(Television History and Trivia)
THE HOLOGLOBE PRESS
Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 10 - - -
The ninth edition of T.H.A.T. has a primer about networks in the United States of America, and some of the subjects of the primer are (1) when network television began, (2) when cable network showed up, and (3) what the country has for networks today. If you have no idea about what the country has for networks, you should read that edition before you read this edition. Of course, even if you have read the ninth edition, you may wish to read it again, especially if you are not well versed in the ways of network television in the U.S.
Here is some generalized information about broadcast television programming practices:
Between 1946 and the early 1980s, a commercial broadcast network usually ran new episodes of a prime-time network series from September to May or June and then ran repeat episodes from May or June to September; for instance, a particular show might be shown on a weekly basic--with only first-run episodes--from September to about June and then be shown on a weekly basic--with repeats--from June to September. Between 1946 and the 1970s, a weekly series could have up to 39 new episodes each season, and a series that was contracted for 39 episodes for a season was aired weekly over 39 weeks, and the remainder of the season was filled with 13 repeat episodes, or the 13 weeks were used for a summer fill-in series. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, a prime-time series that was given a full-year contract to air had a maximum of 22 episodes or 24 episodes or 26 episodes. Between 1946 and 1991, a particular movie was shown no more than twice in a season, and once a movie was shown in a particular season, the movie was not shown again for at least six months. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, for each season, a weekly syndicated show was usually aired as all new episodes between about September and May and all repeats between about May and September. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, an off-network series that had enough episodes to be shown in syndication on a Monday-through-Friday basis had no more than five episodes shown in a week; that is, for example, one episode--only one episode--was aired each weekday. (Note: The term "off-network series" can be used to describe a series that was made for a network and is later shown in syndication.)
Here is some generalized information about cable television programming practices.
Since the 1970s, cable networks or cable channels have been in the habit of airing a particular movie more than once in the same week. In the 1980s, cable networks or cable channels began to make series, and what the networks did was start the practice of showing a particular episode of a series more than once within a week. Over the years, cable networks have bought the rights to air series that were originally produced for the broadcast networks, and, recently, some cable networks have picked up quite a few series that were originally made for broadcast networks.
Now let us look at "double trouble" and more for television stations, broadcast networks, and cable networks today.
In September 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation was given a debut in first-run syndication. This series--a weekly series--was a sequel to Star Trek, a series of the 1960s. I see Star Trek: The Next Generation as the syndicated series that really made the practice of airing a particular episode of a one-hour made-for-syndication series more than once in a single week. One reason the practice has been adopted by syndicators is to give sponsors more audience for each episode, which has their commercials, each week, and, in fact, in a season, an episode of a series usually aired four times--one as a first-run showing and three as repeat showings.
On November 17, 1991, NBC-TV aired a theatrical movie entitled Back to the Future III. On November 22, 1991, NBC-TV aired the same movie. That was the first time a movie was shown and then shown as a repeat within a week. Since 1991, other movies have been given double runs within a week.
The idea of showing an episode of a series on one network and then showing it days later on another network is known as "repurposing." Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was airing on NBC-TV in first-run form during the 1999-2000; it was a weekly filmed series and a spin-off of Law & Order. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was the first prime-time series that had a new episode shown on a commercial broadcast network and then on a cable network at about the same time; that is, roughly speaking, a new episode of this series was shown on NBC-TV and then shown as a repeat on USA, a cable network, days later. There have been a number of series that have been repurposed since 1991, and Monk is one such series, but Monk is a series that went from a cable network (USA) to a broadcast network (ABC-TV).
Have you noticed that, over the last several years, syndicated off-network shows, such as Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and Will & Grace, have been getting double airings each weekday? Did you notice Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven, a three-hour made for TV-movie, was aired on Sunday, December 5, 2004, on ABC-TV and was then aired soon afterward on cable-channel ABC Family (a couple times)? Have you noticed The Apprentice and a number of other series are getting repurposed this season? Have you noticed how, for the last several years, the episodes of some series on broadcast network television are getting aired more than twice in a season? (For example, think about CSI: Miami and Two and a Half Men, both of which are shown on CBS-TV.)
Certainly, you have noticed how television series are showing up in DVD form at the stores. Not only old or somewhat old network series are showing up in DVD form but also really recent network series are. And series are showing up in DVD form even though they are currently being shown in syndication (an example of which is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which has only begun to be shown in syndication).
If you feel as if television is boring today, especially if you can see only broadcast television stations, not being a cable subscriber, you now have some information that explains why television might be boring to you, and I have not even gotten to the subject of "quality," of course.
Let me give you a break from thinking and answer questions posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.
