NOW REVISED AND UPDATED!
PROGRAMS FROM ALL SEVEN COMMERCIAL BROADCAST NETWORKS, MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED CABLE NETWORKS, PLUS ALL MAJOR SYNDICATED SHOWS!
This is the must-have book for TV viewers in the new millennium–the entire history of primetime programs in one convenient volume. It’s a guide you’ll turn to again and again for information on every series ever telecast. There are entries for all the great shows, from evergreens like The Honeymooners, All in the Family, and Happy Days to modern classics like 24, The Office, and Desperate Housewives; all the gripping sci-fi series, from Captain Video and the new Battle Star Galactica to all versions of Star Trek; the popular serials, from Peyton Place and Dallas to Dawson’s Creek and Ugly Betty; the reality show phenomena American Idol, Survivor, and The Amazing Race; and the hits on cable, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Top Chef, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Project Runway, and SpongeBob SquarePants. This comprehensive guide lists every program alphabetically and includes a complete broadcast history, cast, and engaging plot summary–along with exciting behind-the-scenes stories about the shows and the stars.
MORE THAN 500 ALL-NEW LISTINGS from Heroes and Grey’s Anatomy to 30 Rock and Nip/Tuck
UPDATES ON CONTINUING SHOWS such as CSI, Gilmore Girls, The Simpsons, and The Real World
EXTENSIVE CABLE COVERAGE with more than 1,000 entries, including a description of the programming on each major cable network
AND DON’T MISS the exclusive and updated “Ph.D. Trivia Quiz” of 200 questions that will challenge even the most ardent TV fan, plus a streamlined guide to TV-related websites for those who want to be constantly up-to-date
• Annual program schedules at a glance for the past 61 years • Top-rated shows of each season • Emmy Award winners • Longest-running series • Spin-off series • Theme songs • A fascinating history of TV
“This is the Guinness Book of World Records . . .
the Encyclopedia Britannica of television!”
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About the Author
Earle F. Marsh has a degree in marketing from Northwestern University; worked at the Nielsen Corporation, NBC, and CBS; and was vice president of research for Showtime/The Movie Channel. He is the coauthor of the National Book Award–winning The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present. Marsh currently works in the computer services industry and as a media consultant.
Read an Excerpt
A&E (Network), see Arts & Entertainment Network
ABC ALBUM, see Plymouth Playhouse
ABC BARN DANCE (Music)
FIRST TELECAST: February 21, 1949
LAST TELECAST: November 14, 1949
Feb 1949–Jun 1949, ABC Mon 8:30–9:00
Jul 1949–Oct 1949, ABC Mon 9:00–9:30
Oct 1949–Nov 1949, ABC Mon 9:30–10:00
The National Barn Dance, begun in 1924 on radio station WLS, Chicago, and long a radio favorite, was carried on ABC television in 1949 as the ABC Barn Dance. Among the Barn Dance favorites appearing on this half-hour Monday night version were the Sage Riders instrumental quartet, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Cousin Tifford, the De Zurick Sisters (a yodeling duet), caller John Dolce, and comic Holly Swanson. The series was telecast from Chicago.
ABC COMEDY HOUR (Comedy/Variety)
FIRST TELECAST: January 12, 1972
LAST TELECAST: August 9, 1972
Jan 1972–Apr 1972, ABC Wed 8:30–9:30
Jun 1972–Aug 1972, ABC Wed 9:30–10:30
Most of the telecasts that were aired under the title ABC Comedy Hour featured a guest host plus a regular repertory company of impressionists called The Kopycats, listed above. (Fred Travalena replaced Charlie Callas in the company in mid-series.) The series also included a number of other comedy specials, among them two Friars’ Roasts, an Alan King special, and an updated version of Hellzapoppin’. Reruns of the Kopycats episodes were aired during the summer of 1972 under the title ABC Comedy Hour Presents the Kopycats.
ABC COMEDY SPECIAL (Comedy Anthology)
FIRST TELECAST: June 6, 1986
LAST TELECAST: August 8, 1986
Jun 1986–Jul 1986, ABC Fri 9:30–10:00
Aug 1986, ABC Fri 9:00–10:00
A collection of pilots for comedies that did not make ABC’s Fall 1986 schedule. Among those starring in this particular crop of “busted pilots” were Caroline McWilliams, Annie Potts, Blair Brown, Ted Bessell, Robert Klein, Madeline Kahn, and Pat Harrington.
ABC DRAMATIC SHORTS—1952–1953 (Dramatic Films)
ABC had problems in the early 1950s. It had fewer stations than NBC or CBS, few advertisers, and therefore little revenue with which to pay for new programming. In order just to stay on the air, the “other network” was forced to schedule dozens of low-budget quiz shows, interview programs, and documentary films (most obtained free from government and industry). Needless to say, this did not attract much of an audience to the network. In 1952 ABC tried an experiment. It assembled a package of several dozen low-budget 30-minute dramatic films, most of them made by MCA Films in Hollywood. Many of them had been seen on TV before, on ABC (Gruen Guild Theater), DuMont (Gruen Playhouse), and some even on NBC (Campbell Soundstage). These shopworn films were sprinkled liberally throughout the ABC schedule during the 1952–1953 season, on multiple “theater” series. Each film ran up to half a dozen times on different nights and on different series. Not every film would turn up on every series, but if you watched ABC long enough you would frequently get the impression that you had “seen that film before.”
Most of the films were grade “B” productions, starring some Hollywood old-timers as well as lesser-known young actors and actresses (some of whom were to gain fame in later years). Among them were Buddy Ebsen, Raymond Burr, Cesar Romero, Ann Rutherford, Helen Parrish, Vincent Price, Anita Louise, Hans Conried, Cliff Arquette, Onslow Stevens, and many others. The scripts included mysteries (such as “The Cavorting Statue” with Cesar Romero), romantic tales (“A Little Pig Cried” with Frances Rafferty), and comedies.
Following is a list of the theater series among which the films rotated, mostly during 1952–1953. It is not guaranteed to be complete!
APPOINTMENT WITH LOVE
Dec 1952–Sep 1953, ABC Fri 9:00–9:30
Feb 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Thu 8:00–8:30
Jan 1953–Jul 1953, ABC Mon 8:30–9:00
Jan 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Wed 9:00–9:30
FABLE FOR A SUMMER NIGHT
Jul 1953–Oct 1953, ABC Thu 10:30–11:00
FEAR AND FANCY
May 1953–Aug 1953, ABC Wed 8:00–8:30
Jul 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Sun 6:30–7:00
GRUEN GUILD THEATER
Sep 1951–Dec 1951, ABC Thu 9:30–10:00
HALF HOUR THEATRE
Jun 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Fri 9:30–10:00
Jan 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Wed 8:30–9:00
Dec 1952–Jan 1953, ABC Wed 7:30–8:00
Aug 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Tue 9:00–10:30 (3 films)
PLAYHOUSE NUMBER 7
Oct 1952–Nov 1952, ABC Sun 9:00–9:30
Nov 1952–Jan 1953, ABC Wed/Sun 9:00–9:30
Jan 1953–Mar 1953, ABC Sun 7:30–8:00
Jul 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Mon 9:30–10:00
STRAW HAT THEATER
Jul 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Sun 7:30–8:00
Jun 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Thu 9:30–10:00
TURNING POINT, THE
Jan 1953–Mar 1953, ABC Thu 9:00–9:30
May 1953–Jan 1953, ABC Sat 7:30–8:00
TWENTIETH CENTURY TALES
Jan 1953–Jul 1953, ABC Wed 8:00–8:30
Jul 1953–Sep 1953, ABC Mon 8:30–9:00
WHITE CAMELLIA, THE
Jan 1953–Mar 1953, ABC Tue 8:30–9:30 (2 films)
ABC FAMILY CHANNEL, THE (Network) (General Entertainment Cable Network)
SUBSCRIBERS (May 2003):
84.7 million (79% U.S.)
This cable network has gone through some major changes during its long history. It was launched in 1977 as CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and originally featured a heavy dose of religious programming. A vestige of that era remains on its schedule today in The 700 Club (q.v.), a Christian news and features magazine hosted by network founder Pat Robertson. Among CBN’s drama series during the 1980s were Another Life (1981–1984), a Christian soap opera; and The Campbells (1986–1989), about a Scottish family in the Canadian wilderness in the 1830s. CBN’s big production center in Virginia Beach, Virginia, said to be the largest facility in the world for the production of Christian TV programming, was dubbed the “Video Vatican.”
The network gradually broadened its focus, acquiring a wide range of broadcast reruns, especially westerns but also including cartoons, game shows, and dramas (The Waltons, Rescue 911). In 1989, CBN was renamed the Family Channel. Although it promoted itself as the home of “positive-value, upbeat programming the whole family can enjoy,” its schedule was hardly without violence, particularly in rerun westerns such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Young Riders. However, it generally avoided the contemporary sex and violence that is so widespread on broadcast channels. Family also became one of the more prolific producers of original series programming on cable, most of it light action/adventure emphasizing relationships and individual courage. There were also some sitcoms. Among its earlier series were Bordertown, Rin Tin Tin K-9 Cop, and Zorro; later entries included Big Brother Jake, Maniac Mansion, Snowy River: The MacGregor Saga, Madeline, and That’s My Dog.
In 1998, Pat Robertson sold the network to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which operates the Fox Network and is known for precisely the kind of edgy (often sexy and violent) programming the Family Channel traditionally abhorred. Effective August 15, 1998, the name was changed to the Fox Family Channel, and there were major on-air changes—though not, initially at least, toward the kind of raunchy programming critics feared. Daytime was given over to cartoons and other kids’ programming, while in the evening there were lightweight family shows including I Can’t Believe You Said That (quiz), Show Me the Funny (videos), Life, Camera, Action! (more videos), Ohhh, Noooo! Mr. Bill Presents (English comedy sketches), and The New Addams Family (sitcom). There were also nightly movies, including some produced by the channel.
Later entries included Higher Ground, The Fearing Mind and the critically acclaimed State of Grace. None of these was terribly successful, and after only three years Fox sold the network to Disney/ABC, which in November 2001 renamed it the ABC Family Channel. It then began to air reruns of current ABC series such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Alias, According to Jim, Life with Bonnie, Less Than Perfect, Celebrity Mole and The Bachelor. It also produced some reality programs of its own, including The Last Resort (specials, 2002) and My Life Is a Sitcom (series, 2003).
The network first reached more than half of all U.S. television homes in June 1989, and its principal original evening series after that date (including those mentioned above) can be found in this book under their individual titles.
ABC FEATURE FILM, see Movies—Prior to 1961
ABC IN CONCERT (Music)
FIRST TELECAST: June 7, 1991
LAST TELECAST: September 11, 1998
Jun 1991–Dec 1992, ABC Fri 12:00 midnight– 1:00 a.m.
Jan 1993–Jan 1997, ABC Fri 12:05–12:35 a.m.
Jan 1997–Sep 1998, ABC Fri 12:35–1:05 a.m.
Madison Michele (1996–1998)
From 1973 to 1975, as part of its Wide World of Entertainment, ABC aired a series of late-night rock concerts called In Concert on Fridays (see under ABC Late Night). In 1991 the network revived the tradition as a stand-alone series. The performances were taped in stadiums all over the world and featured a mix of newer acts (Poison, George Michael, Sinéad O’Connor, INXS, L.L. Cool J) and longer-established performers (Cher, the Grateful Dead, Judas Priest, the Scorpions, Phil Collins). Concert staging had grown a lot more elaborate since the 1970s. Poison leader Brett Michaels said at the premiere, “It’s about time live rock & roll is returning to the airwaves, and this show will give fans the chance to see bands with all their sound and lights.” There was no regular host until 1996, although General Hospital’s Vanessa Marcil frequently handled the honors beginning in 1994.
The concerts were simulcast in stereo on the ABC radio networks. Originally titled ABC’s In Concert, the series was renamed ABC In Concert in January, 1992.
