Press release: Ride off into the sunset with getTV, as the network presents the legendary finale of the classic 1971 James Garner series NICHOLS, on Saturday, March 5, at 5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT. The series, which also stars Margot Kidder and Stuart Margolin, airs as part of the network’s popular “Saturday Showdown” weekend block, a special block highlighting seven rarely seen Western series including THE TALL MAN, with Clu Gulager; WHISPERING SMITH, starring Audie Murphy; and LAREDO, starring Neville Brand, among others.
NICHOLS originally premiered on September 16, 1971, and stars Garner as a man looking for a fresh start in a small Arizona town in the early 1900s. Having left an 18-year career in the military, Garner’s titular hero finds himself blackmailed into the role of town sheriff by the villainous Ketcham clan, who run the town. Riding a motorcycle instead of a horse, and forsaking guns in favor of more peaceful resolutions, the newly-crowned lawman takes on bandits, manages town bullies, and woos beautiful barmaid Margot Kidder, in an early role. Created by Oscar-winning screenwriter Frank Pierson (DOG DAY AFTERNOON, COOL HAND LUKE, MAD MEN), with episodes directed by such notables as John Badham and Ivan Dixon, Nichols also starred Garner’s future ROCKFORD FILES co-star Stuart Margolin and featured such notable guests as Tom Skerritt, Scatman Crothers, and Ricardo Montalban.
In the 1972 finale, titled “All In The Family,” the series famously took an unconventional approach, killing off the main character early on. Unsure of the show’s future, and looking for a way to revamp the tone to fit a more traditional Western style without recasting and retitling the program, the producers chose to have the pacifist protagonist gunned down by a local troublemaker. Following the shocking demise, the show would deliver one final twist, introducing Nichols’ violent identical twin Jim—also played by Gardner, sporting a mustache—who arrived in town to avenge his brother’s death.
Despite all of this, the show failed to find a audience and was cancelled shortly before the finale aired. 45 years later, the show is widely remembered as a forgotten classic, and is well-known for being one of Garner’s favorite television roles.
For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.get.tv/schedule. In addition to airing these films on the dates noted above, some of the movies mentioned are scheduled for further broadcasts throughout the month. (See listings for further details.)