Gunsmoke was a television staple until CBS decided to cancel it. The show encountered some hard times over the course of its run, but it had a habit of making a comeback. It’s one of the longest-running live-action shows out there, further legitimizing its legacy. However, producer John Mantley once explained why he thinks CBS sabotaged Gunsmoke to cancel it.

‘Gunsmoke’ picked up in ratings after a viewership dip

‘Gunsmoke’ Producer Revealed CBS Sabotaged the Show to Cancel It
James Arness as Matt Dillon | CBS via Getty Images

According to John Peel’s book, The Gunsmoke Years, the show encountered viewership issues ahead of the decision to cancel it. However, that’s why the decision was made to fire producer Norman Macdonnell, who worked on the show for its first eight years. Mantley was brought aboard as part of the new creative team to help turn things around, and they managed to succeed for some time.


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