Little House on the Prairie ran for an impressive nine seasons, and the show aired from 1974 to 1983. In the ninth season, the show was renamed Little House: A New Beginning after a number of main actors left the cast.
While the show was beloved by fans and lasted numerous seasons, it was not always smooth sailing ensuring the show would be renewed. In fact, Little House on the Prairie was nearly canceled after its second season.
What is ‘Little House on the Prairie’ about?
Little House on the Prairie is based on the Little House book series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The books are autobiographical fiction and center around her experience growing in the American Midwest between the years 1870 and 1894.
The TV series focuses on the Ingalls family. Michael Landon portrayed Charles Ingalls, Karen Grassle played Caroline Quiner Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls Wilder, Melissa Sue Anderson portrayed Mary Ingalls Kendall, and identical twin sisters Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush played Carrie Ingalls.
At the start of the first season, the Ingalls family moved to a farm near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. A majority of the episodes focus on Laura and her experience with her family and the townspeople. The final season took on the name Little House: A New Beginning and focused on Laura’s relationship and family with Almanzo Wilder (Dean Butler).
‘Little House on the Prairie’ was nearly canceled
When the TV show began its run on NBC, it aired on Wednesday nights. The first season earned decent ratings, but ratings fell in the second season according to IMDb.
Because of this, NBC considered canceling Little House on the Prairie. Instead, the network moved the show to Monday nights. Ratings improved and the show increased in popularity. The show was so popular, that after moving to Monday nights it stayed in the top 30 spots for the remainder of its run.
According to IMDb, NBC once again considered ending the show in the fourth season, but ratings were too high for that to be a viable option. Little House on the Prairie was renewed again, and it was not canceled until 1983.
What happened when the show was canceled
While Landon’s character Charles left the show after Season 8, Landon stayed on as a writer, director, and executive producer. After the series was canceled following the ninth season, there were three made-for-TV movies to wrap up the show.
Little House: The Last Farewell aired in 1984 and was the second movie to air. However, it was the last of the three movies to be filmed. In Little House: The Last Farewell, Charles and Caroline returned to Walnut Grove.
To protest a railroad tycoon taking over the town, each townsperson blew up their business. The only buildings left standing were the church and the little house. UPI reports that blowing up the town, and effectively the Little House on the Prairie set, was Landon’s idea.
“Mike decided that if the town had to go he might as well send it out in a blaze of glory on the screen,” NBC publicist Bill Kiley told UPI.