NBC Affiliate in Cleveland Airs 20-Year-Old Episode of Matlock In Lieu of Thursday's Primetime Lineup to Protest Andy Griffith Oscars In Memoriam Snub

Andy Griffith, who passed away last July, was unceremoniously absent from this year's Oscars "In Memoriam" tribute, so NBC's Cleveland affiliate WKYC-TV decided to make it up to him by giving Matlock most of their Thursday primetime block.

That's right: Regularly scheduled episodes of The Office, 1600 Penn, and Law and Order: SVU were canceled at the last minute to make room for the 20-year-old Matlock TV movie, The Legacy.

The preempted shows will instead air on Saturday night.

"The Academy did snub Andy Griffith," WKYC president and GM Brooke Spectorsky told The Hollywood Reporter. "We thought it would be a nice tribute."

Surprisingly, so did viewers, who stayed tuned for the legal drama starring Griffith as veteran criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock.

According to Showbuzz Daily, rating figures show the first hour of Matlock was just slightly below the latest figures for The Office (1.6 vs. 1.7), and it actually bested 1600 Penn with a 1.8 rating at 9:30 compared with 1.7 for the latest addition to NBC's Thursday comedy block.

Spectorsky says he plans to do the same thing again next week with the Matlock: The Heist, but that should wrap up the station's "fun experiment."

[screengrab via YouTube]