The Viacom-owned cable network quietly removed The Dukes of Hazzard from their programming schedule yesterday in the wake of recent controversy regarding the show’s extensive use of the Confederate flag. The 1979-85 series had been airing twice daily at 4:36 p.m. and 5:38 p.m. (ET) and, according to listings at TV Guide.com, was scheduled to continue in that slot. The classic Western Bonanza will now air in its place.
A TV Land spokesperson confirmed via email that the series has been removed from the schedule, but offered no further comment.
Thirty years after the CBS hit rode off into the Georgia sunset, The Dukes made headlines once again last week when Warner Bros. (which produced the series and still retains the rights) announced they would no longer license the show’s Confederate flag-emblazoned 1969 Dodge Charger (known as The General Lee). An on-line petition has since been launched by fans, arguing the series “was about family values, fighting corruption, helping friends, neighbors and even strangers… no matter what color they were.” Ben Jones (who played Cooter) also posted a defense of the series (and the flag) on Facebook.
TV Land, which began life in 1996 as a destination for retro reruns, has been seeking recently to shed its classic TV identity. The channel announced a rebranding on June 23, seeking to “overhaul of the network’s brand identity to complement a slate of new, original programming.” TV Land made its first foray into originals with the Golden Girls-esque sitcom Hot in Cleveland in 2010, but broke through this year with Younger, a comedy-drama about a forty-something (Sutton Foster) posing as a Millennial.The Darren Starr-produced series broke ratings records for the channel and attracted a more youthful demographic, including a 180% gain among women 18-34 in primetime.
Country Music Television (CMT) had also been airing The Dukes of Hazzard recently, but a quick check of their website indicates no scheduled broadcasts. CMT is also owned by Viacom.