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Apparently someone at ABC loved Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." so much that they turned it into "ABC, You'll Love It" for fall 1985:
NBC finally started the road to recovery in 1983 with "Be There":
That was followed in 1984 by the even catchier "NBC, let's all be there."
By 1985, NBC was back on top:
Here's a localized version of NBC's early 1980s semi-creepy "Our Pride is Showing" campaign (here for Washington's WRC).
Johnny Depp, Matthew Perry, Ed O'Neill and Katey Sagal are among the stars of this 1987 Fox campaign touting Fox's weekend schedule. I've had this catchy song in my head for decades.Below, here's the launch promo for Fox's primetime:
This promo for "Supertrain" says all you need to know about that costly flop: It features little people. Followed by the unfortunate decision to turn "From Here to Eternity" into a TV series. It's a Wednesday to remember on NBC!
What, exactly, was the CBS promo team smoking in the 1970s? They gave us the strange "CBS is Easy on the Eyes" in 1973 (were they even trying??):
And in 1978, we got "Turn Us On" (really, CBS?)
CBS' later tags also included "We've Got the Touch" and "Lookin' Good." Why CBS, I do believe you're trying to seduce me.
Perhaps the most famous network campaign of all times. ABC used "Still the One" for several years in the late 1970s, as the formerly third-place network suddenly shot to No. 1 on the strength of hits such as "Happy Days."
Imagine a time before the CBS eye and the NBC peacock... an age when the Dumont Network still exists:
I don't what I love more in this promo: The cool, far-out design of the ad itself; the games, such as "Concentration" and "Hollywood Squares" (not to mention the sheer number of them!); the then-common practice of adding "IN COLOR" below a show's title; or the hosts, from Hugh Downs and Ed McMahon to Peter Marshall and Art Fleming. It's NBC's morning schedule in 1967:
Inspired by my colleague Jon Weisman's Christmas Eve Holiday Comedy Extravaganza, I'm turning the New Year's Eve festivities over to the blurbmeisters.
As we look back at the years before us, I thought it would be fun to dig up some old TV promos -- some classic, some not-so-much. (Actually, I always find it fun. But New Years seemed like as good an excuse as any to throw them atcha.) For the next 24 hours, enjoy this special Retro Friday roundup.
Let's start things off in the A.M. -- "A.M. Los Angeles," to be exact. Here's a young Regis Philbin -- who's extremely subdued in this spot. I guess over-the-top Reege didn't come until later in life:
Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin bid adieu to NBC U while Bob Greenblatt made plans to move in. Simon Cowell bowed out of "American Idol." ABC said goodbye to "Lost" and Steve McPherson. Conan O'Brien said so long to broadcast TV entirely, and Oprah Winfrey is about to join him.
Those and many other tumultuous events this year were just the warmup for what promises to be a year of change and realignment for the TV biz in 2011.
CNN is looking for new life in primetime after Larry King. Pay cablers are nervously eyeing their subscriber churn numbers as Netflix's aud and programming menu continues to grow.
The broadcast nets are grappling with the new-fangled problem of measuring viewing dispersed among many screens, including the oh-so-portable iPad. But even more fundamentally, there's the age-old problem of coming with new programs that viewers want to watch -- on any screen.
All of the comings and goings, new beginnings and new technologies are fueling a host of burning questions. Among them:
What's the first order of business once the Comcast-NBC Universal merger is a done deal?
Will viewers embrace the new Cowell-free "American Idol"? And will Cowell's "The X Factor" conquer the U.S.?
Will Oprah's minions flock to her new cable network? And who benefits most from the Oprah void in daytime syndication?
Can CNN regain any mojo, and is Piers Morgan the new king?
Will the networks regain their programming mojo in time for fall 2011?
Among the other questions to look out for in 2011: Who might replace CW's Dawn Ostroff, who's expected to exit the young femme-centric network at the end of this season?
