(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 27 - - -

    While I write this edition of T.H.A.T., I hope you have seen at least the previous edition of T.H.A.T. (which, officially, was T.H.A.T. #26), but, even more so, I hope you have seen more editions of T.H.A.T. than the previous edition and have learned that I usually provide at least one trivia question for you to answer in every edition of T.H.A.T.  If you have read the previous edition of T.H.A.T., you should realize no trivia question was posed in that edition, and if you have not read the previous edition of that, I tell you that there is no trivia question in the previous edition of that.  If you are disappointed the previous edition did not have a trivia questions, I can only say, "Oh well."  Remember: I did not make a promise that every edition of T.H.A.T. would have at least one trivia question--it is not as if I promised and promoted that I was going to show a television show at a certain time and then not show it, which is becoming commonplace practice, it seems to me, in the television industry.

    Look at what Fox TV did recently, which is something like what has been done other times recently by broadcast television networks.  To help in this discussion, I hope you will look at page 55 of the edition of TV Guide for June 12-18, 2006.  That page has a full-page advertisement (paid for by Fox TV) for a weekly television series entitled Hell's Kitchen, and the advertisement notes that the series is going to have a premiere on Fox TV at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Monday, June 12, 2006.  By the way, even the television-listings page that shows the Fox TV prime-time slate for June 12 notes that Hell's Kitchen is going to have a premiere at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).  Well, what really happened in relation to the first episode of Hell's Kitchen?  I discovered Hell's Kitchen was given a premiere at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on June 12 (and that caught me by surprise since I wanted to tape the opening credits and closing credits for the first edition).  Why did the executives at Fox TV spend money to announce that Hell's Kitchen was going to have a premiere at 9:00 p.m. and then give the show a premiere at 8:00 p.m.?  It seems to me money was unnecessarily wasted and a promotional campaign ended up in the failure category.  (How many other advertisements in publications had 9:00 p.m. listed for the premiere time?)

    The previous paragraph is truly only one example of of what television viewers are discovering these days--networks are giving television-listings publications certain air times for programs and then changing the air times, making television-listings publications seem poorly put together in the eyes of people who read or look at such publications.

    Because television-listings publications do not publish television-show listings for all days parts of television stations anymore, television viewers are often unaware of what programs are going to be run in the next few days to come and are less likely to discover special programs that are going to be broadcast at certain times over the next few days than viewers were in, for instance, the 1970s, and that is one big problem that companies that syndicate programs have to deal with, which is a problem that they did not have to deal with as much in, for example, the 1970s.  Today, people do not get a chance to see as many syndicated one-shot specials as they could in decades past (especially the decades from the 1950s to the 1990s), and one of the reasons is television stations do not make as much time available for syndicated specials, using time to double run--at least-- episodes of off-network series.  I managed to stumble across a recent new one-shot syndicated special recently (having not noticed it was going to air through help of a television-listings publication), and it is an example of the few one-shot specials that do show up from time to time.  The special was entitled 23rd Annual Miss Hawaiian Tropic International United States Pageant and was shown on the CBS-TV affiliate in Detroit, which is WWJ-TV Channel 62 (in analog form) on Saturday, June 10, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. (it was a one-hour one-shot special).  For the record, I note that the show was hosted by Chris McDonald (an actor) and Charmain Espinosa, and the four winners were Kristen Achee (of Austin, Texas), Brandy Leaver (of Honolulu, Hawaii), Rebecca Dipietro (of Daytona Beach, Florida), and Jessica Solek (of Foxworth, Connecticut), who got to go on to the "international" pageant, and the program was from Sterling Productions and Bennett Productions Inc, and the executive producer was Ron Rice, and the co-executive producer was Jeff Lalanne, and the director and supervising producer was C. Casey Bennett.  I looked in my television files quickly and discovered I had listings for a number of other "Hawaiian Tropic"-theme beauty pageant shows, and, for instance, I have a listing for the show that was related to the 10th annual contest, and it was a show that I saw.  That show was shown in the Detroit area in July 1993 (I will not give specifics here), and some of the featured guests were Benny Hill  (in flashback clips), Leslie Nielsen, Kimberly Driscoll, Robin Leach, Ali McGraw, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Jimmy Buffett, Rodney Dangerfield, and Fabio, and the show was syndicated by Litton Syndicators and was from Bennett Productions and Sterling Productions, and Ron Rice was the executive producer and C. Casey Bennett was the producer, and Brian Lockwood was the director.  The winner was Jennifer Blair of Phoenix, Arizona.  Now here is a hard question to answer--who was the host of this program and what was the name of the program (either the long name or the short name)?  That gives you a trivia question to answer, and I promise it will be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    Now, I will pass along some television history, and I will do that by returning to a familiar topic--recent made-for-TV movies that have titles like made-for-TV movies of the past.  On September 22, 1986, NBC-TV ran a movie entitled Stranded as a presentation of NBC Monday Night at the Movies, and the movie featured such performers as Loni Anderson, Perry King, Elaine Stritch, Edward Winter, and Ja'net Dubois.  On June 5, 2006, Lifetime ran a movie entitled Stranded, which featured such performers as Erica Durance and Carlos Ponce.

