Thanks to Harry F Waters

After a little bit of searching, and a much appreciated tip from his former Newsweek editor, I finally managed to speak with Harry F. Waters yesterday. Waters, a longtime television industry journalist, was the person who wrote the Newsweek article so often said to have launched the backlash against Soap.

As we determined earlier, there was nothing particularly inflammatory nor incorrect in that piece, which was published exactly three months before the premiere of the show.

Waters was extremely gracious with his time, and actually quite surprised to hear about all the controversy that has been laid at the feet of that one article so many years ago. His observations on the television landscape at the time were extremely interesting, and will go a long way toward putting much of the resulting controversy in perspective in the book. As he observed:

“I can’t believe they can be mad at Newsweek for a show that ran for four years. Ninety-nine percent of all sitcoms last what, one season?”

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3 comments on “Thanks to Harry F Waters

    • As much as I understand the animosity that Waters’ review of the series inspired, I’m afraid this particular criticism is a bit shy of the mark. Though Waters can’t remember whether he actually saw that particular pilot all these years later, chances are very good that he did — this was simply the procedure at the time. And as I’ve pointed out elsewhere — certainly in the book — there is nothing in his piece that can really be labeled untrue. Pretty much every plot point he wrote about appeared at some point in the series. His piece wasn’t even the first about the show — some of the trade magazines had already covered it before he did. The only quibble I have about it from a journalistic standpoint is that he didn’t get both sides of the argument here. Even some token lip service from one of the producers about how good the writing would be would’ve been nice. It’s a very complicated issue, and fascinating 🙂

  1. Hi-Brow NY cableTV phenom Ugly George had the Extinct Pleasure of actually meeting said Harry F.Waters in his Palace Suite at the old Newsweek mansion on Mad.Ave circa 1982.(next to Don Draper). The vaunted TV Editor actually DEIGNED to grant 15 minutes of his Royal Schedule to a lowly (gasp!) Public Access cableTV star; see my pic in his stinging article about Cable Porn DESTROYING the U.S…Talked to Harry on the Ameche a coupla years ago when he was writing his definitive book on US TV History but his fon# seems to be out now..Katherine Graham wants me to find out where Harry is now. Anybody know?
    UG now has over 3 billion Links online & maybe he deserves a place in them…

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