In the VHS/DVD era, people who didn't know any better wanted 16x9 content cropped to fill 4x3 TVs.
Are you referring to "pan-and-scan," in which movies shot in CinemaScope or 70mm widescreen were cropped to fit the old 4x3 TV screens? Yeah, that sucked. But the only alternative back then was "letterboxing," which shrunk the image so small that it was sometimes unwatchable.
It was originally shot to be 4:3 if they did 16:9 they'd either have to do one of two things:
1. Simply use a wider film exposure. However, this may reveal crew, equipment, and other elements of production just off camera.
I don't see how that makes sense. If the show was filmed in standard 35mm Academy full frame (1.37:1), there wouldn't be
anything to see beyond the 4:3 image (except perhaps for a tiny bit around the edges outside the "TV safe" area). Am I missing something here?