Any discussion of network television in the 1970s, must include
the name Fred Silverman. Mr. Silverman oversaw the schedules of all three major networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC) at one
time or another throughout the decade. Silverman is often the credited with CBS' early '70s success with shows like
"All in the Family," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and "The Sonny & Cher Comedy
Hour." Next, Silverman was the man at ABC with hits like "Charlie's Angels," "Happy
Days," and "The Love Boat." In 1978, NBC brought Mr. Silverman in to run their network.
The credits linked to Fred Silverman from his days at NBC, don't have the same luster
as those from his CBS and ABC days. In general, I think historians have not always presented the most accurate picture
of The Silverman Era at NBC in the late '70s and early 1980s.
The NBC that Fred Silverman inherited in '78 was a network that had been on a long downward
spiral since the late 1960s. Mr. Silverman's task was not just attempting to make NBC the top-rated network, he was
essentially rebuilding the National Broadcasting Company. From dismissing the red-and-blue "N" and returning the famous
peacock, to bringing in new talent both behind the scenes on the tube, Silverman faced a monumental task at NBC.
Among the shows often laid at Silverman's feet, "Supertrain" is usually right out in
front of the pack that included "Pink Lady," "Sheriff Lobo" and others. What
is important to note, "Supertrain" was already commissioned and going into early production, when Fred Silverman took control
of NBC in the summer of 1978. "Supertrain" is not Silverman's folly. Silverman moved the premiere of "Supertrain"
up to mid-season 1978-79, from its originally planned fall '79 debut, but the show was not his idea.
You may click on the above image of Mr. Silverman and view a You Tube video from The
Archive of American Television. The complete interview is a 13-part set. I've linked to the 9th chapter that includes
the NBC period of Silverman's career and his comments regarding "Supertrain." The "Supertrain" comments happen twenty
mintues into the segment.