Monday, September 25, 2017

This Week in Television History: September 2017 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 26th, 1982
The first episode of Knight Rider was aired. 

Knight Rider is an American television series created and produced by Glen A. Larson. The series was originally broadcast on NBC from 1982 to 1986. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a high-tech modern crime fighter assisted by KITT, an advanced artificially intelligentself-aware and nearly indestructible car.
Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (by plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified, technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where "direct action might provide the only feasible solution".
Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT's care, as well as technical assistant to Devon (April Curtis fills this role in Season 2).

September 26th, 1987
Jake and the Fatman first aired. 

The television crime drama starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. (Jason Lochinvar) “Fatman” McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The series ran on CBS for five seasons from 1987 to 1992. Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this series. Conrad guest starred as an aging prosecutor in a two-part episode of Matlock during its first season on NBC. Executive producers Fred Silverman and Dean Hargrove decided to use this character as a model for one of the main characters in a new show they were creating for CBS. Penny also guest starred in these episodes, but his character was not on the same side as Conrad’s character in the storyline’s legal case.
Following the departure of Hargrove, executive producers David Moessinger and Jeri Taylor were brought on to run the series with Silverman. They also hired J. Michael Straczynski as story editor and, later, co-producer. Taylor and Moessinger ran the show for two years before finally leaving in a dispute over control over the show.

September 28, 1987
The first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (abbreviated as TNG and ST:TNG) is an American science fiction television series in the Star Trek franchise created by Gene Roddenberrythat ran between 1987 and 1994. Roddenberry, Maurice HurleyRick BermanMichael Piller and Jeri Taylor served as executive producers at different times throughout its production.
The series involves a starship named Enterprise and is set in the nearby regions of the Milky Way galaxy, the Alpha Quadrant. The first episode takes place in the year 2364, 100 years after the start of the five-year mission described in the original series, which began in 2264. It features a new cast and a new starship Enterprisethe fifth to bear the namewithin the franchise's storyline. An introductory statement, performed by Patrick Stewartand featured at the beginning of each episode's title sequence, stated the starship's purpose in language similar to the opening statement of the original series, but was updated to reflect an ongoing mission, and to be gender-neutral:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

TNG premiered the week of September 28, 1987, drawing 27 million viewers, with the two-hour pilot "Encounter at Farpoint". In total, 176 episodes were made, ending with the two-hour finale "All Good Things..." the week of May 23, 1994.
The series (1987–94) was broadcast in first-run syndication with dates and times varying among individual television stations. Three additional Star Trek spin-offs followed The Next GenerationStar Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99), Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001), and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005). The series formed the basis for the seventh through to the tenth of the Star Trek films, and is also the setting of numerous novels, comic books, and video games.
In its seventh season, Star Trek: The Next Generation became the first and only syndicated television series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The series received a number of accolades including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award.

September 29, 1987
Thirtysomething first aired.

Thirtysomething (stylized as thirtysomething) is an American drama television series created by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz for ABC that aired from 1987 to 1991. It tells of baby boomers living in their thirties who reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and examines how this group of friends learn to negotiate their prior involvement with the early 1970s counterculture as young adults, in contrast to the yuppie lifestyle which dominated American culture during the 1980s.

The title of the show was designed as thirtysomething (with a lowercase "t") by Kathie Broyles, who combined the words of the original title, Thirty Something. It premiered in the United States on September 29, 1987, and lasted four seasons until it was cancelled in May 1991 because the ratings had dropped and the executive producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz moved on to other projects. The series earned 13 out of its' total 41 nominated Primetime Emmy Awards, and received 2 Golden Globe Awards.

Although seen as an ensemble drama, the series revolves around husband and wife Michael Steadman (Ken Olin) and Hope Murdoch (Mel Harris) and their baby Janie. Michael's cousin is photographer Melissa Steadman (Melanie Mayron) who used to date his college friend Gary Shepherd (Peter Horton). Gary eventually marries Susannah (Patricia Kalember). Michael's business partner is Elliot Weston (Timothy Busfield), who has a troubled marriage with his wife Nancy (Patricia Wettig), a painter. Hope's childhood friend is local politician Ellyn Warren (Polly Draper).
Thirtysomething was influenced by the 1980 film Return of the Secaucus 7 and the 1983 film The Big Chill. The show reflected the angst felt by baby boomers and yuppies in the United States during the 1980s, such as the changing expectations related to masculinity and femininity introduced during the era of second-wave feminism. It also introduced "a new kind of hour-long drama, a series that focused on the domestic and professional lives of a group of young urban professionals, a socio-economic category of increasing interest to the television industry [...] its stylistic and story-line innovations led critics to respect it for being 'as close to the level of an art form as weekly television ever gets,' as the New York Times put it." During its four-year run, Thirtysomething "attracted a cult audience of viewers who strongly identified with one or more of its eight central characters, a circle of friends living in Philadelphia." Even after its cancellation in 1991, it continued to influence television programming, "in everything from the look and sound of certain TV advertisements, to other series with feminine sensibilities and preoccupations with the transition from childhood to maturity (Sisters), to situation comedies about groups of friends who talk all the time (Seinfeld)." The show also influenced the British television series Cold Feet, which featured similar storylines and character types. The creator of Cold Feet wanted his show to be in the mould of successful American TV series like Thirtysomething and Frasier.

