Would Anyone Watch A Cartoon In Prime Time? Ask Fred Flintstone
When it premiered in September 1960, The Flintstones was the first animated prime-time TV series. With The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park and others, we're all familiar with seeing cartoons in the evening, but those shows all owe Fred and Wilma Flintstone thanks for paving the way. Though it was unprecedented as the first animated prime-time sitcom, The Flintstones was also very familiar: ABC's caveman couples were quite obviously modeled on characters from a revered CBS show, The Honeymooners.
The cartoon about a modern stone-age family was one of many created by the team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, and was almost called "The Flagstones."
Joseph Barbera pitched this show for 8 weeks, and at the last minute ABC decided to take a chance on the prehistoric animated sitcom. In its original configuration, Fred and Wilma had a son, which would have made for more family-oriented plotlines, but the creators decided to stick with a familiar premise of the two neighboring couples who were all best friends. It had worked well for Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph.