Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!

May 31, 1930 saw the arrival of Clint Eastwood, who was certainly more a movie star than a TV star during the BOTNS era, but don't forget his awesome anti-crack PSAs of the 1980s:

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Next Week on Battle of the Network Shows...

Happy Birthday, Ted McGinley!

On this day in 1958, Theodore Martin McGinley was unleashed on the world with the mission to eradicate as many popular shows from TV as poss--No, we're not gonna rip Ted. It wasn't his fault, and besides, he did cool stuff like appearing in this as for a March of Dimes campaign:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Hit Parader Hotline!

Want to get the latest news and gossip on HEAVY METAL? Well, I have no idea how you can do that today, but back in 1988 you could call 1-900-660-METL and get everything you need:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This Day in TV History: ET gets a movie critic

According to IMDB, May 28, 1982 was when Leonard Maltin joined Entertainment Tonight as movie reviewer; Wikipedia says May 29. We're going with Friday, May 28, because why wait another day to celebrate?

Unfortunately, clips of Maltin's review segments are hard to find online, but here's one from 1985:

Maltin's segment was the highlight of the show for me. I liked his 1-10 scale, which I think was uncommon for critics back in the day, and it was great when he did that slight pause before announcing his rating for a movie.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day!

From all of us at BOTNS, Happy Memorial Day, and let's all take a moment to think of those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Does anyone else remember this Army video playing on TV often in the 1980s?

Sunday, May 26, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #17

1) All in the Family: The Live in Front of a Studio Audience recreation of AITF was a smash for ABC Wednesday night.

2) The Jeffersons: Ditto. The live stunt was a big success. But wouldn't one way to pay tribute to Norman Lear be to make sure his programs are available on streaming uncut and accessible for all? Some of AITF is on Crackle, and The Jeffersons is on Starz, but I don't think either of those shows has ever been on Netflix, Hulu, nor Prime Video.

3) Farrah Fawcett: it was lost in the hubbub over the Learverse special, but ABC did well with a Farrah Fawcett documentary this week.

4) Bronk: Warner Archive announces the short-lived Jack Palance series is coming to DVD.

And how fun it is to say BRONK?

BRONK. Bronk. Bronk. BRONK! Bronky bronk.

5) Steve Kroft: After 40 years (!) with 60 Minutes, the young whippersnapper is retiring from the series.

6) Tour of Duty: In honor of Memorial Day, let's remember the 1987-1990 Vietnam War series.

7) China Beach: In honor of Memorial Day, let's remember the 1988-1991 Vietnam War series that guys were afraid to admit they watched.

8) MASH: In honor of Mem--You know what, this series is on all the time everywhere, so do we really need a special reason?

9) Philip Michael Thomas: The Miami Vice star turns 70 today. Did you know that he coined the term EGOT despite never having been nominated for any of those awards?

According to Vanity Fair via Wikipedia:

 "...Thomas took to wearing a gold medallion emblazoned with the letters "EGOT", which stood for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony." As Thomas told an interviewer in 1984, "Hopefully in the next five years I will win all of those awards."

10) John Wayne: Also born on this date was the man best known for this enduring piece of Americana Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970). Check out this clip featuring William Shatner, Ross Martin, and BOTNS faves Lorne Greene and Hugh O'Brian. Can it be that Shatner isn't in the BOTNS universe yet?

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Happy birthday, Karen Valentine

Happy birthday to one of the Seventies' most popular TV stars and a first-ballot member of the Hall of Adorable, Karen Valentine. She was big on Room 222 and The Hollywood Squares and also starred in her share of TV movies. Just watch this clip if you want a sense of her appeal:

Oh, how I wish Room 222 were on Hulu right now!

In this speech, she gives shout-outs to James L. Brooks, who went on to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi (among many others) and Gene Reynolds, who went on to MASH (among others). Both teamed up again for Lou Grant. You can go to our archives for our episodes on all those series, and maybe someday we will talk about Room 222!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Reboot scorecard

Here's a quick look at how the 70s/80s TV reboots fared at the network upfront presentations recently:

MacGyver: CBS renewed it for season 4 with some changes. This is probably #2 on my periodic "This is a thing?" list.

Hawaii Five-0: Renewed for season 10 and still going strong for CBS. It's clearly King Reboot right now.

