Burt’s Long TV Journey

(Above: Burt Reynolds in ‘Gunsmoke.’ Source: The Everett Collection, via MeTV)

On Friday, The Savvy Screener remembered Burt Reynolds through some of his best film roles. Today, we take a look at his TV career.

As with the movies, Reynolds appeared in both dramas and comedies on TV. Besides guesting on numerous shows – including The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Burt starred, or was a regular cast member on, nine series over his career.

Reynolds’ shows are scarce on subscription streaming services, but you can see three of them — GunsmokeHawk and Dan August — on over-the air channels Me TV and GetTV.

From today through Saturday at 1 pm ET, Me TV will run Gunsmoke episodes from the three seasons (1962-1965) when Reynolds appeared on the CBS western. To watch Me TV for free, attach an antenna to your TV set and locate your local station by visiting MeTV.com/wheretowatch.

All this week Fubo TV streamers can also watch Reynolds on Gunsmoke via the INSP channel at 8 am and 9 am.

Another show that you can stream is Reynolds’ final series – a voice-only role on last year’s 10-episode PureFlix sitcom, Hitting the Breaks, which is still available to subscribers of that faith-and-family service.

If you want to stream Burt’s other TV series, random episodes are available free via YouTube, and right here on The Savvy Screener. Let’s start with his first four shows, all one-season jobs.

Riverboat (NBC, 1959-1960)

This watery western actually lasted two seasons, but Reynolds only made it through one, due to a conflict with co-star Darren McGavin. Here’s the second episode, with guest stars Vera Miles and Robert “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Vaughn:

Hawk (ABC, 1966)

GetTV has scheduled four episodes of this detective show on each of the next two Saturday nights/early Sunday mornings, starting at 12:50 am ET on September 15 and 1:10 am on September 22. Another four episodes will air the following night starting at midnight.  In the series, Reynolds plays an Iroquois Indian detective in New York City.

To watch Hawk free on GetTV, hook an antenna up to your TV set and locate your local station by visiting “Get the Channel.

Dan August (ABC, 1970-1971)

ABC tried again, this time with Reynolds playing a homicide cop in California. GetTV will air four episodes of Dan August on each of the next two Saturdays, September 15 and September 22, from noon to 5 pm ET. On Sunday night/Monday morning, October 21-22, GetTV will air another four episodes following a broadcast of his guest appearance on The Sonny & Cher Show. (You can also see that variety show episode tomorrow night/early Wednesday at 2 am.)

To watch Dan August free on GetTV, hook an antenna up to your TV set and locate your local station by visiting “Get the Channel.

B.L. Stryker (ABC, 1989-1990)

Would the third time be a charm? Following Burt’s movie superstardom days, ABC tried yet another Reynolds crime drama. Airing as part of the ABC Mystery Movie, along with shows like Kojak and Columbo, and exec-produced by Tom Selleck, B.L. Stryker features Burt playing a private investigator in Florida. Twelve episodes ran before the plug was pulled. Ossie Davis co-stars:

Evening Shade (CBS, 1990-1994)

Finally, paydirt!

Changing from ABC to CBS, and from drama to sitcom, but keeping Ossie Davis as a co-star, Reynolds received two Emmy noms – winning in 1991 – for his role as a high school football coach in a small Southern town. Marilu Henner plays his wife. Here’s the very first episode:



About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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