Meanwhile, with David Letterman's CBS deal set to expire in 2012, speculation over his future may start to heat up.
The Eye will also have to come to terms shortly with Katie Couric, whose contract to anchor the "CBS Evening News" expires in 2011. Couric is expected to remain, but perhaps with a pay cut.
Over at NBC, "Today" show anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira's contracts also expire in 2011.
But all of these pale in comparison to the great unknown out there -- how viewers might continue to embrace services like Hulu, Netflix and Google TV, and perhaps turn cord-cutting and a la carte TV viewing into a bonafide threat.
Read the full story here.
Combined, KCAL and KTLA averaged 212,000 viewers for their dueling yule logs from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Christmas day. That was up 39 percent vs. the same four-hour block last year (when the two stations averaged 153,000 during the time frame).
The big gain came via KTLA, which averaged 104,000 viewers from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., up a strong 160 percent from last year.
KTLA, which simulcast Christmas music from Clear Channel's KOST-FM (103.5), aired the log from 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., averaging 78,000 through the entire five and a half hour block.
KCAL, now in its seventh year of airing the yule log, accompanied the broadcast with Christmas music from sister CBS Radio AC station KTWV (94.7). The station averaged 108,000 viewers (down 4 percent from last year).
This year's matchup, showcasing LeBron James in his much-anticipated first visit since joining the Heat to play Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in Los Angeles, had a 6.4 fast national rating, compared with 4.4 when James' Cavaliers played the Lakers last Dec. 25. Earlier on Saturday, a Boston-Orlando clash had a 4.6, 39 percent better than last year's matchup between the same two teams.
Together, ABC's two Christmas Day games were up 45% in households compared to a year ago, and ESPN's three games were up 20%.
Merry christmas, everyone ...
Language not safe for work or Christmas ...
Not remotely safe for work ... but if you're working right now, I say, have at it ...
Welcome to the 2010 Variety On the Air Holiday Comedy Marathon. New clips will be posted every hour for the next 24 hours.
To start things off, a holiday wish from Steve Martin ...
CBS will switch around 10 p.m. dramas "Blue Bloods" and "The Defenders" early next year, moving the Tom Selleck starrer from Fridays to Wednesdays for a limited run.
Despite its Friday timeslot, often a graveyard for shows, "Blue Bloods" has been broadcast TV's top freshman drama in overall viewers except for fellow CBS skein "Hawaii Five-0." The series now gets a shot at a higher-profile airing, running for four weeks beginning Jan. 19 after veteran hit "Criminal Minds."
Then, on Feb. 16, spinoff series "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior," starring Forest Whitaker with Janeane Garofolo, will begin airing in the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot, while "Blue Bloods" returns to Fridays on Feb. 11, at least for the time being. Edward Allen Bernero, Mark Gordon, Deborah Spera and Chris Mundy exec produce "CM2" for ABC Studios in association with CBS TV Studios.
Meanwhile, "The Defenders," featuring Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell, will move on Feb. 4 into the 8 p.m. Friday timeslot being vacated by "Medium," whose series finale will air Jan. 21. In October, CBS small-sized its 2010-11 "Medium" order, knocking it down from 22 to 13.
Two other premiere dates were announced by CBS. Sitcom "Mad Love," starring Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer, Jason Biggs and Tyler Labine, will take flight Mondays at 8:30 p.m. beginning Feb. 21, with "Rules of Engagement" moving to Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. following "The Big Bang Theory." The current occupant of that timeslot, "Bleep My Dad Says," will have completed its freshman run, with its prospects for renewal in doubt.
"Chaos," a drama with comedic underpinnings about a group of rouge CIA spies, will premiere April 1 in the 8 p.m. Friday timeslot, after "The Defenders" finishes its frosh campaign.
Tom Spezialy and Brett Ratner exec produce “Chaos,” which stars Freddy Rodriguez, Eric Close, James Murray, Tim Blake Nelson and Carmen Ejogo.