ABC IN CONCERT COUNTRY (Music)
FIRST TELECAST: June 4, 1994
LAST TELECAST: August 10, 1994
Jun 1994–Aug 1994, ABC Sat 11:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m.
A companion program to Friday night’s ABC In Concert rock series, featuring contemporary country artists such as Trisha Yearwood, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sawyer Brown, and Travis Tritt.
ABC LATE NIGHT (Various)
FIRST TELECAST: January 1, 1973
LAST TELECAST: October 21, 1982
Jan 1973–Nov 1979, ABC Mon–Fri 11:30–Conclusion
Nov 1979–Mar 1980, ABC Mon–Fri 11:50–Conclusion
Mar 1980–Jan 1981, ABC Mon–Thu 11:50–Conclusion 1 Fri 11:30–Conclusion
Jan 1981–Mar 1981, ABC Mon–Thu 12:00–Conclusion 1 Fri 11:30–Conclusion
Mar 1981–Oct 1982, ABC Mon–Fri 12:00–Conclusion
With the failure of Les Crane, Joey Bishop, or Dick Cavett to attract a substantial following for ABC in the late-night area, the network decided in 1973 to try a new tack. Johnny Carson could have the talk-show audience; ABC countered with a diversified potpourri that, it was hoped, would offer something of interest to everyone. ABC officially premiered Wide World of Entertainment on January 1, 1973, following a tryout run from November 21–December 8, 1972. There were nights, in fact whole weeks, with Cavett or Jack Paar hosting talk shows, but there were also comedy specials, mysteries, documentaries, rock-music shows, and just about anything else that could be done on a small budget. The first telecast was in two parts: “Let’s Celebrate,” a comedy-variety show starring Tony Roberts, followed by a short “Bedtime Story” in which a young married couple talked about their day as they prepared for bed. Other specials included “In Concert” (rock music), “Comedy News,” Truman Capote interviewing convicts, and “The Roger Miller Show.”
It soon became apparent that the improvisational comedy and offbeat specials were not attracting weary viewers, but the occasional mystery thrillers and TV-movie repeats were. Eventually these became the bulk of the presentations, followed in the later 1970s by reruns of prime-time series. With the change in program content, the umbrella title for this series was changed from ABC Wide World of Entertainment to ABC Late Night on January 12, 1976. During the fall, when ABC carried Monday Night Football, there was no ABC Late Night programming on that night.
Summarized below is a night-by-night history of ABC Late Night. In cases where there was a double feature on a given night, a semicolon is used to separate the first and second features. If more than one series alternated in the same time slot on different weeks, they are separated by a slash.
CHRONOLOGY OF ABC LATE NIGHT BY NIGHT OF THE WEEK
Jan 1973–Sep 1973, Movie/Jack Paar Tonight/Movie/Dick Cavett Show
Jan 1974–Aug 1974, ABC Late Night Special
Jan 1975–Sep 1975, Wide World Mystery (Movie)
Jan 1976–Sep 1976, ABC Monday Night Special
Jan 1977–Apr 1977, The Streets of San Francisco; Dan August
Apr 1977–Sep 1977, The Streets of San Francisco; Toma
Jan 1978–May 1978, Police Story
Jun 1978–Aug 1978, Soap; Police Story
Dec 1978–Aug 1979, Police Story
Jan 1980–Mar 1980, Barney Miller; Police Story
Apr 1980–Jul 1980, Barney Miller; Police Woman
Jul 1980–Aug 1980, Barney Miller
Jan 1981–Aug 1981, Fantasy Island
Jan 1982–Aug 1982, Movie
Jan 1973–Oct 1973, ABC Late Night Special/Jack Paar Tonight/Movie/Dick Cavett Show
Nov 1973–Dec 1973, Movie/Dick Cavett Show
Dec 1973–Jan 1976, Wide World Mystery (Movie)
Jan 1976–May 1978, Tuesday Movie of the Week
Jun 1978–Aug 1978, Soap; Tuesday Movie of the Week
Aug 1978–Sep 1979, Tuesday Movie of the Week
Sep 1979–Dec 1979, Barney Miller; Tuesday Movie of the Week
Jan 1980–Apr 1980, Tuesday Movie of the Week
Apr 1980–Aug 1980, Soap; Tuesday Movie of the Week
Aug 1980–Sep 1981, Tuesday Movie of the Week
Sep 1981–Oct 1982, Fantasy Island
Jan 1973–Oct 1973, ABC Late Night Special/Jack Paar Tonight/ABC Late Night Special/Dick Cavett Show
Nov 1973–Dec 1973, ABC Late Night Special/Dick Cavett Show
Dec 1973–Sep 1975, Wide World Special
Sep 1975–Sep 1976, Wednesday Movie of the Week
Sep 1976–Aug 1977, The Rookies; Mystery of the Week (Movie)
Sep 1977–Dec 1977, Starsky and Hutch; Mystery of the Week (Movie)
Jan 1978–Aug 1978, Police Story; Mystery of the Week (Movie)
Sep 1978–Jan 1979, Police Woman; S.W.A.T.