Susan Faludi, in her 1991 bestseller Backlash, argues that Thirtysomething often reinforced, rather than dismantled, gender stereotypes. She suggests that it exhibited a disdainful attitude toward single, working, and feminist women (Melissa, Ellyn, and Susannah) while at the same time "exalting homemakers" (Hope and Nancy). In this manner, the series was seen as "seemingly progressive but substantially conservative in its construction of reality."

Oxford English Dictionary
Almost immediately after the introduction of the show, the term "Thirtysomething" became a catchphrase used to designate baby boomers in their thirties. This cultural shift was reinforced by the Oxford English Dictionary, which added Thirtysomething in 1993 (under the word thirty) and defined the term as follows:
Draft additions 1993 - n. [popularized as a catch-phrase by the U.S. television programme thirtysomething, first broadcast in 1987] colloq. (orig. U.S.) an undetermined age between thirty and forty; spec. applied to members of the ‘baby boom’ generation entering their thirties in the mid-1980s; also attrib. or as adj. phr. (hence, characteristic of the tastes and lifestyle of this group).
While it aired, Thirtysomething was nominated for 41 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 13. It also won two Golden Globe awards. Later, by 1997, "The Go Between" and "Samurai Ad Man" were listed as number 22 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[27]Thirtysomething then placed the number 19 spot on TV Guide′s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002, and in 2013, TV Guideplaced it as No. 10 in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time.
1988 Winners:
1.     Drama Series
2.     Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
3.     Writing in a Drama Series — Paul Haggis and Marshall Herskovitz (episode: "Business as Usual")
4.     Guest Performer in a Drama Series — Shirley Knight (episode "The Parents Are Coming")
It also received the following nominations in 1988:
1.     Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
2.     Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Polly Draper
3.     Editing for a Series — Single Camera Production (Victor Du Bois and Richard Freeman for episode "Therapy")
4.     Main Title Theme Music
5.     Costuming for a Series (Marilyn Matthews and Patrick R. Norris for episode "Pilot") and Marjorie K. Chan, Patrick R. Norris, Anne Hartley and Julie Glick for episode "Whose Forest is This?")
1989 Winners:
1.     Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
2.     Writing in a Drama Series — Joseph Dougherty (episode: "First Day/Last Day")
3.     Editing for a Series — Single Camera Production (episode: "First Day/Last Day")
4.     Costuming for a Series (episode: "We'll Meet Again")
It also received the following nominations in 1989:
1.     Drama Series
2.     Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
3.     Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Jack Gilford for episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show")
4.     Directing in a Drama Series (Scott Winant for episode "We'll Meet Again")
5.     Writing in a Drama Series (Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick for episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show")
6.     Art Direction for a Series (Brandy Alexander and Mary Ann Biddle for episode "Michael Writes A Story")
7.     Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (Clark Conrad, Tim Philben, Scott Millan and Will Yarbroug for episode "Michael Writes A Story")
8.     Special Visual Effects (episode: "Michael Writes a Story")
9.     Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series (Carol Pershing for episode "We'll Meet Again")
1990 Winners:
1.     Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
2.     Directing in a Drama Series (episode: "The Go-Between") (tied with Equal Justice).
It also received the following nominations in 1990:
1.     Drama Series
2.     Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
3.     Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
4.     Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Frechette for "Strangers")
5.     Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Shirley Knight for "Arizona")
6.     Writing in a Drama Series (episode: "The Go-Between")
7.     Art Direction for a Series (Brandy Alexander and Mary Ann Biddle for episode "Michael's Campaign")
8.     Hairstyling for a Series (Carol Pershing for episode "Strangers")
9.     Costuming for a Series (Patrick R. Norris and Julie Glick for episode "Strangers")
1991 Winners:
1.     Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
2.     Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
3.     Costuming for a Series (episode: "A Wedding")
It also received the following nominations in 1991:
1.     Drama Series
2.     Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
3.     Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — David Clennon
4.     Writing in a Drama Series (episode: "Second Look")

5.     Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Eileen Brennan for "Sifting the Ashes")

September 29, 1992
The 100th episode of "Roseanne" aired on ABC.

September 29, 2002
The first pilot episode of "American Chopper" aired. 

A second pilot was aired on January 19, 2003.

September 30, 1982
The first episode of “Cheers” aired on NBC. 
Cheers is an American sitcom television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. 

It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC and created by the team of James BurrowsGlen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in a bar named Cheers (named after the popular toast) in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meet to drink, relax, and socialize. 

The show’s theme song, written and performed by Gary Portnoy, and co-written with Judy Hart Angelo, lent its famous refrain, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name“, as the show’s tagline.

