Trumpy, I heard the phrase came after the Happy Days television show episode, when Fonzy jumped his motorcycle over a tank with a shark in it. The show lost popularity and that episode was thought to be the turning point. That's just what I have heard....
Stamcon, It was explained to me slightly differently. Happy Days was losing ground in the ratings, and had to do something spectacular (and completely ignorant) so they came up with the idea of the shark jump.
Anytime a series does something desparate from then on it was known as "jumping the shark".
Happy Days was popular in England too. I found it went down a bit when they seemed to forget it was supposed to be set in the 1950s/early 60s and the clothing/hair styles etc. were completely out of place.
Never saw the "Electric Company" over here though.
Thanks for the explanation of "jumping the shark", guys!. Happy Days is still playing over here, although during the day(5pm, I think). They just don't make shows like the Electric Company for the kiddies anymore, we've got all this other tripe being fed to them. ga.sparky56, I hate "Keeping Up Appearances" with a passion, I hate that Violet woman, her voice makes my skin crawl! No disrepect to you though!.