DAVID BIANCULLI

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1996: Viewers See Stars at the Atlanta Olympics' Closing Ceremony
August 4, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1996, Olympians and spectators gathered in the Centennial Olympic Stadium for the close of the "Centennial Olympics" in Atlanta, Georgia — a celebration filled with a range of popular American music.

The closing ceremony, as with the opening ceremony, was produced by celebrated television director/producer Don Mischer, known for overseeing live coverage of the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys, Super Bowl halftime shows and other high-profile events.

The ceremony opened with the Atlanta Olympic Band, led by famed composer/conductor John Williams, performing his original work, "Summon the Heroes." Boyz II Men sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

During the ceremony, Gloria Estefan sang "Reach," the official theme song of the 1996 Summer Games. Stevie Wonder performed a rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine." And Gerogia native Trisha Yearwood sang an a cappella version of the song "The Flame" just before the Olympic flame was extinguished. 

The ceremony ended with an all-star musical tribute. Performers included Estefan, Wonder, Yearwood, Sheila E., Faith Hill, Bon Jovi, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Little Richard, the Pointer Sisters, Tito Puente, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Michael Jackson.


 
 
 
 
 
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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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