This short-lived NBC TV series hosted by Joseph Cotten debuted as On Trial in 1956. It later became so identified with its congenial host that the title was changed to The Joseph Cotten Show - On Trial on February 1, 1957. The series was cancelled in 1957, and then briefly revived on CBS in 1959, serving as a summer replacement for The Ann Sothern Show with mostly new episodes.
Cotten must have had some say in casting, because several of his old colleagues from the Mercury Theatre days guest starred on his show. In 1956, Everett Sloane turned up in two episodes of On Trial: Law Is for the Lovers and The Jameson Case. Ray Collins appeared in The Trial of Mary Surratt (1956). Norman Lloyd (Cinna the Poet in Welles’ 1937 Broadway production of Julius Caesar) co-starred in The Trial of Colonel Blood (1957), as did villainous Henry Daniell, a supporting player in the 1944 Jane Eyre, which starred Welles as Edward Rochester. Daniell also appeared in The Trial of Edward Pritchard (1956) and The Freeman Case (1957). Paul Stewart (Raymond the butler in Citizen Kane) guest starred in The Secret of Polanta (1957).
Joan Fontaine (Jane Eyre) appeared in two episodes of On Trial: The De Santre Story (1956) and Fatal Charm (1957). Ben Alexander, Welles’ co-star in Man in the Shadow, played The Lie Detector Game in a 1957 episode that also featured Dan Tobin, soon to appear in Welles’ The Fountain of Youth (1958). Jeanette Nolan (Lady Macbeth in Welles’ 1948 Macbeth) took on The Freeman Case in 1957, while Dan O’Herlihy (cast as Macduff in Welles’ Macbeth) was a link in The Deadly Chain (1957).
It’s odd that Orson Welles never made a guest appearance on The Joseph Cotten Show – On Trial, as he was in Hollywood at the time working on Man in the Shadow and Touch of Evil, among other projects. It's also something of a coincidence that Welles directed a film called The Trial in 1962.
I wonder when The Joseph Cotten Show - On Trial will be released on DVD.