Sunday, February 26, 2023

Top Ten #218

1) Variety shows and first-run syndication shows! If you haven't voted yet in our Choose the Show Season 11 polls, please do so! You can see this post if you aren't a member of our official Facebook group.

A clip from one of the choices (not meant as an endorsement):

2) The People's Court: It had quite a run, but the show was canceled this week. It's not I wish the Wapner episodes of the Eighties were available somewhere.

3) The Cheap ShowCheck out this odd parody game show that aired in first-run syndication in 1978. Hosted by Dick Martin, the program is loaded with ideas, and it's often funny, but I wonder if this would be better as a weekly and not daily game show.

4) Wizards and Warriors: 40 years ago tonight, the show premiered on CBS. It was on the late and lamented Warner Archive Instant. The series added Jeff Conaway to the list of sword-and-sorcery legends.

5) Jackie Gleason: Born this day in 1916, and The Great One's lone Tonight Show spot was uploaded this week.

6) Bob Fishman: The longtime CBS sports director was honoted by the DGA. Among the moments he helped create:

7) Bill Duke: Happy 80th birthday! It's pretty cool that he directed 10 episodes of Knots Landing.

8) The Stranger (1973): Pilot film that didn't take off, starring Glenn Corbett, Steve Franken, and Cameron Mitchell. It premiered 50 years ago tonight.

9) National Tell a Fairy Tale Day:

10) R.I.P.: Barbara Bosson, Richard Belzer:

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Season 11 "Choose the Show" Polls are here!

Hey, everyone! Preparations are underway for Season 11 of Battle of the Network Shows, and we have some great stuff lined up! There will be a lot of listener involvement because we have several requests on the slate. However, while most of our schedule is set, we have two slots open, and we want you to choose the shows that go in there!

Please consider the two categories below, and you can vote in the comments here, by emailing us at, or by being a part of our Facebook group, where these polls will be pinned for the duration of voting.

First, we have what we are calling our infotainment episode! We have 3 1980s first-run syndicaton programs up for vote here. Which one should we cover on the podcast this season?

*Entertaiment Tonight/Entertainment This Week
*Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
*Star Search

Next up is our variety show episode! 3 popular 1970s programs are for your consideration. Which one should we discuss in Season 11?

*Captain and Tennille
*Donny and Marie
*Sonny and Cher

Thanks for voting!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Top Ten #217: Special "Hey, *I* gotta work tomorrow" Edition

1) Ant Man: But did SNL have the definitive take on the character 45 or so years ago?

2) Mama's Family: 40 years ago tonight, Mama and her family appeared on a game show, and it wasn't Jeopardy!

Apparently, Mama herself was also on Jeopardy:

3) Dick Van Dyke: The 97-year-old legend made a surprise appearance on prime-time broadcast TV this week (I am trying not to spoil the whole thing), and I think everyone was just glad to see him. Not sure if he got in a plug for fire safety.

4) Valentine's Day: We hope you all enjoyed the holiday and that you love something or someone (and something loves you) as much as we love Lockwood on Search:

5) Family Circus: The Keaneverse began this day in 1960 when the strip first appeared in newspapers.

6) Dean Butler: The former Almanzo gave an interesting interview to Tim Millard for The Extras podcast. Butler is proud of and loves talking about Little House on the Prairie, but I believe he said he never saw a full episode, partly because at one point it was on against Monday Night Football.

7) Justine Bateman: Happy birthday!

8) Bill Kirchenbauer: Happy birthday to the man many know as the coach/dad from Just the Ten of Us but who was also in tons of other era television.

9) Lorimar Productions: Thinking about the studio (since absorbed by Warner Brothers) given the new book Unscripted with its tales of ex-leader Les Moonves and, in happier news, the debut of Eight Is Enough on Tubi.

10) R.I.P. Jerry Jarrett, Stella Stevens, Tim McCarver, Raquel Welch: 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Promo Theatre: The GNARLIest, RADDest, FLYest promo ever for Webster?

Hey, remember back in 1990 when Webster was really cool all of a sudden? No? Well, let me remind you:

You might think, OK, they are just having a laugh on themselves. I am sure they were aware on some level that this would be silly--the shot of George and Katherine dancing ensures that--but no matter the intent, this is 30 seconds of cringe. No matter the audience, no matter the degree to which the tongue is embedded in the cheek, this is something else.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Top Ten #216: Special 'The Big Game" Edition

1) Eight Is Enough: Yes, this gets the top spot, not the eighth, because it is one of the many new Warner Brothers shows on Tubi. The free ad-supported streamer now offers Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Spenser for Hire, and other shows that were in streaming limbo since the demise of Warner Archive Instant or on streaming but only for a short time. As long as this influx of programming doesn't lead to an increase in commercials, this is great, great news since HBO Max clearly had no interest in this stuff even before Discovery took over.

2) Super Bowl: And now the second-biggest TV event of the weekend. It's the day of the Big Game, and everyone in the country is either gonna watch the game or brag about not watching it. I have no rooting interest, and I will skip the halftime show, but I'll be there.

3) Pizza: Some things just go together: Football and and and PIZZA!

4) Joanna Kerns: Happy birthday to the star of Growing Pains and so much more!

