Monday, February 08, 2016

This Week in Television History: February 2016 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.

February 8, 1996
The U.S. Telecommunications Bill was signed into law.
The bill included provisions that required TV manufacturers to install V-chip devices in all television sets with a 13 inch screen or larger. The chips would allow consumers to block "sexual, violent, and other material about which parents should be informed before it is displayed to children". 

February 8, 2006
Kelly Clarkson became the first participant on "American Idol" to win a Grammy. 
The awards were for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone" and Best Pop Vocal Album for "Breakaway". She also performed "Because of You" at the show.  

February 9, 1971
The 1971 San Fernando earthquake (also known as the Sylmar earthquake). 
The quake occurred in the early morning of in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California. The unanticipated thrust earthquake had a moment magnitude of 6.5 or 6.7 (as determined by several independent institutions) and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). The event was one in a series that affected the Los Angeles area in the late 20th century, and a study of the Sierra Madre Fault during that time indicated that more substantial thrust earthquakes had occurred near the Transverse Ranges in the past. Damage was locally severe in the northernSan Fernando Valley, and surface faulting was extensive to the south of the epicenter in the mountains, as well as urban settings along city streets and neighborhoods. Uplift and other effects affected private homes and businesses.

February 10, 2006
Final episode of Arrested Development airs on Fox.
Celebrated by critics and beloved by its relatively small but devout fan base, the Fox television series Arrested Development airs its last episode on this day in 2006. Arrested Development, created by Mitchell Hurwitz, premiered in November 2003. It was almost universally acclaimed by critics, who praised its sharp, complicated writing and stellar acting, as well as the multi-layered plotlines and interesting camera work that set it apart from run-of-the-mill network sitcoms.
Arrested Development was narrated by Ron Howard, the former Happy Days star-turned-Oscar-winning movie director (2001’s A Beautiful Mind), in an uncredited performance. Jason Bateman starred as Michael Bluth, by far the most responsible member of a madcap family whose patriarch, George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), has been sent to jail for dubious accounting procedures. With George Sr. in prison, Michael is forced to take over management of the Bluth Company and provide a much-needed stabilizing force for the rest of the Bluth clan: his manipulative mother (Jessica Walter); his magician older brother (Will Arnett); his self-obsessed sister (Portia de Rossi) and her aspiring actor husband (David Cross); and his child-like youngest brother (Tony Hale), who still clings to the hem of his mother’s fur coat. Rounding out the comedy, Michael’s sensitive son (Michael Cera) harbors a crush on his cousin (Alia Shawkat), with whom he is forced to share a room after the clan starts sharing a model home on one of the Bluth Company’s developments.
At the 2004 Emmy Awards, Arrested Development won no fewer than four statuettes-- for directing, writing, casting and for Outstanding Comedy Series. Bateman also won a Golden Globe Award in 2005 for Best Actor in a Television Series--Musical or Comedy. Despite critics’ rapture and the enthusiasm of its fan base, the series earned low ratings from the beginning. While Fox renewed Arrested Development for a second season, it shortened its run to only 18 episodes--a fact that was worked into the jokes on the show, along with jokes about its corporate sponsor, Burger King, and jokes about its much higher-rated Sunday-night competition (ABC’s Desperate Housewives). A few of the memorable guest stars during the show’s three-year run included Liza Minnelli, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Henry Winkler, Scott Baio and Charlize Theron.
During its third season, Arrested Development’s audience averaged around 4 million viewers, compared with 6 million during the previous season. With the threat of cancellation hovering, rumors flew that Arrested Development might be picked up by HBO or Showtime--either of which might have been a better fit for its offbeat, often racy humor. References to these rumors were also worked into the script.
In February 2006, to the dismay of fans, Fox pulled the plug on Arrested Development for good. The following month, it was reported that Hurwitz had closed long-running negotiations with Showtime and determined that Arrested Development as a TV series was over. With the program named as one of the 100 Best Shows of All Time by Time magazine, buzz began to grow about an Arrested Development movie--exciting news for the show’s loyal fans.

February 11, 1926
Leslie William Nielsen, was born on in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career beginning with dramatic roles on television appearing in almost 50 live programs in 1950 alone during what is now known as "The Golden Age".

Nielsen first appeared in films in 1956 when he made his feature film debut in the Michael Curtiz-directed musical film The Vagabond King. His lead roles in the films Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972) received positive reviews as a serious actor.
Although Nielsen's acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and films, his deadpan delivery as a doctor in Airplane! (1980) marked a turning point in his career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, "the Olivier of spoofs." Nielsen enjoyed further success with The Naked Gun film series, based on his short-lived television series Police Squad!.

His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gave him a reputation as a comedian. He was recognized with a variety of awards throughout his career and was inducted into both the Canada and Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nielsen married four times and had two daughters from his second marriage. Nielsen died in his sleep in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital of complications from pneumonia.

February 11, 1936
Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds, Jr. is born. 

Actor, director and voice artist. Some of his notable roles include Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Bobby "Gator" McCluskey in White Lightning and sequel Gator, Charlie B. Barkin in All Dogs Go to Heaven

Paul Crewe then Coach Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard and Jack Horner in Boogie Nights.

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


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Tony Figueroa
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