The TV series 'St. Elsewhere' was originally shown between 1982 and 1988. In its first season 'St. Elsewhere' went up against 'Hart to Hart' on Tuesday nights. In the second season 1983-84 and the last season 1987-88, 'St. Elsewhere' went up against 'Dynasty' on Wednesday nights and in the seasons 1984-85 and 1985-86, 'St. Elsewhere' went up against 'Arthur Hailey's Hotel' which followed 'Dynasty'. NBC ran the series for 6 seasons because demographically, 'St. Elsewhere' attracted the valuable audience "in the same tax bracket as many doctors". Hence the program received a higher advertising rate than 'Trapper John, M.D.'

Brandon Tartikoff recounted, "Bruce Paltrow and Steven Bochco came to us (NBC) with a pilot called 'Operating Room'. That pilot contained the seeds for both 'St. Elsewhere' and 'Hill Street Blues'. After we tested it, we said we didn't think the American public was ready to make their doctors mortal. They still wanted them godlike. That's how we got to 'Hill Street Blues', because Bochco joined up with Michael Kozoll after our suggestion that the formula was right but the profession should be cops instead of doctors. After the ground was broken we went back to Bruce Paltrow and asked him if he was still interested."  

However after the first season of 'St. Elsewhere' in 1982-83, "it was gone." Bruce Paltrow was told not to commission for any new scripts. Then the season finale episode was shown against the movie, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and attracted its highest rating that season. The next day at a meeting to discuss the 1983-84 season line-up, "I said, 'Why are we cancelling a show that 10 out of 12 of us (the people attended the NBC scheduling meeting) watched voluntarily last night? 

"We all got swayed by the welling of emotion. 'St. Elsewhere' was something that we believed in and represented more of what we were about as a network than any show we could have chosen to replace it. We didn't have any pilots that we thought were better. Secondly, we thought the program had made enormous creative progress.

"It was better at the end of the season than it was at the start. At the time, it was averaging 19 share. 'St. Elsewhere' now (in the 1985-86 season) gets about a 25% share of the audience, but it still runs second to ABC's 'Hotel'. It probably is the show I watch most often when it's actually being broadcast, as opposed to catching up with it on cassette." 

In the 1984-85 season, NBC launched 'Highway To Heaven' in which Michael Landon executive produced, directed, created, wrote and starred as an emissary from God named Jonathan Smith, deployed to Earth to help people to help themselves. Brandon Tartikoff told Associated Press, "Michael told us that producers come in with shows that make people laugh. There’s a need for comedy, but I don’t profess to be able to do that. 'But … I can make people cry, and if people cry they're going to come back the following week.' 

"Our posture on Wednesday night has always been to do a very competitive second-place rating to ABC during the season and win the night during the 22 weeks when 'Dynasty' is not on." It was reported "'Highway To Heaven' became the highest testing dramatic pilot NBC ever had since 'Little House on the Prairie.'" Brandon Tartikoff stated, "You'd have to acknowledge that there might be a groundswell of more traditional values being sought by viewers of television shows. Michael Landon's show and the Bill Cosby show will not be that easy to duplicate because they have Michael Landon and Bill Cosby." 

On 'Dynasty' in the 1983-84 season, the topic of oil drilling in the South China Sea was first briefly explored. By 1973 about 15 giant oil companies from the world's big industrial powers had bidded for offshore oil drilling rights in the world's energy-rich corners, especially the oil-rich South China Sea. Gas was also discovered. Peter Hillmore of 'The Guardian' reported in June 1974, "Oil exploration is hurriedly taking place all over the world. Over 130 companies are engaged in oil exploration and production off the coasts of some 80 countries. 

"For some countries, the oil search is basically for their own consumption. For other countries, the search for oil is an attempt to enter the big world economic league. If the searches for oil off Thailand or (then) South Vietnam, for example, ever realize the true potential of the areas then the countries will become substantial oil exporters. And as the Middle East producers have so graphically shown in the past 9 months (since September 1973), that is where the power lies. 

