In 2002, The Rockford Files was ranked #39 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
Universal began syndicating the show in 1979 and aggressively marketed it to local stations well into the early and middle 1980s.
This accounts for its ever-presence on afternoon and late-night schedules in those days.
From those showings, Rockford developed a following with younger viewers,
with the momentum continuing throughout the 1990s and 2000s (decade) on cable.
NBC and Universal claimed the show was generating a deficit of several million dollars,
a staggering amount for a nighttime show then,
although Garner and his production team Cherokee Productions claimed the show turned a profit.
Garner told a story to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show
that the studio once paid a carpenter $700 to build a shipping crate for a shoot-out on a boat dock, though there were shipping crates on the dock.
The script often called for Garner to damage his car, so the car could be sold, repaired, and repurchased for each episode.
The dispute was settled out of court in Garner's favor,
but the conflict meant that the Rockford character would not re-emerge until 1994.
Rockford had a close relationship with his attorney, the idealistic, tenacious Elizabeth "Beth" Davenport (Gretchen Corbett).
It is implied that the two become romantically involved for a time.
After Corbett was dropped from the show following the fourth season
(allegedly due to contract disputes between Universal, which owned her contract, and Cherokee Productions, Garner's company),
the show was never quite the same for me.