Monday, September 26, 2016

This Week in Television History: September 2016 PART IV

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 26, 1986

Dallas episode Return to Camelot airs. Pam's stunned to find Bobby alive in her shower, the events from his death onward all a dream. 

September 28, 1901
Ed Sullivan is born in New York City. During the peak of its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, Sullivan’s program showcased a wide range of entertainers, including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope.
Sullivan worked as a newspaper reporter and columnist in New York during the 1920s and 1930s and also hosted and produced vaudeville shows and benefits. In 1948, he became the master of ceremonies of a weekly TV variety show dubbed Toast of the Town. In 1955, the program, which aired Sunday nights on CBS, was renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. Although Sullivan was often awkward and self-conscious on camera, he was a hit with audiences and his program had broad appeal. In addition to big-name entertainers, the show featured animal acts, athletes, comedians, dancers and opera singers, along with such regulars as Topo Gigio, a mouse puppet with an Italian accent, and a ventriloquist named Senor Wences.

Notable moments in the history of The Ed Sullivan Show include its broadcast on January 6, 1957, when Elvis Presley appeared on the program and the cameras shot him from the waist up because his gyrating hips were considered too scandalous for family television.  On February 9, 1964, more than 70 million viewers tuned in to the show for the American TV debut of the Liverpool-based rock quartet The Beatles.
Sullivan was also notable for featuring African-American performers on his program. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications: “At a time when virtually all sponsors balked at permitting black performers to take the stage, Sullivan embraced Pearl Bailey over the objections of his sponsors. He also showcased black entertainers as diverse as Nat “King” Cole, Leontine Price, Louis Armstrong, George Kirby, Richard Pryor, Duke Ellington, Richie Havens and the Supremes.”
The Ed Sullivan Show was cancelled in 1971. Sullivan died of cancer at the age of 73 on October 13, 1974. In 1967, CBS renamed the Billy Rose Theater, from which Sullivan broadcast his show, the Ed Sullivan Theater. Since 1993, David Letterman has hosted his late-night talk show from the Ed Sullivan Theater, which is located at Broadway and 53rd Street in Manhattan.

September 28, 1961
Dr. Kildare premiered on NBC-TV. 
Dr. Kildare is an NBC medical drama television series which originally ran from September 28, 1961 until August 30, 1966, for a total of 191 episodes over five seasons. Produced by MGM Television, it was based on fictional doctor characters originally created by author Max Brand in the 1930s and previously used by MGM in a popular film series and radio drama. The TV series quickly achieved success and made a star of Richard Chamberlain, who played the title role. Dr. Kildare (along with an ABC medical drama, Ben Casey, which premiered at the same time) inspired or influenced many later TV shows dealing with the medical field.

September 28, 1961
Hazel premiered on NBC-TV. 
Hazel is an American sitcom about a fictional live-in maid named Hazel Burke (Shirley Booth) and her employers, the Baxters. The five-season, 154-episode series aired in prime time from September 28, 1961, to April 11, 1966, and was produced by Screen Gems. The show aired on NBC for its first four seasons. Season 1 was broadcast in black-and-white for all but one episode and seasons 2–4 were aired in color. The fifth and final season was broadcast in color on CBS. The show was based on the popular single-panel comic strip by cartoonist Ted Key, which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.

September 29, 1986
The first episode of Designing Women aired on CBS. 
Designing Women is an American sitcom created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason that aired on CBS from September 29, 1986, until May 24, 1993, producing seven seasons and 163 episodes. The comedy seriesDesigning Women was a joint production of Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Productions in association with Columbia Pictures Television for CBS.
The series centers on the lives of four women and one man working together at an interior designing firm inAtlanta, Georgia called Sugarbakers & Associates. It originally starred Dixie Carter as president of the design firm Julia Sugarbaker, Delta Burke as her ex-beauty queen sister Suzanne Sugarbaker, Annie Potts as head designer Mary Jo Shively, and Jean Smart as office manager Charlene Frazier. Later in its run, the series received recognition for its well-publicized behind-the-scene conflicts and cast changes. Julia Duffy and Jan Hooksreplaced Burke and Smart for season six, but Duffy was not brought for the seventh and final season, and she was replaced by Judith Ivey.

October 1, 2006
The pilot episode of Dexter aired.
Dexter is an American television crime drama mystery series that aired on Showtime from October 1, 2006, to September 22, 2013. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a forensic technician specializing in blood spatter pattern analysis for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department, who leads a secret parallel life as a vigilante serial killer, hunting down murderers who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system. The show's first season was derived from the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), the first of the Dexter series novels by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr., who wrote the first episode. Subsequent seasons evolved independently of Lindsay's works.
In February 2008, reruns (edited down to a TV-14 rating) began to air on CBS, although the reruns on CBS ended after one run of the first season. The series has enjoyed mostly positive reviews throughout its run and popularity, including four consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations for Best Drama Series starting in season 2. Season 4 aired its season finale on December 13, 2009, to a record-breaking audience of 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched original series episode ever on Showtime at that time.
In April 2013, Showtime announced that Season 8 would be the final season of Dexter. The Season 8 premiere was the most watched Dexter episode with more than 3 million viewers total for all airings that night. The original broadcast of the series finale—shown at 9 p.m. on September 22, 2013—drew 2.8 million viewers, the largest overall audience in Showtime's history.
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To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

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Tony Figueroa
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