Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week in Television History: September 2014 PART IV


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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.

September 22, 1964
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. first aired on NBC.
It follows the exploits of two secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a fictitious secret international espionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. Originally co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. ambiguous so it could be viewed as either referring to "Uncle Sam" or the United Nations


Concerns by the MGM Legal department about possible New York law violations for using the abbreviation "U.N." for commercial purposes resulted in the producers clarifying that U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Each episode of the television show had an "acknowledgement" credit to the U.N.C.L.E. on the end titles.

September 22, 1979
ABC beg an airing the first episode of Hart to Hart
The premise of the show is summed up in its famous opening lines, spoken by the character Max: "This is my boss: Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire. He’s quite a guy. This is Mrs. H -- she’s gorgeous. She’s one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them -- which ain’t easy; ‘cause when they met, it was murder."
Jonathan Hart (Robert Wagner) was a self-made millionaire and the CEO of Hart Industries, a Los Angeles-based global electronics conglomerate. His wife Jennifer (Stefanie Powers) was a beautiful freelance journalist. Living the jetset lifestyle, the glamorous couple spent their free time as amateur detectives and in every episode they found themselves involved in cases of smuggling, theft, international espionage, or most commonly, murder. At their opulent California estate, they were assisted by Max (Lionel Stander), their loyal, gravelly-voiced butlercook, and chauffeur who also helped with their "cases." The Harts' beloved pet dog was a Löwchencalled "Freeway," so named because he was a stray that they found wandering on the freeway. The Harts own a Mercedes-Benz 300 TD diesel wagon, a dark green Rolls Royce Corniche convertible (replacing the Series III Bentley custom cabriolet in the first season), and a yellow Mercedes-Benz SL roadster (1979 450 SL, replaced by a 1981 380 SL) with personalized California vanity plates 3 HARTs, 2 HARTs, and 1 HART respectively. The trailer also shows a side view of Jonathan Hart driving a red Dino 246 GTS. They also own a Grumman Gulfstream II private jet, which is featured at the start of each episode. Max describes the couple as well as himself at the start of each episode.

September 22, 1989
NBC began airing the series Baywatch. 
The action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was canceled after its first season on NBC, but survived and later became one of the most watched television shows in the world. The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999, except for the 1990–1991 season, during which it was not in production. From 1999 to 2001, with a setting change and large cast overhaul, it was known as Baywatch Hawaii.
Baywatch premiered on NBC in 1989, but was canceled after only one season when it placed 73rd out of 103 shows in the seasonal ratings and also because the studio, GTG, went out of business. Feeling the series still had potential, Hasselhoff along with creators and executive producers Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Greg Bonann revived it for the first-run syndication market in 1991. Hasselhoff was given the title of executive producer for his work on bringing the show back. 

The series was hugely successful, especially internationally. The show led to a spin-offBaywatch Nights, and a reunion movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.
In 1999, with production costs rising in Los Angeles, and the syndication market shrinking, the plan was to move the show to Australia and launch Baywatch Down Under. A pilot was filmed but the series was stopped when residents of Avalon put forth strong objections, including potential damage to a fragile ecosystem. Pittwater Council permanently barred all future filming. This pilot finally aired as a two-part episode of Baywatch.
As an alternative to AustraliaHawaii offered the producers large financial incentives to move the show to the islands instead, and in Season 10, Baywatch Hawaii was launched.
Baywatch filmed for two seasons in Hawaii, from 1999 until 2001. The proposal to relocate Baywatch to Hawaii rather than Australia was initiated by April Masini in a telephone call to executive producer Greg Bonann. The deal to provide the incentives necessary to secure the series was presented to Governor Ben Cayetano by Al Masini and April Masini; Tony Vericella, president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau; and Cayetano's executive assistant, Joe Blanco. The agreement required the production to change its name from Baywatch to Baywatch Hawaii, hire local leads, and film in the state for at least two years, guaranteeing 44 episodes, each at a cost of about $870,000, 60% of which was to be spent in Hawaii.

September 22, 1994
Friends debuts, debuts on NBC. The show, which featured a group of relatively unknown actors, went on to become a huge hit and air for 10 seasons. It also propelled the cast--Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer--to varying degrees of stardom and success in Hollywood.
Of the six main Friends cast members, Jennifer Aniston emerged as arguably the most famous. Aniston played the fashion-loving Rachel Green, who, when the show began, worked as a waitress at Central Perk, a coffee shop that served as a gathering spot for the friends. The actress’s blonde, layered hairstyle during the first season became known as “The Rachel” and was copied by women around the globe. Off-screen, Aniston, whose film credits include The Good Girl (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), Rumor Has It (2005) and The Break-Up (2006), became a tabloid-media fixture for her relationship with the actor Brad Pitt. The couple married in a lavish ceremony in Malibu, California, in 2000 and announced their separation in early 2005 amid soon-to-be-confirmed rumors of Pitt’s involvement with the actress Angelina Jolie.

