DAVID BIANCULLI

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1990: 'The Howard Stern Show' Premieres on WWOR
July 14, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1990, mega-popular radio shock jock (and current, for now, America's Got Talent judge) Howard Stern introduced his Saturday night show The Howard Stern Show on WWOR-TV.

For the most part, the program was a TV version of his outrageous radio talk show, with segments that included "Homeless Hollywood Squares" — a game show using real homeless people — and "Lesbian Dating Game."

Initially only four episodes were taped and broadcast locally. Because of the success of those four shows, WWOR began producing and nationally syndicating a weekly version of the show. It quickly became one of the highest-rated syndicated shows on television. In some TV markets, including New York, it even beat the stalwart Saturday Night Live.

The show ran for two years. Then in July 1992, WWOR released a short statement announcing that the show had been cancelled for financial reasons. An angry Stern held a press conference shortly after, criticizing the show's production values and countering that he'd walked away from the show because the station refused to invest money in improvements.

The WWOR show was actually Stern's second foray into television. In 1987, Fox taped multiple episodes of a potential late-night show (also called The Howard Stern Show). They never aired.

In November 1992, not long after the demise of the second Howard Stern TV show, E! Entertainment Television introduced The Howard Stern Interview, a half-hour late night talker during which Stern interviewed various celebrities. It became E!'s highest-rated program.

 
 
 
 
 
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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 available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

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. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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