Executive Suite (partially found television soap opera; 1976-1977)
Executive Suite is a soap opera co-produced by Norman Felton and Stanley Rubin in 1976 that aired on CBS Monday nights during prime time. The show is loosely based on the 1954 film of the same name produced by MGM, which in turn was based on the same-name novel published by Cameron Hawley two years prior. The series was a $750,000 investment by CBC (about $3.4 million adjusted for inflation as of September 2019) in order to combat the recent ratings successes of rival network ABC. However, despite the investment made into the series, it only lasted a single season, ending in early 1977.The show is arguably the most influential soap-based drama series from the 1970s, as the popularity and primetime schedule of the series lead to a renewed interest in soap operas. Before the show's rivalry with ABC's Rich Man, Poor Man, the only two soap-based series on television for that decade were The Waltons and Beacon Hill, neither of which changed the soap opera demographic. According to the Mansfield News Journal:
"Executive Suite ha(d) more parts for actresses than any other TV series of recent memory"
While the series did make positive changes in the entertainment industry, the series is also known by historians and the LGBTQ+ community for starting the "Bury Your Gays" television trope, whereby an LGBTQ+ character is killed off for shock value rather than receiving a "happy ending". The incident occurred later on in the series when two wives get into an affair together with their husbands, and one gets hit by a car while running off to clear her thoughts.
The series revolves around Dan Walling (Mitchell Ryan) and the daily lives of both him, his family, and the other executives of the large company he works for. Before the series was publicly broadcast, a pilot was screened, and in it, Walling's daughter plants a bomb in a factory while his son comes back from France and is about to take on work at a loading dock. In the screening the board of Walling's company is looking to hire a new executive, who then reveals that he and his wife were never married, causing corporate ripples. After the screening, producer Felton and Rubin decided that the plot was too much of a mess, so rather than broadcast the pilot episode, they decided to incorporate portions of it into the first and second episodes.
To date, there are only two known clips of the series online, both of which being television promos. It can be speculated as to whether or not episodes of the series had previously been uploaded to former YouTuber saynotoursoap's channel through a forum post, though it has since been deleted and/or terminated. Six episodes of the series are also held at the Library of Congress, where they are only available for in-library screenings due to copyright concerns.
- A document listing televised soap operas, indicating which ones aired during prime time hours. Retrieved 31 Aug '19
- A New York Times article stating the series' relation to the 1954 film. Retrieved 31 Aug '19
- A page mentioning Cameron Hawley's books, and the movie adaptation of his book. Retrieved 31 Aug '19
- A New York Times article talking about the CBS investment into Executive Suite. Retrieved 31 Aug '19
- A book segment detailing how Executive Suite and Family paved the way to success for more soap-based dramas. Retrieved 31 Aug '19
- An article detailing the advances of women in entertainment through Executive Suite. Retrieved 01 Sep '19
- A journal detailing the first "Bury Your Gays" instance in the series, and the events depicted in it. Retrieved 01 Sep '19
- A newspaper page detailing the production story behind Executive Suite, and the issues that faced it. Retrieved 01 Sep '19
- A forum post from the soap opera network where saynotoursoap expressed interest in uploading episodes of the series to his channel. Retrieved 01 Sep '19
- A twitter post from 2010 linking to saynotoursoap's channel, which leads to a dead page. Retrieved 01 Sep '19
- A page showcasing six episodes of the series at the Library of Congress. Retrieved 01 Sep '19