Jan 1979–Jul 1979, Police Woman; Mannix
Jul 1979–Sep 1979, Police Woman; Baretta
Sep 1979–Sep 1980, Love Boat; Baretta
Sep 1980–Feb 1981, Love Boat; Police Woman
Mar 1981–Apr 1981, Love Boat; Joe Forrester
Apr 1981–Oct 1982, Love Boat
Jan 1973–Nov 1973, ABC Late Night Special/Jack Paar Tonight/Movie/Dick Cavett Show
Nov 1973–May 1974, ABC Late Night Special/Dick Cavett Show
Jun 1974–Sep 1974, Good Night America/Dick Cavett Show
Sep 1974–Dec 1974, Wide World Special/Dick Cavett Show
Jan 1975–Sep 1975, Wide World Special
Oct 1975–Mar 1976, Mannix; Longstreet
Mar 1976–Sep 1976, Mannix; The Magician
Sep 1976–Dec 1976, The Streets of San Francisco; Dan August
Jan 1977–Jun 1977, ABC Thursday Night Special
June 1977–Sep 1977, S.W.A.T.; ABC Thursday Night Special
Sep 1977–Dec 1977, Police Story; ABC Thursday Night Special
Jan 1978–Aug 1978, Starsky and Hutch; Toma
Sep 1978–Jan 1979, Starsky and Hutch; S.W.A.T.
Jan 1979–Jul 1979, Starsky and Hutch; Mannix
Jul 1979–Sep 1979, Starsky and Hutch; Baretta
Sep 1979–Apr 1980, Police Woman; Baretta
Apr 1980–Sep 1980, Charlie’s Angels; Baretta
Sep 1980–Jan 1981, Charlie’s Angels; Police Woman
Jan 1981–Sep 1981, Charlie’s Angels
Oct 1981–Oct 1982, Vega$
Jan 1973–Nov 1973, In Concert/Jack Paar Tonight/In Concert/ Dick Cavett Show
Dec 1973–May 1975, In Concert/Movie
May 1975–Jan 1976, Wide World Special/Movie
Jan 1976–Sep 1976, The Rookies
Sep 1976–Apr 1977, S.W.A.T.
Apr 1977–Mar 1979, Baretta
Apr 1979–Jul 1979, Soap; Baretta
Jul 1979–Aug 1979, Soap
Sep 1979–Apr 1980, Charlie’s Angels
Apr 1980–Oct 1982, Fridays
ABC MONDAY MYSTERY MOVIE, THE, see ABC Mystery Movie, The
ABC MONDAY NIGHT COMEDY SPECIAL, THE (Various)
FIRST TELECAST: May 16, 1977
LAST TELECAST: September 5, 1977
May 1977–Sep 1977, ABC Mon 8:00–8:30
This was an umbrella title, covering an assortment of films for proposed series that did not make the schedule and leftovers from series that had been canceled. Included was a John Byner situation comedy, an unusual rock music show (30 minutes of music—no dialogue), and leftover episodes from the canceled Blansky’s Beauties, Nancy Walker Show, and Holmes and Yoyo.