CBS also confirmed that “Survivor” will have its season 22 premiere on Feb. 16, staying in the 8 p.m. Wednesday timeslot it moved to this past September. A new wrinkle for the veteran show will send competitors who have been eliminated to an isolated “Redemption Island,” where they will live solo before getting a chance to compete against subsequent redemption castaways for a return to the main event.
CBS previously announced that unscripted series “Live to Dance,” featuring Paula Abdul, would launch Jan. 4 before moving into its regular 8 p.m. Wednesday timeslot Jan. 5, running until the “Survivor” season premiere.
The Eye is No. 1 in overall viewers and the 18-49 and 25-54 demos so far in the 2010-11 TV season.
“We’re in the fortunate position of having a schedule with many successful shows and very few holes,” CBS senior exec veep of primetime Kelly Kahl said. “This allows us to be very targeted with our midseason series. These are moves that maintain the core stability of a successful schedule, while giving us multiple looks for the future at a few time periods.”
Second season of the Timothy Olyphant starrer will run 13 weeks. Olyphant plays a Kentucky-based U.S. marshal trying to balance his job and a complicated personal life.
Show, created by Graham Yost, is based on the works of author Elmore Leonard. Ratings were strong in season one and cabler was quick to renew it.
Skein co-stars Walton Goggins, Nick Searcy, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, Joelle Carter and Natalie Zea. Among those joining the cast are Jeremy Davies, Margo Martindale, Joseph Lyle Taylor and Brad William Henke.
Exec producers are Yost, Leonard, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman, Fred Golan and Michael Dinner. Show is produced by Sony Pictures Television and FX Prods.
FX recently canceled critically beloved but ratings challenged “Terriers” and will debut boxing drama “Lights Out” Jan. 1. Holt McCallany stars as an aging pugilist unsure whether to retire for health reasons or stay in the ring to provide financial support for his family.
New season of animated skein “Archer” will return Jan. 27.
The stage show is based on Herman's original stage show as well as his Emmy-winning Saturday morning show, "Pee-wee's Playhouse." The broadcast will take place 30 years after the first HBO appearance by Herman (aka Paul Reubens), on its "Young Comedians" series.
Drew Powell, John Paragon, Jesse Garcia, Phil LaMarr, Lynne Marie Stewart, Lance Roberts and Josh Meyers appear on the Broadway show. Marty Callner, who directed Herman's 1981 HBO special, is helming the 2011 broadcast, written by Reubens and Bill Steinkellner with additional material by Paragon.
Steve Landesberg wasn't part of the original "Barney Miller" cast, but after joining for the show's second season, he became an indelible part of what made the show so great. I'm truly sorry to hear of his passing.
Here's an even older clip of Landesberg at a Dean Martin roast of Barry Goldwater ...
George H. W. Bush has recorded visual description of "It's a Wonderful Life" for a simulcast that will air on the SAP channel for the visually impaired when NBC broadcasts the film at 8 p.m. Friday.
The broadcast is part of a fundraising effort by RP International to save the Van Nuys, Calif.-based School for The Blind.
On Christmas Day, the fundraising effort will then culminate with “The Eyes of Christmas,” a 30-minute program airing at 6 a.m. on Ion. Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Reba McIntyre, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Bob Costas and Natalie Cole are among those who have supported the program.
Here's a PSA for the Bush-enhanced broadcast of "Wonderful Life":
Starring Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Eva Green as Morgan and Jamie Campbell Bower (above) as Arthur, the series has a 10-episode order.
The project, shot in Ireland, is an Irish-Canadian co-production from Octagon and Take 5, with Ecosse Films and GK-TV exec producing.
One of my favorite things about late December, besides chocolate-covered pretzels and the Nordstrom after-Christmas sale, are year-end lists.
