John Cleese: "I remember at a party I met these chaps from Viacom, who said they were working on a new Fawlty Towers. My ears pricked up at the sound of cash registers and said, 'That's wonderful, are you going to change anything?'. They said, 'Well we have changed one thing, we've written Basil out'. And that's absolutely true, they took Basil and Sybil's lines and gave them all to Bea Arthur." The resulting effort was a 1983 ABC series called Amanda’s By the Sea which could charitably be described as a fiasco. [more inside]
On November 28, 1976, ABC televised the premiere of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Few who saw it would ever forget it. [more inside]
There are some TV shows that last for years and years, and when they finally go away, they're barely missed. And then there is the phenomenon of the TV show that dies quickly but leaves an indelible mark. Ten years ago, ABC fielded such a show: My So-Called Life, produced by the thirtysomething team of Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, premiered on Thursday, August 25, 1994 -- and was quickly reduced to ratings rubble by another new 8 p.m. series, NBC's Friends. But in 19 sublime episodes, Life left a lasting pop-culture legacy. Not only did it launch the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto, it defined the modern family drama -- and has influenced an entire generation of television writers. Says Greg Berlanti, the creator of The WB's Everwood and Jack & Bobby, ''It's the most painfully honest portrayal of adolescence ever on television.''
Is “The Bachelor” racist? [Salon.com] "A new lawsuit claims the show discriminates against African-Americans in its casting choices -- and, it's right. Yesterday, two African-Americans from Tennessee, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson, announced that they are filing a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against the most sentimental of reality TV shows, ABC’s long-running ‘The Bachelor.” (Just scroll through this photo gallery of about five seasons’ worth of participants to get a sense of just how white “The Bachelor” is.)"
In 1975, a half-hour variety show titled The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence piloted on ABC television but it was going after an older audience.
Splitsider asks "Is the 2011-2012 Sitcom Schedule the Worst in a Decade?"
Your NFL team probably has cheerleaders. But this team's cheerleaders had a movie made about them. And because they're from a place where they like to do things big, when that movie was broadcast, it was viewed on 60% of the televisions in use at the time. [more inside]
"Dana is playing Bill Clinton literally breastfeeding puppies—that was our introduction to America."
GQ: Teats Out: An Oral History of the Rise and Fall (and Rise) of "The Dana Carvey Show." "Steve Carell. Stephen Colbert. Louis C.K. Charlie Kaufman. Robert Smigel. Some of comedy's greatest minds got one of their biggest breaks on the short-lived but much-loved "The Dana Carvey Show." Fifteen years later, in this exclusive oral history, the players recount the brief but fertile life of a truly unusual show", all eight episodes of which are available on Hulu. (Previously) [more inside]
Jezebel has released the full official LOST epilogue from the Season 6 DVD bonus features.
Superman The Musical! A flop on Broadway about the Man Of Steel was made for TV once in 1975 and never again with Leslie Anne Warren, David Wilson, and Loretta Swit (but you can find it on amazon.)
After appearing last month on the ABC reality television show 'Wife Swap,' "San Francisco resident Stephen Fowler was forced to resign from the boards of two nonprofits, allegedly received e-mailed death threats and stood on the sidelines as his wife, Renee Stephens, issued a public statement condemning his behavior and asking him to get 'professional help.'...Thanks to online TV and easy access to private information, Fowler's 15 minutes of fame have snowballed beyond his control." "What has generated such wrath is Fowler's condescending treatment of Gayla Long, a mother of four from rural Missouri....In wince-producing remarks, Fowler, who is British, wrote off middle America with such pronouncements as 'Your two languages seem to be bad English and redneck.'" Video highlights - 1, 2. [more inside]
In 1982, the comedy team of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker introduced Police Squad! to network TV viewers. It lasted six episodes before being cancelled. What, you missed it? You weren't even born? Here are episodes two, three, and four. [more inside]
"We don't vote for them, we don't even know their names and we're not quite sure what they do. But they wield enormous influence. They are the power behind the power. They are The Hollowmen." You can watch the Australian Broadcasting Company's new political satire The Hollowmen [warning: sound] on the web. Or you can find it via Bittorrent. (Or if you live down under I suppose you could watch it on ABC 1 Wednesdays at 9pm or ABC 2 Thursdays at 8:30pm.) It's worth a look because it may be the funniest new satire on any English-language network. [more inside]
"My name is Mike Wallace. The cigarette is Philip Morris." Before there was 60 Minutes, there was The Mike Wallace Interview. Thirty minutes with Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kirk Douglas, Pearl Buck, and Salvador Dali, to name just a few.
ABC is developing another new comedy pilot. Based on? Geico caveman commercials, of course. Because that kind of thing has worked so well before.
ABC Streams full episodes of Lost, Alias, Desperate Housewives and Commmander in Chief for free in May via flash.
The greatest TV show you will probably never see: Aunty Jack, a ten-foot tall, boxing-glove wearing, motor-cycling, moustached cross-dresser, was the star of The Aunty Jack Show, which ran for thirteen episodes in 1972-73 on the Australian Broadcasting Commission TV network (and was the first show broadcast on Australian TV in colour). Many of the original episodes have been lost (but records of them exist). Re-release on video or DVD of the remaining episodes is tangled up in copyright issues. The 1974 album Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong was re-released on CD, and still seems to be available. It includes such classics as 'Fish Milkshakes' and 'Teenage Butcher' and the song 'Farewell Aunty Jack', which was a number 1 hit in Australia. Some samples can be found here. There were spinoffs from Aunty Jack, most notably the Norman Gunston Show, with Norman playing the prototypical terrrible interviewer and inspiring the much later Ali G, Dennis Pennis and many others. I was two years old when the series aired: Aunty Jack's threat at the end of each episode, that: 'If you don't watch next week, I'll rip your bloody arm off!' meant that I never, ever, missed it.
ABC lets Koppel do his thing. Have you watched "Up Close", Ted Koppel's in-depth interview segment? NYTimes does a good job describing how Ted has chosen to be himself (i.e., high-brow and ministerial) with scant disregard to ratings. Is this type of program the antidote to the media's obsessive and corruptive focus on ratings?
Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get...
Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get... Under a deal to be announced today, McDonald's Corp. will heavily promote ABC's 8-to-9 p.m. slot, which the network has called the "Happy Hour." "The mantra of this campaign is: 'Go to Mickey D's, watch ABC, get happy,' " said Michael Benson, ABC's senior vice president for marketing, advertising and promotion, who helped assemble the deal.
Funny. I thought "happy hour" meant cheap beer and free wings.
Funny. I thought "happy hour" meant cheap beer and free wings.
Time Warner Pulls ABC Get used to this kind of thing, as mega corp. 1 takes on mega corp. 2 to control what you see.