Monday, July 06, 2015

This Week in Television History: July 2015 PART I

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.

July 6, 1925
Mervyn "Merv" Edward Griffin, Jr. the American television host and media mogul is born. 
He began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. A billionaire at his death, he is considered an entertainment business magnate.

July 10, 1995
Hugh Grant appears on Tonight Show after Hollywood arrest.
On this day in 1995, Hugh Grant appears on late-night television’s The Tonight Show less than two weeks after being arrested with a Hollywood prostitute. The show’s host, Jay Leno, famously asked the English actor, “What the hell were you thinking?”
Grant, who shot to stardom with the 1994 hit British film Four Weddings and a Funeral, was arrested on June 27, 1995, in a parked car near Sunset Boulevard with a prostitute named Divine Brown and charged with lewd conduct in a public place. At the time of his arrest, Grant, then age 34, was already scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show to promote Nine Months, his first major Hollywood movie. The actor kept his agreement and went on the program, speaking publicly about the incident for the first time. “What the hell were you thinking?” Leno asked him, to which Grant simply responded “I did a bad thing.” The show garnered huge ratings (enabling Leno to beat his late-night talk show rival David Letterman) and Grant was praised for apologizing for his behavior, in contrast to other scandal-plagued celebrities who went into seclusion or blamed their mistakes on others.
Grant pled no contest to the charges against him, paid a fine and received probation. Although the arrest surprised many fans of the actor, who was known for his charm and wit, his career did not seem to suffer in the end and he went on to star in a number of films, most often romantic comedies, including Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001),  About a Boy (2002), Love Actually (2003) and Music and Lyrics (2007). Though Grant’s long-term girlfriend, the English model and actress Elizabeth Hurley, stuck by him during the scandal, the couple announced their separation in 2000 after 13 years together.

July 12, 1990
Northern Exposure airs its first episode. 

The offbeat show, about a Manhattan doctor contractually forced to work in the fictional of town Cicely, Alaska for four years to repay a student loan from the state.  Rob Morrow stared as Dr. Joel Fleischman. Most of Northern Exposure's story arcs are character-driven, with the plots revolving around the eccentricities of the Cicely citizens. The show consistently ranked in the Top 20 most-watched TV shows until it was canceled in 1995.

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

 



 

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Tony Figueroa
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