I always like to compare my taste and faves against others whose opinions I respect. When we match, I’m often tickled that we’re on the same page, and it’s even better if they list something — be it an indie film I never saw or a PBS drama that slipped by — that I didn’t see but can check out later on.
Anyway, here’s a look at my top 10 TV shows of 2010. Unlike movies, a TV list is always a bit more bifurcated because, in broadcast, one season ends in May and another begins in September. Tying the two together, and looking at the healthy number of cable entries that debut 12 months a year, here’s what I came up with.
Oh, and one caveat, I didn’t watch AMC’s “The Walking Dead” or FX’s “Terriers.” With its strong reviews, I will come back to “Walking Dead” at some point, maybe in summer, but I just didn’t have room for it when it launched a few months ago. And, though I’m in the minority on this one, I wasn’t all that impressed with the first two episodes of “Terriers” and stopped watching. Yeah, I know it got better, but it just didn’t connect with me. Sorry.
The top 10
1) Friday Night Lights: I couldn’t quite pinpoint why I should like this fifth-year series best out of a plethora of great TV until I realized it’s the only show where I actually catch myself smiling … during the credits. I enjoy returning to Dillon week after week that much. And in last week’s episode that brought Jason Street (Scott Porter) back for a cameo, it was as if old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile were coming home. It’ll be heartbreaking to say goodbye.
2) Breaking Bad: Those who argue that Bryan Cranston — or any actor, actually — shouldn’t win an Emmy three years in a row obviously don't watch “Breaking Bad.” Creator Vince Gilligan has taken his characters and asked them to contemplate what it means to be moral, to provide for their family and the ultimate cost of both. Not only is Cranston a gem, but bravura performances from Anna Gun, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito and Dean Norris are perfect complements. Not to be missed.
3) Justified: Timothy Olyphant looks to be having a million times more fun as a U.S. marshal than he did as a sheriff on “Deadwood.” His loosey-goosey approach to the law make this series a treat. FX alum Walton Goggins might be the best villain out there, if only because his so-called “conversion” as a do-gooder was so convincing.
4) Boardwalk Empire: What a great series does is take viewers to a time and place one might find unfamiliar, but then draws you in with compelling characters. That’s what creator Terence Winter did with “Boardwalk” and with stellar work from a cast that includes Kelly Macdonald and Michael Shannon, especially, this one lived up to high expectations.
5) Lost: Speaking of living up to expectations, no show had more weight on its shoulders than “Lost,” and, if the emotional connections of Jack and Co. mattered more to you more than the Dharma Initiative, both the entire last season and final episode were winners.
6) Mad Men: The death of an ex-wife and a quick marriage proposal were both integral components in the continued psychological unraveling of Dan Draper, who also had to contend with the weight of a failing business. The more layers we see of him, the more we understand what makes him so uncomfortably coarse. And R.I.P. Mrs. Blankenship, your take-no-guff persona will be missed.
7) In Treatment: Three seasons under its belt, rarely have we seen anyone like Gabriel Byrne’s psychiatrist Paul Weston. Forced to deal with other people’s issues when he can’t even confront his own, this gem of a show reinvents itself each time out with new patients. Irrfan Khan was an absolute revelation — one which Emmy will surely forget — as a Calcutta native going to extremes to return to his homeland.
8) The Good Wife: Hardly any other broadcast drama mixes so many elements so well: Office politics, lingering unfulfilled romance, workplace rivalries and unconventional casting that pays off. Having the smarts to add “Friday Night Lights” fave Scott Porter as Kalinda’s nemesis is only one move that has made sure “The Good Wife” remains far from a ho-hum legal procedural.
9) 30 Rock: Even with the great Alec Baldwin at her side, it’s Tina Fey’s ability to laugh at herself that makes this, week in and week out, the funniest show on television. The live episode was a rousing success and the continued knocks against NBC and the Kabletown merger prove mocking your own network works in wonderfully hilarious ways.
