June 15, 1969
Monday, June 10, 2013
This Week in Television History: June 2013 PART II
Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
June 13, 2008
Tim Russert Dies At Age 58
Timothy John "Tim" Russert (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008) was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted an eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program. He was a frequent correspondent and guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008. Russert was posthumously revealed as a 30-year source for syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
Shortly after 1:30 pm on June 13, 2008, Russert collapsed at the offices of WRC-TV, which houses the Washington, D.C. bureau of NBC News where he was chief. He was recording voiceovers for the Sunday edition of Meet the Press. According to Brian Williams, during his speech at the Kennedy Center on June 13, Russert's last words were, "What's happening?" spoken as a greeting to NBC Washington bureau editing supervisor Candace Harrington as he passed her in the hallway. He then walked down the hallway to record voiceovers in the soundproof booth and collapsed. A co-worker began CPR on him. The District of Columbia Fire and Rescue service received a call from NBC at 1:40 pm, and dispatched an EMS unit which arrived at 1:44 pm. Paramedics attempted to defibrillate Russert's heart three times, but he did not respond. Russert was then transported to Sibley Memorial Hospital, arriving at 2:23 pm, where he was pronounced dead. He was 58 years old.
In accordance with American journalistic tradition, the public announcement of Russert's death was withheld by both the wire services and his network's competitors, until Russert's family had been notified. Retired NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw then delivered, live on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, the news of his death. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was on assignment in Afghanistan and could not anchor the special report. Russert had just returned from a family vacation in Rome, Italy, where he had celebrated his son's graduation from Boston College. While his wife and son remained in Rome, Russert had returned to prepare for his Sunday television show.
Russert's longtime friend and physician, Dr. Michael Newman, said that his asymptomatic coronary artery disease had been controlled with medication and exercise, and that he had performed well on a stress test in late April. An autopsy performed on the day of his death determined that his history of coronary artery disease led to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and ventricular fibrillation with the immediate cause being an occlusive coronary thrombosis in the left anterior descending artery resulting from a ruptured cholesterol plaque, called a "widow maker".
Russert is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery, next to the historic Soldiers' Home, in Washington's Petworth neighborhood. The Newseum in Washington, D.C., has a re-creation of Russert's office.
June 15, 1969
First Hee Haw episode.
TV country-western variety show Hee Haw debuts. Hee Haw started on CBS as a summer 1969 replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Although the program ran for only two years, it was a hit with audiences and was in the Top 20 when CBS dropped it, deciding the show's hick country focus wasn't appropriate for the network's image. Hosted by country singers Roy Clark and Buck Owens, the program featured top country musicians and wacky stunts, jokes, and hijinks. The show went into syndication after the network dropped it, becoming highly successful and running until 1992. The show was inspired by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, the major difference being that Hee Haw was far less topical, and was centered around country music. The show was equally well-known for its voluptuous, scantily-clad women in stereotypical farmer's daughter outfits.
Hee Haw continues to remain beloved and popular with its long-time fans and those who've discovered the program through DVD releases and its reruns on RFD-TV. In spite of the loving support of the series by its fans, the program had never been a favorite of television critics or members of the more high brow society. This particular fact was reinforced when TV Guide ranked the series number 10 on its 50 Worst Shows of All Time List in 2002...a full 10 years after the last first-run episode aired in May 1992 (although the entry specifically refers to the Hee Haw Honeys spinoff, not the main show itself).