Friday, April 2, 2021

This Day in TV History: Thursday, April 2, 1981

With the aid of the same TV Guide we used in this week's bonus episode, let's look at what happened on the airwaves 40 years ago today--Thursday, April 2, 1981:

Perhaps the biggest event is the premiere of a short-lived but acclaimed TV show that has come up on the podcast several times. It's Michael Lerner--wait, no, it's Michael Learned--in the debut of Nurse:

The only NBC program to get a display ad is My Father, the Circus King, a special showcasing famed tiger trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus.  The documentary is through the eyes of his son, and the special is under NBC's Project Peacock banner promoting specials aimed at young audiences.

On ABC, there's a new look to Thursday night's lineup, as this ad tells us:

As we mentioned yesterday in our Show Notes for this week's bonus episode, the attempted assasination of Ronald Reagan earlier in the week had caused pre-emptions. One of them was this scheduled episode of Mork, and you can see why when you see the capsule:

Remember that this is a Dallas/Fort-Worth edition, and so the times are Central.  You can see here that CBS had a cool-sounding episode of Magnum leading in to that Nurse premiere. Preceding that, on The Waltons, John-Boy is promised a job at the university "if he can create a television department." I want to see that one!

NBC had a two-hour Flamingo Road after the circus special. ABC followed its leadoff comedies with Barney Miller, Taxi, and a 20/20 with Geraldo Rivera reporting on terrorism from the Middle East.

Elsewhere on the dial, the PBS affiliate, channel 13, had Sneak Previews, Paper Chase, and a National Geographic spotlighting the National Parks. Outside prime time, independent station channel 39 had a Wonder Woman rerun with Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford! At the same time on channel 21, Yvonne Craig guested on The Wild Wild West.

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