Bronco and Cheyenne

Bronco (1958-1962)
Cheyenne (1955-1963)
Type: Spin Off
Group: 22

   Country western heroes and contract disputes: apparently they go together like pork and beans. Tom Wopat and John Schneider got into it with the studios over money from The Dukes Of Hazzard and two new Dukes were brought in to replace them. James Garner gets in a fight over his contract on Maverick and suddenly he's out and suddenly he's out and there are new "replacement" members of the Maverick family all over the show to fill in. But even before that there was Cheyenne.

   Cheyenne was a western series starring Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie. It wasn't actually a weekly series really. It used to be that networks would often have a number of shows with a common theme that they would rotate week to week. In this case it was action shows.

   Cheyenne used one of the standard western show formulas: Cheyenne was a tough guy in the old west, wandering around from area to area, job to job, adventure to adventure. With a new cast and location week to week you can see that the show's success rested almost entirely on the appeal of the lead actor and his character. He was the show. If he left the show would be out of business, right?

   As I hinted, Clint Walker got into it with the studio over money issues. He signed his contract when he was a nobody. Then the show takes off and the studio is raking in the dough. Where's Cheyenne's cut man? Clint, probably rightly so, didn't think he was getting his fair share and wanted to renegotiate his deal. Like I said he was the show. What logical choice did they have but to deal?

   Ahhh. See his first mistake was believing the studio would behave logically. The studio sent him packing. See ya! They just replaced him. But oddly enough where Bret Maverick was replaced with new Mavericks and the Dukes were replaced with new Dukes, Cheyenne was not replaced with a new Cheyenne (or a new Bodie even). Nope he was replaced with a character named Bronco Layne played by Ty Hardin.

   What? Huh? Cheyenne starring a guy named Bronco? How does that work. It works because the studio and the network said so buddy, that's why. Plus the situation helped. People were used to tuning in and seeing various heroes and shows in that timeslot anyway. So the name of the show didn't match the character. As long as he was still a guy traveling from town to town beating up and shooting the bad guys and the stories were good did it matter? I guess not. Folks kept watching.

   Unlike with Maverick and The Dukes Of Hazzard, Clint Walker and the studio eventually came to terms. From what I can find it doesn't sound like Clint came skipping happily back to the show but he did come back.

   But, hey, lucky for the studio, in the meantime they had established a new lead hero in Bronco. No need to let him go to waste. They gave Bronco his own show and threw it into that timeslot's rotation. Outlaws had to be extra careful for the next few years. There were now two big tough guys out in the west both unable to form lasting bonds with people and thus forced to wander venting their frustrations on punks across the frontier. Two men badly in need of therapy but having to settle for ass kicking. Sounds good to me.

Other Cheyenne Crossover Links
Cheyenne and Bat Masterson
Cheyenne and Bronco
Cheyenne and Have Gun Will Travel
Cheyenne and Kung Fu Part 1
Cheyenne and Kung Fu Part 2
Cheyenne and Kung Fu - The Legend Continues
Cheyenne and The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp
Cheyenne and Maverick
Cheyenne and The Rifleman
Cheyenne and The Westerner

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