"The strength of Indonesia's relationship with Japan lies simply in the fact that it is the only country in Asia with a trade surplus with Japan – because of oil. And with the increased search there has come a whole lot of trouble, which seems to be escalating almost as fast as the price of oil. When oil is found on land there is not that much argument over which country owns it. 

"But it is a different matter when it is under the sea. It has been estimated that the unproven potential offshore production could well equal that on land, and by 1980 offshore oil could be providing the world with 50% of it needs. The disputes and the tension are most pronounced in Asia, where under-developed countries are eager to hang on to all they have got, and in some cases on to what they should not have. There are currently disputes between India and Sri Lanka over oil in the Gulf of Mannar, and in the South China Sea boundaries are contested by China, Cambodia, Thailand, North and South Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines." 

Rone Tempest of the 'Los Angeles Times' reported in August 1994, "Lang Son in Vietnam, the narrow valley that cuts through the sheer cliffs and rugged limestone outcroppings on the border separating China and Vietnam is known today on both sides of the frontier as Friendship Pass. This was the traditional route for invading Chinese armies.

"No other place better symbolizes the long-standing enmity between China and Vietnam, which has never forgiven 1000 years of Chinese rule that ended in 939AD. Chinese and Vietnamese officials met in Hanoi this week (in August 1994) to discuss their land and sea boundaries, agreeing to disagree but to keep on talking. Regarding the land border, both sides have agreed in principle to observe the boundaries set in an 1897 treaty signed between the Qing Dynasty and the French colonial government in Indo-China (comprised Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Burma)."

Peter Hillmore continued, "Significantly, the disputes have always worsened when oil discoveries have become an actuality rather than just a strong possibility. How wide is a territorial sea – the 3 miles limit, which used to be as far as a cannonball could be fired? Apart from territorial waters what is the distance for economic control of the sea, and therefore the oil underneath it?

"Some African and South American countries have claimed 200 miles, and so has China. Russia has proposed 100 miles or a depth of 600 yards. Even the landlocked countries are attempting to set new rules, as they are anxious not to be left out of any global economic progress that offshore oil and minerals can bring. Some of these areas are suggesting an economic zone of about 40 miles, with the rest of seas controlled by an international organization which would distribute any oil income.

"Of all the world's oil producing areas the Far East is the most rapidly growing, showing last year (in 1973) the largest percentage production increase. China is, in many ways fast becoming the pivot of the Far East oil axis. It is the potential size of China's reserves (which is 'as rich as Saudi Arabia') rather than its actual production that arouses most excitement. China's influence on, and claims to large areas of Asian waters could well have as great an effect on the Far East oil search, as actual discoveries.

"The South China Sea as a whole is now beginning to look remarkably like the Persian Gulf in its exploration infancy. Such is the need for more oil discoveries that the political situation in (then) South Vietnam, both as a result of the aftermath of the war (1962-1975), and because of the large offshore territorial disputes, has not prevented oil companies from gathering in (then capital city of) Saigon. The country has made over $50 million so far (to June 1974) in selling oil concessions.

"And the oil companies are agreeing to the terms laid down by the governments as the search in the Far East shows, even though the political climate and attendant risks are far more perilous than anything even the Scottish Nationalists or Lord Balough could devise. Of all the Far East countries, Indonesia has the most established oil industry. It is clear, that the Far East will provide us with quite a few sizeable oil puddles in the ocean. But not enough.

"It is becoming increasingly hard to find anywhere in the world where oil production is not bringing with it troubled waters. But inspite of the cost, the political disputes and the growing possibility of military action far greater than the skirmishes off China and the alerts in Greece and Turkey, the oil companies are forced to look wherever they can for one very simple undeniable reason. The world is inexorably running out of oil, and all we can do is postpone that day for as long as possible, by conservation on the one hand, and new discoveries on the other."

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