Magnum P.I.: Much less strong, but still renewed for a season 2 in hopes it will build with help from international markets.

Lethal Weapon (well, it's a reboot of an 80s MOVIE): Canceled after 3 seasons, and it had enough behind-the-scenes drama for twice that.

SWAT: And here is the #1 program on my periodic "This is a thing?" list! It's coming back to CBS for a third season.

Dynasty: This low-rated revival will come back for a third season on The CW.

Murphy Brown: The only outright flop on the list. It didn't catch on critically nor commercially and will not be back on CBS.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Happy birthday, Jimmy Stewart!

Happy birthday to James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997), who was in a few movies but is of course best remembered for Hawkins and for his 1971 sitcom:

Sunday, May 19, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #16

1) Tim Conway: RIP.

2) Doris Day: Doris may have been better known as a movie star, but she did have a sitcom that changed its format just about every year. RIP.

3) Peggy Lipton: And RIP to the former Mod Squad star.

4) All in the Family: Enjoyed a weeklong marathon on Get TV ahead of the upcoming re-enactment staged by Jimmy Kimmel and ABC.

5) Laugh-In: A reunion special debuted on Netflix this week, which is cool enough, but it's kind of confusing since the actual shows, which are probably much more appealing, are on Prime Video.  Remember back in the day, when NBC would devote an hour or two of primetime real estate to an all-star tribute to one of its old shows? Now we have to look to streaming.

6) Andre the Giant: Born this day in 1946. Who can forget the irresistible force meeting the immovable object at Mania III?

7) Jane Curtin: She appears in United We Fall, one of the few new shows picked up by ABC for the fall--heck, one of the few new sitcoms, period.

8) The New Twilight Zone: It's coming to Me-TV's schedule next week, perhaps fueled by renewed interest in the franchise.

9) Ronnie Schell: He makes a strong impression as a talent agent in the season 2 Happy Days episode A Star Is Bored. Why is this notable? Amazon Prime added 14 episodes (?) last week, and this one was the only one I hadn't seen on CBS All Access/

10) Harold Lederman: RIP one of the iconic voices of boxing. His passing, on the heels of HBO dropping the sport, is another reminder of my lost childhood. Let's go out on an up note with this compilation of Harold saying, "OK, Jim." The Internet is great sometimes.

Friday, May 17, 2019

This Day in TV History: Play ball!

On his day in 1939, NBC broadcast the first ever televised baseball game, a match-up between Columbia and Princeton. I believe Bartolo Colon started the game for Columbia.

Yes, this is just  a bit outside our timeframe, so how about we all enjoy this promo from WPIX 11 hyping the Yankees against the Indians. You get to hear the classic theme song and the classic WPIX announcer Ralph Lowenstein:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Happy birthday, Nicholas Hammond

The actor was born on this date in 1950. You know, on the podcast we've discussed Captain America, Hulk, even Doctor Strange, but not...

Should we rectify that someday?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Who else is ready for a "Learning the Ropes" DVD set?

Football star and actor Lyle Alzado died on this date in 1992, and, boy, would I love to see a DVD set of his syndicated pro wrestling sitcom Learning the Ropes. Better yet, WWE Network could snap it up and add it to the library!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Listener Poll: Eighties Cartoons

Which eighties cartoon should we discuss this season? Give us your choice by midnight Eastern time, Monday May 20! Inspector Gadget, Jem and the Holograms, or The Real Ghostbusters?

Happy birthday, Bea Arthur!

Bea was born on this date in 1922. We covered The Golden Girls here, but maybe someday we will get around to her first hit:

But do we ever need an excuse to post the theme song from Maude?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

BOTNS Top 10 #15

1) Mama from That's My Mama: We have lots of choices to honor on Mother's Day, but how about someone who's right there in the title of her show: MAMA! Yes, we salute you, Eloise, and TV and real moms everywhere.

2) Maureen McCormick: Good for the former Marcia Brady for calling out anti-vaxxers who were using an old Brady Bunch episode as inspiration. I don't get medical advice from that show. Dating advice, career advice, sliced meats advice--yes. But not medical advice.

