Bonanza Filming Schedule
Filming and Production Schedule:
The 36-40 week filming schedule would begin in May or June for the 14
seasons filmed from 1959-1972. Prior to the start of the filming, the
cast and crew would take their 12 week (3 month) hiatus which would
begin at the end of the previous season when completed some three months
before. In some other examples, the pilot episode was filmed in April
1959 at the end of the pilot season and the filming season started in
late June 1959, after the cast and crew took their 3 month hiatus right
after completion of the pilot.
The thirteenth season 1971-72 filming schedule had them taking hiatus
from February through April 1971, with production starting up on April
29, 1971, for the first episode filmed "Rock-a-Bye Hoss" which would air
later on October 10, 1971. The production would still have to assemble
more than several episodes into the New Year of 1972 through early
winter and spring, for the last leg of the 1971-72 airplay season, which
would close out with "One Ace Too Many" aired on April 2, 1972. The last episode filmed was "A Place To Hide" in January 1972, and
aired 3 months later on March 19, 1972.
After season thirteen was completed, the cast and crew took their hiatus from from late January 1972 to early June of 1972 with Dan Blocker's passing in
the middle of that time in May. The production of the fourteenth season
began in early June and five months later, the series was cancelled the
first week of November. Production of assembling the remainder of filmed
episodes went into December 1972 and the last airdate was on January 16, 1973, with "The Hunter" which was filmed some four months before in October of 1972. Dan Blocker had planned to return once again to Switzerland and England after his surgery, for the remainder of the hiatus, but sadly died on May 13, 1972, less then a month before production started up in early June 1972.
Yet another example of how the film-production schedule worked is the
ninth season 1967-68. The cast wanted to take the summertime off to
spend with the kids, so they took their 12-week hiatus from mid-May to
mid-August in 1967. The ninth season filming began the first week of
April through middle of May and several episodes were filmed, and then
the cast and crew took off 12 weeks through the middle of August.
Production started up again the second half of August through the New
Year of 1968, the filming ending the last week of March 1968. The
production would still assemble several episodes that would air some
months later in the spring of that year ending the airdate season in May
of 1968, although two episodes were aired in July of 1968 due
to network pre-emption and a last-minute script filmed at the end of the
Yet another example of the filming schedule was the very first season
of the series in 1959-60. The filming season began on April 6 through
April 16, with the filming of the pilot episode "A Rose For Lotta",
which was broadcast five months later on September 12, 1959. The cast
and crew took their hiatus from April 7th through June 28th, and the
production re-started on June 29th through July 6th, filming "The Henry
Comstock Story" which was broadcast five months later on November 7,
1959. The production would still have to film and assemble around a
dozen episodes from January through April of 1960, with "Death At Dawn"
as the last episode made in March of 1960, and would air more than a
month later on April 30, 1960, closing out the 1959-60 airplay season.
Yet another example is season twelve's 1970-71 season. The 12-week
hiatus would be taken from February to May of 1970 and filming would
start a short time later in May and conclude the next year in January of 1971. The remainder of filmed episodes would still have to be assembled
through the first four months in 1971 for airing on the network in the
late winter and early spring months into April 1971, closing out season
twelve's airdates at the network on April 11,1971. In brief, there is no
set date for a film and production schedule.
Seasonal Filming Schedule
The 14 seasons listed below are when the filming would start and when
it would end. The production of assembling the remaining episodes at
Paramount and later Warner Brothers, at either film studios, towards the
end of season would continue for some four or more months after filming
would stop, into the early to middle of spring for airplay on NBC
closing out the airplay season, which could be April, May or June
depending on the film schedule. Seasons ten through thirteen would go down in episode count (the first
9 seasons were at the status quo of 34 a season), because of rising
costs, as the three major networks were scaling back costs as filming
was becoming more expensive. Not to mention "Bonanza's" main sponsor,
General Motors claimed their sales were falling off and the audience was
outgrowing the series and were losing interest. In 1968, they slowly began pulling their
sponsorship off NBC because their sales were dropping and by the end of
the thirteenth year in 1972, they left and Ford Motors took their place
as NBC's main sponsor for Bonanza for it's fourteenth and final season
1959-60~ Season One
June 1959 to March 1960.
Note: Pilot filmed in April 1959.
1960-61~ Season Two
May 1960 to March 1961.
1961-62~ Season Three
May 1961 to March 1962.
1962-63~ Season Four
May 1962 to March 1963.
1963-64~ Season Five
May 1963 to March 1964.
1964-1965~ Season Six
May 1964 to March 1965.
1965-66~ Season Seven
May 1965 to March 1966.
1966-67~ Season Eight
May 1966 to March 1967.
1967-68~ Season Nine
March 1967 to March 1968.
1968-69~ Season Ten
May 1968 to February 1969.
1969-70~ Season Eleven
May 1969 to February 1970.
1970-71~ Season Twelve
May 1970 to January 1971.
1971-72~ Season Thirteen
April 1971 to January 1972.
1972-73~ Season Fourteen
June 1972 to November 1972.