In the fall of 1965, Davis made a special for ABC called Sammy and His Friends and signed a contract with the network which said that he was legally prohibited from appearing on any other network show during the three weeks leading up to the broadcast of the special. In October 1965, Davis met with NBC about getting his own TV series, one which would start in January 1966. ABC then scheduled
to air Sammy and His Friends on February 1, which meant that after the debut of The Sammy Davis Jr. Show on January 7, the show was hosted by other people for the following three weeks. The guest host was first Johnny Carson, then Sean Connery, and finally Jerry Lewis. The show was cancelled soon after Davis returned.