ABC MYSTERY MOVIE, THE (Police/Detective Drama)
FIRST TELECAST: February 6, 1989
LAST TELECAST: August 4, 1990
Feb 1989–May 1989, ABC Mon 9:00–11:00
Aug 1989–Aug 1990, ABC Sat 9:00–11:00
Seeking to recapture the success—and programming flexibility—of the NBC Mystery Movie of the 1970s, which had spawned Columbo, McMillan and Wife, and other hits, ABC launched this version in early 1989. Originally there were three elements; Columbo was back, alternating with B.L. Stryker and Gideon Oliver. When the series moved to Saturday nights in the fall, Gideon Oliver was dropped and two new series were added, Christine Cromwell and a revival of Kojak. Details on each of these will be found under their separate title headings.
During the Monday run the formal title was the ABC Monday Mystery Movie; on Saturday it was the ABC Saturday Mystery Movie.
ABC NEWS REPORTS (Documentary/Public Affairs)
FIRST TELECAST: July 7, 1963
LAST TELECAST: August 13, 1964
Jul 1963–Dec 1963, ABC Sun 10:30–11:00
Jan 1964–Aug 1964, ABC Thu 10:30–11:00
Bob Young (1963)
Some of the documentaries in this ABC News series were newly produced; others had been aired previously under the title ABC Closeup. A major production during August and September 1963 was a five-part series of special reports entitled “Crucial Summer: The 1963 Civil Rights Crisis,” produced by Bill Kobin and anchored by newsman Ron Cochran. From September through December 1963, correspondent Bob Young, who was reportedly being groomed as a major on-camera news “personality” by ABC, served as the regular host. Later the anchor responsibilities rotated among various ABC correspondents.
ABC PENTHOUSE PLAYERS, see ABC Television Players
ABC PRESENTS (Documentary)
FIRST TELECAST: July 22, 1957
LAST TELECAST: October 3, 1957
Jul 1957–Sep 1957, ABC Mon 9:00–9:30
Sep 1957–Oct 1957, ABC Thu 8:00–8:30
A documentary film series seen during the summer of 1957. This program was also known as Quest for Adventure.
ABC ROCKS (Music Videos)
FIRST TELECAST: June 22, 1984
LAST TELECAST: August 2, 1985
Jun 1984–Aug 1985, ABC Fri 12:00 midnight– 12:30 a.m.
One year after the premiere of NBC’s Friday Night Videos, network television’s first attempt to respond to the popularity of cable television’s MTV (Music Television), ABC entered the fray with this half hour of music videos. Each weekly show consisted of a number of currently popular rock music videos, by such artists as Prince, The Cars, Cyndi Lauper, Bonnie Tyler, Eurythmics, Billy Idol, David Bowie, Huey Lewis and the News, and A Flock of Seagulls.
ABC SATURDAY COMEDY SPECIAL, THE (Comedy Anthology)
FIRST TELECAST: June 24, 1978
LAST TELECAST: August 5, 1978
Jun 1978–Jul 1978, ABC Sat 8:30–9:00
Jul 1978–Aug 1978, ABC Sat 8:00–9:00
This was a collection of pilots for shows which did not make ABC’s Fall 1978 schedule, along with miscellaneous reruns. Included were three Harvey Korman comedy episodes and a comedy-variety hour featuring characters from the Archie comic strip, with Dennis Bowen as Archie, Mark Winkworth as Reggie, and Hilary Thompson as Veronica.
ABC SATURDAY MYSTERY MOVIE, THE, see ABC Mystery Movie, The
ABC SCOPE (Documentary/Public Affairs)
FIRST TELECAST: November 11, 1964
LAST TELECAST: March 2, 1968
Nov 1964–Sep 1965, ABC Wed 10:30–11:00
Sep 1965–Mar 1968, ABC Sat 10:30–11:00
Filmed reports, interviews, and roundtable discussions of current issues were all part of the format of this weekly public affairs series. ABC has also run many one-time documentary specials under this umbrella title over the years.