10) Sons of Anarchy: While I believe the trip to Ireland was a bit overbaked and the hunt for Jax’s son played out for too long, hanging with these honorable thieves and murderers is always time well spent. Here’s hoping next season we get to concentrate more on fellas like Opie and his merry band of renegades, who were forced to take a backseat.
The second tier
11) The Big Bang Theory: Now in its fourth season, the show could be getting stale. Yet, both the writers and actors haven’t become satisfied with their success. By relying on Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and guest actress Mayim Bialik instead of forcing the terrific Jim Parsons to carry the load every week, the show is a continued treat.
12) Louie: Just when you think Louie CK’s show isn’t much more than a ditty about a divorced dad by day and standup by night, he delivers an episode about bullying, generational violence and the challenges of being a father that might’ve been the most thought-provoking half-hour of the year.
13) Rubicon: With its sometimes glacial pace, this was tough to hang with at times but it paid off. Mostly. The somewhat disappointing final episode never really tied the storyline together, but the slow-build character study of each was like a good ’70s European film.
14) Treme: Expectations were high, and it wasn’t close to being “The Wire,” but David Simon’s look into post-Katrina New Orleans gave viewers a remarkable glimpse into the Big Easy’s underbelly that’s never mentioned in brochures. I could’ve done less with Steve Zahn’s rebellious hippie Davis and more on Wendell Pierce’s trombone-blowing Antoine, but that’s what next season is for.
15) Modern Family: It’s still very funny, though — and this is no fault of anyone — the show doesn’t feel as fresh as season one. That being said, I can’t remember a comedy coming out of the gate so strong, so the quality after the oh-so-slight fall here would still make nearly any other laffer jealous.
16) Curb Your Enthusiasm: The way Larry David was able to turn his season into a pseudo-“Seinfeld” reunion was remarkable. Even when he thinks he has no story left in him, David continues to crack up both himself and an appreciative viewership.
17) Men of a Certain Age: Maybe because I’m of that same certain age this well-crafted look at three guys resonates with me. Our trio are all on disparate courses, but all share similar traits that anyone can relate to. Kudos to Ray Romano, who was often underappreciated on his sitcom but holds his own with Scott Bakula and the great Andre Braugher.
18) Nurse Jackie: Carmela who? Well, nobody will forget Falco’s seminal role in “The Sopranos” but her transition from HBO to Showtime has been seemless. Jackie is probably more manipulative than Tony’s ex, and absolutely more deceptive.
19) Southland: I’m a sucker for a good LAPD story told well — “The Shield” being the gold standard — and partners Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz form a solid duo of cops that not only deal with the drecks of the city, but their own issues as well.
20) Blue Bloods: In what was a fairly dismal broadcast season, the ‘Stache made this NYPD drama one of the few shows worth watching. Tom Selleck is perfectly cast as the top cop in Gotham and a family that never lacks for excitement.
Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):
24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic
Bored to Death
CBS Sunday Morning
Eastbound & Down
Hard Knocks With the New York Jets
The Life and Times of Tim
Pardon the Interruption
The Sports Reporters
World Series of Poker
The animated comedy averaged 2 million viewers over its first season this past spring, performing well in particular with men 18-24, with whom it is No. 2 on Wednesdays in all of television behind lead-in "South Park."
Devin Clark created the series, which was developed by David M. Stern, who exec produces with Daniel Powell. Matt Oberg voices lead character Mark Lilly.
Remember Cookie Monster's campaign last month to host "Saturday Night Live"? It paid off -- kinda.
During his opening monologue on Saturday night's edition of "SNL," guest host Jeff Bridges brought on an "old friend" of his -- and yep, it was Cookie Monster.
Bridges grabbed a guitar, and together the two sang "Silver Bells."
Cookie Monster's campaign followed the successful Internet ploy to get Betty White on the late night show as a guest host. I guess that makes it Internet 2, "SNL" 0.