Holy cliffhanger! It’s been 34 years since an astounding 83 million tuned into Dallas on Nov. 21, 1980, to find out “Who Shot J.R.?” The episode, “Who Done It,” is the U.S.’s second most-watched non-sports program of all time. Despite mounting a masterful marketing campaign over the summer, CBS seemed to stumble as it reached the finish line, putting together this underwhelming promo for the episode, which is this week’s Throwback Thursday for Adweek.
There are a few other Dallas-related promos and clips in the story, so be sure to check them all out.
Once of the biggest head-scratchers during my many, many years at People was the shockingly muted reaction to what I thought was an incendiary investigative piece we published in 2006, speaking with five women who had accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. It was one of the rare times that we were going after a beloved celebrity, but after the story was published, everyone just seemed to shrug and move on, if they even noticed it at all.
So you could say that it took almost a decade for Cosby’s career to fall apart overnight. At Adweek, I look at how Cosby went from TV’s “most persuasive” pitchman, as he was known in his Cosby Show ’80s heyday, to its most radioactive one in the past week. As I wrote,
Putting the horrific allegations aside …. Cosby is in this predicament largely because he and his team demonstrated a surprising lack of media savvy for a performer who for decades has had audiences—and advertisers—in the palm of his hand.
Writing this story also gave me a chance to publicly credit the great Kate Aurthur from Buzzfeed, for almost single-handedly keeping this story afloat this year. Even if it took eight years after that People story, I’ve glad this is finally coming to light, and I’m shocked at how ill-prepared Cosby and his team have been to finally face the music.