September 22, 2004
The Federal Communications Commission voted to fine CBS a record $550,000 for indecency related to the Super Bowl in which Janet Jackson's right breast was exposed. The FCC fined each of the 20 CBS-owned television stations the maximum penalty of $27,500. Federal regulators on Wednesday fined CBS a record $550,000 for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” which exposed the singer’s breast during this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
Image: Jackson, TimberlakeThe Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to slap each of the 20 CBS-owned television stations with the maximum indecency penalty of $27,500. The total penalty of $550,000 is the largest fine levied against a television broadcaster. Most of the FCC’s bigger fines have been against radio stations.
“As countless families gathered around the television to watch one of our nation’s most celebrated events, they were rudely greeted with a halftime show stunt more fitting of a burlesque show,” said FCC Chairman Michael Powell. “The show, clearly intended to push the limits of prime time television.”
The commission decided not to fine CBS’ more than 200 affiliate stations, which also aired the show but are not owned by the network’s parent company, Viacom.
The two Democrats on the five-member commission said the fine should have been higher. Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said the fine amounted to a “slap on the wrist” and suggested that the agency could have sent a stronger message about indecency by reprimanding CBS’ affiliates as well.
MTV, a Viacom subsidiary, produced the Feb. 1 halftime show, which featured Jackson and singer Justin Timberlake performing a racy duet. At the end, Timberlake ripped off a piece of Jackson’s black leather top, exposing her right breast to a TV audience of about 90 million.
Timberlake blamed a “wardrobe malfunction,” and CBS was quick to apologize to viewers. The breast-baring song generated a record number of complaints to the FCC — more than 500,000.
CBS said it was extremely disappointed with the decision.
CBS vows to fight 'grossly unfair' fines “While we regret that the incident occurred and have apologized to our viewers, we continue to believe that nothing in the Super Bowl broadcast violated indecency laws,” the network said in a statement. “Furthermore, our investigation proved that no one in our company had any advance knowledge about the incident.”
Viacom has said it will fight any fines leveled against its stations for the Jackson performance. Over the summer, Viacom co-president Leslie Moonves said a fine would be “grossly unfair” and promised a court challenge.
Federal law bars radio and non-cable television stations from airing references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children may be tuning in. Once a complaint is made to the FCC, the agency determines whether the broadcast was indecent.
Within days of the Jackson incident, lawmakers on Capitol Hill began grumbling about smut on TV, and both houses passed legislation — still pending in Congress — that would raise indecency fines. The House has voted to raise the maximum indecency fine to $500,000. The Senate voted to increase the top fine to $275,000 per indecent incident, with a cap of $3 million per day.
The FCC launched a crackdown on indecency soon after the Super Bowl, resulting in several high-profile fines. Among them: a $755,000 fine against Clear Channel for graphic drug and sex talk on a “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio program and a record $1.75 million fine, also against Clear Channel, for indecency complaints against Howard Stern and other radio personalities.
Television networks also began taking pre-emptive action by implementing broadcast delays so censors could scrub anything deemed too racy. CBS, for example, aired the Grammy awards ceremony a week after the Super Bowl with a five-minute delay. More recently, the NFL kicked off its season with a live, pregame show on ABC that was aired with a 10-second delay.
GW-Bush-in-uniform.jpg
September 22, 2004

CBS News announced that a panel would investigate the 60 Minutes story that used forged documents to question U.S. President George W. Bush's National Guard Service. The segment was based on several alleged memos from Bush's days in the National Guard. The memos were called forged or fake by many document experts. 

September 24, 1964
The Munsters first aired. 

The show featured  the home life of a family of benign monsters. It stars Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster and Yvonne De Carlo as his wife, Lily Munster. The series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era, and was produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver. It ran concurrently with The Addams Family.
It was canceled after ratings dropped to a low due to the premiere of ABC's Batman, which was in color. Though ratings were low during its initial two-year run, The Munsters found a large audience in syndication. This popularity warranted a spin-off series, as well as several films, including one with a theatrical release.

September 25, 1929
Barbara Jill Walters is born. 


Walters was first known as a popular TV morning news anchor for over 10 years on NBC's Today, where she worked with Hugh Downs and later Frank McGee and Jim Hartz. Walters later spent 25 years as co-host of ABC's newsmagazine 20/20. She was the first female co-anchor of network evening news, working with Harry Reasoner on the ABC Evening News and was later a correspondent for ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson.

September 25, 1944:
Michael Douglas born. 

On this day in 1944, Michael Douglas, who will become one of Hollywood’s A-list stars in the 1980s with such blockbuster films as Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, is born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Douglas is the son of the Academy Award-winning actor Kirk Douglas, whose best-known films include Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful. Michael Douglas shares a birthday with his wife, the Welsh-born actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was born 25 years earlier, in 1969.

September 26, 1964
Gilligan's Island first aired. 

Created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26, 1964, to September 4, 1967. 

Originally sponsored by Philip Morris & Company and Procter & Gamble, the show followed the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempted to survive (and in a later movie escape from) the island on which they had been shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar castaways' conflicts and their failed attempts (invariably Gilligan's fault) to escape their plight.

September 26, 1969
The Brady Bunch premieres. 

The show was panned by critics and, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, during “its entire network run, the series never reached the top ten ranks of the Nielsen ratings. Yet, the program stands as one of the most important sitcoms of American 1970s television programming, spawning numerous other series on all three major networks, as well as records, lunch boxes, a cookbook, and even a stage show and feature film.”

September 27, 1954
Steve Allen becomes the first host of The Tonight Show

The first Tonight!  announcer was Gene Rayburn. Allen's version of the show originated such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music, including guest performers and a house band under Lyle "Skitch" Henderson.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".





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Tony Figueroa
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