One year after the Loma Pietra earthquake hit Los Angeles (October 1989), which famously interrupted the pre-game ceremonies of a World Series game and was therefore rarely captured on television (in fact, the first earthquake captured live on television – clips can be found on Youtube), American interest in all things earthquakes seemed to spike going into 1990. In addition, seismologists were predicting that the an earthquake among the New Madrid faultline would eventually happen – not to forget the actual big one that has been predicted to destroy everything on top of the San Andreas faultline. To jump on the earthquake hype after the October 1989 World Series earthquake, NBC quickly ordered a two-part disaster movie that would deal with the titular “big one”, and kill dozens of main characters (probably) in the process.
THE GREAT LOS ANGELES EARTHQUAKE found its airing on Sunday and Monday, November 11 and 12 of 1990. As usual, it was airing against movie fare on Sundays, and MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on Mondays (in which Philadelphia beat Washington). And NBC won both timeslot duels with their two-part earthquake disaster, even going so far as placing #4 in the weekly Nielsen charts with the second part, being the most successful drama entry of that week. And once more it looks like 2-part miniseries can get an even larger audience and better ratings with their second parts. Or to be exact, with their Monday airings.