Arthur Hailey's Wheels (1978)

Run Time - 600 min.  |  
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Another of the many Arthur Hailey literary properties which were transformed into TV miniseries in the 1970s, the five-part, ten-hour Wheels took place in Detroit sometime in the late 1960s. Rock Hudson starred as Adam Trenton, executive in charge of project development at the fictional auto-manufacturing firm of National Motors. Ambitious and ruthless, Adam let nothing stand in the way of his development and production of a new, youth-marketed car known as the Hawk. Meanwhile, Adam's bored and neglected wife Erica (Lee Remick, who earned an Emmy nomination for her performance) drifted into an extramarital affair and a brief "career" as a shoplifter. Eventually, Adam himself acquired a mistress, who in turn fell in love with Adam's son Kirk (James Carrol Jordan). As if things couldn't get any seamier, Kirk's brother Greg (Howard McGillin) was plagued by a blackmailer, while crooked car dealer Smokey Stevenson (played by miniseries stalwart Anthony Franciosa) cooked up a sinister deal that threatened to destroy National Motors. Originally telecast from May 7 to 15, 1978 on NBC, Arthur Hailey's Wheels posted such disappointing ratings that, when it was later rebroadcast, the property was whittled down from ten hours to four -- with episodes three and four summarily dropped from the proceedings.