John and Yoko kicked off 1972 with a less-than-cheerful New Year's Message (particularly Yoko's segment). Two events early in January would chart their course for the next few months. First, Yoko appeared solo on the syndicated Mike Douglas Show, taped in Philadelphia (broadcast January 17th in most areas). Along with Mike and his co-host for the week, Robert Wagner, Yoko made "Love Calls" to various citizens chosen at random out of the Philly phone book, telling the unsuspecting strangers they were loved.
Douglas made an offer to Yoko and John to co-host an upcoming week of shows with him, and they jumped at the chance to effectively take over an entire week of American middlebrow television, spreading their political and musical messages. Around this time, they also hooked up with a New York band, Elephant's Memory, who would supersede David Peel and the Lower East Side's role as sideman (and eventually as Apple artists).
After a week or so of rehearsal with the band, it was off to Philadelphia on January 14th to tape the first of five Mike Douglas shows that would air during Valentine's week. In addition to more "Love Calls", they talked about Yoko's conceptual art, and John performed "It's So Hard" with Elephant's Memory (and the ever-present Jerry Rubin). Other guests included consumer advocate Ralph Nader, comic actor Louis Nye, and soul band the Chambers Brothers:
Other than the conceptual art pieces, nothing in the first show was controversial or even out-of-the-ordinary for American TV. The next two appearances would push the envelope a bit further.