Monday, April 25, 2016
This Week in Television History: April 2016 PART IV
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 reallylies.
April 27, 1986
Video pirate disrupts HBO signals.
A video pirate manages to override the satellite transmission of an HBO movie on this day in 1986. He interrupted the show with a message stating he did not intend to pay for his HBO service.
April 29, 1961
ABC’s Wide World of Sports premiered.
Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is ABC's Wide
World of Sports!Wide World of Sports was the creation of Edgar Scherick through his company, Sports Programs, Inc. After selling his company to ABC, he hired a youngRoone Arledge to produce the show.
The series' April 29, 1961 debut telecast featured both the Penn and Drake Relays. Jim McKay (who hosted the program for most of its history) and Jesse Abramson, the track and field writer for the New York Herald Tribune, broadcast from Franklin Field with Bob Richards as the field reporter. Jim Simpson called the action from Drake Stadium with Bill Flemming working the field.
During its initial season in the spring and summer of 1961, Wide World of Sports was initially broadcast from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturdays. Beginning in 1962, it was pushed to 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., and later to 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time to allow ABC affiliates in the Eastern and Central Time Zonesto carry local early-evening newscasts.
In 1964, Wide World of Sports covered the Oklahoma Rattlesnake Hunt championships; the following year, ABC premiered outdoor program The American Sportsman, which remained on the network for nearly 20 years.
In 1973, the Superstars was first televised as a segment on Wide World of Sports; the following year, the Superstars debuted as a weekly winter series that lasted for 10 years.
In 1963, ABC Sports producers began selecting the Athlete of the Year. Its first winner was track and field star Jim Beatty for being the first to run a sub-4-minute mile indoors. Through the years, this award was won by such now legendary athletes of Muhammad Ali, Jim Ryun, Lance Armstrong, Mario Andretti,Dennis Conner, Wayne Gretzky, Carl Lewis and Tiger Woods. The award was discontinued in 2001.
In later years, with the rise of cable television offering more outlets for sports programming, Wide World of Sports lost many of the events that had been staples of the program for many years (many, although not all, of them ended up on ESPN, a sister network to ABC for most of its existence). Ultimately, on January 3, 1998, Jim McKay announced that Wide World of Sports, in its traditional anthology series, had been cancelled after a 37-year run. The Wide World of Sportsname remained in use afterward as an umbrella title for ABC's weekend sports programming.
In August 2006, ABC Sports came under the oversight of ESPN, under the relaunched banner name ESPN on ABC. The Wide World of Sports title continues to occasionally be revived for Saturday afternoon sports programming on ABC, most recently during the 140th Belmont Stakes as a tribute to Jim McKay, following his death in June 2008. Most of ABC's sports programming since Wide World of Sports ended as a program has been displaced from ABC and moved to ESPN; the cable network began producing its own anthology series on Saturday afternoons in 2010, ESPN Sports Saturday, which consists of documentaries originally featured on ESPN's E:60 and 30 for 30 programs, and a modified version of the ESPN interactive series SportsNation, titled Winners Bracket.
May 1, 1931
President Herbert Hoover officially dedicates New York City's Empire State Building. Less than eight months later, a television-transmitting antenna had been erected atop the structure (The top was originally designed as a mooring mast for dirigibles). During the ensuing 36 years, television and FM radio signals have continued to be transmitted from this location. Today, 22 stations share the site.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".