July 8th, 2015 Update: Thanks to Dan, the broadcast history truly is complete. A repeat of “Cementing Relationships” aired on Monday, March 30th, 1981 in place of “A Life You Save,” which did not air until May 4th.
It’s been over a decade since I started compiling on my broadcast history of M*A*S*H. I can still vividly remember going through hundreds of issues of TV Guide at a library and taking notes way back in 2004. As with so many projects, I’ve meant to get back to it for years but only recently did I have the time.
The broadcast history is now complete, with one exception (more on that later). It includes every single original CBS broadcast, every repeat, and every time the network pre-empted the series for some other programming during its 1972-1983 run.
What’s particularly useful about this broadcast history is tracking how M*A*S*H moved time slots. During Season 4, for example, it started on Fridays at 8PM for the one-hour premiere, moved to Fridays at 8:30PM the following week, aired once on Tuesday at 8:30PM, went back to Fridays at 8:30PM, then moved to Tuesdays at 9PM. During Season 7, M*A*S*H moved around 14 times. I’m sure viewers quickly tired of trying to figure out where the show was airing.
It’s also interesting to see how CBS handled the hour-long episodes. “Fade Out, Fade In” was originally an hour-long episode but was later repeated in two parts. Three of the other hour-long episodes (“Welcome to Korea,” Bug Out,” and “That’s Show Biz”) were repeated as hour-long episodes. The fifth, “Our Finest Hour,” was never repeated.
As for the three two-part episodes, both parts of “Good-Bye, Radar” were repeated as a one-hour special. The other two-parters (“Comrades in Arms” and “Snap Judgement”/”Snappier Judgement”) were repeated as two parts.
There is still one repeat that hasn’t been identified. On Monday, March 30th, 1981 CBS planned to air “The Life You Save” but pulled it after the attempted assassination of President Reagan. I wrote about this back in February 2009. CBS aired an hour-long special on the assassination from 8-9PM and then aired an unknown M*A*S*H repeat from 9-9:30PM. “The Life You Save” ultimately aired on May 5th.
If you haven’t taken a look at my broadcast history, please do so. I’d like to think it’s a valuable resource but I may be the only one interested in this sort of thing.
Also, if anyone knows what episode was repeated on March 30th, please let me know.