Over its nine-year run, Perry Mason proved to be an incredibly popular show — so popular, in fact, that even when it was canceled in 1966, the TV lawyer couldn’t stay off the air for long. Seven years later, The New Perry Mason began, with Monte Markham taking over the title role from Raymond Burr. The New Perry Mason maintained a tone very similar to the original series, and initially, the network had high hopes that the reboot could continue the Perry Mason legacy for years to come, as evidenced by execs making it the post-Super Bowl program for 1974.
Unfortunately, The New Perry Mason cratered in the ratings and ended up being canceled after just 15 episodes. Competition in its time slot from extremely popular shows like The F.B.I. and The Wonderful World of Disney helped to keep viewers away. However, the problems with this reboot went deeper than competing TV programs. How did Perry Mason go from TV ratings juggernaut to TV ratings wipeout in the seven-year space between the original show and the reboot? to put it simply, a lot can change in less than a decade. As the New York Times pointed out, “the show’s overall squareness didn’t fit with the era, and it was canceled quickly.”
Of course, Mason’s practice didn’t stay closed permanently. Burr returned to the role for a series of television movies in later years, and more recently, HBO revived the character with yet another reboot — this time, enjoying healthy ratings