October 1, 1927
Thomas Edward Bosley is born. 
Among his early television appearances was in 1962 as Assistant District Attorney Ryan in the episode "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on James Whitmore's legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones on ABC.
Bosley's best known role is the character Howard Cunningham, Richie Cunningham's father, in the long-running television sitcom Happy Days. Bosley is also known for portraying Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote. He also portrayed the titular Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series, Father Dowling Mysteries. In 2004, Bosley guest starred as a toy maker named Ben-Ami on the series finale of the Christian video series K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments. Among myriad television appearances, one notable early performance was in the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 pilot episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Joan Crawford. In 2008, Bosley starred in the Hallmark Channel television movie Charlie & Me.
Also notable as a voice actor due to his resonant, fatherly yet expressive tone, Bosley hosted The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, a 1977 radio drama series for children. He went on to voice many animated cartoon characters, including Harry Boyle in the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. He provided the voice of the title character in the 1980s cartoon The World of David the Gnome, and the shop owner Mr. Winkle in the children's Christmas special The Tangerine Bear. He also narrated the movie documentary series That's Hollywood. Additionally, he played the narrator B.A.H. Humbug in the Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special The Stingiest Man In Town. Bosley was also the voice of Gepetto, Pinocchio's 'dad' in Filmation's Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, released in 1987.

October 1, 1952
This is Your Life began airing on NBC-TV. 
This Is Your Life was an American reality documentary series broadcast on NBC radio from 1948 to 1952, and on NBC television from 1952 to 1961. It was originally hosted by its creator and producer Ralph Edwards. In the program, the host would surprise guests and then take them through a retrospective of their lives in front of an audience, including appearances by colleagues, friends, and family. Edwards revived the show in 1971–1972, and Joseph Campanella hosted a version in 1983. Edwards returned for some specials in the late 1980s, before his death in 2005.

October 1, 1962
Johnny Carson becomes the new host of The Tonight Show. 
Ed McMahon was Carson's announcer. The Tonight Show orchestra was for several years still led by Skitch Henderson. After a brief stint by Milton DeLugg, beginning in 1967 the "NBC Orchestra" was then headed by trumpeter Doc Severinsen who played in the Tonight Show Band in the years that 'Skitch' Henderson conducted. For all but a few months of its first decade on the air, Carson's Tonight Show was based in New York City. 

In May 1972 the show moved to Burbank, California into Studio One of NBC Studios West Coast (although it was announced as coming from nearby Hollywood), for the remainder of his tenure. Carson is often referred to as "The King of Late-Night" because of the great influence he has had on so many well-known talk show hosts and comedians. Carson started each show with a monologue and continued with sketches in which he played recurring characters "Carnac the Magnificent". 

In 1965, Carson insisted on delivering his monologue at 11:30 instead of 11:15, the show's official starting time, because many stations ran news until 11:30 and didn't join The Tonight Show until the half hour. In 1967, Carson walked out over contract differences, returning several weeks later when the network allegedly offered him a contract worth more than $1 million a year-an exorbitant salary at that time. The show moved to Burbank in 1972. In March 1978, Carson received a contract reportedly worth $3 million. Frequent guest hosts included Joan Rivers, who became "permanent guest host" from 1983 to 1986, and Jay Leno, who became permanent guest host in 1987. David Letterman also served as guest host, appearing more than 50 times.
When Carson announced he would retire in 1992, a highly publicized battle for the job ensued between top contenders Jay Leno and David Letterman. When Letterman lost, he accepted CBS's offer for his own show and launched Late Show with David Letterman in 1993. Carson died at the age of 79, in 2005.


October 1, 1962
The Lucy Show aired for the first time. 
The Lucy Show is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962–68. It was Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy. A significant change in cast and premise for the 1965–66 season divides the program into two distinct eras; aside from Ball, only Gale Gordon, who joined the program for its second season, remained. For the first three seasons, Vivian Vance was the co-star.
The earliest scripts were entitled The Lucille Ball Show, but when this title was rejected by CBS, producers thought of calling the show This Is Lucy or The New Adventures of Lucy, before deciding on the title The Lucy Show. Ball won consecutive Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the series' final two seasons, 1966–67 and 1967–68.

October 1, 1982
NBC aired the first episode of Remington Steele
Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael Gleason. The series, starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, was produced by MTM Enterprises and first broadcast on the NBC network from 1982 to 1987. The series blended the genres of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural. Remington Steele is best known for launching the career of Pierce Brosnan.
Remington Steele's premise is that Laura Holt, a licensed private detective played by Stephanie Zimbalist, opened a detective agency under her own name but found potential clients refused to hire a woman, no matter how qualified. To solve the problem, Laura invents a fictitious male superior she names Remington Steele. Through a series of events in the first episode, "License to Steele," Pierce Brosnan's character, a former thief and con man (whose real name even he proves not to know, and is never revealed), assumes the identity of Remington Steele. Behind the scenes, a power struggle ensues between Laura and Steele as to who is really in charge, while the two carry on a casual romantic relationship.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa
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