ABC SHOWCASE (Drama/Variety)
FIRST TELECAST: June 22, 1950
LAST TELECAST: July 26, 1950
Jun 1950–Jul 1950, ABC Thu 9:00–9:30
Jul 1950, ABC Wed 9:00–9:30
This was a blanket title for a series of dramatic and variety specials run during the summer of 1950 and starring, among others, Betty Furness, Peter Donald, and George O’Hanlon.
ABC STAGE 67 (Various)
FIRST TELECAST: September 14, 1966
LAST TELECAST: May 11, 1967
Sep 1966–Jan 1967, ABC Wed 10:00–11:00
Jan 1967–May 1967, ABC Thu 10:00–11:00
This was an umbrella title for a potpourri of assorted specials. Among them were serious dramas with distinguished international casts, variety shows, an occasional documentary, and such unique formats as Jack Paar with examples of the Kennedy wit and David Frost on a tour of London with Peter Sellers, Albert Finney, and Laurence Olivier. The program had no regular host.
ABC TELEVISION PLAYERS (Dramatic Anthology)
FIRST TELECAST: January 16, 1949
LAST TELECAST: October 30, 1949
Jan 1949–Mar 1949, ABC Sun 9:00–9:30
Mar 1949–Oct 1949, ABC Sun 7:30–8:00
This was a series of low-budget live dramatic presentations from Chicago, fed to the East Coast network in the months immediately following the opening of the East-Midwest coaxial cable. Little-known Midwestern actors and actresses were used.
In April the title of the series was changed to ABC Tele-Players, and in August to ABC Penthouse Players.
ABC WIDE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT, see ABC Late Night
ABC’S NIGHTLIFE (Talk)
FIRST TELECAST: November 9, 1964
LAST TELECAST: November 12, 1965
Nov 1964–Nov 1965, ABC Mon–Fri 11:15–1:00
Les Crane (Nov 1964–Feb 1965, Jun–Nov 1965)
William B. Williams (1965)
Nipsey Russell (1965)
Jimmy Cannon (1965)
Cy Coleman (1965)
Donn Trenner (Mar–Jun 1965)
Elliot Lawrence (Jun–Nov 1965)
ABC’s Nightlife was an early and abortive attempt by that network to compete in the late-night area long dominated by NBC’s Tonight Show. The star was Les Crane, a handsome, young talk-show host from San Francisco who had attracted considerable attention there. Les’s style was informal, highly spontaneous, and often controversial. The setting was a sort of studio-in-the-round, with the audience seated in circular tiers surrounding the stage, arena-style. Les, perched on his stool, often conversed with audience members by using a long-nosed “shotgun microphone,” which he could focus on someone a long distance off. He strove for diversity and intelligence in his guests; the first show featured conservative commentator William F. Buckley and liberal Representative John V. Lindsay, actress Betsy Palmer, columnist Max Lerner, and comedian Groucho Marx, who acted as “instant critic” of the show.
Other critics were not very friendly, and Les left the show after only four months, to be replaced by a succession of guest hosts, including Shelley Berman, Dave Garroway, and Pat Boone, among others. Radio personality William B. Williams acted as aide-de-camp for all of them. At the end of June, however, Les was back, with Nipsey Russell as his sidekick. Soon after, the program moved from New York to Hollywood, but that couldn’t save it. It ended its run just a year and three days after its premiere. Johnny Carson remained king of late-night television.
During its first four months the program was known as The Les Crane Show.
ACTS (Network), see Faith & Values Channel
A.E.S. HUDSON STREET (Situation Comedy)
FIRST TELECAST: March 23, 1978
LAST TELECAST: April 20, 1978
Mar 1978–Apr 1978, ABC Thu 9:30–10:00
Dr. Antonio “Tony” MenziesGregory Sierra
Nurse Rosa SantiagoRosana DeSoto
J. Powell KarboStefan Gierasch
Ambulance Driver FoshkoSusan Peretz
Ambulance Aide StankeRalph Manza
Nurse NewtonRay Stewart
Dr. MacklerBill Cort
Dr. GlickAllan Miller
This medical comedy starred Gregory Sierra as Dr. Menzies, the harried chief resident of an inner city emergency ward; “A.E.S.” stood for Adult Emergency Services. The location was Hudson Street, New York City, an area as run down as the hospital itself. Perpetually short of funds and surrounded by a staff of lunatics, Dr. Menzies nevertheless dealt with the various accident victims coming through the door as best he could, with good humor and only an occasional yearning to be somewhere else in the medical profession—anywhere else. Dr. Glick was the resident psychiatrist and J. Powell Karbo the bureaucratic hospital administrator.
