When Little House on the Prairie began airing, it was consistently one of the strongest performers for NBC. In fact, the original two hour pilot episode, in the form of a two hour movie, is still one of the strongest pilots in the network’s history.
After eight seasons, show runner Michael Landon decided to leave the show as an actor, which led to the television series being renamed to Little House: A New Beginning for its ninth season.
Despite Michael Landon guest starring in several episodes, the ratings suffered after the show changed to focus more on the lives of Laura and Almanzo as the stars of the show. After only one season of the renamed Little House: A New Beginning, NBC cancelled the series. NBC did air three 2 hour special episodes over the next year, which some refer to as season ten.
The show continued to remain popular in reruns, which have aired regularly since its cancellation.