3) Pat Sajak: Was recognized by Guinness for being the game show host with the longest run hosting the same show. There seems to be no previous recordholder, meaning they just DECIDED this. How powerful IS Pat Sajak, anyway, that people just want to create records for him?

4) Telma Hopkins: The irrepressible Telma Hopkins (doesn't it feel like she would be called that?) has returned to TV in Netflix's Dead Like Me.

5) Jim Fowler: Speaking of which (sorry), R.I.P. to the longtime Wild Kingdom host and late-night guest, who passed away last week. How's this for a clip: No biggie, just Jim diving out of a helicopter:

6) Jacques Cousteau: The producers of Free Solo will make a documentary about the legendary oceanographer for National Geographic. Cousteau was an accomplished man...but did he ever dive out of a helicopter?

7) Leonard Nimoy: A nice tribute here on MeTV's website contains a lot of cool pics.

8) Marie Osmond: She is taking over on...uh, some daytime gabfest, replacing...uh, someone.

9) Bruce Boxleitner: The actor was born on this day in 1950. Anyone remember this show?

Bruce, Lacey from Caddyshack, Superfly, and Wong from Dr. Strange!

10 (tie): Kim Fields/McKenzie Astin: Both stars of Facts of Life celebrate birthdays today, though one was, well, a little more instrumental to the series' success than the other.

But I'm not embedding a video of her:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Happy birthday, Martha Quinn!

One of the original MTV VJs, Martha Quinn, was born May 11, 1959. Here's Quinn sharing some music trivia on the channel in 1983. Stick around for the vintage Clearasil ad!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Happy birthday, Pat Summerall!

The former NFL player and longtime voice of the NFC on CBS (then FOX) was born May 10, 1930. It's hard to imagine football in the 1980s without him, but he was also linked to a certain iconic CBS entertainment series. Check out this great clip from A Football Life:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

This Day in TV History: Farewell, Golden Girls

May 9, 1992, NBC broadcast The Golden Girls season finale after 7 seasons and pretty darned close to 200 episodes:

This scene makes me almost as emotional as when Mike and I played Golden Girls Mad Libs in a bonus episode.

Click here for the full episode we did about the series!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

BOTNS Top Ten #14

1) Ann B. Davis: The late actress was born this day in 1926. Let's take a look at this rare Brady Bunch/Battle of the Network Stars crossover:

2) Alyssa Milano: Is launching a new podcast designed to show everyone how socially conscious she is--I mean, to explore issues related to social consciousness. I can't make fun of Eva Savealot.

3) Cops: Celebrating its 30th anniversary, and obviously the nation's declining crime rates are directly correlated with this landmark series.

4) Shannen Doherty: I don't know if she did it in purpose, but she kinda looks like the biggest star by being the last one to commit to the 90210 revival.

5) Press Your Luck: The upcoming ABC reboot landed Elizabeth Banks as its host.

6) David Hartman: All this talk of turmoil behind the scenes at CBS' morning show makes me flash back to a kinder, gentler time and network:

7) Yogi Bear: Boomerang's SVOD service added a bunch of Yogi-related content, including Yogi's Space Race, this weekend.

8) The Star Wars Holiday Special: Not a single person invited me to their May 4 viewing party. Or do you mean to tell me people are actually celebrating "May the Fourth Be With You" without watching this television classic?

9) The Friar's Club Roasts: Get TV, which I really wish I GOT, announced it is showing two of these old (pre-Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts) specials this month.

10) Tina Yothers: The former Family Ties star, who was at least the third-most popular Keaton child, was born on this day in 1973.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Happy World Password Day

It's World Password Day, and you know what? We don't care if it is intended to raise awareness of digital security. We're using this as an excuse to post a Bert Convy clip:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy birthday, Max Robinson!

The late newsman Max Robinson made history by becoming the first African-American to anchor a national newscast in 1978 when ABC World News Tonight unveiled a 3-anchor format in the wake of the failed Harry Reasoner/Barbara Walters pairing. Robinson was in Chicago, with Frank Reynolds in D.C. and Peter Jennings in London.

Sadly, Robinson had a troubled tenure at ABC and died at 49 from AIDS. Let's check him out in his prime, talking election coverage, the Ford Pinto, and more in this 1978 News Brief (Plus a mid-break appearance by Norm Crosby pitching Natural Light):