Monday, January 09, 2017

This Week in Television History: January 2017 PART II

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.


January 12, 1967
Dragnet returned to NBC-TV after being off the network schedule for eight years.
Webb relaunched Dragnet in 1966, with NBC once again chosen to air the series. He tried to persuade Ben Alexander to rejoin him as Frank Smith. Alexander was then committed to an ABC police series, Felony Squad, and the producers would not release him. Webb reluctantly came up with a new character to take the role of Joe Friday's partner, calling upon his longtime friend Harry Morgan to play Officer Bill Gannon. Morgan had previously portrayed rooming house proprietor Luther Gage in the 1949 radio series episode "James Vickers". George Fenneman returned as the show's primary announcer with John Stephenson replacing Hal Gibney in the role of announcing the trial dates and subsequent punishments for the offenders. Fenneman replaced Stephenson in that role during the fourth season. Unlike the previous Dragnet series, the revival was produced and aired in color.
Webb produced a TV movie pilot for the new version of the show for Universal Television, although the pilot was not aired until January 1969. NBC bought the show on the strength of the movie and it debuted as a midseason replacement for the sitcom The Hero on Thursday nights in January 1967. To distinguish it from the original, the year was included in the title of the show (i.e., Dragnet 1967). Although Friday had been promoted to lieutenant in the final episode of the 1950s production, Webb chose to have Friday revert to sergeant with his familiar badge, "714".

January 12, 1997
The first episode of King of the Hill was aired.
King of the Hill is an American animated sitcom created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010 on Fox. It centers on the Hills, a middle-class American family in the fictional city of Arlen, Texas. It attempts to retain a realistic approach, seeking humor in the conventional and mundane aspects of everyday life.
Judge and Daniels conceived the series after a run with Judge's Beavis and Butt-head on MTV, and the series debuted on the Fox network as a mid-season replacement on January 12, 1997, quickly becoming a hit. The series' popularity led to worldwide syndication, and reruns aired nightly on Adult Swim. The show became one of Fox's longest-running series (third-longest as an animated series, after Family Guy and The Simpsons), and briefly held the record for the second longest running animated sitcom in history. In 2007, it was named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 greatest television shows of all time.[4] The title theme was written and performed by The RefreshmentsKing of the Hill won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for seven.
The series had a total of 259 episodes over the course of its 13 seasons. The series finale aired on the Fox Network on September 13, 2009. Four episodes from the final season were to have aired on Fox, but later aired in syndication on local stations from May 3 to 6, 2010, and on Adult Swim from May 17 to 20, 2010. King of the Hill was a joint production by 3 Arts EntertainmentDeedle-Dee ProductionsJudgemental Films, and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.

January 13, 1962
Ernie Kovacs killed in Corvair crash. 

Ernie Kovacs, a comedian who hosted his own television shows during the 1950s and is said to have influenced such TV hosts as Johnny Carson and David Letterman, dies at the age of 42 after crashing his Chevrolet Corvair into a telephone pole in Los Angeles, California, while driving in a rainstorm. Kovacs, who often appeared on camera with his trademark cigar, was found by police with an unlit cigar, leading to speculation that he had been reaching for the cigar and lost control of his vehicle. The Corvair was later made infamous by Ralph Nader's groundbreaking 1965 book "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," about unsafe practices in the auto industry.

January 14, 1952
Today premieres on NBC. It was the brainchild of Pat Weaver, who was then vice-president of NBC

Weaver was president of the company from 1953 to 1955, during which time Today's late-night companion The Tonight Show premiered. In pre-production, the show's proposed title was The Rise and Shine Revue. Today was the first show of its genre when it signed on with original host Dave GarrowayThe show blended national news headlines, in-depth interviews with newsmakers, lifestyle features, other light news and gimmicks (including the presence of the chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs as the show's mascot during the early years), and local station news updates. Today's female anchors were once called "Today girls." Other hosts over the years have included John Chancellor, Hugh Downs, Florence Henderson, Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley, and Katie Couric. The first two hours of the show are anchored by Matt Lauer and Savannah GuthrieAl Roker serves as weather forecaster.Carson Daly is the "Orange Room" anchor (social media reporter). Roker and Tamron Hall co-host the third hour (Today's Take), while Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford co-host the fourth hour. Saturday editions are anchored by Sheinelle Jones and Craig MelvinWillie Geist anchors on Sunday. Meteorologist Dylan Dreyer provides the weather forecasts on weekends.

January 14, 1972
NBC-TV debuted Sanford and Son.
Sanford and Son is an American sitcom that ran on the NBC television network from January 14, 1972 to March 25, 1977. It was based on the BBC Television program Steptoe and Son.
Known for its edgy racial humorrunning gags and catchphrases, the series was adapted by Norman Lear and considered NBC's answer to CBS's All in the FamilySanford and Son has been hailed as the precursor to many other African American sitcoms. It was a ratings hit throughout its six-season run.
While the role of Fred G. Sanford was known for his bigotry and cantankerousness, the role of Lamont Sanford was that of a conscientious peacemaker. At times, both characters would involve themselves in schemes, usually as a means of earning cash quickly in order to pay off their various debts. Other colorful and unconventional characters on the show included Aunt EstherGrady WilsonBubba Bexley, and Rollo Larson.
In 2007, Time magazine included the show on their list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".


January 13, 1997
The first episode of La Femme Nikita aired.

La Femme Nikita (French pronunciation: ​[la fam nikita], "The Woman Nikita"; called Nikita in Canada) is a Canadian action/drama television series based on the French film Nikita by Luc Besson. The series was co-produced by Jay Firestone of Fireworks Entertainment and Warner Bros.. It was adapted for television by Joel Surnow. The series was first telecast in North America on the USA Network cable channel on January 13, 1997, and ran for five seasons until March 4, 2001. The series was also aired in Canada on the over-the-air CTV Television NetworkLa Femme Nikita was the highest-rated drama on American basic cable during its first two seasons. It was also distributed in some other countries, and it continues to have a strong cult following.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa


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