DAVID BIANCULLI

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1971: ABC airs 'Brian's Song'
November 30, 2016  | By Linda Donovan
 

On this day in 1971, the made-for-TV movie, "Brian’s Song," aired on ABC under its Movie of the Week umbrella.

The award-winning drama told the true story of Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan) and Gale Sayers (played by Billy Dee Williams). The heartfelt and stirring telemovie focused on the friendship between Piccolo and Sayers and the invaluable role it played in helping Piccolo through his struggle with cancer, one that he lost at the age of 26 in 1970.

The friendship broke racial boundaries and Brian’s Song revealed the love and affection that could grow between teammates in the otherwise tough-guy environment of pro football.

The story was remade in 2001 starring Sean Maher (Arrow and Firefly) as Brian Piccolo and Mekhi Phifer (House of Lies and ER) as Gale Sayers.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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