Jackie Gleason's first television series aired on NBC during the 1949-50 season. It was based on the hit radio program of the same name which had starred William Bendix. The series was canceled after 26 episodes with one critic saying that Gleason "had no future in television." Ironically, both Gleason and Life of Riley had futures. Gleason would carry on and become a superstar with The Honeymooners and his long-running variety program. Life of Riley would return in 1953 with Bendix reprising his radio role and would also become a hit.