to give its hugely popular new series All in the Family the time slot MTS was accustomed to having. MTS was moved to Monday at 10 p.m.--a horrible time for most kids to watch it. In addition to the time change for the twelfth season, a bizarre storyline was introduced: Fred MacMurray, who played family patriarch Steven Douglas, took on a second role--that of his cousin the Laird (Lord) Ferguson McBain Douglas of Sithian Bridge. English actor Alan Caillou's voice was dubbed for MacMurray's whenever Lord Douglas spoke. The plot centered around Lord Douglas' arrival in Los Angeles from Scotland. He came in search of a First Lady to marry and return with him to Scotland. He found Terri Dowling (Anne Francis), a waitress at the Blue Berry Bowling Alley. While initially reluctant to give up her life in America and return to Scotland as royalty, she finally accepted. This odd storyline was a continuation of a plot idea that originally began in the fourth season, when the Douglases visited Scotland on the pretense of having been told they had inherited a castle. With a later time slot--well after many younger MTS fans had gone to bed--the show finished the season outside the Top 30 for only the second time. In an attempt to save the series, CBS moved MTS in midseason to Thursday at 8:30 P.M. Nevertheless, MTS ended its prime-time run in the spring of 1972. Fred MacMurray, bitterly disappointed, protested the show's cancellation to CBS head honcho Fred Silverman, but to no avail. Although MTS was a staple on the rerun circuit for many years, the awful twelfth season was generally not included in the episodes made available for rebroadcast.