Much has been made of ABC severing business ties with Filmation after the dismal ratings of Uncle Croc's Block in 1975. Considering that the studio's greatest success was for CBS, it's very strange that they did not generate as many hits for the other networks. As it turned out, their fortunes at NBC were actually worse.
Let us consider the body of work Filmation supplied to the "Peacock Network".
*Star Trek (1973-5; co-produced by Paramount, which owns the rights): The original crew came back together, save for Walter Koenig (Chekov), for this critically acclaimed series, which lasted two seasons, but hasn't been seen since a brief run on TV Land a few years ago. To say that it would be a hard act to follow would be an understatement.
*The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty (1975-6): Loosely based on James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the film version of which is being remade for next year with Ben Stiller inheriting the role played by Danny Kaye in the original movie, using animals. NBC slotted this in the leadoff slot (8 am ET), but didn't really do enough to promote it, considering they had a live-action block on the back end of the lineup that got more hype. Reruns were included in a Groovie Goolies compilation package 2 years later, and haven't been seen since.
*The Archie-Sabrina Hour (Sept.-Nov. 1977): The Archies, after a year off following a 8 year run on CBS, moved to NBC, but got blown off the tracks by ABC's powerhouse lineup. 2 months in, the format was tweaked, with the show split into two components---Super Witch (Sabrina) & The Bang Shang Lallapalooza Show (Archie). It didn't help, as both series were cancelled by April '78.
*The Young Sentinels (aka Space Sentinels)(1977-8): Contrary to what most people assume, the Hercules & Mercury characters used on this show were not the same ones that became part of the Freedom Force a year later as part of Tarzan & The Super 7 on CBS. The title was changed a few weeks into the season to cash in on the sudden popularity of "Star Wars", for all the good that did Filmation & NBC.
*The Fabulous Funnies (1978-9): Basically a retooling of Archie's TV Funnies from 7 years earlier, but without the Archies and some more popular strips, such as Dick Tracy. Buried in the lunch hour death slot, a fate that would befall most future Filmation series at NBC.
*Flash Gordon (1979-81): The first series since Star Trek to be renewed, and that was mostly to cash in on the feature film that came out between seasons. Shifting from a serial to an episodic format should've extended the life of the show, but it didn't.
*Tarzan & The Super 7 became Batman & The Super 7 when it moved to NBC in 1980, but that was mostly to kill off the components that CBS no longer wanted, as Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle & Jason of Star Command remained at CBS, but would soon be cancelled as well.
*The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! (1981-2): Partially live-action, partially animated. Filmation had to create their own band after plans to bring the Archies' superhero personas to television failed. That might also explain the return of Shazam! after a 4 year absence, this time in animated form, with Mary Marvel, Capt. Marvel, Jr., Talky Tawny, & Uncle Dudley (aka Uncle Marvel) joining Capt. Marvel. This would mark the end of Filmation's association with DC. The Hero High gang's band is best left forgotten.
*Sport Billy (1980-1): A largely forgotten series that managed to fill time in parts of 2 seasons. With Filmation transitioning to syndicated first-run fare, Sport Billy would be the last series sold to NBC. Amazingly, despite the themes of good sportsmanship, it's amazing that no one has picked up the show in recent years.
The common thread in the cancellations would be, in this writer's opinion, poor time slot placement. Kid Super Power Hour aired at a decent hour, smack dab in a block that also included Space Stars & Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, but compared to the established heroes on those shows, the Hero High series came off as being, well, rather amateur. Sport Billy & Flash Gordon were both placed at the bottom of the lineup, yet each managed to last beyond one year.
8 first-run series, but only 3 last beyond one season. Not a good percentage. Not even close. In case you wonder, Filmation's track record at ABC wasn't much better, as we'll find out next time.