    Another piece of history that I pass along through this edition deals with a magazine currently entitled "Broadcasting & Cable," though some people only refer to it as "B&C," and this section is a "commentary" section or an "editorial" section.  Recently, when the edition of Broadcasting and Cable for May 22, 2006, arrived at my residence, it was accompanied by a supplement, Broadcasting & Cable's 75th Anniversary Issue.  I was disappointed with the supplement upon looking at it for the first time, and I still am.  As a "75th" edition of a publication, it is a rather shallow magazine; for example, it only hints that the publication first appeared on October 15, 1931, and has had several other titles, such as Broadcasting and Broadcasting.Telecasting, and much of the magazine was simply  used to show the well-known highlights of broadcasting (radio broadcasting and television broadcasting) over the decades.  The best article in the edition was entitled "MR. RERUN  Frederick Ziv invents syndication," which began on page S12 and talked about how Frederick Ziv founded a company for syndicating radio programs in 1937 (called Frederick W. Ziv Co.) and how Frederick Ziv began syndicating television programs in February 1948, and the article hinted how Frederick W. Ziv was the driving force in doing syndicating for television.  However, even this article was a shallow piece, and to me, it represents how the print industry in general is not as it was--something better at providing details in articles.  Truly, what was surprising is the managers of Broadcasting & Cable gave little information about the publication!  I would think the managers of a publication that has existed for 75 years would spend more time on, for instance, what the magazine was, when the various names of it existed, and what happened behind-the-scenes and what happens behind the scenes, such as how the publication is produced today (maybe comparing how it is produced today with how it has been produced).  Sometime, you should look at a few new editions of Broadcasting & Cable (it is a weekly publication) and look at some past editions, such as from the 1960s, to see how this magazine has changed and what it does and does not do anymore.

    Incidentally, weekly Variety, which is another entertainment-themed magazine, has been celebrating one-hundred years of being in existence over the last year or so, and both Variety and Broadcasting & Cable are owned by the same company--Reed Business Information--and if you were to see an edition of Variety today and editions of decades past, particularly those produced before 1990, you would see what Variety does and does not do anymore.

    Television journalism has changed over the years, and I will show, here, an example of how it has changed, and then I will provide a warning, which everyone should learn, especially a person who is new to the country.  Generally speaking, in the late 1940s and 1950s, a television news anchor did not do more than read news copy, and while the television news anchor was reading the news, staffers of the station who were working with the television news anchor would show graphics, photographs, or film clips on the screen (when they were not showing the television news anchor on the screen), and television stations did not highly promote news anchors as stars and such to television viewers.  In the past month or so, I have seen promotional announcements for news anchors on two television stations in the Detroit area that should make a television viewer feel queasy (at least) because of how the stations are presenting news anchors to viewers.  WJBK-TV (Channel 2) is a Fox TV affiliate, and the station has being airing promotional announcements about the weekend morning-show team, and during the promotional announcements, there are comments by people on the street about how they "love" the people on the show.  The station is trying to get to you like or even sort of love the staffers of the weekend morning show.  That may not seem bad to you, but I will say,  "You should never come to like or love a person who presents news to you."  Of course, you can say that the weekend morning-show staffers are not really "news anchors."   However, I can say that they do indeed present or read news to you.  WDIV-TV (Channel 4) is the NBC-TV affiliate in the Detroit area, and this station has gone beyond the idea of simply getting you to like or even sort of like a television news anchor.  For several decades, Carmen Harlan has been a news reporter or an anchor for WDIV-TV, and over the last month or so, the station has aired a promotional announcement that focused on Carmen Harlan, and, to me, the promotional announcement gives the impression that Carmen Harlan is someone a guy should want to date or even marry, and the promotional announcement is not a presentation of her "credentials" as a news anchor.  Remember: If you "love" a news anchor, you might blindly accept all that the news anchor says as fact and truth and may not analyze stories for "political" undertones that have been added by the news anchor or the news anchor and associates to persuade you to adopt a certain political stance.  Television viewers of the late 1940s and 1950s were not heavily persuaded to like or even "love" television news anchors, but television viewers of today are now at least sometimes being heavily persuaded to like or even  "love" television news anchors.

    By the way, during the commercial focusing on Carmen Harlan, a song was being played, and the lyrics had "The Girl I Love" as one of the lyric lines, and that line was sang several times.

    "For the record" and to inform at least someone, I report that a television station in the Detroit has had a change in name.  Channel  20 is now "WMYD-TV"; it had been WDWB-TV (a named adopted in October 1997).  The new name came about because The WB network will be gone in September and the station will become an affiliate of My Network TV (a new television network) in September.
    I must add this information.  "WMYD-TV" began to be used by the station on May 7, 2006.  On June 25, 2006, I went to the Web site for the the station, and a Web page said that "October 14, 1997 WXON-TV changed its call letters to WMYD-TV (TV 20)" (and the page said nothing about "WDWB-TV").  It looks as if a repair has to be made to at least one Web page at the Web site of WMYD-TV.

    Even though The WB still exists on the date that this edition of T.H.A.T. is published  (July 10, 2006) and even though WMYD-TV is still an affiliate of The WB network, I will pretend the network is now gone (it will be gone in September).  Let us go back in history.   The WB network appeared in July 1995, and, really, for viewers in the Detroit area, WGN Superstation (of Chicago, Illinois) began to carry programming of the network on Wednesday, January 11, 1995, and Channel 20 (in Detroit) began to carry programming of the network on Thursday, January 12, 1995 (and then the following week, Channel 20 began carrying programming of The WB network on Wednesday night, which was the normal feed night).  What were the first three programs--officially, series--of The WB network, or what were the three programs of the premiere night for The WB network?

    Ah, ha!  Through this edition of T.H.A.T., I have managed to give you two trivia questions to answer.  Of course, I shall answer the questions in the next edition of T.H.A.T. (which will be T.H.A.T. #28).

Stay well!


copyright c. 2006
Date published: July 10, 2006

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