On April 4, 1984, NBC-TV began to air a series that featured two daughters of director Boris Sagal. The series was called Double Trouble. In the series, Jean Sagal played Kate Foster, and Liz Sagal played Allison Foster. Officially, this series aired on NBC-TV during two seasons, the 1983-1984 season and the 1984-1985 season.
The Showtime cable network showed a movie entitled Double Jeopardy on November 21, 1992, and, in this movie, Sela Ward and Rachel Ward played two of the main characters.
I hope you were able to discover what actor was the first actor to be seen in two new made-for-TV movies on the same day and what the names of the movies were. The day was Tuesday, December 16, 1969. The actor was Lloyd Bridges. And the movies were The Silent Gun, which was shown on ABC-TV (under the ABC Movie of the Week umbrella title) beginning at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), and Silent Night, Lonely Night, which was shown on NBC-TV beginning at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
And I asked you a very hard question in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. I wondered if you knew what three actors ended up being seen in two new made-for-TV movies in the same week. The actors were Charles Aidman, Peter Hobbs, and Ruth Silveira. I also wondered if you knew what the movies were. The movies were Marian Rose White, which was shown on CBS-TV on January 19, 1982, and Prime Suspect, which was shown on CBS-TV on January 20, 1982.
Since 1972, I have collected photographs of performers from Broadcasting and Cable (once called Broadcasting and other names), Variety, and other publications; what I have done is file photographs in file folders that are in alphabetical order. It is fun to pull out a file folder from time to time to see what I have collected. For instance, I can pull out the file folders for the letter "s" and see what they have, such as photographs that show how such performers as Suzanne Somers and Cybil Shepherd have changed over the years. I got the idea of saving photographs, such as the covers of television-listings books of the main Detroit-area newspapers, because of a man named Bill Kennedy. Generally speaking, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Bill Kennedy was a Detroit-area television performer, and he is mostly known for hosting a daily afternoon television show during which theatrical movies were shown and during which he answered questions about movies and performers and showed photographs, which he had in file folders and books (his last daily show was entitled Bill Kennedy at the Movies and was on WKBD-TV Channel 50). (His collection of photographs and books, valued at about $230,000, was given to the Detroit Institute of Arts on Friday, June 12, 1987.)
I wish I could display photographs of performers on this Web site with the editions of T.H.A.T., but I do not believe I can legally do that, since I am not the copyright holder of the photographs. However, I do know the photographs that I have were published for public use, and I do know the photographs that I might show would not be used for commercial purposes, and the photographs would be available free to everyone from the Web site, and the magazine and newspaper publications would get free publicity, if they are still being produced. I should do some research about what I might be able to do legally with the photographs.
Since I cannot show photographs (at least at this time), I have to make you do a bit of work. The other day, I caught the first episode of a new series entitled Committed (on NBC-TV), and I saw the face of Jennifer Finnigan, who was playing Marni, and it made me recall the face of a gal that I had seen on the first episode of Crossing Jordan (on NBC-TV) for this season, and I began to think I found evidence that producers are choosing even more performers that look too much alike, and, at the same time, I saw in my mind the face of Jane Krakowski, an actress. I did research. Well, the gal in the Crossing Jordan episode was Jennifer Finnigan. Oops! I did not have evidence of what I thought were three gals who looked the same. However, I do think Jennifer Finnigan and Jane Krakowski, who was a regular in the television series entitled Ally McBeal (from the 1997-1998 season to the 2001-2002 season), look much alike. For fun, find a photograph of Jane Krakowski and a photograph of Jennifer Finnigan, and examine their faces. You can run a search on the Internet. To make a search, use "photo" and the name of one of the actresses as search terms. Later, make a search of the other actress. You should see what I have noticed.
By the way, Megan Fox of Hope & Faith (a series on ABC-TV) reminds me of Kaley Cuoco of 8 Simple Rules (a series on ABC-TV), and Kaley Cuoco reminds me of Megan Fox. No! Ah. Maybe, Nicole Paggi of Faith & Hope (of last season) reminds me of Kaley Cuoco and Kaley Cuoco reminds me of Nicole Paggi. Or maybe Megan Fox reminds me of Nicole Paggi. I had better do some research and get back to you about that subject in the next edition of T.H.A.T.
I must add that Bill Kennedy was a radio announcer and appeared in movies and network prime-time television shows, such as in the 1940s and 1950s. You may not know who Bill Kennedy was, but it is very likely you have heard his voice, even if you never lived in the Detroit area and are young. He did the voice-over announcing for a well-known television series that was made in the 1950s. Children and adults liked the series--a lot. I dare not give clues about the series, since the main character is so well known around the world that you could then easily get answers to any questions that I might ask. I do have a question. What was the name of the filmed television series for which Bill Kennedy was the announcer?
copyright c. 2005
Date: January 10, 2005
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