5) Diff'rent Strokes: 40 years ago tonight, the thrilling yet apalling second part of "Bicycle Man" premiered, and Conrad Bain even recorded a new intro!

6) Tenafly: 50 years ago tonight, this short-lived NBC Mystery Wheel program debuted. It sounds like an intriguing show, but it only lasted 6 episodes.

7) Los Angeles Super Drill Team: I introduce to you the stars of the 1983 Super Bowl Halftime Show!

8) Brothers and Sisters: This is one of the programs that premiered after the Super Bowl and flopped. It's also one of the post-Animal House wave of campus-coms.

9) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Sure, he could be a bit of a jerk back in the day, but it was MY era, and he was MY jerk!

10) R.I.P. Charles Kimborough, Melinda Dillon, Burt Bacharach:

Friday, February 10, 2023

RetroFan #25 is even more BOTNS-era-centric than usual

The March 2023 issue of RetroFan from TwoMorrows gets my usual strong recommendation, but this time out the issue is even more BONTS-era-centric than recent ones. The mix of articles offers a bit more thematic diversity while offering lots of Seventies and Eighties material.

Cover girl Lynda Day-George (and I noted a few weeks ago how impressive it was the mag put her at 76 on the cover and not her in, say, 1976) is the subject of the main article, and it's pleasant if not revealing. Perhaps she is saving some stuff for her memoir that is in the works, but she doesn't have to have a ton of specific memories to share about much of her resume, though she seems like a great person.

Much better is the profile on WKRP by Scott Shaw!, a story that delves into the origin of the series and has interesting commentary on why it didn't last more than 4 seasons (time slot changes didn't help). The bits on the series' casting were most interesting to me, but this was a fun story overall given that we have not yet talked about WKRP on the podcast.

I totally want the toy mentioned in the article, by the way! I found a pic on Worthpoint:

Andy Mangels' column on Saturday morning TV is always a highlight, and the only disappointment this time is that he does not continue his look at comic book ads promoting network cartoon lineups. His look at The New Adventures of Superman is entertaining, though. The man has found many uses for the interviews he did with Filmation's Lou Scheimer for a book years ago! 

Next month begins a 4-part (!) series by Mangels on various incarnations of Super Friends, and I am not sure I really want 4 issues to be consumed with that. Oh, who am I kidding, I will eat that up. I just hope he gets back to those sweet comic book ad scans.

I really like the detailed piece by Shaqui Le Vesconte on Space: 1999, even if I have a grudge against the series dating back to my childhood (a story I think I told on the podcast before and will again someday). The section on commercial jingles is amusing and covers some material from our era. As an example:

A different but worthwhile story covers Rambo in all his forms--movie, cartoon, lunchbox (!), and more. Don Vaughan's story features an interview with the author of the original novel, David Morrell, and that writer has keen insights into the character's history. One part is a little odd: Vaughan mentions a prominent fan fiction series, and Morrell is quoted as saying in a matter-of-fact way that he threatened to shut him down using any means necessary if he threatened his copyright. It's a weird note in a pleasant story that surprises me with the subject matter.

That's a lot of BOTNS-era content, and you also get a story on the Fleischer Superman cartoons and more. My absolute favorite in the whole issue is Mark Voger's history of Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis comic books, a fascinating piece of DC history.

It's another fun-filled issue of RetroFan, and I have been seeing it again in stores. I'm a subscriber, natch, but if you see it in the wild, I suggest you check it out!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Top Ten #215

1) Diff'rent Strokes: One of the most memorable episodes in 1980s sitcom history aired 40 years ago tonight on NBC. I will only say two words: Bicycle Man. 

(It's a two-parter, so you might see this again in next week's list!)

2) Alice: The great YT account JaguarGator9 did an entire video with (mock?) outrage about a broadcast controversy on the night of the 1978 NFC Championship. You see, this horrible breach of trust, one that shook the nation to its core, happened when CBS and announcer Pat Summerall lied about showing Alice after the game.  Man, the late Seventies really were hell on Earth sometimes, weren't they?

3) National Weatherperson's Day: When was the last time you hugged a weatherman...or at least didn't throw a soda at him (I say "him" because who would toss a soft drink at a weatherwoman)?

4) John Schuck: Robert Pine Genius Award winner Schuck is the guest on this week's rerun of the Amazing Colossal Podcast (The show is maintaining its feed with archival episodes after Gilbert Gottfried's death).

5) The Main Event: 35 years ago tonight, pro wrestling returned to prime time network TV with a shocking result:

6) The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: This is one of the precious few "new to streaming" shows I spotted for February, making its debut on Peacock a short time (I think) after popping up again on

7) Schoolhouse Rock: ABC celebrated the series' 50th anniversary with a singalong TV special this week!

8) Showtime: As we process the news that the cable network is going to be folded into Paramount Plus after 45 years as a standalone, we remember all the great programming it brought us in the 1980s, like recent Batty winner It's Garry Shandling's Show...



Give us a few minutes, OK?

9) Turn-On: This notorious flop premiered tonight in 1969--just outside our time frame, yes, but notable for airing one time and being canceled right away. The George Schlatter sketch comedy show, according to some reports, was technically canceled in the middle of the episode.

10) R.I.P. Cindy Williams, Lisa Loring, Lanny Poffo, Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay: