Monday, May 01, 2017

This Week in Television History: May 2017 PART I

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.

May 5, 1997
The final episode of The Jeff Foxworthy Show aired.
The first series aired on ABC during the 1995-1996 season, but was cancelled after one season. NBC picked up the show for the following season, but it was again cancelled after one season. In the first series, thinking his routine was "too Southern" for a national network, they based his sitcom in Bloomington, Indiana.
Jay Mohr and Bob Saget made regular or cameo appearances, as did country singers Tim McGraw and Travis Tritt.
When the show moved to NBC, in addition to the casting changes, the show's production changed. In the first series, the show was recorded on tape; the second season was shot on film. In the second series, the show was set in a fictitious town in Georgia, based on his hometown in the South, and the series was given a redesigned opening and theme.
Haley Joel Osment was the only other actor besides Foxworthy to make the move to NBC with the series, and Jeff's wife Karen was the only character that carried over with Jeff and Matt. Jonathan Lipnicki was added to the cast as the Foxworthys' other son Justin.

May 7, 1947
Kraft Television Theater premiered on NBC. 
Initially produced by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, the live hour-long series offered television plays with new stories and new characters each week, in addition to adaptations of such classics as A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland. The program was broadcast live from Studio 8-H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, currently the home of Saturday Night Live.

Beginning October 1953, ABC added a separate series (also titled Kraft Television Theatre), created to promote Kraft's new Cheez Whiz product. This series ran for sixteen months, telecast on Thursday evenings at 9:30pm, until January 1955. After Kraft cancelled the second show, the second show changed its sponsor to become Pond's Theatre on ABC-TV from March 1955, while the original Kraft Theatre continued on NBC-TV.

May 7, 1987
Shelly Long, as Diane Chambers, made her last appearance as a regular on the TV show Cheers.

In December 1986, Long decided to leave Cheers for a movie career and family; she said that she and Danson had "done some really terrific work at Cheers". Her decision was so surprising that it became national news and greatly worried the show's cast and crew, who believed that the Sam-Diane relationship was fundamental to Cheers'success.

In February 1987, the creators decided to find a female lead replacement who did not resemble Shelley Long. During production of "I Do, Adieu," the producers developed ideas to separate Sam and Diane. Many ideas of writing out Diane were attempted, but they decided she would leave Boston for a writing career. James Burrows said they intended Cheers to be a comedy about comedy set in the bar, but the "Sam and Diane" romance predominated the show for five years and would have made the bar a minor role and less relevant if Long had not left the show in 1987. When Long decided to leave Cheers, producers made plans to revise the show without losing its initial premise; they credited Long's departure for saving the series from cancellation

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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