The latter program had debuted that fall and by just the eighth episode, a major plot turn was being enacted. From the book Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted:
Rhoda and Joe (David Groh) walked down the aisle in a two-part special that brought Mary, Georgette, Phyllis, Murray and Lou to New York for the nuptials. [Fred] Silverman‘s prediction came true; the episode went through the roof… More than 50 million Americans tuned in, which represented more than half of the total audience watching television that night. Monday Night Football host Howard Cosell, as he called a game on a different channel opposite the broadcast, cracked that he hadn’t been invited to the wedding.
Time famously panned the debut episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But four years later, in an article titled “Rhoda and Mary: Love Laughs,” the magazine was declaring that stars Moore and Valerie Harper amounted to a ‘neatly balanced show business cartel.’
TMZ broke the news of Moore’s death today at age 80. More Adweek coverage here. RIP.
Cover, illustrated by Jim Campbell, courtesy: Time (click to enlarge)