This past week, TV Land was the latest network to make a move in the midst of a national movement against depictions against the Confederate battle flag, and opted to pull their entire lineup of “Dukes of Hazzard” repeats. This is a show famous for having a car named the General Lee, which also has the infamous flag on its roof.
While network executives have not necessarily broken down this particular decision frame by frame, it seems as though the majority of their logic in making this decision stems from their feeling that continuing to show the flag shares the wrong message about what it represents: Namely, racism in slavery during the Civil War. Clearly, many people associated with the show tend to feel otherwise. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter recently, series star John Schneider lashed out against TV Land for what he feels is a short-sighted decision:
“I am saddened that one angry and misguided individual can cause one of the most beloved television shows in the history of the medium to suddenly be seen in this light … Are people who grew up watching the show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit? ‘Hi… My name is John. I’m a Dukesoholic.’”
While this move has to be a blow to many of the series’ stars and the franchise, which even included a feature film a decade ago, at the same time we do feel like the show’s days were numbered on TV Land or other networks airing syndicated repeats in the first place. Over time networks tend to shift their nostalgia towards shows that are familiar to the target 18-49 demographic. These days, that means finding shows more from the eighties or early nineties than one that aired its last normal episode in 1985.
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