AFP: AMERICAN FIGHTER PILOT (Military Documentary)
FIRST TELECAST: March 29, 2002
laST TELECAST: April 5, 2002
Mar 2002–Apr 2002, CBS Fri 8:00–9:00
Lt. Todd Giggy
Lt. Marcus Gregory
Lt. Mike Love
Lt. Col. David Freaney (“Beans”)
Maj. Robert Garland (“Shark”)
Lt. Col. Monty Cooper (“Stump”)
Maj. David Nahoum (“Abu”)
Capt. Kevin Nicholson (“Divot”)
Maj. Dennis Scarborough (“Cons”)
This patriotic quasi-documentary series followed three young men as they went through the air force’s rigorous F-15 fighter pilot training program at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida. The three aspiring pilots were Giggy, an enthusiastic newlywed whose father had been a fighter pilot; Gregory, a serious and religious young man about to become a first-time father; and Love, the most experienced of the three, father of two sons, with previous experience as a bomber pilot. The training staff included Freaney, the operations officer who oversaw the training program; Garland, the weapons instructor; Cooper, the classroom instructor; and the flight instructors assigned to each of the trainees—Nahoum (for Gregory), Nicholson (for Gibby) and Scarborough (for Love).
There was footage of the pilots training in their F-15s at more than 1,100 miles per hour along with coverage of their ground training and off-duty lives, all done in a disjointed cinema verité style that made everything seem dramatic and important. Apparently neither the subject matter nor the technique appealed to viewers. After two episodes failed to attract much of an audience, CBS abruptly grounded AFP.
AJ AFTER HOURS (Talk/Variety)
Original episodes: 2001
Premiered: May 31, 2001
A. J. Benza
Leather-jacketed columnist and all-around cool dude A. J. Benza hosted this late-night variety show, which was set in a funky New York City club. Equally cool guests such as singer Luther Vandross, model Frederique, disk jockey Grand Master Flash and comic Vanessa Hollingshead appeared as A. J. fawned, hiply. He also did interviews in such places as a New York City rooftop or fire escape at night.
A. J., by the way, stood for Alfred Joseph, but probably only his mother called him that.
A.K.A. PABLO (Situation Comedy)
FIRST TELECAST: March 6, 1984
LAST TELECAST: April 17, 1984
Mar 1984–Apr 1984, ABC Tue 8:30–9:00
Paul (Pablo) RiveraPaul Rodriguez
Domingo RiveraJoe Santos
Rosa Maria RiveraKaty Jurado
Sylvia RiveraAlma Cuervo
Lucia Rivera Del GatoMartha Velez
Hector Del GatoArnaldo Santana
Manuel RiveraBert Rosario
Carmen RiveraMaria Richwine
José Sanchez/ShapiroHector Elizondo
Linda RiveraEdie Marie Rubio
Nicholas RiveraAntonio Torres
Anna Maria Del GatoClaudia Gonzales
Susana Del GatoMartha Gonzales
Tomas Del GatoMario Lopez
Mario Del GatoBeto Lovato
Elena Del GatoMichelle Smith
Short-lived comedy about a struggling young Hispanic comedian and his large, noisy family, who rooted for his success while wanting him to treat his Mexican-American heritage with almost solemn dignity. Paul Rivera—still called Pablo by his family—used a lot of ethnic jokes in his act, which sometimes offended his traditionalist parents, Domingo and Rosa Maria. But every Mexican joke he used seemed to spring from his home situation, whether it was about sister Lucia and her swaggering husband Hector, stuffy brother Manuel and his coquettish wife Carmen, or unmarried (but anxious) sister Sylvia. José was Paul’s fast-talking but inexperienced agent, while the rest of the regulars consisted of the Rivera/Del Gato children.